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John McTernan, Telegraph columnist's
elitist
dynamite! on radio, a year ago:


if you cut and paste the link below, into
your browser, to hear it - it's a great
insight into how much the right
really do despise you!


https://soundcloud.com/spectator1828/john
-mcternan-who-cares-about-the-grassroots


___________________________________________________


Today, is not the Birth Day of

John McTernan,

 Blairite adviser, strategist, commentator - and Tory.

He was Blair's Director of Political Operations,
 and then, Chief of Staff to the 2014–2015 boss
 of the Scottish Labour Party, Jim Murphy, the
 expenses fiddler, who resigned after Labour
 lost all but one seat in Scotland, including
 his own, in the 2015 general election.

During the 2006–07 police investigation into the
 Cash for Honours political scandal surrounding
 the Labour Party, J. McTernan was questioned
twice
, under caution, by the Metropolitan Police.

No criminal charges were ever brought

 against McTernan --- or anybody else.

In September 2011 he was appointed as
communications director to Australia's
PM, Julia Gillard --- and reduced that
Labour Party to rubble.


McTernan strongly opposed Jeremy Corbyn,
 the eventual winner of the 2015 Labour Party
 leader election, saying Corbyn's popularity's
 a "strange psychological emotional spasm"
& MPs who nominated Corbyn are 'moronic'.

After the 2016 revelations about Cameron's
 earlier offshore earnings - and Corbyn's call
 for an investigation - McTernan wrote, in his
 Daily Telegraph column, that tax avoidance
 is an expression of basic British freedoms.

In February 2016 McTernan joined the policy
 & media advice agency, Westminster Policy
 Institute, as an associate, and still writes a
regular column for The Daily Telegraph.

His advice to Labour MPs at the start of the coup:

‘If you’re going to assassinate someone, you chop off
their head, you then chop them into pieces and bury
them around the town. You don’t argue to yourself
about who the right candidate is and when the right
time is. He is the cause of his own assassination.
 No other cause is required. If you want rid of
him, get rid of him.’

He also urged Labour MPs not to wait
 for someone else to do it, saying:

‘Everybody would like someone else to do it,
when really it ought to be Murder on the
Orient Express – they all need to do it.’

Owen Smith worked under Murphy -- McTernan's
 muppet -- and Smith's job is to hurt Corbyn with
 insults, while pretending to share his policies....
so as to split away members drawn to Corbyn's
 policies, from supporting him - before an open
Blairite can breeze back in, next year, maybe.

The "moderates" McTernan supports, include
Luke Akehurst;-  kicked off the NEC, but still
there now, plotting, until conference ends...

Luke Akehurst of “Labour First” claims to have
 already “fixed” Labour's Annual Conference.

These groups, “Saving Labour”, “Labour First”
 and “Progress” call themselves "moderates",
but really they are Tory entryist groups, which

attempted to use the media, initially, to try to
destroy Corbyn.

They will use any trick, destroy any
person, to smash ordinary Labour
Party members -- whom they hate.

Here is part of a letter Luke sent
--- outlining the Blairite strategy:

Dear ......

This is an update from Labour First. We hope this is
a useful information service for Labour moderates.
 
You can read my preview of party conference here:

http://labourlist.org/2016/08/luke-akehurst-labour-
rule-changes-mean-conference-is-the-first-big-
battle-for-new-leader/

 
We are going into conference having secured a very
strong position in the election of CLP delegates,
and with an unprecedented level of organisation
 by moderates. This means we can secure good
 results at conference, whatever the outcome
of the leadership election.
 
Contemporary Motions
 
Contemporary policy motions can be submitted by
 CLPs – which are allowed to meet for this purpose
 with clearance from their regional office, despite
 the current moratorium on local meetings
 – and affiliates – up until 15 September.
 
If your CLP is meeting to consider conference
business – this can be at an Executive

Committee, General Committee or All
 Member Meeting –  please argue for
 submitting one of the suggested
 model motions we have drafted,
 or had sent to us.

Using Executive Committee meetings was the tactic
used to lock party members
out of CLP nomination
meetings, by some local
parties, that then chose to
nominate Mr Smith. 


So Labour First are asking CLPs who nominated
 Smith, to have Committee meetings which could
suggest "moderate" Contemporary Motions for

submission to the Labour Party, before
the September conference.

 Labour First’s Luke Akehurst is instructing
"moderate" CLPs to consider this tactic ---
to get motions which tie Corbyn's hands,
or set unrealistic targets.


Here are the relevant sections
which will tie Corbyn's hands:

Motion: Ensuring Working People
Don’t Pay the Price of Brexit

Conference calls upon the Parliamentary Labour
Party to provide effective Parliamentary scrutiny

of the Tory Government’s Brexit negotiations to
ensure that any proposed deal is in the interests
 of British working people and has the support
of the majority of the British electorate.
 Conference  further calls on Labour
 to reject any deal that fails this test.

This is a way in, for Blairites to get another
referendum vote, & corral Labour's Cabinet.

__________________________________


Motion: Tackling the UK’s Housing Crisis

Conference calls on Labour to campaign for
 300,000 houses to be built each year, with
 half (Corbyn wants 100% as affordable) of
these, genuinely affordable
homes to rent
and buy, including homes
for social rent.

300,000 in a year is unrealistic!
Corbyn wants up to 1 mln in 5 years.

_____________________________


    Motion: NATO

    Conferences notes Jeremy Corbyn’s refusal to
   commit to upholding Article 5 of the NATO treaty
 – collective security – “An attack against one
    Ally is considered an attack against all Allies” –
 at the Labour Party leadership hustings on
 18th August.

    Conference further notes the importance of NATO
     as a global alliance and Britain’s role in ensuring
      peace & the rule of law across the international
         sphere.

    Conference notes that NATO is essential
     to
guaranteeing the security of the new
     democracies in Eastern Europe, many
     of them small countries that feel
     threatened by Russia.

    Conference notes that Clement Attlee’s
    1945 Labour government played a key
 role in founding NATO.

    Conference reaffirms the Labour Party’s belief that:

        That the UK has a unique influence in the world
        The UK’s Membership to NATO plays a vital role
        in confronting the biggest security challenges
in
our generation.

        That the UK’s membership to NATO is committed
         to collective defence founded on the principles
         of democracy, individual liberty, human rights
          and the rule of law.

        That international cooperation with our allies
         in NATO ensures that the world is a better
           and safer place to live.

        That NATO has helped to keep the peace
         in Europe since World War Two.

        That we should stand with our world allies
        by continuing our support & membership
         in NATO.

Can you see how closely this ties in with
"I'm a socialist" Smith's
drip drip drip of
hustings smears?


This is Blairism in essence - more wars
- by being a poodle for a US-led NATO!


Luke asks next, that "moderates" vote
for Maggie Cosin (so the Labour Party
"moderates" can keep purging all the
"non moderates" - ie socialists -  out
of the Labour party, after conference).

He writes:

CLP delegates at the conference also elect a member
of the National Constitutional Committee (NCC) – a
battle between former MP and Corbyn supporter

 Chris Williamson and incumbent Maggie Cosin.
 The NCC deals with the most complex and
contentious disciplinary issues and
expulsions.

The above set piece votes are quite apart from the
 informal business of the conference fringe events:
......set piece speeches by the leader and shadow
cabinet which are a showcase to the outside world.

All of this happens whichever of Jeremy Corbyn
or Owen Smith wins and could either give them
 a launch pad for a honeymoon period --- or if it
calls wrong, damage their term of leadership
 in its first week.

Then he gives advice, which Jeremy Corbyn
 supporters might well wish to follow, when
putting forward their progressive motions:


If you want to submit a contemporary motion
to be considered, these are the guidelines:

A motion will be deemed to be contemporary if:

a. It is no more than 250 words, addresses one
 issue and does not propose a rule change.

b. It deals with a topic which arose after the
 publication of the reports and Policy Papers
of the National Policy Forum (NPF), Policy
Commissions or National Executive
Committee
on the 5 August 2016 or
has not been
substantively
addressed in those reports.


c. The issue could not otherwise have been
 raised through the Agenda 2020 process.

d. It does not seek to by-pass either the National
Policy Forum policy-making or National Executive
 Committee decision-making processes or to
overturn or revisit the Party Policy Programme,
including issues defeated at the NPF which
failed to achieve the status of an alternative
 position.

The National Policy Forum’s Annual Report
is available on Membersnet at:

http://members.labour.org.uk/agenda-2020




We wish you all SHALOM ! (PEACE)
and a HAPPY, SUCCESSFUL 2016
!


The US neocons still work to destroy Syria,
even by
dragging us into World War Three.
Let us work so they ca
n’t...

By the way, did you know that... in the Ukraine...
Donets'k, founded in 1869, was originally named
Yuzovka (Yuzivka) in honour of John Hughes, a
Welsh industrialist who founded the coal
industry in Donbass region?


Image: satelites punk tribute sept 3rd rhondda hotel



Rhondda Records exists to express the Rhondda's
vision --- when it was confident, powerful, caring,
and socialist.

A Rhondda very aware
of the media's poisonous
tricks -- how they con working class people into
attacking each other, or racial groups, or, often,
even their best allies and friends... instead of
seeing their real enemies:--- an elite who hate
the very idea that working people can think,
create, or achieve a fairer society.

Thatcher said her proudest achievement was
Blair and New Labour - who parachuted in
careerists and expenses fiddlers - to stop
local Labour members having a say, and
who made genuine socialist MPs leave
the Labour party in disgust and many
members and voters to despair...
and the young to stop voting.

Jeremy Corbyn is being attacked because
he's trying to reverse all that New Labour
corruption --- that's why membership is
flooding in all over the UK - watch this
video in Kilburn, London: don't believe
the dripping poison of the media and
the corrupt MPs -- and understand
Jeremy's role !

______________________________________


POLL OUT NOW SHOWS -
JEREMY STREETS AHEAD!


This is for all the commenters who tell us all that
the polls say Jeremy Corbyn can’t win an election.

The polls are saying that he is certain to
 win the Labour Party leadership again.

YouGov – a polling company that was famously
 founded by Tories and is run by one of them to
this day, has finally released the long-awaited
results of its poll on the Labour leadership
 election.

Many social media commentators have speculated
that the poll result was delayed because the results
 weren’t what its funders wanted to see.

Perhaps theywerewaiting for the latest Times Poll
-- which appeared on the same day -- showing that
Tory support has risen again to 14% above Labour

But the figures are clear:
 Corbyn 62% Smith 38%.
That’s a 24-point lead
 for Jeremy Corbyn.

Bad news for Mr Smith -- only 12% of respondents
believe he is capable of a general election victory.

The purge of Labour Party members by a ‘party
 machine’ intent on denying Mr Corbyn his
 victory, is the only worry now.

Who knows what the result will be, after these
 people have finished purging the Labour Party
of anyone who has ever upheld its ideals?

They say that it's merely to 'process' the
massive number of new members, but
the head of the Bakers' Union? A man
dedicated to the Labour Party for
 nigh on 40 years?


______________________________________



Oops! Labour suspends disabled woman used
 in Owen Smith PR campaign | Pride’s Purge

The possibility that Owen Smith could ever be
 the “champion of disabled people” should be
ludicrous to anybody who reads Vox Political
blog – for well-documented reasons.

The fact that his cronies in the Labour ‘party
 machine’ have just booted out the woman in
 his publicity photograph, for no very good
reason, makes his claim doubly laughable.

But there is a serious side: This man &
his supporters, are making the Labour
Party look ridiculous.

    Owen Smith’s campaign team have been busy
 distributing to the media a photograph of the
 Labour leadership contender with a disabled
 woman – to push his claim that he will be a
“champion of disabled people” if he wins.

    Unfortunately for Smith & his team of PR
 ‘experts’ --- Ms Robinson has just been
suspended from Labour, as part of the
 party’s increasingly bizarre attempts
 to ‘purge’ the party of Corbyn
supporters.

    As with others who've been ‘purged’ by the
 party, Ms Robinson hasn't been given any
reason for her suspension.


_____________________________________


UK shadow foreign secretary
censures NEC - defends Corbyn

The shadow foreign secretary accuses Labour
 Party figures of attempting to “quash” Jeremy
 Corbyn’s leadership, and put “members back
 in their box.”

In a Facebook post Monday, Emily Thornberry
 denounces the party’s NEC, and voices her
 support for Corbyn, despite the scores of
resignations from his shadow cabinet.

“Here we are now, less than a year after Jeremy’s
 overwhelming victory, and the party hierarchy –
 through decisions of the national executive
committee – is attempting to overturn that
result, quash Jeremy’s mandate, and put
the party’s members back in their box.
And they are doing so, in the most
 naked way.”

The shadow foreign secretary suggests that,
 while she may not always agree with Corbyn,
 she welcomes his attitude towards tackling
 differences.

“I have always found him and his team willing to
 get around a table, listen, reflect and discuss a
way forward.”

“I fundamentally disagree with this attempt to
 take us back to the years when our members
were deliberately antagonized, alienated and
 ignored,” Thornberry says.

______________________________________


#LabourPurge2

Odd Notes on the Ongoing Purge
from Vox Political:

Catherine Starr, is denied membership for
“sharing inappropriate content”. This was
 a tweet that was entirely unconnected
with the Labour Party, as follows:

160827 Catherine Starr Foo Fighters
"I f****** love The Foo Fighters"

Mrs Starr, who would have supported Jeremy
Corbyn, shared only 2 other tweets that day
– a friend’s inoffensive poster about animal
free cosmetics & a cartoon about veganism.

Just two of the many reactions:--

Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon:

“Foo Fighters aren’t heavy enough for my
liking. I prefer Motorhead. But no need for
 punishment by suspension for liking them.”

 Chris Nolan (not the film director):

 “Wherever you stand on Jeremy Corbyn,
Owen Smith or Labour in general, this,
 by any measure, is an absolute
disgrace.”

Jeremy Corbyn tweeted:

“I am very concerned that some people seem
 to have been unfairly removed from the ability
 to vote in this election. I’ve written to Labour’s
 General Secretary, to raise concerns about
members being suspended from voting in
the leadership contest --- often without
knowing why, or being given an option
 to challenge or appeal.”

He received flippant responses, including this
from a Scottish Labour councillor, Mr Stephen
 McCabe:- 
“Show some faith in our Party staff
 & NEC Jeremy. You are the Leader after all…”


The one-sided purge – the vast majority of
those targeted are Mr Corbyn supporters –
is attracting many comments, especially
about the language used by Smith.

Mr Smith has not yet lost his vote, nor has he
been ejected from Labour membership for the
 “inappropriate content” of his utterances.

Ronnie Draper, General Secretary of the Labour
 Affiliated Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union,
who received a letter on August 25, telling him
 he had been suspended:

“I feel this flies in the face of natural justice.
 I intend to challenge my suspension
 robustly and am currently taking
legal advice.”

It's now alleged that 200,000 people have
 been denied a vote in the leadership
 election, due to the actions of a
mostly Corbyn-opposing NEC.

Apparently the purge is being overseen by Johanna
Baxter, even though she is no longer a member of
the National Executive Committee, and therefore
 has no right or responsibility to do so.


She tweeted: “FYI there are 2 vetting panels – both
 made up of 3 NEC mbs & incl JC & OS supporters.
Decisions are made by majority, not individual
NEC mbs.” But she has not provided details of
 the criteria by which members and registered
 supporters are being judged.

So far, it seems you get the boot for comments
made any time since you joined social media
 – no matter how long ago, and never mind
whether you've changed your mind since.

 Use of profanities at any time means you’re out
 – if you’re a Jeremy Corbyn supporter. Tweeting
 support for a point of view put forward by
another political party – out. Publicly
disagreeing with Owen Smith – out.


It's hard to tell the criteria by which fans of
 Mr Smith, are likely to be removed from the
voting register. Does anybody know?

IF YOU HAVE BEEN
UNFAIRLY PURGED:


“Any member who is suspended & intends
to appeal the decision should throw in a
 ‘Subject Access Request in accordance
with the Data Protection Act’ --- for ALL
 data that the Labour Party hold on them.

The Labour Party are Data Controllers and
 therefore have to, by law, provide you with
 all material/information they hold on you.”

If anyone is in contact with anyone who
has been barred from voting please can
you pass this info on:

The Labour leadership election is under the
jurisdiction of the electoral reform services.

If you have been unfairly deprived of your vote
you can call them on 0208 365 8909 and lodge
 your complaint, and inform them of your Data
Protection request.

https://www.electoralreform.co.uk

The notification letters barring new members
do not give a clear reason, or information on
how to appeal, so Vox Political suggests that
 anyone in this situation, should also contact
 Liz Davies here: http://www.whycantivote.com

She is a barrister --- who can
advise members on what to do.


________________________________


According to the New Statesman:-

    Draper, the general secretary of the Bfawu,
the bakers’ union, one of Corbyn’s biggest
supporters in the trade union movement,
 has been expelled, reported for a tweet
which included the use of the word
 “traitors” to refer to [anti-austerity]
Labour opponents of Corbyn.

Yet Blairites have referred to Corbyn
supporters as 'Nazi Stormtroopers',
and Smith referred to Corbyn as a
'lunatic' and no action was taken.

This is clearly, now, part of a purge to suspend
 any potential Corbyn supporters/voters, by the
NEC, a form of gerrymandering.

Apparently Luke Akehurst, defenestrated from the
 NEC, although still in his post, is busily fixing the
 Labour Party conference votes too.

...and the current NEC remain in post until the very
 last day of Conference, with full control over what
gets debated, so don't get your hopes up a lot
for any sensible rule changes this year...

It has been pointed out that any votes already cast
 --- can be cancelled during the whole of the voting
 period, of one month.

 People are reporting having to spend days
 refreshing their e-mails until they get any
 voting "invite" and then refreshing their
e-mails, to see if their vote still stands.

Keep cool.

In this situation we need to be purer
than pure, patient, and politely
persistent.

Take your cue from Jeremy.

#LabourPurge2 is trending!

__________________________________


 John McDonnell accuses Blairite committee
 of conducting a 'rigged purge' of members

John McDonnell accuses the general secretary,
 Iain McNicol, of conducting a “rigged purge” of
 members, aimed at weeding out Corbyn voters.

McDonnell says: “Labour party members will
not accept what appears to be a rigged purge
of Jeremy Corbyn supporters. The conduct of
this election must be fair and even-handed.”

 He says he's writing to McNicol “to demand that
members and supporters who are suspended
 or lose their voting rights, are given clear
information about why action has been
 taken and a timely opportunity to
 challenge the decision.”

McDonnell says the party is exercising double
 standards in suspending Draper -- yet allowing
 wealthy party donor Lord Sainsbury to remain
 a member --- despite having given more than
£2m to the Liberal Democrats, weeks ago.

Corbyn’s team accuse the party’s compliance
 committee of making arbitrary decisions, often
 motivated by political bias, and underline how
 in several cases, the decisions are in breach
of members’ human rights.

The NEC has replied to a storm of criticism by
saying that the party will not discuss national
executive committee decisions on individual
members.

The compliance unit is examining applications
 to check whether the 180,000 new registered
supporters who signed up to take part in the
vote are eligible, or if some are, or have ever
been, members of, or public advocates for,
 other groups or parties, or have been
publicly abusive.

Twitter accounts, emails, are being trawled.

____________________________________


LAUNCH OF RENEWED NHS

Jeremy Corbyn launches his vision of
how
Labour can save the NHS, & Dr David Owen

praises his dynamic plan.

A nurse was there -- showing joy at the return
of nursing Bursaries, now pledged by Jeremy
... and just cut by the Tories.


____________________________



Owen Smith called his Labour leadership
rival,
Jeremy Corbyn, a lunatic and a liar.


Mr Smith has apologised for his lunatic remark,
as he did, his "smash Theresa May back on her
heels" remark --- but still hasn't apologised for
his quite extra-ordinary outburst at Glasgow's
hustings, where the audience jeered him.

It seems Mr Smith has a growing list
of insults, for which, he now needs
to apologise.


Mr Smith also said he would fight a general
election on a promise to keep the UK in the
 European Union, if elected leader.

Almost all of the 106 seats Labour would
have to win back from the Conservatives
 ...just voted to leave the EU.    Silly boy!


________________________


Letter to the Guardian
by Caroline Lucas

I have no wish to intrude on the Labour leadership
debates and I have no idea whether former shadow
 health minister Heidi Alexander is right in her critique
of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership style, but for her aides
to pick out Corbyn’s support for my NHS reinstatement
bill as evidence both of his “ineptitude” & of his shadow
chancellor’s “undermining” her, strikes me as both
desperate and depressing (Shadow cabinet inept and
shoddy, says MP, 20 August). My private members’ bill
--- drawn up after extensive consultation with health
experts
& health service users, would have reversed
the
creeping marketisation of the NHS -- under both
New
Labour and the Conservatives -- and stripped
away
the costly market mechanisms that waste
NHS
money and lead to inefficiencies and the
 fragmentation of services.

Perhaps a more interesting question is why
 the rest of the Labour party didn’t join their
SNP, Plaid and Lib Dem colleagues in giving
 it their backing too. With a few honourable
 exceptions, they chose to abstain instead.

Yet this is precisely the kind of policy a successful
Labour party would surely be
expected to promote
– as well as demon
strating a greater willingness to
work
alongside colleagues from other parties, on
those areas where there is
common ground
between us.


Overcoming party tribalism and finding practical
ways of working together, will be crucial to any
hope of progressive policies finding a majority
at the next election – whether it be on the NHS,
tackling inequality, putting rail in public hands,
or seriously addressing the climate crisis. Real
 leadership means being bold & honest enough
 to recognise that there’s far too much at stake
 to refuse to cooperate for the common good.

Caroline Lucas MP
Green, Brighton Pavilion


______________________________


TALK LEFT - ACT WRONG

The Labour coup MPs abstained on the NHS
Reinstatement Bill... but claim that they all
now support
a fully public health service.

And this is not the first time the actions of anti-
Corbyn MPs have been at odds with their words.

 In their campaign for leadership, Smith and
 Alexander have taken a strong anti-austerity
 position. Yet all the MPs who resigned in an
 attempt to topple Corbyn, including Smith &
Alexander, abstained on 2015's welfare bill.

This allowed the Tories to make £12bn more
of their ideological cuts to public services.

In her letter, Lucas slams Alexander’s criticism
 as “both desperate & depressing”. She points
 out that it is abstaining on such a crucial bill,
 that shows poor leadership to the electorate.

Labour should be a coherent opposition to
 NHS privatisation and austerity, not a party
of abstention.

Whether a bill comes in a green or red envelope is
irrelevant. Labour must trust voters to understand
 that it is the policy itself that it is important ---- not
the packaging. Supporting Lucas’ bill would have
 shown that Labour values a public NHS over any
party tribalism. Abstaining suggested the
opposite.

Heidi Alexander is now co-chairing Owen Smith’s
 leadership campaign, and claims to support 100%
NHS public funding --- as an “absolute red line”.

So, why did both Smith and Alexander support
 abstaining on a bill that would return the NHS
 to public provision? Why not join their leader
 and the 75 other cross-party MPs who
backed the bill?

________________________________


IF NATO MEMBER ATTACKED 
--- IT DOES NOT MEAN WAR

Jeremy Corbyn was torn to pieces over not
wanting to go to war if a NATO member was
attacked (by Russia, the question implied).

There seems to be a mistaken idea that
preferring negotiations and a peaceful
approach to international relations, to
a kneejerk war which could so easily
 go nuclear - leading to the end of life
on this planet - can be compared to
Chamberlain's appeasement
before
World War 2.

Yet the NATO treaty itself, is not,
as some Tories have tried to
make out, a simple case of
rushing to war, if one of
NATO's states are hit.

Article 5 of the Washington Treaty envisions
 the support of other NATO members, in the
case of external aggression, it's true, but...

 The response measures are left at the discretion
 of member states --- it can be a mere diplomatic
note of support - without providing any real aid.

__________________________



Labour Will Fund Opportunity For All

Last Thursday week, thousands of young people had
 their A-Level results, making important decisions
 about their future. Labour wants to ensure that
all students can take the abilities as far as
their talents allow.

 But sadly, not all have equal access to education.
 Young people from less well-off backgrounds are
 being locked out of further studies...

In this context it's disgraceful that the Conservative
government abolished student grants - which gave
young people low and middle income backgrounds
a more level playing field, & risks more of Britain's
talent not being developed to its full potential.

Jeremy Corbyn
Leader of the Labour Party,
 and MP for Islington North

_________________

    Labour Pledge We Will Bring Back
 Student Grants And The £30 EMA

Labour will reverse the abolition of student grants
 and the education maintenance allowance (EMA),
 if it wins the next general election, the shadow
 education secretary, Angela Rayner, stated
 on Tuesday Evening.

The Tories replaced maintenance grants for poor
 university students in England with repayable &
often crippling loans, and the EMA, a £30-a-week
 cash payment helped 16 to 18-year-olds to stay
in education --- but was cut by the Tory/LibDem
coalition government.

Now Labour vows to reinstate the policies, which
 will support over a million students, & says they
 will be paid for, by increasing corporation tax by
 less than 1.5 per cent.

Ms Rayner: “While the Tories continue to burden
 our young people with debt, the Labour Party is
 committed to investing in our young people.

“It is only by investing in education, that we can
 ensure that all our young people, whatever their
 background, are able to succeed in whatever
they aspire to.”

________________________________


CLP Nominations Now Closed

Out of those Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs)
who nominated anyone in the Labour Leadership,
Jeremy Corbyn won 84% of them - 285 local party
nominations, a landslide - and Owen Smith took
 just 53.

________________________________


Smith winning would be
a Ukip wet dream

by Charley Allan

Why only Corbyn can keep hold of
the core Labour vote

Jeremy Corbyn sparked a firestorm at Thursday’s
 hustings, when he insisted Labour was ahead in
the polls, before the palace coup against him.

Owen “let-me-talk-to-Momentum” Smith immediately
 accused him of lying -- and a fierce argument broke
 out on social media, before mainstream journalists
 across the political spectrum piled in to pour scorn
 on Corbyn’s claim.

So who’s correct? Polls are notoriously easy
 to manipulate and there are plenty of ways
 to interpret data, but reputable firms put
full results online, so people can draw
their own conclusions.

Even sceptics concede that Survation’s poll on
 June 25 — after the referendum, but before the
mass resignations — put the two main parties
 neck and neck, but they insist this is an outlier
 and that all other surveys that month, show a
 Tory lead.

Before checking whether this is true, there are
 a couple of points about polls to bear in mind.

First, all results are “weighted” to give a more
 representative sample - if not enough women
reply to a survey, for example, pollsters give
more weight to the answers of those that do.

But as well as being asked about voting
intention, people are normally asked how
likely they are to turn up and vote at all.

Combining these answers, goes the theory,
gives a more accurate prediction of actual
vote share, than the simple “snapshot”
provided by traditional opinion polls.

This is called “turnout weighting” and
pollsters sometimes go even further;
by only including those they consider
certain to vote, when working out
their “headline figure.”

The problem with all this... is that it is
notoriously tricky to predict turnout...
even if people try to answer honestly
- which often they don’t.

Pollsters agree: their epic failure to predict
 the general election and referendum results
 was partly down to faulty turnout forecasts,
 although they prefer to blame...... lacklustre
Labour support, than admit to being blind-
sided by “shy Tories” last year.

But back to the polls... Survation said that
both Labour and Tories had 26% support
 among the people “likely to vote” under
“normal weightings” - disregarding turn
out - while 20% didn’t give a preference
at all.

When you ditch these “don’t knows” and
 “won’t says” and apply the turnout filter
 on top, we still have a tie — with 32%
 for both parties.

A week earlier on June 18, ComRes
released its own poll with headline
figures of 29% Labour, 34% Tory.

But without turnout weighting, Labour
was actually in the lead --- with 29%
among “likely” voters, compared to
the Tories’ 26% and 14% undecided.

What’s going on? Although its methodology
 is unclear, ComRes seems to assume that
many don’t-knows will eventually make
up their minds -- and that most of them
will vote Tory.

So while the company publicly predicted
a Tory win, its snapshot clearly showed
Labour in the lead.

Moving on to Ipsos Mori, which claimed on
 June 16, that Labour was one point behind
the Tories (34% to 35) among those people
 absolutely “certain” to vote, using full
weighting, both normal and turnout.

The firm didn’t release figures that weren’t
already weighted for likelihood to vote, but
 it did reveal that Labour had a 2-point lead
 — 36 to 34% — after including everyone
 else who expressed a preference.

Three days earlier, ICM also put Labour a
point behind — 33% to the Tories’ 34 —
using full weighting, & an “adjustment”
for the don’t-knows-won’t-says.

This opaque algorithm assigns a certain
proportion of undecideds to each party,
 as ComRes does.

Without this additional adjustment -
 thereby excluding the don’t-knows
instead of predicting who they are
going to vote for - Labour leaps
into a 4-point lead on 35% to 31.

And turning off the turnout while still
 keeping normal weighting, sees this
increase to five points, with Labour
on 30%, Tories 25 & undecideds 16.

So Labour was indeed ahead in several polls
 before the coup -- if you look past headlines
 -- and no, they weren’t “unweighted,” as
 trolls claim online.

Unfortunately, Labour leads don’t fit the
 narrative that Corbyn is electoral poison
 to be flushed away.

Smith is supposed to be Labour’s saviour
--- but the evidence suggests otherwise.

Take his seat of Pontypridd - a Labour
heartland for practically a century.

The local party won 53% of the vote in 2005,
 but with Smith as candidate this plummeted
 to 39% in 2010 — its biggest collapse ever.

This was the year of the Lib Dem surge, which
 saw support soar to 31% from 20% in 2005.
Ukip was nowhere — 3% in both elections.

But after 5 years of Smith rule, Ukip quadrupled
 its vote to 13%, in line with the national average
 and level pegging locally, with the plunging
Lib Dems.

Of the 18 points lost by Clegg’s clowns, 10 went
 to Ukip, 5 to Plaid Cymru, and just 2 to Labour,
which crept up to 41% - the 2nd-lowest share
 in local party history, after Smith’s 2010
performance.

Strangely, at Gateshead's debate Smith refused to
repeat his pledge to hold a second referendum.....
despite plenty of prompting.

Perhaps he realises how toxic such talk is, to
 many Labour voters. And even with EU-loving
 party members, his message stinks of utter
 contempt for democracy.

Ukip must be licking its lips at the prospect
 of a Smith leadership -- hoping for a repeat
of its rapid rise in Wales, under his watch.

The party is ruthlessly targeting this key
constituency across Britain: long-term
Labour voters who backed Brexit --
 plenty of whom, are Welsh.

Corbyn’s constructive criticism of the EU can
 help his party hold on to its core support, but
Smith is almost genetically engineered to
drive it away.

His New Labour pedigree left him powerless
against the rising tide of nationalism, right
 under his nose.

And this former Pfizer lobbyist’s reckless
referendum promises, present Ukip with
 the electoral equivalent of viagra.

If Owen Smith really is “Labour’s future”
--- then I’m afraid we’re all screwed.

    Chat to Charley on Twitter: @charleyallan

[Ed. While we're on the subject of threats
to Labour from the right, Tom Watson
 might ponder why Max Mosley, son of
Oswald, the UK's late fascist leader,
coughed up £200,000... to run his
 private office.]

_____________________________


Owen Smith Fan Flings Obscenities At CLP Meeting
by Luke James

The incident took place on Thursday evening at a
 meeting of the Barrow and Furness Constituency
 Labour Party, to decide which candidate to
nominate in the leadership contest.

Local members voted by 100 to 37 in favour of
supporting Mr Corbyn’s re-election campaign.

The result was a major coup for Mr Corbyn given
the constituency is home to the Trident shipyard
and nominated Andy Burnham in 2015’s contest.

It is also significant because John Woodcock, the
 former chair of Blairite faction Progress which has
 actively undermined Mr Corbyn’s leadership from
 the outset, is the MP for the constituency.

Mr Woodcock did not attend the meeting but sent an
 email to all members urging them to back Mr Smith.

One member at the meeting, who asked not to be
 named, reported how a supporter of Owen Smith
 flew into a rage, when the result was announced.
 
The source told the Star: “It was quite well behaved,
there wasn’t any hassle except at the end where one
 young guy who had passionately lectured everybody
 on how we couldn’t possibly win under Jeremy threw
 into a total sulk, stormed out and then walked back
 in and shouted: ‘Well you can all f**k off’.”

Dan Holt, another member present, wrote on social
media: “The ONLY mud slung was from Smith
 speakers, obviously Dan lost it at the end,
telling
us all to f off.”

___________________________


Anti-democratic Move Backed by Law Lords

Labour’s Blairites won their bid to overturn
 the high court decision allowing new party
 members to vote in the leader election ---
in a ruling that bars 130,000 members
from voting in the leadership ballot.

The ruling by the three court of appeal judges,
Lord Justice Sales, Lady Justice Macur
and Lord Justice Beatson, overturned the
 High Court ruling -- which judged the NEC's
sub committee decision as a blatant breach
of contract.

Apparently, the Appeals Court judges
think business malpractice is fine.

__________________________


Appeal Court Judge Philip Sales’
intimate links to Tony Blair revealed

APPEAL COURT JUDGE HAD

BIG CONFLICT OF INTEREST

After Sir Philip Sales QC overruled the previous High
 Court decision, to allow the 130,000 disenfranchised
 Labour Party members to vote in the up and coming
 leadership election and refused ANY leave to appeal
– Wikileaks revealed that Sales has been a Blair
 insider for years, having been recruited as
 Junior Counsel to the Crown in 1997.

The literature cited by WikiLeaks confirms that
 immediately after Labour’s victory in the 1997
 election, Sales was recruited by Tony Blair.

It also reveals that Sales used to be a practising
 barrister at law firm 11KBW, of which Tony Blair
was a founder member. At that time, there was
 an uproar over Sales’ appointment, as Blair
was
accused of cronyism.

Since his appointment in 1997, Sir Philip Sales
 has racked up a massive bill to the taxpayer as
the highest 'earning' lawyer in the government.

 As a key part of Blair’s legal team, he was paid
 to defend the Government’s decision against
holding a public inquiry into the Iraq War, in
the High Court, in 2005.

Clearly, this is evidence
of a conflict of interest.


 Sales’ deep involvement in the Labour Party,
in the Blair years, raises big questions about
the legitimacy of his shock ruling in favour of
 the National Executive Committee, especially
 as there was an evident breach of contract.

Despite these 130,000 members being told in
 black and white that they were eligible to vote
 in the leadership elections upon registration
-- now they have been officially cast aside by
 their own party in an attempt to skew a result
  that is, hopefully, going to result in a victory
for democracy, despite all these dirty tricks.


 The biggest kick in the teeth, however, is that
 the permission to do so, was granted by this
corrupt crony-lawyer of Blair’s.

But don't lose heart...

Smith’s victory would be a huge setback.
If the Establishment recapture Labour,
anti-Establishment anger — currently
 feeding this positive, inclusive and
 progressive insurgency Corbyn is
leading — will find other, uglier
outlets, as it is
now, in the US
& many European countries.

That’s why Corbyn supporters must not
 lose heart. There's everything to play for
 in this leadership race, and those who've
 been stripped of their votes can still play
 a huge role in campaigning: knowing that
 a decisive victory for Corbyn, will strike
 another blow at these anti-democrats
who are trying to silence our voices.

_______________________


Labour Party members'
NEC successes


The Centre Left Grassroots Alliance (CLGA) slate
 — composed of Ann Black, Christine Shawcroft,
Claudia Webbe, Darren Williams, Rhea Wolfson
 and Peter Willsman — won all six of the seats
set aside for constituency party nominees.

First runner-up was Ellie Reeves, the sister
of Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves and wife
of Leyton and Wanstead MP John Cryer,
who won over 9,000 less votes, than the
trailing CLGA candidate Peter Willsman.

Labour Party establishment figures even
 resorted to dirty tricks, to prevent left-
wingers being elected.

Disgraced Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy
 made a shocking intervention in Ms Wolfson’s
constituency to stop her nomination - but she
 moved, and remained in the running.

Comedian Eddie Izzard was second runner-
up, with 70,993 votes, and Luke Akehurst,
 of right-wing faction ''Labour First'', was
the sixth runner-up, with 48,632 votes.

Some Blairite Progress MPs privately
say, their coup has now been beaten.

Control of the NEC is now in the hands
of genuine democratic socialists, after
 party members voted all 6 candidates
 in, on their joint left slate.

The new NEC members take up their seats
after September’s annual party conference.

“This is very, very, very, bad news,”
said a pro-coup Blairite Labour MP.

Mr
McDonnell welcomes the
 results of the NEC elections:

“This result clearly shows, that there is
 a desire for real and genuine change in
our party, under the continued leader-
ship of Jeremy Corbyn;- but we're not
 going to take anything for granted...
and will be campaigning for every
 vote in the leadership contest.”
_______________________

    Bookmaker William Hill shortens its odds for
    a Corbyn win from 1/8 (88% chance of victory)
   to 1/10 (90%). Smith is a 6/1 (14%) underdog.

   Graham Sharpe, a spokesperson for William
   Hill explains: “Corbyn has emerged from the
opening round, with a points lead over his
 opponent, according to political punters,
 and seems to be heading for another
knockout victory.”

Jeremy Corbyn is favourite to be the
next Prime Minister, after Theresa May.
 
Jeremy Corbyn is more likely to be the next
PM than Boris Johnson, all the bookies say.

Jeremy Corbyn is firm favourite to
succeed Theresa May as PM even
 if she steps down, or is voted out.

Corbyn has odds of 5/1 from William Hill
 & 9/2 from Ladbrokes to eventually take
 over from May, as the leader of the UK,
well ahead of Foreign Secretary Boris
Johnson and Corbyn's own Labour
 leadership rival, Owen Smith.

Corbyn is also the overwhelming favourite
 to win the Labour party leadership election
 next month. William Hill's Graham Sharpe
 explains:
 
"Owen Smith hasn't captured the imagination
 of political punters and there is little support
 for him to cause an upset in the Labour
leadership race."

 Here are the current odds,
 on who will be the next PM:

Ladbrokes: Corbyn 9/2 - Johnson 7/1 - Smith 12/1

William Hill: Corbyn 5/1 - Johnson - 7/1 - Smith 9/1

Paddy Power: Corbyn 11/2 - Johnson 8/1 - Smith 13/2

Bookmakers say Jeremy Corbyn will be the
 Labour leader, for at least another 4 years.
_______________________________

LABOUR PURGE 1

Croydon Labour meeting bans
the use of the word ‘Blairite’
by insidecroydon

It’s official: the word “Blairite” is now considered
 to be a term of abuse in the Labour Party, and its
 use banned at meetings.

    “Blairite” was on the list of proscribed words,
    apparently provided by Labour HQ.. & which
   was read out to a meeting of party members
 in Croydon last week. And anyone found to
 have used it publicly could even find them-
selves banned from taking part in the
forthcoming leadership election.

Labour officials have begun to weed out anyone
 who's deemed not a “genuine Labour supporter”.

And, according to a senior figure in the Labour Party
 in Croydon, “This includes, for example, anyone who
 tweeted that they voted Green in the 2015 General
 Election.”

The lists have been sent to councillors, local party
 officers and MPs, including people such as Steve
 Reed OBE, for some time a vice-chair of Progress
 and Croydon North/Lambeth South MP - who has
 been calling for his party leader Jeremy Corbyn,
 to resign.

  With so many Blairites “embedded” into Labour
 party structures over the last 25 years, Corbyn’s
 backers fear the process will be used to purge
 their support among grassroots members and
 those who have been drawn to the party in
 the past year.

“They are also trawling through social media
 accounts looking for anything incriminating
 --- including the use of certain words about
opponents,” the Labour Party figure said.

 “We must be on our guard and ready to defend
 people who are genuine supporters of Labour
 under Corbyn, but who are blocked from
voting.”

Corbyn supporters reckon that as many as
 40,000 of the £25 supporters, have already
 been disqualified, & another 10,000 have
 been referred to the party’s 'scrutiny'
committee.

    Before the 2015 leadership election, when
 the supporter’s fee was a mere £3, Labour
had a number of “interesting” pledges of
support, including one from a Mr Jason
Cummings, a Croydon councillor and
 a
Conservative Party member of
the council’s shadow
cabinet.

_______________________



The BIG lie about Jeremy Corbyn is that there
is NO economic plan --- there is --- it's GREEN

If you'd like the complete plan, please go here:

http://unionsforenergydemocracy.org/wp-content/uploads
/2015/09/Jeremy-Corbyn-Environment-plan-Aug-2015.pdf

_____________________________________________


To All in the UK: Jeremy Corbyn’s TEN pledges

    Full employment and an economy that works for all:

    based around a £500bn public investment,
   via the planned national investment bank.

    A secure homes guarantee:

    building 1 million new homes in five years,
    at least half of them council homes. Also
rent controls and secure tenancies.

    Security at work:

    includes stronger employment rights, an end to
    zero hours contracts and mandatory collective
    bargaining for firms with 250 plus employees.

    Securing our NHS and social care:

    ending health service privatisation; bringing
    services into a secure, publicly-provided NHS.

    A national education service:

    includes universal public child-care, the
    progressive restoration of free education,
    and quality apprenticeships.

    Action to secure our environment:

    includes keeping to the Paris climate agreement,
    moving towards a low-carbon economy and green
 industries, partly via the national investment bank.

    Putting the public back into our economy and services:

    includes renationalising railways and bringing
    private bus, leisure and sports facilities, back
    into local government control.

    Cutting income and wealth inequality:

    a progressive tax system so highest earners
    are fairly taxed, shrinking the gap between
    the highest and lowest paid.

    Action to secure an equal society:

    includes action to combat violence against women,
    as well as discrimination based on race, sexuality
    or disability, and defending the Human Rights Act.

     Peace and justice at the heart of foreign policy:

    to put conflict resolution and human rights
    "at the heart of foreign policy".

___________________________


CORBYN, McDONNELL, UNITY APPEALS

There are signs that Corbyn is winning
around many of the MPs who initially
took part in
the mass resignation
coup arranged
last month.

 Sarah Champion asked for her job back
 and has returned to the front benches.

It's unclear what prompted the about-turn
 from Ms Champion, the MP for Rotherham
 who campaigned on changing the law to
tackle abuse before being given the brief.

She will again work under Andy Burnham,
 shadow home secretary, who surprised
some
colleagues by declining to join
the mass
rolling resignation coup.


There is ongoing speculation that over
sixty
front benchers who walked, are
considering
reversing their position.


Labour sources say Corbyn has been reaching
out to MPs -- and more are “reconsidering their
resignations” -- especially given the realisation
that he is going to win the leadership contest.

_____________________________________________


A DREAM COME TRUE

Support for Jeremy Corbyn from Tyrone O’Sullivan,
a fourth-generation south Wales miner, who led a
workers’ buy-out of Tower Colliery, to save it
 from closure.

"I’ve been close to Jeremy since the miners’ strike.
 Knowing the man, knowing his abilities and his
education, it was a dream come true for me when
 he became leader. His ideas and values are more
 necessary, here in south Wales, than probably
 anywhere else in the country. He wants
victory
for Labour, but only under
our terms -
for a change."

O’Sullivan, a lifelong Labour member, says he
has nothing personally against Owen Smith,
but is embarrassed that a fellow Welshman
 is standing against Corbyn.

"I feel embarrassed, as a Welshman, that he hasn’t
got the sense to see he’s being used as a stalking
 horse. If Jeremy dropped out tomorrow, there'd be
 10 other names in front of him, to be leader. He
would be 11th. For him to come out like this,
 against a true socialist, I thought he would
have more sense. Jeremy is the only true
 socialist we’ve had as leader for
 20 or 30 years.

___________________________________


Corbyn supporter predicts
'heavy majority' in leadership race

Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury,
 Rebecca Long Bailey, says she believes
 that Labour MPs "will have to comply
with the wishes of the membership"
 and support whoever is elected
 as the party's leader.

She tells the BBC she has spoken
 to many MPs and believes;  "they
will galvanise and they will unify
 behind whoever the leader is".

No-one in the Labour movement,
 wants a split to happen, she adds.

She predicts "a heavy majority"
for Mr Corbyn both among the
party members and the new
registered supporters.


**************************************

Jeremy Corbyn is concentrating 
more... on what truly matters:


"We will be campaigning on all the things that matter,
the inequality and poverty that exists in this country;
the need to
end privatization of our National Health
Service;
the need to give real hope & opportunities
to
the young all across this country.


"That’s what Labour exists for, and that’s the
 campaigning work we’re going to be doing,
the length and breadth of this country."

_____________________________________


IT'S ALL ABOUT 'ME'

Owen (Who?)'s main claim to fame, is that he
DIDN'T vote against the Iraq war --- possibly
because he wasn't an MP at the time.

Owen Smith, portrayed on TV as the "leader of the
labour party in Wales", worked for the BBC news
features as a producer and then as lobbyist for a
two powerful pharmaceutical companies, one of
them a company which killed many patients and
was fined millions for it, and then for Pfizer, on
£80,000 a year.

Pfizer have spent unbearable sums
on mergers, aquisitions and buying
up patents ----- enough to immunise
the world's population 5 times over.

Their employees think so much of
Pfizer, that it doesn't even appear
in a top 20 list of good practice!

Oddly, dear John voted against
restricting lobbyists "rights" to
influence MPs, and against an
attempt to have the NHS even
consider using much cheaper
generic drugs...


Says it broke his heart to oppose Jeremy
 Corbyn, but it hasn't stopped him, has it?

 Smith is described by MPs as unbelievably
 arrogant --- and by locals as taking people
for granted: spending more of his time on
campaigns outside Pontypridd.

He lives in Westcott village, in Surrey.

He will "talk left and act right" so
genuine people are confused and
demoralised about Corbyn...

But he will NEVER oppose those
business lobbies and interests
he has served so faithfully.

He says the party needs to “put tackling
 inequality right at the heart of everything
 that we do” and claims to offer a “radical
and credible” alternative, to Mr Corbyn.

But his left-wing credentials are thrown into
 question by his support for the Iraq war and
 NHS private finance initiatives --- before he
entered Parliament.

He worked for expenses-fiddler Paul Murphy,
strongly supported Blair’s city academies,
and PFI and privatisation in the NHS.


 As Head of Policy & Government Relations
 for Pfizer, Mr Owen Smith MP,  was directly
involved in Pfizer’s funding of the Blairite
right wing entryist group, Progress.

Pfizer gave Progress £53,000.
 Progress has actively pursued
 the agenda of PFI ------ and the
privatisation of NHS services.

Owen Smith went straight to Pfizer from
a Labour Party job, while Labour were in
government - and there is no doubt that
this hiring is an example of the corrupt
 relationship between ''New Labour,'' &
big business - which is why Blairites
are so hated by the public.

 It's also beyond any argument that if Pfizer had
any doubts about Owen Smith’s willingness to
 promote the Big Pharma & NHS Privatisation
 agenda, they would never have hired him.

Owen Smith is a strong supporter of Trident
 and assiduously courts the arms industry.
 He is a regular at defence industry events.


One Labour MP tells media:

“His only hope is trying to dupe unions and
members into believing he represents the
 anti-austerity, socialist and trade union-
orientated politics of Jeremy Corbyn.

“He has form when it comes to spin -- he's
 now saying he was against the Iraq war,
 but is actually on the record, as having
 likened it to the Spanish civil war.

“A former special adviser and Westminster
 insider, politically, he’s more Hilary Benn,
than Tony Benn.”

Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards described
 Mr Smith as “fork-tongued,” branding him: “An
expert in judging his audience -- a former CND
 member one day, and a man who is prepared
 to annihilate millions of people with a nuclear
 weapon the next.”

Mr Smith said at the start that he would return
to the shadow cabinet, if Mr Corbyn won, in
order to avoid a split in the party...

But in just the second TV Hustings
- he said he will not return to the
Shadow Cabinet.


_____________________________________


Corbyn, when asked how he was coping
with all the pressure on him, replied:
"there is no pressure on me".

"The real pressure, is when you don't have
 enough money to feed your kids, when you
 don't have a roof over your head, when you
are wondering if you are going to be cared
 for," he said.

__________________________________

CHILCOT REPORT: SOME MAIN POINTS:

1)  "Military action was not a last resort".

2) UK government "undermined the
authority"
of the UN security council.


3) Weapons of Mass Destruction presented
 "with a certainty that was not justified".

4) UK forces were "ill-prepared".

5a) "The government failed to
achieve its stated objectives."


5b) Post-war planning: Blair "should
 have known what might happen".

6) Chilcot says Blair also "overlooked the
 threat the invasion would pose to Britain."

____________________________________

Blair to Face Law

The former prime minister has been put on notice
 by families of dead servicemen, that he will face
 legal action, for his part in the illegal Iraq war.

They are being crowd-funded now, and
have achieved so much, that Blair is
probably heading for a big fall...


Shadow Commons leader Paul Flynn:
the Iraq Inquiry's findings are an "utter
 condemnation" of his terrible decision
 --- and his prosecution should now be
given "serious consideration".

Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond:
"I would like to see Blair investigated by
the
International Criminal Court (ICC),
for
the crime of a war of aggression,
and
face parliamentary action to
stop
him holding public office
ever again."

A former British ambassador to the UN:
 "The UK was pushed into entering
this
military action, too early."

Stop the War Coalition Convener Ms German:
“This is an incredibly damning report for Tony Blair.
It will not call for legal sanctions, but it says that
Blair is culpable for the war, in many ways.

“He needs to be driven out of public life. He is
still part of the Labour Party. We need to make
 sure that truth & justice prevails. There must
 be legal action against Blair, & he should no
 longer be considered fit for any office.”

CND general secretary Kate Hudson:
 “The report shows that Tony Blair had
no respect for cabinet procedure, no
respect for Parliament, & no respect
for international law.

“Chilcot reveals the evidence that must now be
 used to bring Tony Blair to justice. This is our
 demand. Only when justice is served, can we
prevent disasters like the Iraq war from ever
happening again.”

 Iraqi journalist Juma al-Quraishi:
"Everyone who took part in the war against Iraq
should be condemned, either Britain, or others."

Baghdad resident Ali al-Saraji:
"Ex-UK prime minister, Tony Blair, destroyed
 our country. From 2003, to now, our country
has been the scene of destruction, killing,
massacres, explosions and sectarianism."

A defiant Blair refuses to accept accusations
 from service families that he was wrong and
reckless, and he insists that he would make
 the decision again, 'come what may'.

 Families of some of the 179 military personnel
 killed in Iraq, say the former PM is "a terrorist".

 Jeremy Corbyn has offered an apology,
 on Labour's behalf, for the "stain on
our party and our country".

_______________________________


Labour Might Go For Mandatory Reselection
Of MPs --- If Corbyn Wins A Fresh Mandate


Senior Labour sources say a fresh election
 victory will give him the mandate to draft
 a progressive anti-austerity programme,
 and, more importantly, allow him to
introduce real party democracy.

How ironic that Tony Benn - if this occurs -
will finally have the democratic socialist
Labour party he fought for, and so nearly
won, when he lost the Deputy leadership
 race --- by 0.5%, in the 1970's --- and all
through the disloyalty of his son!

Act to show it if you support #Corbyn
 the only hope for people who are fed
up with austerity...      #KeepCorbyn


Image: Liz Carpenter's Birth Day



Today, September the 31st, in 1920,

Liz Carpenter,

 writer, feminist, former reporter, media advisor,
speechwriter, political humourist, and public
relations expert, is born.

Carpenter was in the forefront of the Women's
 Movement when it began and never wavered
from her platform. Her projects and causes
ranged from supporting high tech to
fighting cancer.

Often called the "funniest woman in politics",
she was in demand as a public speaker
until her death...



"A major advantage of age is learning to
accept people without passing judgment."


"Instead of looking at life as a narrowing funnel,
we can see it ever widening --- to choose the
things we want to do, to take the wisdom
we've learned and create something."   


"I learned in my 4 decades in Washington
 that one person can make a difference."


“If we can't turn the world around
we can at least bolster the victims.”



Image: Wales elderly paying for health care


Figures released by The Office for National Statistics
(ONS) reveal that UK pensioners are 4th worst off....
out of all of the countries in the European Union.

________________________________________________


TORIES DISAPPEARING!

Tory party membership, is now
 below 100,000 for the first time.
The Tory Party is disappearing.
It'll be weird having thousands
of Young Corbynites canvassing
 - and all the Tory party have is a
few imported American nut-jobs.

How will that play in the marginals?

Remember - there are still 19 police forces
 investigating 32 Tory MPs for election fraud.

Police investigate ‘hidden payments’
to Northampton South MP’s fund

VoxPolitico - This story seems to be separate from
 the wider issue of alleged election fraud by many
 Conservative candidates. [ed. See articles below]

Apparently the donations come from
 1st Land Ltd, a firm at the centre of
an inquiry into the disappearance
of millions of pounds of
taxpayers’ money.

    Hidden payments - totalling £30,000 - to a Tory MP’s
   general election campaign are being investigated...
by the police.

Auntie BBC has already established that the money
for David Mackintosh’s Northampton South fighting
fund, in 3 (three) £10,000 donations, was disguised

 -- in terms of who made them.

The Electoral Commission passed
 their file on the case to the police.

    Mr Mackintosh, ex-leader of Northampton
    council, welcomed the investigation and
“will co-operate fully with police”.

    “I'd no reason to believe that the donations
     --- were from anyone other than the named
donors,” he said.

_________________________________


Labour promises to rescue
communities and industry
by Peter Lazenby

Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell unveils
 plans to pump billions of pounds of investment in
to the UK’s regions, to boost industry and create
 hundreds of thousands of jobs.

He pledges radical changes, including giving
workers the right to sit on company boards
 and funding for co-operative enterprises -
proposals similar to the Bullock Report -
commissioned by Wilson’s government.

Mr McDonnell says a Labour government will
 create a publicly controlled investment bank
 - and similar banks for Britain’s regions - with
access to £500 billion, to boost industrial
development and jobs.

McDonnell says his investment plans will help
 those communities “left behind”, by Osborne’s
 austerity campaign, which hit the UK’s worst-
off areas (like Wales valleys) the hardest.

“Today, I want to announce a major new
 commitment, from Labour, to the British
people, a policy that will form the lynch-
pin of everything else we do, to rescue
Britain’s communities from decay and
 to rebuild Britain’s industries after
 years of neglect,” he said.

“George Osborne leaves behind a legacy
of
failure. We’ve got public services cut
to the
bone and in some cases, beyond.

“We’ve got a million people using foodbanks
 -- in the sixth-richest economy in the world.
And investment has fallen, dragging
 down productivity.

“Our economy has become far too
dependent on low-paid, insecure
work, as a result.

“Worse yet, spending cuts have hit the places
 least able to cope with them, the hardest. The
 UK has the worst regional inequalities of any
 current member of the European Union.

“Our country needs a programme
 of economic transformation.

“That must start with addressing the funding
 imbalance, and delivering the investment
 needed, to kick-start high-quality growth.”

Mr McDonnell pledges: “On coming to power,
Labour will set up a National Investment Bank
 and a network of regional banks, whose aim
is to help mobilise £500bn into the economy
--- and transform Britain.

“A national investment bank, managed
 independently of government ---- can
 raise the financing needed to deliver
 infrastructure on this scale.”

He says the plans will create 100,000
 well-paid jobs in the north-east alone.


_______________________________



CORBYN STANDS FIRM FOR LABOUR
AS BLAIRITES ATTEMPT COUP

Below is Jeremy Corbyn's statement:

    "Our country faces a huge challenge, after
 Thursday’s vote to leave the European Union
- & Britain's people have a right to know how
their elected leaders are going to respond.

    We need to come together to heal the divisions
 exposed by the vote. We have to respect the
 decision that's been made, hold government
 to democratic account, over its response,
and ensure that working people
don’t pay the price of exit.

    Neither wing of the Tory government has an exit
 plan. Labour will ensure that our reform agenda
 is at the heart of the negotiations that lie ahead.
 That includes the freedom to shape our economy
 for the future --- and the necessity of protecting
social and employment rights.

    One clear message from last Thursday’s vote is
 that millions of people feel shut out of a political
and economic system that has let them down,
and scarred our country with grotesque levels
of inequality.

I was elected by hundreds of thousands of
Labour party members and supporters ---
with an overwhelming mandate for a
different kind of politics.

    I regret there have been resignations today from
 my shadow cabinet. But I am not going to betray
the trust of those who voted for me, or of the
millions of supporters across the country,
who need Labour to represent them.

    Those who want to change Labour’s leadership
will have to stand in a democratic election, in
which I will be a candidate.

    Over the next 24 hours, I will reshape my shadow
 cabinet and announce a new leadership team.... to
take forward Labour’s campaign for a fairer Britain
- and get the best deal with Europe for our people."


_____________________________________



No Time for Civil War


Labour MPs meeting for that secret unconstitutional
ballot, could have stopped and listened ------ before
following a few colleagues who seem determined
to drag the party off a cliff.

They should listen to the party’s members, who
 overwhelmingly elected Jeremy Corbyn leader
 just 10 months ago and will, all polls suggest,
re-elect him just as overwhelmingly, in one
more leadership contest the public will see
as obvious disunity --- and punish us for.

They should listen to the 200,000+ people,
 who have signed a petition declaring their
 confidence in Mr Corbyn’s leadership ------
since the prospect of a coup was raised.

They should listen to 12 affiliated trade unions
 - which made it absolutely clear on Friday that
now is no time to start a civil war in the party.

And they should listen to the mood of the country.

A majority have just voted in a referendum
 to leave the EU. Tories must be jubilant
that, at this moment of crisis for the
government, Labour appears
 ready to tear itself apart.

Those plotting to overthrow Mr Corbyn --- are
using the EU referendum result as an excuse.

He is accused of having failed to throw his all into
 the campaign to keep Britain in, of being unable
 to mobilise the Labour vote, of being a liability
if an election comes soon.

This is absurd. According to polling data from
 Lord Ashcroft, Labour voters split 63 per cent
 for Remain, 37 per cent for Leave on Thursday.

The equivalent figures for Scottish National Party
 supporters were 64 per cent and 36 per cent —
 practically identical. Yet no-one says Nicola
 Sturgeon is incapable of mobilising SNP
supporters to vote SNP, based on their
answers to a totally different question.

The result reflects huge anger at the political
elite --- and at the unaccountable and pro-
corporate nature of the EU.

As Unite leader Len McCluskey has pointed out, it
 beggars belief, to claim that the totally uncritical
 stance of New Labour towards the EU, would
have been more convincing for angry voters,
than Mr Corbyn’s more realistic attitude.

It will also do Labour untold damage across Britain
 if it tells the voters it doesn’t care what they think --
 they were wrong, and now Labour’s leader must be
 punished -- because he couldn’t stop them making
the choice they did.

It is being utterly reckless and self-indulgent at
 a time the country is crying out for leadership -
leadership the spiteful, dishonest, and deeply
divided Conservative Party clearly can't provide
 - for the Opposition to spark a leadership contest
 which will achieve nothing:-  except to paralyse
the party for months, before reaffirming
Mr Corbyn’s mandate.

The idea that Labour is incapable of beating
these Tories at an early general election, is
nonsense -- there is everything to play for.
Especially as Tory MPs are accused of
alleged election fraud!

Most MPs are angry and disappointed at the
referendum result. So are millions of people.

But even greater numbers did vote Leave, and
 Labour must respect that, if it is to help chart
 a new course for Britain.

This means dropping all talk of delaying, ignoring
 or reversing the verdict of the referendum, and
 instead, setting out policies that address the
 concerns of working-class communities.

It means rallying behind a leader who has
demonstrated an understanding of those
 concerns throughout his life, campaigning
 for more investment in our public services,
more council housing, and redistribution
of wealth.

It means fighting a general election with
workers’ rights, public ownership and an
industrial strategy for the future... at the
heart of our vision for a negotiated exit,
as bigotry & racism are shown the door.

As war veteran, health campaigner & Labour
 stalwart, Harry Leslie Smith, says, those now
calling for Mr Corbyn’s head are putting their
personal interests above those of party and
country.

They risk crippling Labour for years and giving
 the Tories a blank cheque to do what they will
 to communities who have cried out so loudly
 for change.

They must be stopped.


________________________________



 43 year old former soldier dies in
Wales --- after police Taser him

A former soldier who served in Iraq & Afghanistan
 has died after being tasered by police in Llanelli.
The man had reportedly been suffering from
post-traumatic stress disorder.

The victim, identified as 43-year-old Spencer Beynon,
 was tasered after officers were called by a woman
who was “concerned” about the welfare and
behaviour of the man, who appeared injured
and was acting erratically.

Beynon was a former member of the Royal
Welsh Regiment and had served in the
Army for 15 years.

The UN has already told the UK to ban police
Taser use on children – but what about other
vulnerable people?

The Independent Police Complaints Commission
 (IPCC) has launched an inquiry into the incident.

Local councilor Robert Davies says Beynon
 was “a nice guy” who “always had time to
 say hello, very pleasant.”

"I think he found it hard coming out of the Army.
So many of our soldiers who serve the country,
 are forgotten about."

Nia Griffith, Labour MP for Llanelli, & Lee Waters,
 Labour Welsh Assembly member for Llanelli, say
in a joint statement:

"We are both extremely concerned about reports
of the police Taser shooting incident in Llanelli,
and would like to extend our deepest sympathy
to the family and friends of the man who died."

According to government statistics, police in
 England and Wales used Tasers more than
10,000 times in 2014 – a 2 percent increase
 over the previous year. From 2013 to 2014,
Taser use rose by 3 percent.

UK police used stun guns on 407 minors,
 --- despite the United Nations warning.


_____________________________



Housing Associations: Friend Or Foe?

A fascinating article for many [formerly known
as] RCT Homes tenants, in the Rhondda --- and
 throughout Rhondda-Cynon-Taf:

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-3207-
Housing-associations-Friend-or-foe#.VzzAUyuyXsM


_____________________________


More Tory election fraud allegations:
MPs failed to declare online ad costs

Two more Tory MPs face fresh allegations of fraud
 for failing to declare the cost of running negative
 campaign ads online, as police forces across the
UK, continue to probe the election spending
 of Conservative candidates.

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd and Amber Valley
 MP Nigel Mills apparently used local versions of
 national online advertisements designed by ad
firm M&C Saatchi, but failed to declare the ads
 in their election spending returns, the Daily
Mirror reports.

The Tories paid the ad agency, which has
worked with the party for 35 years, £395,575
 (US$580,000) for advertising costs in the run
 up to the 2015 election.

A ‘wrecking ball’ video ad created by Saatchi,
--- and declared by the party under “national
spending” --- was altered slightly and used
 by both Rudd and Mills on their YouTube
channels for local campaigns.

Rudd posted a version of the same ad on her
YouTube page, on March 29, 2015, with the
 slogan changed from “Recovering Economy:
Don’t Let Labour Wreck It” to “Unemployment
 down by 1,921 in Hastings & Rye since 2010.”

The ad does not appear in Rudd’s campaign
 election spending return.

Mills, already being investigated by Derbyshire
 Police --- for failing to declare the cost of the
'battlebus’ filled with party activists --- also
 ran a local version of the ad, on his You
Tube page, but didn't report paying for it.

Mills is one of 28 Conservative candidates
under investigation for having written off
as national spending the cost of transport
and hotel rooms, for hundreds of activists
bused in to rally more support in highly
contested parliamentary constituencies:
allegedly breaking legal spending limits.

An Electoral Commission spokesman says:

 “Our guidance explains that candidates
 need to make an honest & responsible
assessment, as to whether expenses
were for their election, or whether it
was for promoting the national party.

“If used in a constituency, and only
promoting the national party and
national policies, then that should
count as national party spend.

 If the cost promotes both the local
candidate & national policies, then a
 portion of the cost should be allocated
 to the candidate’s spending limit, & a
portion towards the party’s national
spending limit.”

Neither MP responded to the Daily
Mirror’s request for a comment.


_______________________



Exposed & Investigated:
 UK Tory Election Fraud

Seven police forces in the UK are looking
into claims the Conservative party failed
to report large sums of money it spent
during its election campaign in 2015.

Apparently, according to Channel 4,
 which investigated alleged election
 fraud, the UK's ruling party failed to
report up to $288,000, spent on MPs
 and local candidates in 33 elections
 --- which should have been declared
 in the party's local spending.

Some of the undeclared expenses
 included hotel bills, plus the cost
of transporting activists in highly
contested areas of the UK, to aid
 the Tory campaign.

 Under electoral law, breaching
 spending limits is a criminal
 offence. 

In a statement, the Conservative party
 blames the omission of the hotel costs
 of people bussed in to help campaign
--- on an "administrative error."

Following the exposure by Channel 4,
investigations have been launched by
seven different forces, including the
Greater Manchester Police, Devon
and Cornwall, Northamptonshire,
Cheshire, Staffordshire, West
Yorkshire and Gloucestershire.

Two police forces, West Yorkshire and
 Greater Manchester, say that they are
seeking to extend their one-year time
limit into the investigation into these
improper electoral expenses.

It's expected that other forces
 will now follow suit. Come on,
Wales' police!

Meanwhile, accusations are emerging
 that this alleged fraud, carried out by
 the UK's ruling party, has been ignored
 by some of the UK's mainstream media.


___________________________


Fostered UK children often
denied mental health treatment

UK Children in care often have no access
to mental health services, a report says.

UK lawmakers have found that children in care
 are often denied access to any mental health
 services because of their 'unstable' placement.

The House of Commons education committee says
 in a report that a “significant number” of child and
adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), fail to
provide support for young people -- for not meeting
diagnostic thresholds, or for moving placements,
'too often'.

The report also says that the current methods
of assessing the mental health and wellbeing
 of children and young people who enter care
 often do not "identify those in need of
specialist care and support.”

Around half children in care, have a diagnosable
 mental health disorder, while one in 10 kids out
of care, has such a health condition.

The report is based on evidence from a group
 of service users and experts involved in the
social care system, that says initial health
 assessments on children who enter care
 are "highly variable and often poor."

A 16-year-old girl in foster care told the
committee that she had waited for over
 two and a half years to access services
--- as she moved 13 times in that period.

The committee was told that CAMHS are
often not willing to begin treatment for
children who move placement.

This, as official guidance says that “looked-
after children should never be refused a
service, including for mental health, on
 the grounds of their placement."

Neil Carmichael, education committee chair,
says local authorities are responsible for the
welfare of children in care, noting, “in spite
of this duty, it is clear that many looked-
after children in England are not getting
 the mental health support they need.”

"We recommend children in care be given
 priority access to mental health assessments
 & never refused care based on their placement
 or severity of their condition,” Carmichael adds.

A government spokesperson further stresses
 that children in care often have traumatic
 experiences --- and need to receive the
 necessary support.

"That's why we're putting a record £1.4bn
 into children and young people's mental
health, and investing in better links
between these services & schools,”
he adds.


______________________________



UK women given tents and sleeping bags
instead of homes when released from prison

Women released from UK prisons, are being
 issued with tents and sleeping bags because
 of "accommodation shortages" reports state.

A report carried out last November shows
103 prisoners were discharged from HMP
Bronzefield, Surrey in 2015 with nowhere
to live.

The figures appear to echo further analysis
 that female prisoners are in an increasingly
 precarious position when they are released.

The number of women leaving jail with a
secure place to go, fell to around 88% in
2015, down from 95% the previous year.

The report found that Bronzefield performed
 well overall, but said “the prison had issued
 tents to 2 women who were released with-
out anywhere to go to - and the chaplaincy
often gave out sleeping bags.”

Prison director Charlotte Pattison-Rideout said
 the private jail works with local authorities to
house those released --- but that the shortfall
 “affects the whole of the prison estate.”

In a statement on the revelations, Labour’s
Shadow Prisons Minister Jo Stevens lauded
 the progress which had been made, but said
 it's “absolutely staggering that women seem
 to have been released from prison ------ with
nothing more than a tent or a sleeping bag.

“This is astonishing and a far cry from the safe
 and secure accommodation needed, to assist
them in the rehabilitation process,” she added.

A 2013 report by the Howard League for Penal
 Reform, warned that homelessness is a key
 driver in re-offending among former prisoners.

It also found the uneven spread of housing
meant that “to be accommodated, women
 were removed from their original home
communities.”


____________________________________



Former foreign secretary urged Britain's
departure from EU to "protect our NHS"
 
Brexit will protect the NHS from interference
by the "dysfunctional European Union", the
former Labour foreign secretary said.

Lord Owen said that successive governments
 have accepted an EU market in health, which
has now become entrenched in the NHS.

The peer, who campaigned as health minister to
 remain in the European Economic Community in
 the 1975 referendum, launched Vote Leave's
'Save our NHS' campaign.

"The EU/Eurozone from 1992, in marked contrast
to the old European Community of 1975, creeps
 into every nook and cranny of our life.

Before the vote, he pointed out:
"It is now becoming entrenched in the NHS,
and this June we have a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity --- to get it out."

"Now is the time to take back control from the
EU and protect our NHS for future generations.

"We are agreed in Vote Leave that whatever our
political views on the present marketisation of
the NHS, decisions on the NHS should, for the
 future, be for the UK Parliament and devolved
administrations to take.

"It should not be a decision for the European
Commission, or the European Parliament."

He argued that leaving will mean that our
NHS would be free from
any competition-,
or-market-led involvement
brought in by
the European Commissioners
.

"Thereafter, UK legislation will govern the
 NHS in future and, as a consequence, we
can take back control & protect the NHS
from the EU."


____________________________________



English Junior doctors struck
 over contract row

Junior doctors across England began a
48-hour strike in a long-running dispute
with
the UK government, over working
conditions.


The walkout, was the 4th industrial action
by junior doctors to date against proposed
 amendments to their contract --- which will
see a "change" in pay and working hours.

5,000 procedures & operations in the state-run
 National Health Service (NHS) in England, were
"postponed" due to the work stoppage.

The UK’s Department of Health says that
 approximately 25,000 operations, have
now been cancelled, since January.

"Doctors have a very real concern ---- that the
 imposed terms will stretch existing resources
 too thinly - and threaten the quality of patient
care," says Katherine Murphy, chief executive
of the Patient Association advocacy group.


_______________________________


UK's top cop tells banks not to refund cyber-crime
 victims, even as online defenses declared useless

Banks shouldn't compensate customers who are
 victims of cyber-crime because it “rewards” them
 for sloppy internet security, the UK’s highest-
ranking police officer says.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-
Howe, says banks should refuse to reimburse people
 who fail to update anti-virus software and tighten
their passwords.

His remarks come days after internet security firm
 Webroot warns that traditional computer defenses
are “useless” in the face of modern cyber-attacks.

Hogan-Howe compares refunding bank customers
who are victims of cyber-crime to rewarding “bad
 behaviour.”

“If you're continually rewarded for bad behaviour,
 you will probably continue to do it ---- but, if the
obverse is true, you might consider changing
 behaviour," he tells the Times.

“The system is not incentivizing you to protect
 yourself,” Hogan-Howe says.

"If someone said to you: 'If you've not updated
 your software, I will give you half back', you
 would do it."

Hogan-Howe’s comments are criticized as
 “misjudged” by Richard Lloyd, executive
 director of consumer group, Which?.

"The priority should be for banks to better
 protect their customers, rather than trying
 to shift blame on to the victims of fraud,”
 he says.

Cyber-crime is the fastest growing economic
 crime in the UK, says a report published last
 month by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
which measured a 20% rise, since 2014.

Internet security firm Webroot describes 2015
 as a “record year for cyber-crime”, in a recent
 report, which labels traditional computer
defenses as “useless.”

More malware, malicious IPs, websites and
 mobile phone apps were discovered in 2015
 than in any previous year, Webroot Chief
Technology Officer, Hal Lonas, says.

“The continued onslaught of hacks, breaches,
and social engineering scams, targeting
 individuals, businesses, and government
 agencies alike, has caused many in the
security field to ask if it’s truly possible
 to defend against a persistent attacker,”
 he adds.

“We conclude that we can only succeed
by being more innovative than our
criminal opponents.”

Lonas says the vast majority of malware
and potentially unwanted applications
(PUAs), have become polymorphic, with
 97% of malware morphing, to become
 unique to an endpoint device.

“By changing attributes to evade detection,
 polymorphic threats pose a major problem
 for traditional, signature-based security
approaches, which often fail to discover
singular variants,” he says.

Lonas believes organizations & corporations
need to invest in next-generation security, to
 protect themselves and 'their' customers.


_____________________________________



UN tells UK to ban police
 Taser use on children – report

The United Nations will tell the UK to ban police
 Taser use on minors, after figures reveal a 38%
 increase in the use of stun guns on under-18s
 over the last year.

The UN will confront the UK in Switzerland later
 this year, over violations of the UN Convention
of the Rights of the Child, which the UK signed
 in 1990, the Independent on Sunday reports.

In 2008, the last time the UK was admonished for
 allowing Taser use on children, the UN called on
 ministers to “put an end to the use of all harmful
 devices on children.”

However, since that first hearing, police use of
 Tasers has been steadily on the rise.

Tasers, which were first introduced in England
& Wales in 2003, as part of a 12-month trial for
 firearms officers, send 50,000 volts through a
 "target", overwhelming the nervous system.

 Police use of the powerful stun guns jumped
 from 6, 238 incidents in 2010 to 9,196 in 2014.

Carla Garnelas, co-director of the Children's
 Rights Alliance for England, calls for an out-
right ban on the use of Tasers on children.

“The use of Taser on children, is a breach
of their human rights,” she tells the
Independent on Sunday.

“UN bodies have repeatedly called for the
UK government to ban their use on children,
highlighting the serious risk of physical and
psychological harm they pose, yet the use
 of Tasers on children continues. We want
 to see a ban on Taser use on children.”

A Home Office source tells the Independent:

“Tasers provide police with an important
 tactical option when facing potentially
physically violent situations, and this
 government is committed to giving
officers the necessary tools to do
 their job.

 
All officers trained in the use of Taser must
 consider the vulnerability of the individual,
and factors such as age and stature, form
 part of this assessment.



_____________________________



UK Press seen as most right-wing in Europe

Media bias against Corbyn

UK campaign Media Reform Coalition (MRC) says
 media ownership, relates closely to media bias.

 MRC warns of the media outlets’ monopolization
 of debate in the UK, & a risk of undue influence
 on politicians.

It says that Jeremy Corbyn has been exposed to a
 high degree of right-wing media bias, since being
voted in as leader of the Labour Party. Right-wing
 bias was apparent in most coverage of his first
week in power, states the campaign group.

A report conducted by MRC, a revised version
 of which was published in early January, finds
 that large sections of the UK press appeared
to deliberately undermine the newly elected
leader, straight after his landslide victory.

The study examined 8 national daily papers
 and their Sunday sister papers,  spanning
 494 news, comment and editorial pieces.

 It found that 60% of the stories were framed
 in a negative manner, while 13% were seen
 as positive and 27% were seen as neutral.

In the Murdoch-controlled Sun and the Sun
on Sunday, 32 out of 36 news stories were
 hostile to Corbyn, while 50 out of 52 in the
 Daily Mail & the Mail on Sunday, also gave
negative coverage.

Given that these right-wing tabloids have the
 largest & second largest share of circulation
in the UK, their agenda-setting influence is
 noteworthy, says the MRC.

The group’s report also finds that 100% of the
 editorials in the Sun, Mail & Express, framed
 Corbyn’s first week as Labour leader, in a
negative light.

'Risk of undue political influence'

The study’s release follows remarks by the
Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, urging
 Labour to commit itself to reforming the UK
 media landscape --- and to examining how
to break up the existing concentrations of
media ownership.

MRC Chair Dr Justin Schlosberg welcomed
 McDonnel’s comments at the time.

“In a democracy, newspapers have every right
to take a partisan line, but what concerns us
are the skewed ownership structures under-
lying this kind of political intervention.”

“The risk of undue influence on elected politicians
 is high, and it is hard to see how democracy can
 flourish when the mass channels of debate are
 monopolized in this way.”

“Let’s not forget that Jeremy Corbyn was elected
 leader of this country’s main opposition party by
 250,000 people, which is 100,000 more than the
 number of people who elected David Cameron
as leader of the Conservatives. It is surely a
problem for all of us, when the newspaper
owners are actively seeking to undermine
a democratic mandate of that scale.”


____________________________


Tory MP Geoffrey Cox says Sorry
--- 'Forgot' £400,000 Of Income
 
The millionaire Tory MP was told to apologise
 for failing to declare £400,000 of income – by
 blaming it on his being too busy setting up
 his law firm in Dubai and Mauritius.

Geoffrey Cox, a practising barrister and the
 highest earning MP in Parliament, stunned
 colleagues, by suggesting that he had not
noticed the money going into his account
 ----- as his clerk was ill.

Standards watchdog Kathryn Hudson published
 a scathing report on Mr Cox’s failure to register
 his full earnings, stating that he had committed
 "a serious breach" of Parliament's Code of
Conduct.

But the Commons Standards Committee – that
 Mr Cox used to sit on and was forced to resign
 from – decided only to ask him to apologise.

No further sanction is to be applied.


___________________________________



LONDON - THE WORLD CAPITAL OF FRAUD

 City fraudsters stole from Nepalese soldiers
through £50m Ponzi scheme

White-collar criminals operating in the City of London
 used a Ponzi scheme to pilfer £2.4 million from 450
 Nepalese citizens --- including many retired Gurkha
 soldiers who invested their life savings in the scam.

The fraudulent funds, which were managed by City
 firm CWM FX, attracted £50 million (US$73 million)
 from unsuspecting investors promised a
monthly
5% return. The foreign exchange trade platform
 the financial firm used, was licensed by the
financial regulator of Cyprus, allowing it to
operate in the UK under EU regulations.

CWM acted as the online forex trading partner of
 Chelsea Football Club while the scam was active,
 giving the firm a veneer of respectability. It also
 offered a range of foreign exchange services
and employed a small group of traders.

Police probe investigators say computer records
 suggest the firm made the majority of its income
 from the scam. Police report they have enough
 evidence uncovered, to present to prosecutors.

City of London police are calling for the Nepalese
 victims who invested in the scam to come forward.

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Manley says it's
 vital that the voices of the victims targeted by
 the scam, are heard.

“My concern now is that the voices of the majority
 of victims will not be heard in the judicial process
-- if they do not come forward very soon,” he tells
 the Financial Times.

“They are also missing out on receiving the
financial advice and psychological support
that is available to them, at what will be a
very difficult time.”


_________________________________



JEREMY LOOKING FORWARD...

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is optimistic
and can point to a string of impressive
victories in his first days as leader.

 
“We’ve beaten the government back on tax
 credits, which has helped 3 million people
 not have £1,200 taken off them in April.
 
“We’ve beaten them back on police cuts &
 we’ve beaten them back on Saudi Arabia”
 (The government was forced to shelve a
contract to provide prison services to
the
Saudi regime, after Corbyn raised
it in
his conference speech).
 
“We also had a very good result in the Oldham
 by-election. The activity level of local parties
 is huge --- and it’s completely contrary to
everything the media are saying.”
 
There was no period in the last parliament
where Labour had the government so
 consistently on the back foot.
 
“We’ve increased membership to nearly 400,000
 -- we have the biggest, most active membership
ever in my lifetime.”
 
He’s proud as “our campaign for the leadership
 did bring a lot of people into politics who have
 never been involved before,” and says he was
knocking on doors with new members,
that
morning.

 
On reports of Tory politicians bullying staff:
 “The Tories should learn from the CWU,
 [postal workers’ union] who have a hot-
line for reporting bullying & harassment.”
 
Jeremy has worked closely with the CWU,
championing its People’s Post campaign,
 “which is about protecting the universal
 service obligation on the Royal Mail and
 stopping them from introducing a two-
tier workforce.”
 
He’s announced his commitment to take
Royal Mail back into public ownership.

“I want to see public control because
postal services are fundamental to
our communities.
 
“Postal delivery workers are actually
part of the community, and they do
 a lot of good work beyond
delivering letters.
 
“Workers are very nervous of what’s coming
with further privatisation of the Royal Mail ---
after
shares were sold well below their value.
It’s an absolute rip-off.”
 
But wouldn’t renationalising Royal Mail
fall foul
of EU competition law?

“I’m quite prepared to challenge EU
competition law & EU directives
on
public ownership and state funding.

 
“Other governments in Europe challenge it.
It’s kind of weird that the British government
 doesn’t.
 
“Germany, & particularly Italy, have intervened
 to take parts of their steel industry into public
 ownership --- and we should be prepared to
intervene where necessary.
 
“We’ve already lost a lot of steel capacity in Britain.
 If we’re going to have a manufacturing base, we’ve
 got to have a steel industry.”
 
The Tories' treatment of the coal industry - 
he spoke the day after the “tragic” closure
 of Kellingley colliery - suggests it doesn't
share his concern for the UK economy.
 
What about countries like Greece, where
 the EU has actively prevented a left-wing
 government from fulfilling any of its
 electoral pledges?
 
“I wouldn't join the eurozone or the European
 Central Bank. I voted against Maastricht [in
1992] because it was a Europe based on
free-market economics rather than on
social
security and workers’ rights.”
 
“Yes, the Central Bank has treated [Greece]
 disgracefully. I had a very useful meeting
 with the prime minister of Portugal on
 Thursday, and he has invited me and
John McDonnell to go there & hold
meetings in support of their
programme of anti-austerity.
 
“We’re building an anti-austerity
 coalition across Europe.”


_____________________________



NO FOOL LIKE A CORBYN CRITIC

Rochdale's MP, Danczuk, has been a prominent
campaigner against child sexual exploitation &
 played a role in exposing the late Sir Cyril Smith
 as a pedophile.

The MP is also a vocal critic of Labour's leader
 Jeremy Corbyn. He recently told Sky News he
 would “probably give Jeremy a 'D', if I had to
 score him.”

He also served as a Labour Party whip, but is
 now suspended, after allegedly having a text
 conversation with a 17 year old, Ms Houlihan,
during which, he said he was “horny”... and
 then asked her if she wanted “spanking.”

Houlihan told the Sun she feels
 duped by the MP.

“When I first got in touch, I never expected
 the messages to get so graphic. At the time
I played along with it, but now I feel like he
duped me. I was keen for a career in politics
 - and he is a very high-profile MP - and I was
in awe of him,” she says.

_______________________________


Majority of tased people by UK police - mentally ill

A new report indicates that over two-thirds of the
people tasered by UK police, from 2010 to 2014,
 were mentally ill.

Police stun gun use increased over the period,
 from 6,238 incidents in 2010 to 9,196 last year,
and there has been a corresponding rise in the
 number of cases involving mentally ill people,
 from 2,737 in 2010 to 4,200 in 2014, the news-
paper The Independent reports, citing Home
Office figures.

The latest statistics were released in response
 to a Freedom of Information request made by
the website The Justice Gap.

It reveals that in 67% of cases where tasers
 were discharged, they were fired at people
 identified by officers, as mentally ill.

In cases where weapons were drawn, aimed,
 but not fired, are included, mentally ill people
 were the target in only 45% of 'incidents'.

______________________________


US guards with guns ---- at UK airports

The UK plans to allow armed US guards
to 'help provide security' at its airports,
 the UK's media report.       

The Daily Mail 'paper reports that 
“US border guards” will have the
  power to
search holidaymakers.   

It adds that the plan is still being discussed
 by Washington and London, adding that the
 US Department of Homeland Security aims
 to introduce this, at airports world-wide...
 including in Heathrow and Manchester.

The measure is meant to reduce the risk
of IS terrorists flying to the US, the Daily
 Mail adds.

Guards from Customs & Border Protection
 would carry out immigration and customs
 checks, before passengers board.

They would be given diplomatic immunity
- so they could not be prosecuted for any
crime committed in the UK, the Mail adds.

Other reports on Sunday say that the UK's
 armed police could also get greater legal
 protection if shooting suspected criminals.

This comes, because David Cameron ordered
 a review of current laws after mass shootings
 in Paris last month, the Sunday Times reports.

Unlike most forces around the world, the UK's
 police are not routinely armed, and currently
 just over 2,000 of London's 31,000 officers,
 are able to carry guns, says the AFP.

The Sunday Times cites a senior government
 source, stating that Cameron is prepared to
 change the law, to give the armed officers
greater protection against prosecution.

"Terrorist incidents both at home and abroad
 have shown very clearly the life-and-death
 decisions police officers have to make in
 split-second circumstances," the source
 says, according to the newspaper.


_________________________



Jeremy Corbyn 'publicly-run Royal Mail'
vow
on National Postal Workers Day

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he wanted
 a publicly-run Royal Mail --- when he met staff
on one of the busiest postal days of the year.

Talking to
Communication Workers Union members  
in London, he pledged to support its campaign, to
preserve the UK's universal service
of deliveries,
to its twenty-nine million homes and businesses.


The union fears there will be an attack on Royal
Mail workers' terms and conditions --- under a
review next year, by the industry's regulator.

Mr Corbyn told workers gathered in a carpark
at the huge Mount Pleasant site -- that he will
 organise 2016's Opposition Day debate in the
Commons, to support the CWU's campaign.

"I want to see a publicly-run Royal Mail ---
with protection for workers & the service,"
 he said and, "Labour will be doing our very
best to support & protect your conditions."

Mr Corbyn called on Conservative MPs to
 support the campaign, warning: services
 to rural areas will be among those under
 threat by any changes such as increased
 competition, with other companies taking
over the so-called "final mile" deliveries
to houses.

General secretary Dave Ward:

"The CWU is campaigning hard to protect
the terms and conditions of our members,
at the same time as preserving the service
 that we provide to the public & businesses.

"Royal Mail may have been sold off on the
 cheap, but the service is and always will
be, the people's post."


______________________________



UK police investigating MPs expenses claims

The UK police say the expenses claims of 2 UK
 lawmakers are being investigated over possible
 criminal offences.

The case has reminded the public of the memory
 of the 2009 scandal, which damaged UK citizens’
trust in elected politicians.

London's Metropolitan Police say they are
investigating 2 complaints referred to them
 in March by the Independent Parliamentary
 Standards Authority (IPSA). This body has
 been set up, to oversee the expenses and
 business costs of Members of Parliament.

"I have felt it necessary, for the first time
during my term of office, to refer requests
 for investigation received from IPSA to the
 police," says the IPSA's Peter Davis, in an
 annual report.

The names of the politicians have not yet
been disclosed.

Police say a third IPSA referral resulted in a
lawmaker's employee receiving a caution,
 in April, for fraud by false representation.


________________________________



METRO “FUTURE OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT”
IN SOUTH WALES

The proposed Metro transport scheme for South East
 Wales, represents "the future of public transport" in
 the region, according to first minister Carwyn Jones.

The project aims to increase the speed & frequency
 of public transport across South Wales, through a
combination of heavy rail, light rail and bus rapid
transit, plus other infrastructure improvements,
 and integrated ticketing.

The rail part of the Metro, part of the All-Wales
 rail franchise, would be run and managed by a
not-for-dividend company being set up by the
 Welsh Government to operate a rail franchise
 on its behalf, after 2018.

First minister Carwyn Jones has launched a
 campaign to raise public awareness of the
Metro project, ahead of consultations
 early next year, and he states:

"The Metro project represents the future of public
 transport in South East Wales, which will provide
 faster journey times and more frequent services,
 covering a greater area. It is an ambitious project
 linking people and jobs across South Wales in a
fast, efficient and environmentally positive way.

"The Metro is far more than just a transport project.
It will be a catalyst for transforming the economic
 and social prospects of South East Wales and the
 country as a whole."

________________________________


Tories Back Off on Tax Credit cut

Controversial cuts to tax credits won't go ahead,
Chancellor George Osborne announced, in his
Autumn Statement. He said the benefit system
is
“being phased out anyway” to make room
 for the Tories’ Universal Credit payment.

Conservative MPs welcomed the decision.
Many in Osborne’s own party rebelled and
voted against the cuts.

Labour MPs are crediting staunch opposition by
their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, for the U-turn, with
 many claiming the move as a victory for Labour.

Green MP Caroline Lucas tweets: “Scrapping
changes to tax credits v welcome - now must
 overturn rest of cruel welfare policies, & get
a real living wage.”


_________________________



UK Government Splashes Out ---
$18 Bln on 138 F-35 Fighter Jets

As pensioners face more hard times ahead
-- under the UK's New Austerity Plan to cut
 public spending -- the UK government is
set to unveil plans to buy 138 stealth
 fighter jets, for £12bln [$18 bln].

The UK government is planning to spend £12bln
 [$18 bln] on 138 F-35 fighter jets --- as part of a
 'new defense' strategy.

Chancellor George Osborne tells the state run
BBC that, as a result of the government's new
 Strategic Defense & Security Review, by 2023
 the UK will have 24 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
 aircraft, and two new aircraft carriers.

In the summer, the chancellor pledged to
push UK defense spending above inflation
 --- to meet the NATO target of 2% of GDP
each year on defense, up to 2020.

"By 2023, we will be able to have these jets
 -- some of the most powerful in the world --
the F35, on the decks of these carriers, &
Britain, second only to the United States,
will be able to project power abroad in
order to defend ourselves at home,"
says Osborne.

The UK press reported on Sunday that
- over a longer period of time - the UK's
 Royal Air Force will order 138 of the
 F-35 fighter jets.

The UK is also expected to purchase
 new reconnaissance planes, reversing
an earlier decision in 2010 to scrap the
 latest generation of Nimrod maritime
surveillance aircraft.

The announcement of "extra investment"
 in surveillance planes, comes as the UK's
 armed forces are being aided by French,
Canadian and US patrol aircraft, in their
fruitless search for a Russian submarine
'reportedly' in its waters, 10 days ago.

NOTE WELL ----- Google F-35
-- and see what a turkey it is.

___________________________________


1,500 of UK's care homes to close by 2020:-
back to 1970's geriatric wards for UK elderly?

A new report says about 1,500 of UK care homes
 will close by 2020 because of the financial crisis.

The report released by the think tank ResPublica
 says the National Health Service (NHS) will be left
 with an annual bill of $4.55 billion after 37,000 care
 home beds disappear over the next five years.

The report also finds that elderly patients are likely
to be left with no choice but to stay in hospitals,
where they would take up one in four beds.

Media reports say the UK is already facing
 a hospital bed shortage.

According to a report by the Organization
for Economic Co-operation & Development
(OECD), it is the second worst in Europe.

The report adds that the number of people
 aged over 85 in the UK, is set to rise by
 nearly 2 million in the next 20 years.

Meanwhile, the care sector will have a
 shortfall in funding of £1.1 billion by the
 2020/21 financial year, with £382 million
linked costs associated with introducing
 the national 'living wage'.

 ____________________________________


Anti-austerity bloc brings down
Portugal's government


 Portugal’s pro-austerity government is forced to resign
 by a leftist anti-austerity block, despite being sworn in
 only two weeks before.

Proposals to continue austerity policies were blocked
 in parliament -- backed by mass public anger -- forcing
 the government to dissolve.

Moderate Socialists worked with the Communist
 Party & radical Left Bloc - to form a majority that
has voted down any fresh austerity proposals.

After the October 4th general election, the anti-
austerity leftist majority was openly prevented
 from forming a government, by the president,
who cited ‘the national interest’.

Portugal took a €78 billion 'bailout' in 2011 and
 since then, has spiraled into an austerity dead-
end, fueling mass social unrest and emigration.

Sweeping cuts and increased taxes led to huge
 street protests and strikes. Unemployment hit
 17.7%, in 2013.

Anti-austerity supporters are celebrating
the fall of the right-wing administration.

The attempt to sideline anti-austerity politics
is sending shock waves through Europe, but
is being largely ignored in Brussels --- where
 protecting shaky austerity plans from any
democratic upheaval, seems paramount.

While the socialist party has argued it will
 respect the policies of the Eurozone... the
PS will now be working with two parties
 that want to repeal pro-market reforms.

 In fact, Portugal's communist party has
 openly campaigned to leave the Euro.

If Labour Party MPs ALL vote against
austerity cuts -- with the socialists in
the Scottish Nationalist Party and in
Plaid Cymru -- the UK's government
 too, will fall.


_____________________________________



POST OFFICE BANK APPROVED

As the US, UK, Netherlands & others in the
West, 'privatise' their citizens' Post Ofices...

 Russia’s government approves the creation
of a huge new bank, based on the country’s
 postal service:-  a move that will eventually
form an institution with more retail outlets
than all other Russian banks combined.

 The new entity, called Post Bank, is a joint
 venture between Russian Post, and one of
Russia’s largest lenders, the state-owned
 VTB Bank.

Post Bank is being established, in part, to
 provide banking services across Russia’s
far-flung, near-empty regions, and to help
 Russia's pensioners.

 VTB will fuse one of its subsidiaries, Leto Bank,
 into the new institution. The partners say that
the new institution will begin giving out loans
 as early as January 2016, with a pilot project
 to be launched in Moscow this Autumn.

Over the next 3 years, the bank will open outlets
 in no less than 15,000 Russian Post offices. After
 the initial rollout the bank should start operating
 in all 42,000 offices of the national operator.

Once it is completed, Post Bank will have more
 retail locations than all the other Russian banks
 combined, says Russian banking portal Banki.ru.


_________________________________________



UN probes UK's disabled rights violations

The UN is set to send a delegation to the UK
within weeks, as part of an inquiry into the
“grave and systematic violations” of the
rights of disabled people allegedly taking
place under London’s austerity measures.

 A visit of the UN Committee Rights of Persons
with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is to take place at
the request of the campaign group, 'Disabled
People Against Cuts' using a legal mechanism
 known as the Optional Protocol. The request
was made at the start of 2012. Britain is the
first country to face a high-level inquiry by
 the UN committee.

“This is the first time any country has been
investigated by the UN using the Optional
 Protocol so it will be, if nothing else, a very
 historic event,” Linda Burnip, co-founder of
 Disabled People Against Cuts says, adding
that the process is “long and arduous,”
with strict rules for proof of any claims.

News of the investigation was leaked
back in September. UN inquiries are
usually kept confidential, but UNCRPD
confirmed it would be visiting the UK,
 following the revelation.

“The inquiry follows a string of scandals
involving disabled people in the UK,
including a rise in hate crimes, which
have been overlooked by police and
 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS),”
 former director of prosecutions, Lord
 Kenneth MacDonald, says.

Disabled people have been affected
by cuts, nine times more than most
other citizens, according to a report
by the Centre for Welfare Reform,
 in 2013.


__________________________


A “massive shot in the arm” for
people resisting austerity...
 
Jeremy Corbyn has the biggest mandate in
 UK political history. Mr Blair won with 57%
 of the vote when he was elected leader in
1994, but Mr Corbyn beat that, with 59.5%.

The left candidate won a majority of more
 than 170,000 over second-placed Andy
Burnham, who polled 19%.

Yvette Cooper, viewed as the right’s best
 hope of beating Mr Corbyn, was third with
17%, & Blairite Liz Kendall won just 4.5%.

Moments after being named Labour leader,
Mr Corbyn said: “The fightback of our party
 now gathers pace.”

“We go forward now as a movement and a party,
bigger than we’ve ever been, stronger than we’ve
 ever been, and more determined than we’ve ever
 been.”

“Our party is going to become more inclusive,
more democratic, and we’re going to shape
 the future of everyone in this country.”

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey:

“Voters can now look at Labour and see,
 unquestionably, that it stands for fairness,
 justice, peace, and strong communities.”

“It is the party of hope, ready to take on
a government hell-bent on making life
worse for ordinary people.”

Transport union RMT, unaffiliated to Labour,
  says the result is a “massive shot in the arm”
 for people resisting austerity and attacks on
 trade unions.

The Islington North MP won huge majorities
 among affiliated and registered supporters,
but was also most popular among full party
 members. Of 245,520 party members voting,
121,751 of them voted for Mr Corbyn.

John McDonnell MP, chair of the Corbyn
campaign, says it's “the greatest victory
for the left that we’ve seen in decades,”
then adds: “I just wish, I just wish Tony
Benn had been here to see it.


“Because all through those dark years
 when the left were isolated and there
 was no discussion of socialism, and
 people were giving up on the Labour
Party, it was people like Tony Benn
 & Jeremy who kept the flame alive.”

A Tory insisted Mr Corbyn’s victory's a
“serious risk to our nation’s security,

 our economy’s security, and your
family’s
security.”

(think he meant to say
"my family's
security.")



_________________________________



White supremacist jailed for life
 over Lee Rigby revenge attack

Zack Davies, a far-right white supremacist who
used a machete and hammer to attack an Asian
 doctor in a Welsh supermarket, has been jailed
 for life.

______________________________


 Sadiq Khan elected as Labour's candidate
 for mayor of London suggested Corbyn win..

Sadiq Khan, former shadow justice secretary,
 has won the Labour nomination for the London
 mayoral race -- underlining the extent to which
 Labour has shifted to the left, in recent months.

Khan, who comfortably beat off Tessa Jowell's
challenge, says he is “overwhelmed” ... adding
 that he'd never dreamed he would be standing
 as Labour candidate for mayor.  “Like so many
 Londoners, I owe London everything,” he says.

Khan picked up 59% of the vote.


_____________________________



‘Ill UK children used in tests with tainted blood’

Report says the NHS used sick kids as guinea
pigs in the 1970s.

A Sunday Express report says sick children
 were used as guinea pigs - as the NHS said
chimps were 'too expensive' for such tests.

Hemophiliac children were injected with
 “extraordinarily hazardous” blood products
 to see how infectious the products were,
despite health authorities knowing for
 years, that they were potentially fatal.

Over 2,000 people died from blood
products tainted with viruses...
including hepatitis C and HIV,
in the 70s and 80s, the report
 adds. Many more are, today,
as a result, terminally ill.

It says some clinics urged by officials
to inject patients with the blood were
overruled, if they raised objections,
 the report adds.

The revelation is contained in a dossier
of evidence obtained by campaigners
fighting for a full, fair settlement, for
 the victims of the worst treatment
 scandal in NHS history.

The Express says government health
 advisers ignored over a decade of
warnings.

Anna O’Leary, journalist and political
commentator, says the NHS was aware
 of what it was doing - and did not really
 care about their patients.

“There is a complete policy of silence
around what goes on.  Nurses are not
allowed to blow the whistle on doctors.”

As early as 1975, they were told that the
 blood from the US would lead to 50 - 90%
of recipients developing hepatitis, with
 half of the cases proving fatal.

The report points to a letter to a UK
 health official in the '70s, where the
authority was warned of the danger
of using US-pooled plasma from
high-risk, paid “skid row” donors.

The plasma, referred to as Factor VIII,
was “extraordinarily hazardous,” but
 was thought to be a miracle treatment
 for hemophilia, in which the blood fails
 to clot properly.

But demand by far outdid supply and most
 of it was imported from America, where, in
 contrast to European practice, companies
 paid donors for blood -- an incentive which
 drew drug users, prostitutes and alcoholics.

Despite officials being warned about the
potential risk in 1975 and again in 1976,
 this was not passed on to its users, and
more than 7,500 patients were infected.

By the late 70s, experts finally accepted
 the link between Factor VIII and hepatitis.

But government advisers still pushed the
'treatment'.

A public health warning was eventually
 issued in 1981 -- but did not ban use of
the US product.

Instead, Factor VIII was heat-treated,
 in the hope of destroying the viruses.


____________________________



UK MPs plotted coup against Corbyn
--- if he won the leadership race.

As MP's were seeking nominations to enter
Labour's leadership race, all commentators
 in the UK, said it was impossible for veteran
 far left politician, Jeremy Corbyn, to get the
 needed signatures. When he did, it started
 a political earthquake for the Labour party.

Jeremy Corbyn went from an unlikely
candidate to front runner.

Jeremy Corbyn enjoys huge grassroots
support, but not with some Labour MPs,
who were said to be planning
a coup
against him, if he
won the Labour
leadership race.


One unnamed Labour MP told media
several days before the vote:

 "We cannot just allow a party, a credible
party of government, to be hijacked in a
 Summer of madness. There would be no
problem in getting names. We could do
this, before Christmas."

Another unnamed Labour MP said that his
victory would cause "deep unhappiness"

 among the current shadow cabinet - and
that most would refuse to work with him.


Experts say this indicates the main
 current problem for labour. Politicians
to the right of the party were battered
at the general election, but where the
grassroots
say they want to return
Labour
firmly to the left of politics,
the
elite in the party are unhappy.


__________________________________



UK TORY/LIBERAL SPY LAW 'UNLAWFUL'

The UK's High Court rules that emergency
 data retention and surveillance legislation
 the coalition government introduced last
 year, is "unlawful".

The law is just the latest government and
 intelligence legislation deemed as illegal.

The Data Retention and Investigatory
 Powers Act, DRIPA must be overturned
 because judges rule it as 'inconsistent
 with existing EU laws'.

The ruling will be seen as a victory for
Labour MP Tom Watson & Conservative
MP David Davis, who brought the claim.

  They argue that the law violates article
 8 of the EU human rights act -- and lets
police and intelligence services spy on
 citizens without any proper safeguards.

The government must now replace
the law, by the end of March 2016.

_______________________________


‘UK royal household could face child abuse inquiry’

A report says the UK's royal family may be
 investigated as part of a pedophilia inquiry. 

Justice Lowell Goddard, New Zealand judge
 and Chair of the ‘Independent Inquiry into
 Child Sexual Abuse,’ did not, at first, name
 the royal family, in a list of institutions to
face its probe of historical crimes.

However, a later
inquiry statement
 confirms that the monarchy will be
“within the scope” of the inquiry,
RT reports.

The probe may take up to five years and cost
£100 million, as the authorities will reportedly
 investigate every level of UK society, including
 local authorities, police, the Crown Prosecution
 Service (CPS), the National Health Service, the
 media, and the armed forces.

“There is no limit on the types of institutions that
 fall within the terms of reference. The monarchy
 is an institution, and it runs a number of other
 institutions, all of which are potentially within
 the scope of the inquiry,” the judge in the case
 is quoted as saying.

The royal household has come under scrutiny
 in recent years, following several allegations
 of child sexual abuse.

Prince Andrew came under the media spotlight
 in January after being accused of having forced
 sexual relations with a US' teenager, who was
 underage at the time.

He was named in court papers related to an
ongoing civil case, by Virginia Roberts, 30,
against convicted billionaire pedophile
Jeffrey Epstein, in the US.

Several UK government figures who were
 prominent in the 1980s, have since faced
allegations of sexual impropriety.


_______________________



Poor care for UK dementia patients

A new study in the UK slams its social and
health services for leaving 75% of dementia
 patients at the mercy of friends and family,
for care.

The survey by the Alzheimer's Society spoke to
over a thousand family doctors & found they're
 not keen on referring people with suspected
 dementia, if they think support services are
not in place.

The Alzheimer’s Society chief executive, Jeremy
 Hughes: “Our survey gives a stark view from the
 doctor’s surgery, of people with dementia left
 struggling in the aftermath of a diagnosis. They
 can need a lot of help to live well with dementia.
 Families & friends are a vital source of support,
 but they mustn’t be relied on to do everything.
As dementia takes hold, people with dementia
 and their carers, look to statutory services to
give them the backup they desperately need
 to cope.”

The number of people suffering with the illness
 is currently 850,000, but that's expected to rise
 to over a million by the year 2021, and double,
 to two million, by the year 2051.

Now the NHS is being criticized, with over half
of the doctors in the latest survey thinking the
 NHS has failed to do enough to help care for
 people suffering with the debilitating illness.

Cuts to local authority funding, means many
 suffering in the country, are not getting the
care they need.

Deputy Chair of the British Medical Association's
 General Practitioners’ (GP) committee, Richard
 Vautrey: “GPs are increasingly frustrated that,
 due to excessive cuts to local authority funding,
 some of the most vulnerable people in our society
 are not receiving the level of care & support they
 deserve. The increasing emphasis on diagnosing
 dementia, has not been matched with proper
services for patients once they are diagnosed.”

The Alzheimer's Society is now calling for all those
 diagnosed with dementia to have someone advise
 them on their illness & for a single point of contact
 to help carers.


_____________________________



‘Child abuse in UK massively covered up’

A rights campaigner in the UK says child abuse
is massively covered up in the country.

“We believe that -- in the UK at the moment -- a
 massive cover-up in every area involving child
abuse, goes, pretty much, right to the top,”
says Chris Wittwer, a campaigner with the
'UK and Ireland Database'.

Wittwer: “Several lords and MPs have been
put in the frame for abusing children --- no
arrests have been made.”

The campaigner refers to “massive pedophile rings”
 and thousands of child abuse cases in the country
 over the past years, adding, “For the last 10 years
 I’ve been naming and shaming the pedophiles on
 my website in the UK, for child abuse.”

His remarks follow a report by the Inspectorate
 of Constabulary --- which took a sample of 600
inquiries, and found that over a third of abused
 children were not looked at, to a good enough
 standard.

Dru Sharpling, who headed the inspection says:

 "We found limited evidence that the police listened
 to children, and poor attitudes towards vulnerable
 children persisted in some teams. We also found
 that investigations were often inadequate, with
 insufficient action taken to disrupt & apprehend
 some perpetrators."

The figures were much worse when it came to
investigating online abuse, where it found that
--- in a national sample --- 124 cases were not
investigated properly.

The police’s national spokesperson on child
 protection, Chief Constable Simon Bailey:

 “The scale of child sexual abuse is staggering.
 By the end of 2015, we anticipate that police
will be investigating 70,000+ cases of child
 sexual abuse, an increase of 88% from 2012.

 “We have got to fundamentally change our
approach to policing, so that our absolute
focus is on working proactively with other
agencies, to protect the public from harm
committed on or offline.”

The report criticizes police forces for target
driven policing, which many feel, means the
 protection of children is not being put first.
Also, the report suggests there needs to be
an overhaul of the way police deal with all
cases of child sexual abuse.


____________________________



Heart attack survivor fighting for his life
has benefits axed

A 58-year-old man, who's been seeking work
 for over a year, had his benefits axed when a
 major cardiac arrest left him unfit to attend a
 Jobcentre appointment.

Officials stopped David Duncan’s jobseeker’s
 allowance (JSA) --- after he suffered a severe
heart attack which landed him in
emergency
surgery.


Despite having had two stents inserted and
 life-threatening blockages removed from his
arteries, Duncan received little sympathy
 from Jobcentre staff.

“I suffered a major heart attack – but
apparently that isn’t a good enough reason
 for missing an appointment at the Jobcentre
 in Dunfermline,” he told the Daily Record.

Duncan went public with his grievance, as
 the Conservative Party announced plans
to
push ahead with savage welfare cuts.

Casting aside the quarter of a million
campaigners who poured into London

recently demanding an end to austerity,
Chancellor Osborne and Work & Pensions
 Secretary Duncan-Smith, vow to slash a
further £12 billion from welfare spending.

Members of “Economists Against Austerity”
 say deep spending cuts are a choice, not
 a necessity. Downing Street is misleading
 voters about a need for austerity because
 the government can borrow capital at
historically low rates, the bloc says.

“The effects of austerity cannot be over-
stated,” Jo Michell, lecturer in economics
 at the University of the West of England
 (UWE), says to RT news.

“Despite claims that we're all in it together,
 the burden of austerity has been dispro-
portionately placed on the shoulders of the
 least well off & the most insecure,” he says.

He condemns the demonization of benefits
 claimants and says the last government’s
 “attacks” on the disabled were
 “inexcusable.”

Duncan, from Dunfermline in Fife, Scotland,
has been seeking a job since he was made
 redundant from his position in a local bank.

He had never missed a bi-monthly Jobcentre
 appointment until suffering a heart attack in
 his home on Saturday June 13th.

Duncan, a bachelor, was rushed to Edinburgh
 Royal Infirmary, where medics immediately
 performed emergency surgery.

The 58-year-old contacted Jobcentre staff
early the following Monday, to notify them
 of his circumstances.

He was told his benefits would be axed --
 because he was unable to attend his next
 appointment. This decision was influenced
 by his not completing a mandatory entry in
his diary, to show he was looking for work,
the
Jobcentre said.

Duncan was unable to fill in his diary on
Sunday as intended, owing to his medical
emergency, but his pleas fell on deaf ears.
He was told he would have to switch from
JSA to employment and support allowance
 if he was unfit to work for over 13 weeks.

Still recovering from his surgery, Duncan
was forced to spend over an hour on the
telephone as Jobcentre staff altered his
claimant status.

Other claimants who have had benefits
 sanctioned because they failed to show
 up to appointments, include: a man who
 was hit by a car and rushed to hospital, a
 homeless youth with reading difficulties,
 a man who was attending a job interview,
 and a man who visited his dying mother,
 in hospital.

Disability rights campaigners in the UK
 have repeatedly warned that cuts made
 since 2010 have ruined the welfare state
 and severely hurt the most vulnerable
 members of society.

This month, over 58,000 people signed a
petition demanding the release of figures
detailing the number of disabled people
 who have died within 6 weeks of having
 their benefits cut. The government has
 sought to block their publication.


_______________________________________



Promises, promises...

The London People’s Assembly’s End Austerity Now
 demonstration started in the City before heading to
 Parliament Square, as Glasgow’s rally took place in
 George Square.

Singer Charlotte Church led London’s anti-cuts
chorus, alongside Labour leadership candidate
 Jeremy Corbyn, & Unite leader Len McCluskey.

Organisers say the post-election protests were
the biggest since a TUC demonstration in 2011
saw 500,000 people take to the streets.

More than 250 coaches were booked to bring
 people from across the UK, for the rallies.

Resistance to Tory cuts won’t end.

People’s Assembly national secretary,
Sam Fairbairn:

“Each day we’ll have a different themed protest
 depending on what they’re going to discuss at
the conference,” Mr Fairbairn explains. “That’s
going to sustain the momentum
.”

Official figures show that Chancellor George
Osborne is set to borrow three times more
than he planned, this year.

Mr Osborne is on course to borrow £75 billion
instead of £20bn, according to the Office for
National Statistics (ONS).

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady says it
 shows the Tories have been forced to “bail out
 his failed economic plan.”

But she warns: “Rather than learning from his
 mistakes, the Chancellor is about to embark
upon a fresh round of savage cuts.”

Green MP, Caroline Lucas, calls on MPs
from all
parties --- to oppose his plans:

“It’s time for all of us who oppose the government’s
self-defeating austerity programme to work together.

“So my challenge here today to all MPs who call
 themselves progressive, and especially to those
in the Labour Party, is this: Vote against further
 austerity, protect our public services, and defy
your leadership --- by voting down the savage
 welfare cap.”


___________________________


Pope Considers Youth Unemployment
                 a Social Plague               
 
 Pope Francis says youth unemployment is a
social plague and the symptom of a serious
breakdown in contemporary societies.

Meeting with members of the Italian federation
 Knights of Labour, the Pope says he feels that
 the phenomenon is affecting young people by
depriving them of an essential component for
personal fulfillment.

But it also has negative consequences for the
 business community, he adds, as they lose the
 opportunity to receive input from a renewed
work force.

According to the Bishop of Rome, 'the world of
work should be prepared and waiting for young
people willing to participate and emerge'.

But what happens in reality is that young
 people often receive the message that
they are not needed, he warns.

Francisco stresses the value of work to involve
 people and charge them with responsibilities,
 stimulating entrepreneurial capacity, creativity
and commitment.

According to the Pontiff, this has positive effects
 on future generations, as it leads society to look
 forward, and to offer opportunities, which means
hope for the future.

_____________________________


Experts concerned about growing steroid use

Health experts are warning against the long
term side effects of using anabolic steroids.


The number of men using anabolic steroids in
 the UK, is reaching staggering proportions.

According to the Crime Survey for England and
 Wales, nearly 60,000 people a year, take them.
However those working with steroid users say
 the numbers are significantly higher. Professor
Julian Baker from the University of the West of
 Scotland is an expert in steroid use and thinks
the number of steroid users is underestimated.

“There are needle exchanges in Cardiff and
Glasgow which say they’ve seen a 600%
increase for steroid users over 10 years.
 The real figure is definitely in the
hundreds of thousands,” he says.


 “The vast majority of people we see use
steroids for image reasons. It’s mainly to
show your muscles going out. It’s linked
 to images of lean physiques with big arms.
That’s the kind of look the young lads like.
 It used to be much more limited; only the
 really big, muscular guys went anywhere
near steroids. Now it can be anybody who
goes to a gym and speaks to people. The
network of supply and demand is very
advanced,” says Graham Beeny, who
works for a
Manchester steroid clinic.

The effects of steroid use can be quite negative.
The HIV infection rate amongst steroid users has
 now reached 1.5% -- that's just as high as those
 that use heroin.

Other side effects include roid rage which leads
to extremely aggressive behaviour in those that
take the drug. Another big concern is the age
 of steroid users in the UK.

Reports suggest some children as young as
 13 years old, are using the dangerous drug.


_____________________________


Nicola Sturgeon says the SNP is taking an anti-
austerity message to the heart of Westminster.

The SNP leader again rules out any deal with
the Conservatives and offers, instead, to still
beat the Tories, by forming a united coalition
 government of all parties who oppose cuts:

 Scottish Nationalists, Irish socialists from
Northern Ireland, the Green party MP, and
 the Labour party and Plaid Cymru's MPs.

_________________________________


UK Protesters Occupied Parliament
Square, Calling for Proper Politics

As election campaigning by the 'main' political
 parties in the UK reached fever pitch -- over on
 Parliament Square, the "festival of democracy"
 ran for several days. Their message was clear:

"Reform of party funding, so that members of
parliament act in the interests of those who
elect them rather than the one percent who
bankroll them."

"Major democratic reform of the media — to
 break the stranglehold of vested interests.

"A fundamental overhaul of lobbying & the
 way powerful economic interests inhabit
the
corridors of power within government.

"Proportional representation so everyone's
 vote counts.

"MPs should not have conflicts of interests
 from either paid employment or corporate
 shareholdings.

"And a citizen-led constitutional convention
 for real democracy."

5 years ago, in the 2010 general election, only
 44% of people aged between 18 and 24 voted.
76% of people aged over 65 did.

 Occupy Democracy activist George Barda says:

"Democracy means more than putting a cross
 on a ballot paper every 5 years. History shows
 us that the extension of our democratic rights
 has not been led by politicians, but has been
 forced onto the agenda by the actions of
mass movements such as the Chartists and
 the Suffragettes. We are asking people to
 join us and help build such a movement."

This is a movement supported by comedian
to political commentator and anti-capitalist
 Russell Brand, who has shown students at
the London School of Economics a private
showing of his latest film "The Emperor's
New Clothes", about the growing gap
between the rich and the poor. 

Russell Brand's YouTube channel, The
Trews, has over a million subscribers.

____________________________


'Tory scorched earth policy':
National Health Service
signs
biggest-ever privatization deal


The National Health Service (NHS) has agreed its
 largest ever deal to privatize services in an attempt
 to tackle the increasing backlog of patients waiting
 for surgery, scans and tests. Critics say the move is
 undemocratic and threatens care standards.

The deal, worth up to £780 million, will see 11 private
 firms perform heart and joint surgery, carry out scans
 and provide diagnostic tests for patients from mobile
 medical facilities.

NHS Supply Chain secured the deal, which marks an
 increase in the number of mobile units being used for
 procedures. Local NHS trusts will be able to buy in
 the services if they are suffering a backlog.

However, the move now allows the health service
 to rapidly buy in private services, causing concern
 among supporters of continued public ownership.

Labour's Andy Burnham, says the contract shows
     “chunks”
of the health service are being sold off.
The Dept of
Health, claims it doesn't mean
an
increase in levels of privatization.

“It is outrageous that large chunks of the NHS
 are being parceled up and sold off without the
 permission of a single person in this country,”
 Burnham says.

The country has never given its approval for
 the NHS to be bought and sold in this way.

“This sounds like a race to the bottom. It’s clear
 that quality isn't a deciding factor, when people
 with poor care records are winning contracts,”
 he says.

Some private companies involved in the deal
 have previously faced criticism for providing
 substandard care for patients in hospitals
and
care homes.

The Guardian calculates the 4-year deal can
 secure firms maximum profits of £780 million,
with five national contracts of £240 million,
 £160 million, £240 million, £80 million and
£60 million, respectively.

It's the largest private deal since Virgin Care
was awarded £500 million in 2012 to provide
 community services in Surrey until 2017.

Dr Jacky Davis, founding member of Keep
 Our NHS Public and author of NHS for Sale:

"What we are seeing now is Tory scorched earth
 policy -- pushing through their biggest ever NHS
 privatisation deal."

"Jeremy Hunt insists they aren't privatising the NHS
 but this is just nonsense." she adds. "Private firms
 don't want to run most of the NHS because they can
not make a profit. But just look instead at profitable
 areas, where they are running up to two thirds of the
 services. These include community services and the
 diagnostic tests and elective surgery involved in this
 massive contract. This is privatisation by any
 definition."

Davis says another Conservative government
 is going to "be the end of the NHS".

A spokesperson for the Department of Health calls
 the suggestion of greater privatization “nonsense.”

“Use of the private sector in the NHS represents only
 6% of the total NHS budget: an increase of just 1.7%
 since May 2010.”

Vanguard, one company involved in the
 recent deal, lost one
hospital contract,
  as
it emerged that their surgeons had
performed “rushed”
operations, and
patients had serious
complications.

They are now facing legal action over a
series
of eye operations at Musgrove
Hospital in 2014.


Another company, Circle, controversially pulled out
 of the running of Hitchingbrooke Hospital following
a damning report into levels of care. Circle was the
 first private firm to manage an NHS hospital.


_______________________


Employees from British Museum
               Strike against Privatization              

The Public & Commercial Service Union (PCS)
 says, in its statement, that the 250 employees
 there, oppose attempts to charge for the guide
 service and for public educational courses at
 a centre belonging to the British people.


____________________________


UK ministry bid for deal
 with Saudi prison service...

was defeated by Jeremy Corbyn's
new Labour party in united action.

________________________________


CO-OP STORES IGNORED AS

UK FOOD STANDARDS DROP

Only the few intelligent customers who
appreciate what the Co-op does to keep
food standards safe, shop there now.

So many claim it's "too expensive" and
shop elsewhere, as a tsunami of cheap
adulterated food hits the UK public...

A newspaper report shows that over a third
of food & drink sold in the UK is mislabeled.

According to the report, run by the Guardian,
 food samples taken recently show the huge
 scale of cheating and misrepresentation.

Citing laboratory tests, it says consumers are
 being sold food including;- mozzarella that is
less than half real cheese, "ham" on pizzas
 that is either poultry or “meat emulsion,”
and frozen prawns that are 50% water.

West Yorkshire’s public analyst, Dr. Duncan
 Campbell, says of the findings:

“We're routinely finding problems with over
 a third of samples, which is disturbing at a
time
when the budget for food standards
inspection
and analysis, is being cut.”

Maria Eagle:

 “Consumers deserve to know what they are
buying and eating and cracking down on the
mislabeling of food must become a greater
priority for government.”

A year ago, DNA tests proved that foods
advertised as containing beef in the UK
& across Europe, contained undeclared
horse meat.


__________________________________



            UK Students Demonstrated Against Cuts          

 4 people were arrested as thousands of students
 marched through London to stop education cuts,
tuition fees and student debt.

The Free Education march was held against
 tuition fees of up to £9,000 (11,800 dollars)
 a year at universities in England.

It was backed by groups including the
 National Campaign Against Fees & Cuts
 who want free higher education.

The demonstration was scheduled to finish
 earlier but some marchers stayed in central
 London: there were clashes with police.

Officers forced them back and arrested 2
 people for affray, while two others were
 arrested for assaults on police officers.

Student groups from universities across
the UK joined the march against tuition
fees, student debt and spending cuts.

The march was supported by groups
 like the Student Assembly Against
Austerity and the Young Greens.


_____________________________


UK parents hit by government cuts in legal aid

Official figures show that 20,000 UK parents
 were all forced to represent themselves last
year, before family courts, after government
cuts to legal aid.

According to the report, for the first time over
half of the parents, or 58%, went to court with
no lawyer to fight their cases in 2013/2014.

The increase in such cases follows the Tory
government's decision in April 2013, to cut
 legal aid for most private family law issues.

The government argued at the time, that
cutting legal aid to family law would result
in parents solving their disputes through
mediation, rather than through the courts.

However, the newly-released figures show
family courts in England and Wales dealt
with 19,140 more unrepresented parents
 compared to the previous year.

_________________________


80% of UK school buildings
 ‘crumbling, beyond their life cycle’

The Government must invest more in building
schools, as almost 80% of today's buildings
shouldn't still be in operation say architects.

Children across the UK are being failed by four-fifths
 of schools which are “beyond their life cycle,” and
 75% of existing schools still contain asbestos, the
Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) claims.

With 250,000 extra school places needed by
 September, the current wave of new designs
 is not big enough to prevent overcrowding,
the society for the architectural industry’s
“Building Better Britain” report argues.

“Overcrowding in narrow corridors
exacerbates bullying and harassment,
fewer social areas outside classrooms
limit students’ abilities to socialize,”
the report adds.

The standard “baseline” designs are 15%
 smaller than those built under the Labour
 government’s “Building Schools for the
Future” program, the group says.

 The report says the next government must
 increase the cost per square metre of new
 schools by 20 percent.

“The new schools being built aren’t fit for
purpose and will certainly not stand the
 test of time.”

“Years of underinvestment, coupled with the
recent changes to school building, rebuilding
 and refurbishing programs, have left us with
crumbling schools which fail those trying to
 learn and teach in them,” the report says.

The government’s school building scheme is
slammed by teachers’ unions, who condemn
 the health and safety standards in schools
 and the low morale they cause.

“Getting rid of the Building Schools for the
Future program was clearly a huge mistake,”
 a spokesperson for the National Union of
Teachers (NUT), the UK’s largest teachers’
 union, says.

“While the Education Secretary throws money at
 free schools and academies, many schools are
being left in a dilapidated state or built where
they are not needed,” the spokesperson says.

 “The NUT has been at the forefront of campaigning
 about the presence of asbestos in our schools. It
 is outrageous that something which poses such
 a serious health threat to staff and pupils is still
 in place in so many schools.

“When the conditions of school premises have gone
 way beyond cosmetic damage and now pose a real
 health and safety issue, it is poor for the morale of
both pupils and the community.”


___________________________________


London hit by anti-austerity rallies
 
Thousands of people gathered on London’s streets
 
to demand that the UK government’s austerity cuts
in public spending, come to an end.

The protests started outside the BBC's offices in
 London as the general public, politicians, union
 leaders and celebrities were brought together
by the People's Assembly campaign group.

Demonstrators marched towards the House
 of Commons, demanding “No more austerity,”
 & an alternative to “greed and selfishness.”

People's Assembly spokesperson:

 “It is essential for the welfare of millions of people
 that we stop austerity cuts, before they do lasting
 damage to people's lives and our public services."

A protester told media that it's frustrating,
 and that “People want to work here if only
they'd
pay a decent wage. I can't always
pay my
way, if I go out with friends.”

"If I needed to pay lots for a prescription it
 would be hard. And I might have to move
 soon, but nothing is affordable,” she said.

On the same day, members of the Fire Brigades

 Union (FBU) went on strike in protest against
 the government’s plans to raise their pension
 contributions & the retirement age from 55-60.

This strike was the 14th since industrial action
over the long dispute
began, last September.


_______________________________



‘Govt has failed’: Poverty doubles
 in UK over last 30 years

The number of Britons living in poverty has
more than doubled over the past 30 years,
a report has revealed.

About one in three UK families now live
 below the breadline --- despite the UK's
 economy doubling over the same period.


__________________________________



UK child death rate second worst
 in western Europe, say experts:

Study finds only Malta has more
 deaths of children under five.


______________________________________



1,000 NHS PATIENTS die EVERY MONTH
from ACUTE KIDNEY FAILURE - KILLED
by DEHYDRATION and POOR CARE.

A study by kidney disease experts and
 Insight Health Economics, reveals now
 that acute kidney injury (AKI) causes
 between 15,000 - 40,000 excess deaths
 every year, and this could be avoided if
staff ensured that the sick are hydrated.

The study also finds that AKI is five times
 more prevalent in English hospitals than
previously thought.

“We know that at least a thousand people
 a month are dying in hospital from AKI due
 to poor care,” Professor Donal O’Donoghue
 of Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, says.

“These deaths are avoidable. This is
completely unacceptable and we
 can’t allow it to continue,” he adds.

He stresses that good basic care, including
 elementary checks by doctors and nurses,
 could save these lives and save millions
 of pounds for the NHS.

Health economists say AKI costs the NHS
over £1 billion every year, adding that simple
 improvements in basic care could save this
money and, more importantly, also save
thousands of lives.

The NHS has been failing patients and losing
public trust, since a damning report showed
 that 1,200 patients from January 2005, to
March 2009, died at Stafford Hospital alone
- due to poor care.

Experts believe the government’s cuts to
 the health service harm hospital care and
 patient safety at NHS units.

There are no figures given for Wales.


___________________________________________



BRECON BISHOP BASHES BEDROOM TAX

People marched in London,
Cardiff, Leeds,
 Manchester, Nottingham and other cities,
as part of a national day of action against
the "Bedroom Tax" policy.

They called on the government to stop the
 implementation of a law that cuts housing
 support to the poorest households.

In Cardiff, capital of Wales, dozens of people
 gathered outside City Hall to protest against
 the controversial law.

“The bedroom tax disrupts lives, breaks up families
 and divides communities. It cuts people adrift from
 important bits of their personal and family story,”
 John Davies, the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon,
 told the crowd.

He also added, “Cutting their benefit, if they stay
 put, achieves nothing just. It simply creates more
 poverty and risks deeper social problems.”

The legislation, brought in by the Lib Dems and
Tories, reduces housing benefit for those with
"spare" rooms. It's widely unpopular
because
millions already struggle with poverty.


______________________________________________


SOLICITORS UNITE WITH PROBATION OFFICERS

Criminal solicitors and probation officers in Wales
 and England have staged another strike to protest
 at changes introduced by the Ministry of Justice
(MoJ), including cuts to legal aid fees.

The 48-hour strike affected magistrates and
 crown courts in major cities like London,
 Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds.

According to the London Criminal Courts
Solicitors' Association (LCCSA), police
 stations also faced delays, due to a
 decreased number of solicitors working.

The strikers assembled at Westminster
 for a rally, and afterwards marched to
the Ministry of Justice.


Based on the ministry's plans, most probation
 work supervising low or medium-risk offenders
 are to be "outsourced" to private firms and
voluntary groups.

“The government plans to outsource 70%
 of the probation service are untried and
 untested,” says Ian Lawrence, gen. sec.
 of the probation officers' union Napo.

Solicitors say that those accused of crimes
 could be at risk of miscarriages of justice
 if they do not have access to a “decent”
lawyer, because of the legal aid cuts.

“The MoJ is taking a gamble on outsourcing
 supervision of the most persistent offenders
on release from short-term prison
sentences,”
says Nicola Hill, president of the LCCSA.

The LCCSA estimates that two-thirds of
legal aid firms will close if the cuts
are
enacted - a total of 1,000
across
Wales
and England.

_____________________________________________


CUTTING THE OLD

Hundreds of thousands of older people in the UK
 have been left without state-funded social care
 in the past 4 years as a result of council budget
cuts and rationed services, a new study shows.

According to the report by the Nuffield Trust
 and Health Foundation think tanks, 245,855
 fewer elderly received help with carrying out
 everyday activities such as bathing, dressing
 and eating in 2012-13, compared to 2009-10,
showing a 26 percent drop.

The report also finds that the number of
vulnerable elderly people receiving the
"meals on wheels" service has fallen by
59% over the same period.

The study also finds that spending on home
 and day care services and meals by councils
 has fallen by 23% and 46% respectively, in
 recent years.

"Our analysis paints a picture of increased rationing
 of social care by hard-pressed local authorities in
 response to deep cuts from central government,
despite the growing numbers of older people in
 the population,” says Holly Holder, a co-author
of the report at the Nuffield Trust.

She also notes that “without adequate data to
 assess” the effects of cuts, “the National Health
 Service (NHS) and government are 'flying blind'
 managing demand and planning for the future."

A separate analysis by the Care & Support Alliance,
 comprising seventy charity organizations, predicts
 that thousands of venerable people will lose out on
 publicly-funded social care in the UK...

Earlier, the Age UK charity said that spending on
social care for the elderly has fallen by 1.2 billion
pounds since 2010, despite significant increases
in the number of people aged 65 or over in the UK.

___________________________


MENTAL HEALTH LOCK-UP

Tens of thousands of vulnerable mentally-ill
patients in the UK, are being imprisoned in
 "care homes", a House of Lords report says.

According to the investigation, carried out
by a committee at the UK’s House of Lords,
 people with "mental illness" are being forced
 into care homes against their will, and those
safeguards brought in to protect patients...
 are now being used to oppress them.

"The evidence suggests that tens of thousands
 of people are being deprived of their liberty
without the protection of the law, and without
 the protection that parliament intended,” says
 the committee's chair, Lord Hardie.

The UK government passed a Mental Capacity
 Act in 2005, to protect those suffering from
 mental illness.

However, the Peers group finds that vulnerable
 adults are being failed by the legislation, and call
 for a new system to be drawn up "from scratch".

Top barristers and solicitors working in the Court
 of Protection, also warn that UK mental health
 patients are denied human rights by some judges.

They say the “marked variation” in judges’
willingness to consider patients’ wishes,
 amounts to a violation of their rights.


___________________________________________


UK IS NOT A DEMOCRACY AT ALL
 
PM David Cameron reneged on his pledge
--------- to let voters recall disgraced MPs.

As part of the "coalition agreement" of 2010,
 the PM pledged to bring in "early legislation"
to allow voters to force a by-election, in an
 attempt to deal with voter anger over the
MP's expenses scandal.

"Bring forward early legislation to introduce
a power of recall, allowing voters to force a
by-election where an MP is found to have
engaged in serious wrongdoing, & having
had a petition calling for a by-election
signed by 10% of his or her constituents,"
read the coalition agreement.

Last year, Cameron watered the proposal
down to stop attempts to remove sitting MPs.

 Liberal Democrats then accused the PM
 of blocking the bill from inclusion in the
final Queen's Speech of the Parliament.

Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, a staunch
 supporter of the bill, comments that voters
 will feel deceived by the government. (Lol)

"Parties can stuff their manifestos full of clever
 promises, but if voters don't believe them, they
 may as well present blank sheets," he tweeted.

"Goldsmith blamed Deputy PM Nick Clegg for
 failing to properly support the measure, and
 branded the Lib Dems as "revolting".

You CAN NOT remove your MP !
(THAT's NOT democracy)

____________________________


BEDROOM TAX REFUNDS OVER COCK-UP

Tens of thousands of people may have been
 wrongly identified as being eligible for the
 bedroom tax in the UK, housing experts say.

According to a report by The Guardian, a
 recently discovered error made by the
 Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)
 may have impacted as many as 40,000
people, forcing some to be evicted or
 move to smaller homes.

Although the DWP says a “small number”
of people, an estimated 5,000 working-age
tenants were affected by the mistake,
housing experts say the figure could be
 as high as 40,000.

An error in legislating the implementation
 of the “spare room subsidy” has caused
tenants to be exempt from the law.

People impacted by the loophole received
reduced benefits since last April. They
 could now be entitled for refunds worth
on average at least £640 per claimant.

The department says regulations will
 be "amended" to close the loophole.

The "bedroom tax" was introduced in April,
2013 as part of UK government reforms
 to the country's welfare system. It refers
to a cut in housing benefits for claimants
whose homes have a spare room.

Under the law, tenants who receive housing
 support lose 14% of benefits if their home
has a spare room and 25% if they have
 more than one extra room.

In September, the United Nations Special
Investigator on Housing, Raquel Rolnik,
 called for abolishment of the bedroom tax.

________________________________


UK ROTTING FROM BENT MPs

Another ex-Labour MP is convicted in court for
false accounting over parliamentary expenses.

Denis MacShane, ex-Rotherham MP, faces prison
for making bogus expense claims of £12,900.

He pleaded guilty last November to having filed
19 fraudulent invoices in a 3-year period between
 January 2005 and January 2008.

During the hearing at the Old Bailey, in November,
 he said he used the money to fund trips to Europe.

The guilty plea comes after 4 years of scrutiny
into the lawmaker’s use of MP's allowances.

The Times recently stated police have failed
 to pass on evidence to prosecutors about a
number of fraudulent expenses claims by
 MPs and peers.

If you know that your MP fraudulently claimed,
it is your duty to press for charges to be made,
and - if the police in your area do not - then they
are also criminal and deserve to be rooted out.

According to a study for the Committee on Standards
 in Public Life (CSPL), faith in MPs in England dropped
 to just 20% after 2010... and has not risen since.

Only 27% see MPs as “dedicated to doing a good job
 for the public”, down from 46% in 2008, a year before
it emerged that dozens of MPs "misused" expenses.


____________________________


THE STINK OF HYPOCRACY

According to a two-year investigation,
conducted by Bedfordshire University for
 the Office of the Children’s Commissioner
for England, children as young as 11 are
being sexually assaulted by other gang
members, as part of UK gang "culture".

The study focused on “chilling” abuse
 in gang-associated contexts, but the
researchers say abuse is “widespread”
and deeply institutionalised in the UK.

“We have found shocking and profoundly
 distressing evidence of sexual assault,
including rape, being carried out by young
people against other children and young
people,” says the deputy children’s
commissioner, Sue Berelowitz.

The research suggests that the scale of
sexual assaults indicates a “deep
 malaise” within UK society.

A recent report by the UK’s National Crime
 Agency (NCA), entitled “The Foundations
 of Abuse,” found that UK children are still
 not safe from sexual abuse in institutional
 settings, such as schools, care homes
and churches.

The National Society for the Prevention of
 Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) also warned
in October that child victims of sexual
abuse in the UK do not get the support
 they need to give evidence in courts.

 The charity says less than 25% of the
 23,000 child abuse cases in the UK
 last year, resulted in prosecution.


______________________________________


CRIME, DAMN CRIME, AND CRIME STATISTICS

Police in England and Wales regularly manipulate
 crime figures in order to meet targets and distort
 the realities about police performance, serving
and retired officers tell MPs.

According to the Public Administration Select
 Committee (PASK) of the House of Commons,
statistics on crimes are routinely falsified
 to showcase police performance.

PASK is tasked with considering the quality
and standards of services provided by civil
service departments in England and Wales.

“This is a really savage thing to say, that we
cannot trust our constabularies'
leadership
to measure their own performance,” says
Committee Chair Bernard Jenkin, adding
that he is "shocked" that these offences
occur "on such a wide scale."

Retired and incumbent police officers disclosed
some of the methods applied to skew information,
which included devaluing crimes to unimportant
 ones or encouraging victims not to file complaints.

Metropolitan Police Constable James Patrick,
who is now awaiting disciplinary proceedings
due to the publication of a whistleblowing book,
 told the committee about the data manipulation.

He was seriously concerned about the distortion
 of information after joining the police in 2009,
 and finding that robberies were logged as
"theft snatch”, to appear less serious.

He also found other discrepancies between
the numbers of reported crimes and those
finally recorded.

“Burglary is an area where crimes are downgraded
 or moved into other brackets, such as criminal
damage for attempted burglaries, or other types
 of thefts,” Patrick says.

“Things were clearly being reported as burglaries
--- and you would then re-run the same report
 after there had been a human intervention - a
 management intervention - and these burglaries
 effectively disappeared in a puff of smoke.”

Patrick also said he analyzed the registration
of sexual offences... and found that in 80%
 of cases, they were incorrectly recorded as
 “no crime.”

________________________


LOW PAY UK NOT OK !
 
Traditional households with fathers as sole
 breadwinners, are now the biggest group
living in poverty in the UK, a study shows.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows
 that a third of all the 1.3 million families
 with children living in poverty in the UK
 are “single breadwinner couple families.”

The report also says that the risk of slipping
 below the poverty line is higher for children
 in families where only one parent works.

"Our low pay jobs market means many families
 reliant on a single breadwinner, find it hard to
 make ends meet,” says JRF policy & research
 manager, Katie Schmuecker.

She calls for government to tackle the barriers
 that prevent people from going to work, including
 unaffordable childcare and the lack of financial
 incentives to work.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says that
 UK household’s are “under pressure” as they now
spend far more on "fuel and essentials".

The ONS reveals that the proportion of UK families’
income accounted for by expenditure on essentials
increased from 19.9% in 2003,   to 27.3% in 2013.

______________________________


NHS "DOWN TO THE BONE"

A report shows that the Tory’s drive to
 implement harsh cuts to the NHS has
caused a shortfall of nearly 20,000
 nurses and is putting patients at risk.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) reports
that there are 19,526 full-time nursing posts
 vacant as a result of the government’s drive
 to cut "costs" by 20 billion pounds by 2015.

According to officials, the number is equivalent
 to a shortage of 125 nurses... at every hospital.

Peter Carter, chief executive at the RCN, warns
 frontline staffing levels are “down to the bone.”

“With rising demand for healthcare services,
workforce shortages will have significant
implications for staffing levels & the ability
 of providers to deliver safe, good quality
care
for patients,” the report reads.

The RCN and patient groups, urge ministers
 to impose “safe staffing” rules that would set
 mandatory minimum staffing levels at hospitals.

Labour's shadow health secretary:

 “This report shines a spotlight on the true extent
 of understaffing in the NHS. David Cameron has
 left the NHS facing Accident and Emergency
crises, with thousands fewer nurses.”

The report comes at a time when the UK
government is facing increasing pressure
to reinvest the surplus generated by the
 NHS every year.

The Foundation Trust Network wants the
 600 million pounds under-spent by NHS
England by March, to be used to help
 A&E departments under strain.

Experts predict that the NHS could
 experience its toughest winter ever, as
 there are mounting pressures on services
and widespread shortages of consultants.

The latest figures show that there has been
 a 44% increase in patients waiting over 4 hours
 in A&E between April and October of this year,
compared to the same period in 2011.

The NHS medical director, Professor Bruce Keogh,
presented a report on November 13th, in which
 he calls for radical changes to the way the NHS
 provides urgent and emergency care, aimed at
tackling an “inexorable climb” in A&E attendances.

___________________________________


BEATING UP THE WRONG GUY


A former child protection officer says UK police 
threatened him - to stop his investigations into
child abuse by high-profile MPs, in 1990.


Chris Fay states he was threatened with a gun to
his head, to avoid probing allegations surrounding
Elm Guest House in Barnes, where young boys were
allegedly taken to be abused by a VIP pedophile ring.


According to Fay, members of Special Branch routinely
warned him, his colleagues, & even the victims, when
the story broke in the early 90s.


“At one point they had me up against a wall by my throat
with a gun at my head telling me in no uncertain terms
that I was to back away if I knew what was good for me,”
Fay says.


“I was told by the police implicitly, ‘We do not want you
to come to us with big names’,” he adds.


Fay, who worked for the National Association of Young
People In Care, attacks the Metropolitan police for
“physically” stopping the victims from speaking with
the group and says that they acted like “gangsters”.


“I witnessed Special Branch officers manhandling them
[the victims] and turning them away with a warning to
keep their mouths shut. It was blatant,” says the 67
year-old child protection officer.


Campaigner Bill Maloney also accuses the police of
protecting high-profile criminals, saying “police cover-
ups to protect the wealthy” should stop immediately.


The British police have so far declined to comment
on Fay’s remarks.


The next step could be to expose the scapegoating
by the UK state of the abused victims themselves.
.


Current social work practice theory is that those
who are abused, inevitably end up abusing others.


This travesty is being taught NOW at the highest
 ideological levels by social
worker courses and
to first degree and post-graduate students.


They even pervert the defence mechanisms
postulated by
Freud, as "evidence" to look for
when "assessing" those to
be scapegoated.

'Innocent until proven guilty' ?

Not when police and social workers collude
to scape-goat those who dare to open their
mouths against the UK state's injustices !

  More like 'stitched up' in the UK !!!



____________________________________________



ABUSE OF ELDERLY RISE "DISTURBING"

The number of reports of elderly & disabled abuse
 in the UK has jumped by 28%, a charity warns.

According to Age UK, the analysis of data from the
 Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC)
 shows cases of alleged abuse against people of 65
 or over up from 82,000 to over 105,000 in 2012-2013.

70,000 plus cases were reported for investigation
 last year, of which 25% related to physical abuse,
 35% to neglect, and about 18% to financial abuse
of
vulnerable old people, the charity says.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK
 describes the figures as “disturbing”:

“Any abuse of older people is unacceptable and
we need a zero-tolerance approach to any abuse,
whether through neglect, financial manipulation
 or physical or mental cruelty,” she says.

A Department of Health (DoH) official says elderly
people should be protected and that they should
 not face abuse in their homes, or in a care setting.

HSCIC figures show that in 37% of reported cases
 the alleged abuser was a social care worker.

_________________________________________



PRESENT CUTS NASTIER THAN UNDER THATCHER


The UK government’s welfare cuts and changes to taxation
have encouraged economic inequality so intensely that they
amount to ‘speeded-up Thatcherism.’ The divide between
rich and poor is widening faster than in the 1980s, says a
new report.


The slashing of UK welfare benefits and simultaneous cuts
in tax credits, means that inequality will have soared twice
as fast by 2015, than it did under Margaret Thatcher, says a
new Fabian society report.


Working-age families with children will be particularly hard-hit
in the coming years, says the report, written by economist
Howard Reed. He lays out the impact of Conservative / Liberal
Democrat coalition policies on household income, drawing
the conclusion that the poorest families in the UK, are on a
path to losing some 12 percent of their average income.



______________________



A MEDICAL EPISODE IN ENGLAND


Police in England have again tasered a young man
 to death before trying to arrest him, for what they
 describe as ‘having a knife’ in his hands inside
 his own home.

The 23-year-old man, named locally as Jordan Begley,
 had a "medical episode" after being fired with the stun
 gun on Wednesday evening in Gorton, Manchester.

An unidentified friend of the man told the press that
 eight armed police officers attended Begley after
responding to a 999 call in Beard Road which said
 there was a man with a knife.

"They turfed his mum outside and then went in”,
the friend said. "There were about eight armed
response officers who went in”, he added.
"He didn't have a knife though. I know for a fact
 he would not have had a knife”, noted the friend.

A police cordon surrounded 10 terraced houses at
 the end of Beard Road & a forensic tent was erected.

"I saw the lad being brought out the house and put
 in the ambulance. Paramedics were working away
 on the CPR with the doors open”, says neighbour
 Kirstie Porter.

"Everybody was out in the street, all the neighbours.
There was police everywhere, loads of vans turned
up, there was police all over with guns all over.

"The ambulance was there for about 5 or 10 minutes
 and then it drove off.

"His mum and brother were sobbing in the street",
added Kirstie.

Another woman, who did not wish to be named, said:
 "There's a lot of bad boys around here, but Jordan
 was one of the good guys."

Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said:
"Police received a 999 call reporting a disturbance
 on Beard Road in Gorton where there was a man
 with a knife.

"Officers were dispatched immediately and
arrived in eight minutes.

"On arrival, a Taser was discharged to detain
 a 23-year-old man.

"At this time it is unclear what happened, but
at some point afterwards the man suffered a
 medical episode.

"Paramedics performed first aid on the man
 at the scene before he was taken to hospital
 where he sadly died."


________________________________________



ORGANISED WORKERS LEAD FIGHT TO SAVE NHS


Pro-NHS campaign Health Emergency chair Geoff Martin:

 "This is a welcome move & the message has to be
rammed down this government's throat -- that the
 dismantling of the NHS, through the twin attack of
cuts & privatisation, will be met by all-out resistance.

"It's equally important that Labour isn't let off the hook either.

"Much of the demolition programme for the health service
 started under the last government, & has been seized on
 by the Con-Dems."
 
Mr Martin warns Labour: "Grandstanding on the back
 of public outrage at the attack on the NHS would be
 pure political opportunism."


________________________________________



UNISON SAYS 'WE ARE MOVING LABOUR TO ACT'


Unison general secretary Dave Prentis warns Labour
that his union will keep criticising the Labour party...
until it offers credible alternatives to austerity.

 
"People will not vote Labour mainly because they
oppose
what the Tories are doing," he tells the
Morning Star.


"We want a Labour Party that has policies that
resonate
with our people."

Mr Prentis says that stopping NHS privatisation
 by replacing the health Act, ending cuts to local
government funding, and rolling back anti-trade
 union laws, are to be Unison's key demands for
 any future Labour government.
 
Mr Prentis says Unison is ready to lead a wave of
 anti-austerity actions, including demonstrations
 in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

"I think there's a groundswell now of people
who want to show their opposition - just like
 they did to the poll tax."


_________________________________________________




 People's Assembly Offers Renewed Hope

 Celebrities rally behind campaigners to launch
the historic People's Assembly
initiative -- in a
bid to replace austerity
with "common sense"
politics for the people.


 In the face of the government's "organised mugging,"
 journalist, Owen Jones, vows the People's Assembly
 will be a "formidable, broad coalition" that will reach
out  to communities across the countries of the UK.

He says: "There is lots of anger, lots of fear and not a
lot of hope, but that's what we're going to give people."

Comedian Mark Steel appeals to people who "shout at
George Osborne when he's on the TV or radio" to join
 the People's Assembly.

"Instead of just swearing at the TV, people should do
 something because the government is getting away
 with saying there is no alternative to the cuts."

Fellow comedian & disabled activist Francesca
Martinez adds that the assembly represents a
"common sense"
politics approach, compared
 to the Tory government's "radical" agenda.

The assembly is backed by major trade unions
 representing millions of workers, including the
public-sector
union Unite, civil servants' union
PCS and the National
Union of Teachers.

Unite director of policy Steve Turner says the UK will
 lose crucial public services that "our grandparents
 fought for" unless people resist the government's
"extreme ideological" attacks.

He says his union is committed to "building a mass
 movement against the cuts" because the "answer
to what the government is doing is not austerity-lite."

The People's Assembly seeks to provide an alternative
 democratic forum to Westminster, which organisers
 say has "failed the people it's supposed to represent."

 But that isn't stopping many progressive MPs from
 putting aside party differences, to give their support.

 Left Labour MP Katy Clark says the People's
 Assembly can give people the "confidence
to believe that the cuts are not necessary."

Green MP Caroline Lucas describes the People's
Assembly as a "once-in-a-generation opportunity
 to unite against this reckless administration and
 expose the lie that there is no alternative to cuts."

 She says the assembly will "create political space to
 put forward alternatives to austerity" and outlines
 her vision of a "labour- intensive, green economy."

__________________________


SHOCK GROWTH IN TASERS


Plans to give London officers over 50% more Tasers
  are raising concerns over police methods, as fears
grow around the unnecessary use of stun guns, an
inquiry reveals.

A 66% increase in Taser use has been reported.


The number of officers issued stun guns in London’s
Met will increase from 800 to almost 1,300, opening
up a debate in the force over 'mission creep' risks
of using Tasers for minor violations, the Guardian
reports. The plan will see 40 officers per borough
issued Tasers, says a new inquiry report by the
London Assembly.


The decision puts the Met on an equal footing with other
police forces in the UK that already have an increased
number of stun guns in their units. The Sussex police
force will also be extending its use of Tasers and is
currently training more officers, while West Yorkshire
police have been noted for their extensive use of
Tasers over the past two years.


The firing of stun guns in the UK is also on the rise:

Tasers were discharged 1,371 times in the year ending
March 2011 ---- a 66%  increase over the previous year,
according to freedom of information requests obtained
by the Guardian.


Tasers are electroshock weapons, shaped like pistols,
that disrupt voluntary control of muscles --- by jolting
the victim with 50,000 volts of electricity.


When Tasers were first introduced in the UK, only
officers with firearms training were permitted to
carry them; now, an officer only needs to pass a
3-day training course to be armed with one.


These changes have prompted concerns over how
Tasers are being used. Met data reveals that half of
those Tasered last year were black. Also, the total
number of people Tasered between 2008 and 2011
with emotional and mental health problems, rose
from 20% to 30 percent.


The rate of youths being Tasered has risen as well:
Between 2008 and 2011, 61% of those Tasered,
were under 30 years old.


There are concerns in the Met that the Taser might
"become a compliance tool," the Guardian quotes
deputy chief constable, Simon Chesterman, telling
the assembly.

Chesterman says these types of weapons have
been used to enforce submission, including:
forcing a person out of a car, or getting
consent to have fingerprints taken.


The Met had previously tried to limit police use of Tasers,
but the London mayor’s office insisted on the expansion,
saying that the devices could protect officers. Amnesty
International argues Tasers are potentially lethal, and
that stricter rules should govern their use.


Amnesty also criticizes the plan to increase issuance
of Tasers and says it might negatively impact policing
methods in the UK, as Tasar guns are portable, easy
to use and could cause "severe pain at the push of a
button, often without leaving marks."


There is also evidence linking being hit by a Taser
to long-term health issues like heart failure.


A study by the journal Circulation has connected
Tasers to irregular heart rhythms, which at times
lead to cardiac arrest.

It analyzed eight cases of people who were
Tasered & went into cardiac arrest, opening
up a wider debate around the safety of the
electric stun gun.

Seven of the people in the study died, and
one survived.



___________________________


Wales losing to South East England







Health inequalities between South East England and Wales
  are growing, a new analysis of census figures shows now.




The percentage of people with at least "good" health
has 
risen dramatically in London and the south-east
of England
but has fallen again in the north, the
midlands, and in Wales.


People in the north of England and Wales are also much
more likely to have disabilities than people living in
the affluent South East of England.


Experts at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) believe
the figures are further proof that healthy young people are
moving out of the UK's poor areas to find work in London.


Socialist Health Association director Martin Rathfelder
says
health funding is following these people, further
cutting
funding the services for disadvantaged
communities in Wales.


Mr Rathfelder says that "the fundamental issue is not
about 
the health service, it's about economics. The
people who are
left are mostly unwell or older people,
and their children have
gone to the south-east
because that's where the work is."


Unite's head of health Rachael Maskell says A&E closures
tend to be in the most deprived communities, bringing an
added risk to the very poorest in our society.


Ms Maskell  warns that unequal health service provision
will be rigged even more in favour of England's wealthier
communities under Con-Dem government funding plans
which come into effect in April.


"The most affluent areas will have a population which will
attract greater funding due to longevity and thus be able
to propagate this trend," she states.

_______________________








KICKING THE POOR

When asked how much of the UK welfare bill
 is spent on the unemployed, the average poll
 respondent, fooled by constant media spin,
 said 41%. The real figure is 3%.

The overwhelming majority of the welfare budget
 is spent on pensioners, children, the disabled
 and the working poor. As a percentage of the
 entire public spending budget,  the amount
 spent on unemployment, is under 0.75%.

Instead of blaming the 1%, the UK public is
conned into scapegoating the vulnerable...

___________________________________________________


TORIES TO PRIVATISE OFFENDERS' SUPERVISION








Con-Dem Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announces
plans to sell off the probation service to privateers.




Mr Grayling says he is looking to outsource supervision
and rehabilitation programmes for all but the most high-
risk ex-inmates to charities and private companies
across both England and Wales.


The plan cuts an estimated 70% of the Probation Service's
core work, with contractors paid by results, in a manner
similar to the Con-Dems' controversial work programme.


Mr Grayling - who has no legal training or experience in
the
justice system - says his plan is a "rehabilitation
revolution."


NAPO's assistant general secretary Harry Fletcher,
speaking earlier, called the decision "astonishing":


"You're looking at 6,000 to 7,000 jobs lost because they
want to make a profit out of punishment - ultimately
it will put public safety at risk."


Mr Fletcher says the service has met all its targets
and last year won the British Quality Foundation
Gold Award for Excellence.

"This move, therefore, is purely ideological", he says.
"There is no plan for dealing with the escalation or
decline
of risk of individual offenders.


"If this plan proceeds it will be chaotic and will
compromise
public protection," he states.


Labour MPs scorned those Coalition MPs who couldn't
even
turn up to debate, and SNP and Plaid Cymru MPs
were outraged.


Justice unions parliamentary group chair Elfyn Llwyd calls
these plans "a triumph of ideology over common sense,"
  and secretary John McDonnell says the scheme is simply
a pretext for privatisation...


"This has nothing to do with tackling crime but is simply
opening up the service to profiteering companies like G4S."


In Wales, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood AM demands
that London give up the legal right to shape social services
in Wales, and allow the Welsh National Assembly to decide.


Former probation officer Ms Wood says the changes are
too
risky, and give greater reason to devolve custodial
powers.


"Rarely has the quality of a service been improved through
privatisation and, with the Probation Service, the risks are
too high." There is now "an even greater reason to devolve
custodial powers to Wales," she says.



____________________________________









FIRST WOMAN IN CHARGE OF TUC:
'TORIES DETERMINED TO BE NASTY'

The TUC's first female general secretary,
Francis O'Grady, attacks the Tories for
their "vicious spiral" of spending cuts
hitting low-paid workers & jobseekers.


She says the coalition reduced living standards
 for some of the poorest people in the UK, via
welfare & benefits cuts, & failed to offer any
vision for the economy, or hope for the future.


"In short, our economy is sick & the government's
 medicine is not working," she says.

"We were told short-term pain would deliver long-
term gain, yet all we see are nasty side effects --
with no sign of a cure.

"What is worse is that we now seem to be locked
 into a vicious downward spiral of cuts. They are
not working, so the government cuts even more."

She says the Tory policy of cutting the living
standards of the poorest and most vulnerable
in society while "attempting to tar them all as
scroungers" is the "very definition of a party
determined to be seen as nasty."


And, she says, it will further depress demand
and weaken the economy.


"People on the breadline spend every penny of their
income,
and mainly spend it in the local economy,
while those who
will benefit from the cut in the 50p
tax rate coming this year,
are as likely to save it, or
take it offshore."


Ms O'Grady urges the government to change course,
abandon its austerity programme, and boost industry.


She says it is vital to create decent jobs and
 apprenticeships, and workers should be given
a say on bosses' salaries -- through staff reps
on pay committees.


"This all adds up a very different approach to
the economy
and a challenge to all political
parties, employers and
indeed unions."

"My strong belief is that when we look back
at the period
from the 1980s to the 2008
crash, historians will see these times
as
exceptional times, as damaging in their
way, as the 1930s.


"What will dismay them most, is how slowly
we are building a new economic model
to replace the one that fell with

 Lehman Brothers.

"There is surprisingly broad consensus
that we need real change."



________________________________________________



KINGDOM OF UNEQUALLED PRIVILEGE

Official figures show that the United Kingdom of England,
Scotland, Northern Ireland & Wales, is the most unequal
  place in Europe --- and the wealth gap between the UK’s
rich & poor, is twice as wide as any EU member state.


An analysis by the Office for National Statistics reveals
that some regions in the UK are up to 10 times poorer
than
London, using Gross Value Added (GVA) measures.

The poorest areas are West Wales and the Valleys
and the Wirrel, with just £11,000 in GVA per person
compared to the inner-London figure of £111,000.


_____________________________________



LEFT GOVERNMENTS GIVE SECURITY
(Right "gives" racism, immigrant
scapegoating and gangs)


Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa highlights
Community Police Units which open a new era
regarding security in Latin America, he says.


The president opens another integrated centre
in Ambati, capital of
Chimborazo province, &
tours the first (rebuilt) railway, made in 1908,
which he calls the most beautiful in the world.


Nearly 1,800 CPUs will be built in the country &
are essential for bringing police closer to their
communities, plus supplying more patrol cars,

communication equipment and other resources.

Ecuador's taxes are being used to fight crime,
guarantee secure safe urban areas, plus improve
education, health, and roads, and reduce poverty.

Over $100 billion USD will be invested in the
coming years to reach these goals, and raise
the wellbeing of all Ecuadorians, says Correa,
referring to pending social investment there.


In the country's history, such a huge investment
in security has  never been made, he says, with
such a territorial analysis aimed at protecting
Ecuadorians. He says the ECU 911 Centres

will save thousands of lives.

Quito & Guayaquil have national security centres
and 13 regional centres, with the best integrated
emergency assistance system in Latin America
now, in which a large number of institutions are
participating, says Correa.


Police assistance arrives on average within two minutes
in the places where these centres are operating, he says,
  in 68% of the country. These centres are scheduled to
reach the entire nation.

The most unsafe countries in the region have rightwing
governments, he points out. Correa highlights that this
is, and will be, a country with open doors, requiring
entry visas for citizens of only 10 countries.



________________________________________



MAKING THE MULTINATIONALS PAY UP ON TAX !!!

Protestors turned Starbucks into refuges,
crèches and homeless shelters in protest
against the impact of the cuts on women.


Sarah Greene, a UK Uncut activist: “It is an outrage
that the government continues to let multinationals
like Starbucks dodge millions in tax while cutting vital
services like refuges, creches and rape crisis centres.
It does not have to be this way. The government could
easily bring in billions that could fund vital services by
clamping down on tax dodging.”


Responding to Starbucks’ announcement that it won't
claim tax deductions in the UK, on a range of its tax
arrangements, Hannah Pearce, a UK Uncut supporter:


“Offering to pay some tax if and when it suits you
doesn’t stop you being a tax dodger. This is just a
desperate attempt by Starbucks to deflect public
pressure --- hollow promises on press releases
don’t fund women’s refuges or child benefits."


“We need the government to force Starbucks and
every other tax dodging company to pay their fair share,
instead of cutting welfare & tax credits for single mums
and disabled women. People are angry, this weekend
44 actions took place in Starbucks stores in towns and
cities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
People transformed Starbucks stores into refuges,
crèches --- and other services threatened by the
 Government’s unjust and unnecessary cuts.”


A spokesperson from Global Women’s strike, one of
the women’s groups which supported the action:


“Women – in families, homes, communities and jobs –
bear the brunt of austerity. At our Women’s Centre
we see more women cut off benefits, losing their
jobs, being made homeless and going hungry.

Already, 3.5m children live in poverty, 1 in 5 mothers
skips a meal to feed her children, & many walk miles
to get food handouts -- as they can’t afford bus fares.

"Women are also expected to pick up the pieces as
services disappear or turn people away, saying they
are overwhelmed.

Asylum seekers were the first to be made destitute,
and this is now becoming the norm. Victims of rape
and domestic violence are particularly affected as
more will be forced to stay in violent relationships,
to keep a roof over their heads.”


Starbucks has come under fire after a Reuters
investigation disclosed that the company had
paid no UK corporation tax for last three years
--- despite reporting sales of £1.2bn. [6]

The company is reported to have filed accounts saying
the companies UK operations were making a loss, while
reporting strong UK profits to investors.


Campaigners have highlighted research showing that
women will experience a disproportionate impact as
a result of the government’s public spending cuts. [7]

Women are bearing the brunt of cuts to public sector jobs,
wages, housing benefit, childcare, and pensions. [8]

Additional hardship on women is being caused by the
government’s decision to cut £5.6m from violence
against women services, £300m from Sure Start
centres & a further £10 billion in benefit cuts.

Every day 230 women are turned away from refuges as
a result of government cuts  to women’s services. [9]


Sheena Shah, a UK Uncut activist:

“Women have had enough of being attacked
by a cabinet of out of touch millionaires.

The government’s savage austerity plans are
pushing the cause of women’s equality
back decades.


Welfare, healthcare, Sure Start centres, childcare, rape
and domestic abuse services are being cut and female
unemployment is rocketing. Benefits cuts are forcing
women to choose between heating the house and
feeding the family. No one should have to
make these choices.”



07415 063231 | 07572 594128


_______________________________


AN ENTIRE GENERATION LEFT TO ROT



Unemployment among UK youngsters has shot up
by 279% nationally, compared to the 2011 figures...
with the region-based figures even more shocking.


Long-term youth unemployment for 18 - 24 year olds
has soared by 706% in the South West, 476% in the
North East and 264% in the South East, The Daily
Express
reports. 


At least half of the 1 million jobless youth have
been searching for work for at least six months.


The TUC, representing 6 million UK workers says:

“Government economic strategy is holding young people
back. It's time for a new plan that invests in their futures,
rather than stunting careers before they've barely begun,”
says TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber.



_______________________________________



SAVE ALL THE CHILDREN

The charity organization Save the Children, which
normally focuses on hungry children in Africa and
South America is now to raise funds for hungry
children in the UK.


Save the Children says its decision follows findings
that many children’s families in the UK now, cannot
afford regular hot meals, warm clothes and shoes.


The charity says it is to raise £500,000 to help with
this alarming poverty, which is “tearing families apart.”


“No child should see their parent going hungry or start
the new term without a warm coat & with holes in their
shoes. Poverty is tearing families apart, with parents
buckling under the pressure of mounting bills & children
seeing their parents argue more about money,” says the
charity’s chief executive, Justin Forsyth.


“That’s why for the first time in our history we are
launching a UK appeal. We need to help poor
families survive the recession,” he states simply.

_________________________________________________



RAISE RETIREMENT AGE EVEN HIGHER SAYS IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) calls on the
UK government to raise the retirement age again -
to save the country from financial ruin.


The US-based organization also warns that the UK's
national debt will spiral out of control if the average
lifespan in Britain increases by only three years
more than estimated. It says that the “financial
implications of people living longer than expected
are very large,” and could ruin public finances
as the cost of pensions and healthcare rises.


In a report into the “longevity risk”, the IMF urges
governments to take action "immediately" to handle
the problem. It suggests a further raise in retirement
ages, higher contributions from both employers
and workers, and lower payouts.


***********************************************


IT'S NOT WHO VOTES THAT COUNTS -
BUT WHO COUNTS THE VOTES !


As our masters follow the US on everything...
from police arms to postal votes, etc,
spare a thought for the consequences,
PLEASE !

A new study by the Pew Centre finds that
one out of every eight voter registrations
in the United States is invalid. According to
the survey, over 1.8 million dead US citizens
are enrolled as active voters...

The study by the non-partisan think tank also
finds that US electoral systems “are plagued
with errors and inefficiencies that waste
taxpayer dollars, undermine voter confidence,
and fuel partisan disputes over the integrity
of our elections.”


**********************************************

FED UP WITH THE BANKS?
MOVE YOUR MONEY TO AN ETHICAL BANK!
GO HERE NOW:

http://moveyourmoney.org.uk/

*************************************************


BULLY FOR BULLYING BULLIES


A survey reveals that workers in the UK are
more likely to experience bullying by bosses
or colleagues than any workers in the world.

The survey by recruitment company Monster
shows that 7 in 10 workers admit to being
bullied at work in the UK.


It found that a quarter of UK workers find bullying
and cruel jibes so upsetting it dramatically affects
their work performance.


The research finds that many European workers
also suffer badly from workplace bullying, with a
staggering 83% claiming to be victims of physical
or emotional bullying at work "at some point".


The number of workers who complain about bullying
in the US, is 65%, and in Asia, 55%. The survey
shows that Spanish workers are most likely to be
physically attacked, while Dutch workers are the
most likely to be driven to tears by work bullying.

Belgium has the lowest rate of

workplace bullying, with just 38%.

"Employers are responsible for a worker's health,
safety and welfare while at work and should provide
an atmosphere where people can get on with their job,"
says Alan Townsend, Chief Operating Officer, Monster
UK & Ireland.


"All companies should ensure they have clear policies &
procedures for employees that are followed through by
management. This can prevent potentially dangerous
outcomes, such as, poor workplace morale, lost
productivity, litigation, & health costs," Alan adds.


These findings follow a previous study by Staffordshire
University Business School which discovered that 14
million UK employees in the UK are bullied at work.


Lucky them! In the valleys, we're happy if
we can find a job to be bullied in !


************************************************


DIE YOUNGER IN WALES THAN IN RWANDA

Rates of mortality in the poorest areas of Wales
are higher than in some crisis-hit African nations,
official figures now reveal.

According to records released by the Office for
National Statistics (ONS), the death rate in some
parts of Wales is as high as 1,500 deaths per
100,000 people in one year.

Bryncethin in Bridgend, south Wales, comes top of all
areas in both England and Wales with the highest rates
of mortality, with 1,499 deaths per 100,000 people in 2009.

Whittington in Oswestry is second with 1,468, third,
Portrack & Tilery in Stockton-on-Tees, (1,422), then
Gwersyllt West, Wrexham (1,419), Offa, Wrexham
(1,297), and Grosvenor, Wrexham (1,284.)

The
mortality rate in Rwanda, in central & eastern Africa,
is 1,427,  and in Botswana, in southern Africa, it's 1,452,
the UN's WHO reports.

Health experts believe that the data reveals problems
in  'post-industrial' areas, including mining valleys or
dockyards, that have been neglected for decades.

The experts stress that elderly people who have had
to endure hard manual work, will die sooner, while
youngsters often turn to drinks or drugs due to high
rates of unemployment.

They also say poor diets and pollution affect the lives
of those living in the crisis hit areas.


*************************************************



UK PRIVATISED SCROOGES

Railway bosses have ordered ticket office workers
not to help disabled people plan their journeys,
transport union TSSA says.


The TSSA says disabled passengers can no longer
get direct help at stations but are being told to call
a new phone service, used by most train operators.


"It is simply disgraceful that train companies are
charging the most vulnerable people in the land
for a service that should be free,"

general secretary Manuel Cortes says:

"Previously our booking office members were only
too willing to spend as long as it took helping the
disabled plan what can be quite complicated journeys,
given that they have to be met at each stage of their
journey. Now that has all been stopped by Scrooge
bosses. Ordinary passengers are used to being ripped
off by these profit-chasing cowboys, but even they will
be shocked by this latest cynical penny-pinching move."


The Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc)
admits that some calls are now being charged at
local rates, but insists that the service is
more efficient & "significantly improved."



***********************************************


AND WHERE IS WALES' BLOSSOMING...?

The lotus has been a religious symbol for aeons;
no dirt sticks to its unique molecular structure.
Now scientists have replicated that structure
to produce materials which are highly commercial!


Imagine Wales combining science and agriculture
that wisely: using wasted land to employ our youth.



*************************************************

Image: Russian scientists and Scottish ones



Russian/Scottish scientists hail long-range
secure quantum communication system.

A group of scientists from ITMO University
 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, has developed
a new
approach to constructing quantum
communication
systems for secure data
exchange.


 The experimental device based on the results of the
 research is capable of transmitting single-photon
 quantum signals across distances of 250 klmtrs
 or more, which is on par with its cutting edge
analogues, the ITMO press-service says.

"Now researchers are on a mission -- to create
 a fully-fledged quantum cryptographic system,
that will generate & distribute quantum keys
 and transmit useful data simultaneously",
 ITMO says.

Information security is becoming more and more
 of a critical issue not only for large companies,
banks and defense enterprises but even for
small businesses and individual users.

But the data encryption algorithms we currently
 use for protecting our data are imperfect - in the
 long-term, their logic can be cracked. Regardless
 of how complex and intricate the algorithm is,
 getting around it, is just a matter of time.

Unlike algorithm-based encryption, systems
 that protect information by making use of
 fundamental laws of quantum physics, can
make data transmission totally immune to
 hacker attacks, in the future.

Information in a quantum channel is carried
by single photons that change irreversibly
 if an eavesdropper tries to intercept them.
The legitimate users will instantly know
 about any kind of intervention.


Researchers at the Quantum Information Centre
 of the International Institute of Photonics and
 Optical Information Technology at ITMO Uni.,
Russia, along with their colleagues from the
Heriot-Watt University, in Edinburgh, have
 devised a new way to generate and
 distribute, quantum bits.

This makes it possible to share quantum signals
--- via optical fibres --- 250 kilometers in distance.

"To transmit quantum signals, we use the so-
called side frequencies," says Artur Gleim,
head of the Quantum Information Centre at
 ITMO University,

 "This unique approach gives us a number
 of advantages, such as a considerable
simplification of the device architecture
 and the large pass-through capacity of
the quantum channel. In terms of bit rate
 and operating distance our system is
comparable to absolute champions in
the field of quantum communications."

According to Robert Collins, research associate
 at the Institute of Photonics & Quantum Sciences
 at Heriot-Watt University and one of the authors
of the study, this may become a pivotal point for
 the whole field of quantum communication and
 cryptography:

 "Down the track, this new approach can enable
 smooth coexistence of numerous data streams
 with different wavelengths in one single optical
 cable. On top of it, these quantum streams can
 be fed into the already existing fibre optic lines
 --- along with conventional communications."

The research paper is published
in the Optics Express journal.


Scottish universities are to be
congratulated for their strong
& growing links with Chinese
and Russian universities....

What a shame, that Wales is
lying low --- with academics
too scared to break from US
military research.



Image: events in Rhondda


ROGER WATERS TO MUSICIANS:- "BOYCOTT ISRAEL"

Roger Waters formerly of Pink Floyd, in an open letter,
 calls on his fellow musicians to boycott the Zionist
Israeli regime and follow the example of the cultural
boycott against the ex South African Apartheid regime.

“Given the inability or unwillingness of our governments
 [to act] …. I write to you now, my brothers and sisters …
 to ask you to join with me, and thousands of other artists
 around the world, to declare a cultural boycott on Israel,”
Roger Waters says in his letter.

Waters says the Zionist regime has been found guilty of
 major breaches of human rights and the international law
 by international organizations, UN officials and the
International Court of Justice.


He touches on two such cases, saying the regime has been
 identified as perpetrating the “crime of Apartheid”, including
 in a statement on March 9th, 2012 by the UN Committee on
the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and the “crime of
ethnic cleansing” including in East Jerusalem (al-Quds).

Waters adds that he has been a member of the Boycott,
 Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the
 Israeli regime’s occupation of the Palestinian lands and
 Tel Aviv’s violations of Palestinian human rights for seven
 years, and now wants other musicians to also join the
 anti-Israeli front.

“Please join me and all our brothers and sisters in global
 civil society in proclaiming our rejection of Apartheid in
 Israel and occupied Palestine, by pledging not to perform
 or exhibit in Israel or accept any award or funding from
 any institution linked to the government of Israel, until
 such time as Israel complies with international law and
 universal principles of human rights.” 

The former Pink Floyd Musician also says he has recently
 faced a boycott by the US media after his November 29th,
 2012 address at the UN on behalf of the Russell Tribunal.

In the address, he sought accountability for the Zionist
 regime’s violations of the international law and the lack
 of United Nations resolve that prevents the Palestinian
 people from achieving their inalienable rights,
especially 
the right of self-determination.


____________________




AT THE FACTORY


Tickets from


www.wegottickets.com/thefactory

www.ticketweb.co.uk

browse venues in Wales

www.ticketlineuk.com

02920 230130

Cash tickets from:

The Factory, Porth
Instrumental Music, Penygraig
Spillers Records, Cardiff


For more details visit


www.factoryporth.com
www.facebook.com/TheFactoryVenue
Twitter @TheFactoryPorth
01443 687080


***********************************************



Daytime Delights...

Starts at 1pm

The Parc & Dare, Treorchy


Lunchtime Concerts in the Lounge Bar.


Indulge in a delicious cake and a cup of tea
while enjoying music and sing-along songs
from fantastic Welsh musicians.


Ticket information:

The Cultural Services Booking & Information Line:

08000 147 111
or book online at

www.rct-arts.co.uk 


 
*************************************************


Mid Rhondda Modelling Club...


7pm - 9pm


Tonyrefail Comprehensive School
Mid Rhondda Modelling Club

has been running for over 30 years.

We meet on a regular basis

& enjoy making models for display.

We encourage both Gentlemen

and Ladies to attend,
and also young people aged 12+.

However, Young people under 16,
must be accompanied by an adult.



Ticket information

£1 contribution every week. Under 16's free


Telephone Mr. Davies on 01443 686658


************************************************


 Comedy In The Laughter Lounge


The Park & Dare Theatre, Treorchy.


COMEDY IN THE LAUGHTER LOUNGE


Join us once a month in the intimate setting
of the Laughter Lounge for some
top notch comedy with some of the
biggest and brightest

rising comedians on the circuit.

Laugh? You'll snort like a pig!



Hilarious - TimeOut.


www.rct-arts.co.uk





Image: conserving life on earth





 
ENJOYING THE HEATWAVE?

Global Warning as Rapid Temperature Rise
 Steers Humanity Toward Catastrophe

 Global warming, rising at an unprecedented pace, is
 threatening the Earth, and humanity’s place upon it
with disaster, according to Gavin Schmidt, director
of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Beginning in October 2015, each month has set a new
heat record --- and July has been the warmest month
 since global temperature observation began in 1880.

The speed of rising temperatures is much higher than
in the last millennium, according to data obtained by
 the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
 (NOAA), demonstrating that warming rates over the
 past 100 years are about 10 times faster than the
 century that preceded it.

"In the last 30 years we've really moved into
 exceptional territory. It's unprecedented in 1,000
 years. There's no period that has the trend seen
in the 20th century, in terms of the inclination (of
temperatures)," Schmidt told the Guardian.

For the next 100 years the prognosis isn't
good...  According to NASA, the pace of
increasing temperatures will be at least
20 times faster than the historical average.

Last year, the international community agreed
 to a 1.5 degree Celsius limit at a landmark Paris
 climate accord. As Schmidt pointed out, keeping
 temperatures within this limit will require rapid
& significant cuts in carbon dioxide emissions,
 a global economic shift that --- given current
 attitudes & habits, is arguably an impossible
 goal. But, according to climate scientists,
exceeding the temperature limit set at
 the Paris talks will bring dire outcomes.

Sea level increases as a result of melting polar ice,
 drought, and other severe weather conditions, will
lead to catastrophe for island nations & developing
countries. Finding a way to shift the dependence of
the developed world away from fossil fuels is of the
utmost importance, according to climate experts.



__________________________________________




New Study Shows Controversial Pesticide
 Linked to Massive Bee Die-Off

A new study published this week shows that
 pesticides called neonicotinoids, or neonics,
are probably linked to the decline of wild bee
 populations.

Published in the Nature Communications journal,
the study examines the wild bee population relative
 to the use of the controversial neonicotinoids in the
 18-year span of 1994-2011. Researchers discovered
 that extinction rates for bees, parallel the use of the
 pesticide on plants -- and this is found throughout
the country.

One of the co-authors, Dr. Nick Isaac:

"The negative effects reported previously, do
 scale up to long-term, large-scale multi-species
impacts that are harmful. Neonicotinoids are
 harmful -- we can be very confident about that
 -- and our mean correlation is three times more
negative for foragers, than for non-foragers."

The 34 species analyzed in the study, saw a 10%
 population drop across the board, with 5 of the
 species seeing a decrease of 20% or more, and
 the most-impacted group seeing a 30% drop.
 Researchers say this indicates that half of
 the population decline could be attributed
to the use of neonics.

"Historically, if you just have oilseed rape, many
 bees tend to benefit from that because it is this
 enormous foraging resource all over the country
-side," said Dr. Ben Woodcock, lead author of
the study. "But this correlation study suggests
that once it’s treated with neonicotinoids up to
85%, then they are starting to be exposed and
 it's starting to have these detrimental impacts
 on them." 

"Our results suggest that sub-lethal effects of
 neonicotinoids could scale up to cause losses
of bee biodiversity. Restrictions on the use of
neonicotinoids may cut population declines."

Friends of the Earth (FOE) environmental group
have launched a petition calling on the Ace and
True Value hardware companies to stop carrying
 the pesticides, as consumers grow ever more
 conscious of their devastating impact.

FOE said, "If these garden retailers don't act fast,
 they'll lose customers. A new poll shows that 66
 percent of Americans prefer to shop at Lowe's
and Home Depot, because they've committed
to stop selling bee-killing pesticides."

In a separate study, the group found that toxic
 chemical use is declining in the US, with 23%
 of plants in the nation testing positive for the
 chemicals, a decline from 50% two years ago.
FOE credits the drop in numbers, to hardware
 stores stopping selling products that contain
 harmful pesticides, including neonicotinoids.

"It's nice to see the use of long-term data to look
 at trends in pesticide impacts over a longer time
 scale." said Dara Stanley, plant ecology lecturer
 at the National University of Ireland Galway...

 "That is something that has been missing in the
 debate on bees and pesticides so far, and there
 have been many calls to look at the effects
 over time."


_________________________________________



The BIG lie about Jeremy Corbyn is that there
is NO economic plan - there is --- it's GREEN

Below are just 8 0f the 10 pledges:

ENERGY PLEDGES

1) My over-arching commitment will be for
 Britain to take the lead in developing the
clean Energy Economy of the future.

2) As leader I would establish an Energy
Commission to draft a fundamental
shift in UK energy thinking.

3) The Commission will be tasked to produce
 a route-map into tomorrow’s ‘smart energy’
systems that will:

• Deliver more, but consume less

• Use clean energy before dirty

• Put energy saving before
 more consumption

• Use smart technologies to run localised
 storage, balancing & distribution mechanisms,
 
• Shift the costs of grid access and grid
balancing from clean energy across to dirty

• Be open, democratic, sustainable and
accountable (in ways that today’s market
 is not).

4) The Commission to be charged with bringing
 new partners into energy policy making. These
 will include:-  local authorities, communities,
energy co-operatives, & ‘smart’ technology
 companies, that are already working on
tomorrow’s ‘virtual’ power systems and
 new energy thinking.

5) As leader I will conduct a root & branch
 review of energy market subsidies;
moving away from the notion of everlasting
 hand-outs; instead, using public support as
 ‘transition funding’ that transforms Britain’s
 energy infrastructure.

6) I will expect the energy industry, not the
public, to meet the costs of their own clean-up.

7) I will look to re-define the roles of Ofgem,
 the National Grid and the Competition and
Markets Authority, to promote a genuinely
 open, competitive and sustainable energy
 market; one in which there are more players
and clean energy choices than we have today.

8) I will examine ways to allow communities
 to be owners of local energy systems, with
 the right (as in other parts of Europe) to have
 first use of energy they generate themselves.

Go here --- for the complete plan:

http://unionsforenergydemocracy.org/wp-content/uploads
/2015/09/Jeremy-Corbyn-Environment-plan-Aug-2015.pdf


_______________________________


 EU approves imports of genetically
 modified Monsanto soybeans

The European Commission has approved the
import & processing of Monsanto’s Roundup
 Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, after debates over
 glyphosate herbicide’s safety, delayed the
 introduction of the genetically modified
 soybean variety, for months.

“Today the Commission authorized three GMOs for
 food/feed uses (soybean MON 87708 x MON 89788,
 soybean MON 87705 x MON 89788 & soybean FG 72)
--- all of which have gone through a comprehensive
 authorization procedure, including a favorable
 scientific assessment by EFSA,” the European
 Commission statement reads.

Following the Commission’s approval Monsanto’s
 GMO soybeans are now authorized for use in the
 feed of animals and in human food --- but not for
 planting in the EU. The authorization is now valid
 for 10 years but the EU warns that “any products
 produced from these GMOs will be subject to the
 EU’s strict labeling and traceability rules.”

Although Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans are
 tolerant to glyphosate and dicamba herbicides,
 the use of dicamba herbicide over the Roundup
 Ready 2 Xtend soybeans remains in a late stage
 of the Environmental Protection Agency review
 and is not currently approved by the EPA.

Dicamba was first approved in 1967 & has been
 linked to high rates of cancer & birth defects in
 the families of food growers say the government
 and other scientific studies. Consumer, health,
 environmental, and farmer advocates, have
all fiercely opposed the new Xtend system,
over health and environmental concerns.

Europe is the second largest soybean customer as
 it relies on soybeans to meet demand for meat and
 dairy products. The entire bloc produces less than
1 million tons of soya a year, yet imports around
 35 million tons, according to the World Wide
Fund for Nature.

_____________________________________


France has banned plastic bags?

While some countries like France have opted
for a ban, others like Ireland and the UK have
 introduced plastic bag charges in an effort
to minimize their use.

It is estimated that 100 billion plastic grocery
bags are used across Europe per year, with 8
 billion ending up as litter.

Environmental Danger

Depending on the type of plastic, these bags
have been estimated to take between 100 &
 500 years to decompose in the environment,
where they pose a great risk to wildlife.

According to a study published in the peer-
reviewed journal, PLUS ONE, in December
2014, there are a minimum of 5.25 trillion
 pieces of plastic in the world's oceans.

Because plastic takes so long to decompose,
 much longer than an animal does, one piece
can kill several living creatures.

In Sept 2015 Australian scientists estimated
that as many as nine in ten seabirds have
plastic in their gut, & that increasing rates
 of ingestion mean that this figure will reach
 99 percent of all species by 2050 --- unless
 there is more effective waste management.

Health Risk: Scientists warn that people
are ingesting plastic by eating ocean fish.


___________________________________________



Reduce, Reuse, Recycle:
India to Build Roads of Plastic

The government of Maharashtra state in India
 has decided to kill two birds with one stone.
Plastic waste now will be used with asphalt
 to improve roads’ durability and reduce soil
pollution at the same time.

Plastic bags & pouches, bin linings, household
 goods, bottles and bottle caps in Maharashtra,
 get a second chance to serve a good purpose
 as the state government plans to use plastic
 waste along with asphalt, to build roads.

Delhi's Central Road Research Institute studies
revealed, that plastic waste added to asphalt
makes road building cheaper & better quality.

Added in small doses, 5-10% of the weight of
the asphalt (3-6 kg of plastic for every 100 kg
 of tar), it helps to improve stability, strength,
 fatigue life and other desirable properties of
 the road material.

"Such roads will have higher resistance to
 deformation and water induced damage,
increase their durability & strength, and
ultimately, dispose of plastic waste in a
 larger amount to save pollution," say the
 recommendations of the institute to the
Maharashtra government, adding:- "The
 use of waste plastic thus contributes to
the construction of green roads."

As a survey conducted by the Central
 Pollution Control Board in 2015 says:
the plastic waste generated in 60 of
India's cities, is estimated at over
 15,300 tons a day and over 6,100
 tons remain uncollected,
 as litter.

____________________________________


World's biodiversity drops
below "safe" levels: study


Xinhua - Changes in land use have caused global
 biodiversity to fall below what's considered to be
"safe" levels & threatens efforts toward long-term
 sustainable development, a new study reveals.


The study, published in the US journal Science,
studied 2.38 million records of 39,100+ species

 at 18,600 sites ---- to estimate how biodiversity
in
every square kilometre of land has changed

---- since humans modified the habitat.

For 58.1% of the world's land surface, where
 71.4% of the human population live, the level
 of biodiversity loss is substantial enough to
 question the ability of these ecosystems to
support human societies, it found.

The loss due to changes in land use puts levels
 of biodiversity, beyond the recently proposed
 planetary boundaries: an international frame-
work that defines a safe operating space for
 humanity.

"This is the first time we've quantified the effect
 of habitat loss on biodiversity, globally, in such
 detail and we've found that across most of the
 world, biodiversity loss is no longer within the
safe limit suggested by ecologists," the lead
researcher, Tim Newbold, from University
 College, London, says, in a statement.

"We know biodiversity loss affects ecosystem
 functioning, but how it does this, isn't entirely
clear. What we do know, is that in many parts
of the world, we are approaching a situation
 where human intervention might be needed
 to sustain ecosystem functioning," he says.

The study found that grasslands, savannas
 and shrublands were most affected by bio-
diversity loss, followed closely by many of
 the world's forests and woodlands.

It suggests the ability of biodiversity in
 these areas to support key ecosystem
functions, such as the growth of living
 organisms and nutrient cycling, has
 become increasingly uncertain.

The researchers also found that biodiversity
 hotspots - those that have seen habitat loss
 in the past, but have a lot of species only
 found in that area - are now threatened...
 & show high levels of biodiversity decline.

Some high biodiversity areas, eg Amazonia
- that haven't seen land use change - have
higher levels of biodiversity ---- and more
 scope for proactive conservation.

"The greatest changes have happened in the
 places where most people live, which might
affect physical & psychological well-being.

To address this, we would have to preserve
 the remaining areas of natural vegetation &
 restore human-used land," adds Dr Newbold.



________________________________________




Expansion of Transgenic Seeds
   Stopped in Guatemala    

Prensa Latina - Indigenous communities, ancestral
authorities and social organizations celebrate today
 in Guatemala, the suspension by the Constitutional
Court (CC) of the agreement giving a green light to
 the expansion of genetically modified seeds.

This victory, which
had much to do with the work
 of the Winaq deputy, Amilcar Pop, is seen by wide
 sectors, as an important step in defending the
natural resources and autochthonous seeds
 of the indigenous peoples of this country.

The CC of Guatemala notified, on June 17th,
the provisional suspension of Decree 6-2014
Protocol of Nagoya (Japan, 2010), dealing
 with Access to genetic resources and the
equitable distribution of the benefits
 arising from its use.

This treaty is questioned by civil organizations
 and the ancestral authorities --- because of the
procedure used in its approval, in Guatemala's
Congress --- as a matter of national urgency.

Also, the treaty did not gain the two thirds of
 the vote required by the Political Constitution
 (1985) and the organic law of the legislative
 power:-  despite which, it was implemented.

The Nagoya Protocol, legitimised after 6 years
 of negotiations within the context of the 10th
 Conference of the Parts of the agreement on
Biologic Diversity, pretends to promote new
 biotechnology for food production & genetic
 modification, as a benefit for natives and
 creoles.

This ruling -- by Guatemala's CC -- forces
the National Council of Protected Areas
to now suspend all actions oriented to
compliance, on Guatemalan territory.



________________________



One Third of 'Dead Zones' in World’s Oceans
 Around United States - Kerry

Roughly a third of all 'dead zones' in the
 world’s oceans, are in or around the US,
Secretary of State, John Kerry, reveals.

Sputnik - One third of the 400 "dead zones"
 in the world’s oceans depleted of oxygen,
 are in or around the US, Kerry informs a
classroom discussion in Silver Spring,
 Maryland.

"We have 166 dead zones in the United
States. The largest dead zone of all is
 about 5,000 square miles down in the
 Gulf of Mexico, where the Mississippi
 River comes out," Kerry said on Wed-
nesday in remarks published by the
 US Department of State.

"There are now over 400 dead zones on a
 global basis and they’ve gone up every
single decade, for the last decades.
What does that tell you? It tells you
 that we’re not solving the problem;
it’s getting worse, not better,"
 Kerry explained.

Which sea is the most heavily polluted in
 Europe? The North sea ---- around the UK.


________________________________



 Thousands march against GMO giant
Monsanto as Bayer takeover looms

400+ simultaneous demonstrations around
 the world voice fury at US biotech leviathan
 Monsanto, which is facing a hostile takeover
 by German pharmaceuticals company, Bayer.

“The whole world hates Monsanto!”  banners
 among the throng in Paris, read, as people
marched to the sound of a drum band.

The crowd held up posters condemning the sale
 of the herbicide RoundUp -- accused of causing
 cancer in humans -- and the development of
genetically-modified crops.

Environmentalist and leftist politicians, such
 as former presidential candidate, Jean-Luc
 Melenchon, marched at the front --- but the
 impetus to rally was given by another group.

Nuit Debout mobilized hundreds of thousands
 - for labour reform protests in recent months -
& many of the same demonstrators arrived,
 to barrack the St. Louis-based giant in Lille,
Bordeaux, and Lyon.

Genetically-modified crops are banned in France,
 despite the European Union gradually loosening
 regulation on the varieties, as they become more
 popular across the world, due to higher yields,
 and greater disease resistance.

Glyphosate, the active chemical in RoundUp and
 other leading herbicides, could face a Europe-wide
 ban after an EU committee failed to issue it with a
 new retail license, after protracted negotiations.

A UN report published this month stated that it was
 not likely to be ingested in quantities sufficient to
 cause cancer in humans -- but last year’s report by
 the UN cancer agency called for it to be recognized
 as a carcinogen that could cause non-Hogdkin’s
 lymphoma.

“Monsanto is killing me & you!” and “I am not your
 experiment!” read placards at a protest march
 through New York.

Over 90% of US-grown corn, soybean
 and cotton...  is genetically-modified.

Well-attended rallies also took place in
 Tokyo, across Germany and in Canada.

Monsanto, which has repeatedly put out
publicity campaigns to try & demonstrate
 that its product range is safe... issued a
conciliatory statement to protesters.

“The 22,000 people of Monsanto are committed
 to having an open dialogue about food and
 agriculture – we’re proud of the work we do,
and we’re eager for people to know more
about us,” said a Monsanto text sent out
 to the media.

“We know people have different points of view
 on these topics, and it’s important that they’re
able to express and share them.”

Marches against Monsanto have become a
regular event over the past half-decade, but
 activists may soon need to find a new target
for their anger --- after Bayer’s proposed bid
 for the US company, which has a market
cap, of nearly $46 billion.

While there's speculation that the Leverkusen-
headquartered company, famous for patenting
 aspirin, lacks the financial might needed for
 a takeover, market analysts have repeatedly
 suggested that if the bid goes through, Bayer
will drop the increasingly toxic Monsanto
 brand, as it swallows up the company.


___________________________________



 TTIP risks to health & environment, US pressure on
 EU revealed in secret docs leaked by Greenpeace

The controversial trade deal between the EU and the
US could affect public health, human rights, internet
privacy & the environment, badly, Greenpeace says,
 citing leaked negotiation print. The US is pressuring
 the EU over the deal, the text appears to show.

The 248 pages of classified negotiation papers on
 The Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership
 (TTIP) were released by Greenpeace Netherlands
 on Monday, May 2nd.

“This treaty is threatening to have far-reaching
 implications for the environment and the lives
of over 800 million citizens in the EU and US,”
a Greenpeace statement says.

The TTIP is “about a huge transfer of power from
 people to big business,” according to the group.

Greenpeace says the papers’ authenticity is
confirmed by an investigative research team
 consisting of Rechercheverbund NDR, WDR
und Süddeutsche Zeitung, media outlets.

The US is blocking European car exports
into the US, to force the EU to buy more
 environmentally risky US farm produce,
Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported, after
 analyzing the documents.

The deal will result in abandoning long-
standing environmental protections,
Greenpeace says, adding:

“The US demand for a ‘risk based’ approach
aiming to manage hazardous substances -
rather than avoid them - finds its way into
 various chapters. This approach under-
mines the ability of regulators to take
preventive measures, for example,
 regarding controversial substances
 like hormone disrupting chemicals,”
 the statement reads.

Greenpeace has been worried that the
negotiation papers do not mention the
General Exceptions rules, that would
allow nations to regulate trade --- “to
 protect human, animal and plant life
or health" or for "the conservation
of exhaustible natural resources."

“The omission of this regulation, suggests
 both sides are creating a regime that puts
profit ahead of human, animal & plant life
and health,” Greenpeace says.

“Whether you care about environmental
issues, animal welfare, labour rights, or
 internet privacy, you should be concerned
 about what is in these leaked documents.
 They underline the strong objections civil
 society and millions of people around the
 world, have voiced.”

Cecilia Malmstrom, a European Commissioner
 for Trade, blogs, saying the documents “reflect
 each side’s negotiating position, nothing else.”

“It is only normal that both parties in a negotiation
 want to achieve as many of their own objectives
as possible. That does not mean that the other
side gives in to those demands. That does not
 mean that the parties will meet halfway,” she
adds.

EU chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero also
dismisses Greenpeace’s report: “We have made
crystal clear that we would not agree on any-
thing that implies changes of our regulatory
 regime on GMOs.”

While the Transatlantic Trade and Investment
 Partnership (TTIP) between the US and Europe
 is set to create the world's largest free trade
 zone, many Europeans worry the agreement
will elevate corporate interest, above any
national interest. TTIP opponents say
that cheaper goods and services -----
 will only hurt the EU & help the US.

Europeans argue that international
corporations will be given power at
 the expensive of small/medium-sized
 businesses. Secrecy around the
negotiations has also produced
fierce criticism.

Just a day before Obama's visit to
Germany, thousands of anti-TTIP
 protesters hit Hanover's streets.

According to a new survey by pollsters
 YouGov -- on behalf of the Bertelsmann
 Foundation -- only 17% of Germans say
that TTIP is a good thing --- down from
 55%, two years ago; & in the US, only
18% of people now support the deal,
compared to 53%, in 2014.



_____________________________________




Plant-based motor oil introduced in Iran

The fresh brand was reportedly synthesized
 with the use of environmentally friendly
extracts from plants.

The new class of bio-based oil is said to improve
engine performance and increase motor age,
plus making  it run cleaner.

It will, additionally, reduce sedimentation in the
 motor, which causes gradual engine power loss.

Officials, who attended the unveiling ceremony,
 hail the company’s latest effort as a step toward
to a healthy environment, Iranian reports say.

Studies show bio-based oils cause a reduction
of at least 80% in greenhouse gas emissions --
 compared to similar petrol-based synthetic oils.

A US report in 2013 said 40%+ of the pollution
 in US waterways ---- came from used motor oil.



__________________________________




 BRICS bank approves first loans, $811mn
 investment in renewable energy projects

The BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) has
 approved its first package of loans worth some
 $811 million. The four projects in Brazil, China,
South Africa and India, are all in the renewal
energy development sphere.

The decision to approve the first loans, which
 are to be handed out in tranches, was passed
 by the NDB, at the board of governors on the
 sidelines of the International Monetary Fund
 (IMF) and the World Bank spring meetings in
 Washington DC, RIA reports.

The NDB decided to provide $300 million to Brazil,
 $81 million to China, $250 million to India & $180
 million to South Africa. The bank estimates that
 renewable energy field projects with a combined
 capacity of 2.37MW, can help reduce the amount
 of harmful emissions by 4 million tons annually.

“There are many more new projects in the pipeline
 including projects from Russia. They're at various
 stages of consideration or appraisal,” the NDB
 spokesperson says.

The ministers also discussed creating a credit
rating agency of their own, to tackle western
 dominance in this sphere.

“Deliberations were held on the efficacy
 of establishing a New Development Bank
 Institute and BRICS rating agency,” the
Indian media releases said:

“It was decided that a technical working
 group, will examine the issues in detail.”

The New Development Bank created by Brazil,
 Russia, India, China and South Africa, started
 its operations in July, 2015, with an initial
 authorized capital of $100 billion.

The goals of the bank --- with its headquarters
 in Shanghai, is to fund infrastructure projects
 in the emerging economies, for sustainable
 development.


________________________________



Whey To Go! UK Homes
 to Be Powered By Cheese

Protein from cheese residue, like the stuff used in
 energy supplements ---- will be used to power the
UK's gas grid and a creamery factory in the north
of England. The plant in Cumbria will be the first
in Europe to turn cheese waste into bio-methane.

Clearfleau, the firm behind the project, is
 to use bio-methane gas to power 40% of all
homes in the local area; the remaining gas
 will go back to power the creamery itself.

Lake District Biogas will run the First Milk
 Aspatria plant for 20 years and will be the
 first Anaerobic Digestion (AD) dairy plant
 in Europe to put bio-methane in the gas
grid ----- generated by cheese.



________________________________




TTIP TOXIC

The very core of both Obama’s ‘trade’ deal with
 Europe, TTIP, and his ‘trade’ deal with Asia, TPP,
is to sign away legislators’ power to protect the
electorate -- from harmful additives, toxic water
and foods and air, unsafe cars, and to preserve
the environment for themselves and future
 generations – and more.

At its core, it transfers national sovereignty
 to a worldwide dictatorship of international
 corporations (via three-person corporate-
accountable panels of ‘arbitrators’, whose
rulings are non-appealable and are not
 required to adhere to any nation’s laws
(– it’s shocking, but true).


______________________________



China proposes $50 trillion
global renewable energy network

The company running China’s power grid is proposing
 a $50 trillion global electricity network --- to tackle
 pollution and climate change. If it goes ahead, the
 network would use advanced renewable solar
& wind technology, and be operating by 2050.

Beijing’s network will be the world’s biggest
 infrastructure project, if given the green light.
 
The State Grid has signed a memorandum
 of understanding, already, with Russia's
 energy grid Rosseti, Korea’s Electric
Power and SoftBank Group of Japan.

According to State Grid’s Chair, Liu Zhenya,
 the planet is facing "three major challenges",
 which are:-  energy scarcity, environmental
pollution and climate change.

Liu adds that smart grids, ultra-high voltage (UHV)
grids and clean energy are the only way to a green
low carbon, economical, efficient and open energy
system, with sustainable supplies.

Liu adds that the global network, could boost the
share of clean energy to 80% of world consumption
--- displacing fossil fuels as the main energy source.

"China is already the biggest country in the world
for wind, solar power generation & also UHV grids.
 And it has scale, so we can learn many things from
 China's success. Also, by interconnecting, we can
 help each other on supply and demand," SoftBank
 CEO, Masayoshi Son, tells the Global Times.

"It's a brilliant plan. It might encounter difficulties
 during construction --- but it is possible,"  Xue
 Jiancong, spokesperson for China Merchants
 New Energy Group, a leading renewable
 energy company, tells NBC News.

The major barriers for the project “are institutional,
 not technical,” the former US energy official David
 Sandalow, tells the Wall Street Journal. “It is an
open question, whether national governments
 will be open to such a revolutionary idea,”
he adds.


__________________________



Saudi Arabia to set up $2 trillion
 mega-fund for post oil era

The world’s largest crude exporter, Saudi Arabia,
plans to create a huge sovereign wealth fund for
 the country’s most prized assets, to prepare for
 the post oil era, says the Deputy Crown Prince,
 Mohammed bin Salman, as cited by Bloomberg.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) will eventually
 control over $2 trillion, & help the kingdom shift
 away from oil, which has seen falling prices
 strain Saudi Arabia's finances.

The Prince says that the wealth fund already
 holds stakes in companies, such as, Saudi
Basic Industries (the world’s second-biggest
 chemicals manufacturer) --- and in National
 Commercial Bank (S. Arabia’s largest lender).

“Undoubtedly, it will be the largest fund on
 Earth,” says the prince. “This will happen
as soon as Aramco goes public.”

As part of the new strategy, Riyadh plans to
 sell shares of state-owned energy company
 Saudi Aramco ----- and transform it into an
industrial conglomerate. The sale of the
company is planned for 2018, or even a
 year earlier.

“IPOing Aramco & transferring its shares to PIF,
 will technically make investment the source of
Saudi government revenue, not oil,” the prince
 says, in an interview at the royal compound
 in Riyadh, on Thursday. “What is left now
 is to diversify investments. So within 20
years, we will be an economy or state
that doesn’t depend mainly on oil.”

According to the fund’s sec. general,
 Yasir Alrumayyan, PIF is expected
to raise the proportion of foreign
 investments to 50% by 2020...
from the current 5%.

The kingdom is highly dependent on oil revenues,
& is suffering a record high budget deficit, which
 is expected to reach $87 billion, this year. The
 crude oil price crisis has had an impact on the
 economy, as oil sales account for almost 80%
 of the country’s revenue. Saudi Arabia’s
 foreign reserves fell to $640 billion last
 year, from $737 billion in 2014.

In January Riyadh outlined an ambitious
 economic development plan -- aimed at
dramatically reducing dependence on
 crude prices. The authorities intend to
restructure the economy by investing
more in other sectors, particularly in
healthcare, tourism and IT.

The government has also announced plans
to liberalize the market in order to attract
foreign investors.

“It is clear Saudi Arabia needs to reform, diversify,
 and re-energize its economy, but this will involve
 more than just increasing investment in non-oil
 industries,” a professor of security studies at
Georgetown University in Washington, Paul
Sullivan tells Bloomberg. “One cannot order
 economic reforms like a ten course dinner.”


______________________________________



TEPCO Starts to Freeze Soil
                at Fukushima Nuclear Plant               
 
 Prensa Latina - Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)
 started work on Thursday to freeze soil around
the disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear
power plant, in an operation to slow the pace
 of increase in radioactive water there.

The measure is expected to reduce the amount
 of groundwater flowing into the facilities every
day to about 50 tons, from 100+ tons, currently.

TEPCO required a Nuclear Regulation Authority
permit that took two years, since the directors
feared environmental damage.

To freeze the soil, special coolant under 30
degrees centigrade, is circulated through
pipes driven into the ground around the 4
reactors at the plant -- which was heavily
 damaged in the March 2011 earthquake
 and tsunami.

TEPCO experts explain that the Nuclear
Regulation Authority has approved the
operational start of frozen soil shields
 -- on condition that the work is done
in stages and results will start
showing in 45 days.


______________________________



We’re #1! Carbon dioxide is at its
 highest rate -- in 66 million years

After February’s most abnormally warm month
 on record, a new study in National Geoscience
 shows humans are releasing carbon dioxide at
a rate 10 times faster than at any time in the
 past 66 million years.

Carbon dioxide is necessary for the Earth, but the
 study by Richard Zeebe of the University of Hawaii
 at Manoa, Andy Ridgwell of the University of Bristol,
 and James C. Zachos of the University of California
 Santa Cruz, explains that “The Palaeocene–Eocene
 Thermal Maximum (PETM), is known, at present, to
have had the highest carbon release rates of the
past 66 million years.”

The PETM refers to a period 56 million years ago,
 when ''something'' caused the concentration of
atmospheric carbon dioxide, to spike at levels
 higher than today’s.

This caused Earth to warm, its oceans to acidify,
 & a mass extinction of animal and plant species.

 This is important, because the PETM took place
 over a long period of time.

Zeebe's team gathered their information on
 the PETM by examining a deep core of ocean
 sediment from the New Jersey coast... which
 was used to analyze ratios between isotopes
 of carbon & oxygen, and could consequently
 determine how atmospheric carbon dioxide
 levels have influenced temperatures.

Scott Wing, a paleobiologist and curator at
 the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
 in Washington, told Mashable:

 “If the rate of PETM carbon addition was a
 tenth of our rate, then the future will likely
 be much more extreme than the PETM, in
 many ways.”

Mashable reports that the PETM is believed
 to have lasted more than 4,000 years, with
 a maximum emission rate of 1.1 billion tons
 a year. Today, emission rates are estimated
 to be closer to 10 billion tons per year.

So what does this mean for planet Earth?
 Well, it’s hard to say, because the PETM
occurred very slowly, and there is no
analogue to be drawn between today’s
 high carbon dioxide emission rates,
and those of the PETM.

“... Unfortunately, because we’re doing it
 so fast, our conclusion is that the rate
of acidification will be much more
 severe in the future, and also that
the effects on the calcifiers are
likely to be more severe than
what we see during PETM,”
 Zeebe told Mashable.


________________________________



Tory inaction on emissions ‘insults people
 dying from air pollution,’ say green lawyers

Green campaigners are suing the government for
 failing to meet EU air pollution limits in UK cities.

Environmental law group ClientEarth issued a fresh
 legal challenge on March 18th, after accusing the
 Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
 (Defra), of delaying stricter pollution laws.

The government is legally required to meet EU
 targets on the toxic gas NO2, which is thought
 to kill about 25,000 people in the UK each year.

ClientEarth have asked the High Court to now
urgently review Defra’s plans to tackle the gas
- which is emitted from vehicles, and industry.

A lawyer for the group says the court could force
 the government to rewrite its policies to counter
 pollution.

“The plan they came up with [in Dec 2015],
was just not good enough. It was a plan for
a plan... These are classic delaying tactics.
Meanwhile, thousands of people are dying,”
ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews says.

“Government has been delaying for years.
This challenge will force a full legal
examination of Defra’s plans.”

ClientEarth’s case concerns 15 cities &
regions across the UK, including London,
Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow.

Scottish and Welsh ministers, the Mayor of
London, and the Department for Transport,
will also be served with papers.

The group claimed victory last April, when the
 UK Supreme Court, ruled the government had
failed to meet EU pollution limits.

Alan Andrews, a lawyer from ClientEarth, says
 the government plans, were an insult to those
 dying from air pollution.

“As the government can’t be trusted to deal with
 toxic air pollution, we are now asking the court
 to intervene, and make sure it is taking action,”
 he says.

“It is a disgrace that we have had to take further
 legal action, to force the government to protect
 our health.

“The government’s plans were an insult to those
 being made sick and dying from air pollution and
 failed to consider strong measures ----- to get the
 worst-polluting diesel vehicles out of our towns
 and city centres."

In January, London exceeded its EU air pollution
 limits for the entire year in just 8 days, according
 to London Air Quality Network.

High levels of toxic gas are emitted from diesel
 exhaust fumes. A new study says that exposure
 to the fumes, can significantly impact people
 with asthma.

Researchers at Imperial College, London, have
found that both during and after a 2-hour walk
 along the city’s busy Oxford Street, volunteers
 experienced increased asthmatic symptoms
 including reduced lung capacity and
inflammation in the lungs.


_____________________________________


‘Climate Emergency’: Scientists Stunned
 by February Temperature Records

Experts warn that we may be nearing a tipping
 point that could trigger a massive, apocalyptic
 temperature increase.

This weekend NASA released data showing
 that February 2016 was not only the hottest
February in recorded history, but soared so
 far past all previous records, as to cause
scientists to describe it as "an ominous
 milestone in our march towards an
 ever-warmer planet."

The average global surface temperature for
February was 1.35°C warmer than the average
for the month, as measured from 1951 to 1980.

 The previous record, 1.14°C above the 1951-1980
 baseline, was set one month earlier, in Jan. 2016.

According to meteorologists Bob Henson & Dr.
Jeff Masters, founder of the popular Weather
 Underground meteorological website, NASA's
 report is a "bombshell."

The meteorologists worry that Earth may
 have passed a critical tipping point, with
"February 2016 soaring past all rivals, as
 the warmest seasonally adjusted month
 in 100 + years, of global record-keeping."

Stefan Rahmstorf, of Potsdam Institute
 of Climate Impact Research, Germany,
 describes the development by using
 cataclysmic terminology.

"We are in a state of climate emergency now,"
 says Rahmstorf, adding, "the new figures are
 quite stunning --- and what we are seeing, is
completely unprecedented."

Generally, scientists caution against highlighting
 a one or two month temperature spike, particularly
 in an El Niño climate cycle, as Earth is experiencing
 this year. However, the climate data reported, is so
 extraordinary, many scientists believe it warrants
 serious alarm.

Temperatures reported in February 2016 exceed
 even the "super" El Niño of Feb. 1998 -- by 0.47°C.

Climatologists believe this string of monthly
 temperature records will continue, with record
 readings in the months and years to come, due
 to an increased concentration of carbon in the
global atmosphere, that, in turn, will drive
 higher longer-term temperatures.

What many scientists fear, beyond a gradual rise
 in temperatures, is reaching a tipping point, a full-
scale melting of the polar ice caps --- which would
 release methane, a powerful greenhouse gas with
 roughly 80 times the impact on world temperature
 as carbon dioxide.

If the ice caps melt, scientists speculate that it
could trigger a rapid, potentially apocalyptic
 temperature hike.


____________________________________


Pope Francis Calls to Address
                 One of the Greatest Crises               
 
 Prensa Latina - "We can no longer remain silent
before one of the greatest environmental crises
 in world history", pope Francis said on Monday,
15th of February, during a mass held in Chiapas,
Mexico, before indigenous communities.

Francis criticized the irresponsible use
 and abuse of natural resources.

"We grew up thinking we were the world's
 owners and were authorized to plunder it,
he emphasized.

The Pope presided over the mass in the
main indigenous languages of Chiapas:
Tzeltal, Tzotzil and Chol. The liturgy
included readings, prayers and
hymns in those languages.

Francis said indigenous communities have
 much to teach mankind, as they know how
to relate harmoniously with nature.

He denounced how, in a systematic and
organized way, indigenous peoples have
 been misunderstood and excluded from
 society, over the course of history.

"Some have considered your values,
culture and traditions to be inferior",
 he emphasised. "Others, intoxicated
 by power, money and market trends,
have stolen your lands, or have
contaminated them."


_________________________________



UK closes its oldest nuclear reactor
after 45 yrs of operation

The UK closed its oldest nuclear reactor, Wylfa
1,
after nearly 45 years of operation, Reuters
reports, citing operator Magnox.


“Wylfa Nuclear Power Station closed down,
 marking the conclusion of Magnox reactor
generation in the UK,” the company says.

The 490-megawatt nuclear reactor in Wales
 was scheduled to shut in September 2014,
but operations were extended.

Wylfa 1 started operating in 1971 next
to its twin Wylfa 2 reactor, which was
permanently shut down in April 2012.


______________________________


 ‘Cut antibiotics use in livestock to avert
superbug catastrophe’ – UK health review

Urgent cuts must be made in the use of antibiotics
 in livestock farming, as misuse of the drugs, risks
 sparking a global public health crisis, a UK-
government commissioned review says.

World governments need to reach internationally
 agreed targets, to reduce the use of antibiotics --
if medicine is to retain its effectiveness in killing
 bacteria.

The review, led by former Goldman Sachs chief
 economist Jim O’Neill, suggests countries follow
the lead set by Denmark and the Netherlands.

Denmark uses an average of less than 50mg of
 antibiotics a year per kilogram of livestock – a
 figure O’Neill says “may be a good starting
point for such a target.”

“Denmark has shown that a very productive farming
 industry can be sustained alongside relatively low
 levels of antibiotic use,” the review says.

In many countries the majority of antibiotics are
 used in livestock, not in humans, the study finds.

In the United States for example, over 70%
of medically important antibiotics are used
 on animals, while humans use 30%.

“This creates a big resistance risk for everyone,”
 O’Neill says. “It’s time for policy makers to act
 on this.”

Infectious disease expert and Wellcome Trust
director, Jeremy Farrar, says urgent action is
 needed, to combat a future crisis.

“We can now be certain that the health of live-
stock animals, and how we care for them, is
 inextricably linked to our own health and the
 effectiveness of medicines we rely on every
 day,” he says in a statement.

“We need international governments, policy
makers and the agricultural industry to coor-
dinate their actions, and set tangible targets
for the reduction, & better use of, antibiotics
 in animals.”

The review’s recommendations come amid
 global alarm over the discovery in China of
a gene dubbed MCR-1, that makes bacteria
 resistant to even the strongest antibiotic.

Professor Timothy Walsh of the University of
Cardiff’s Institute of Infection & Immunity told
 the BBC last month, that the world is on the
cusp of the “post-antibiotic era.”

“All the key players are now in place to make
 the post-antibiotic world a reality,” he said.

“If MCR-1 becomes global, which is a case of
when not if, & the gene aligns itself with other
 antibiotic resistance genes, which is inevitable,
then we will have very likely reached the start
of the post-antibiotic era.

“At that point if a patient is seriously ill, say
with E. coli, then there is virtually nothing
you can do,” he adds.


______________________________


 
Putin wants Russia to become
world's biggest exporter of Non-GMO food

Russia could become the world's largest supplier of
 ecologically clean & high-quality organic food, said
 President Vladimir Putin on thursday. He also called
 on the country to become completely self-sufficient
 in food production by 2020.

"We are not only able to feed ourselves, taking into
 account our lands, water resources. Russia is able
 to become the largest world supplier of healthy,
 ecologically clean and high-quality food --- which
 the Western producers have long lost: especially
 given the fact that demand for such products in
 the world market, is steadily growing," said
Putin, addressing the Russian Parliament.

According to the President, Russia is now an
 exporter, not an importer, of food.

"10 years ago, we imported almost half of our food
 from abroad and were dependent on imports. Now
 Russia is among the exporters. Last year, Russian
 exports of agricultural products totalled almost
$20 billion - a quarter more than the revenue from
 the sale of arms, or one-third of the revenue from
gas exports," he said.

Putin said all this makes Russia fully capable
of supplying the domestic market with home-
grown food by 2020.

In September, the Kremlin decided against
producing food products with genetically
modified organisms (GMOs).

Russia imposed an embargo on the supply
of products from the EU & US, in response
 to Western sanctions. When Turkey shot
 down a Russian Su-24 bomber, Russia's
 authorities banned fruit, vegetables, &
poultry from Turkey, as from Jan. 1st.


________________________________



Botswana Sells UK Company Right
to Drill for Shale Gas in National Park

Sputnik — Botswana's government has recently sold
 the rights to the UK owned Karoo Energy company,
 to frack for shale gas in the Kgalagadi transfrontier
park, the Guardian newspaper reports.

The Kgalagadi park is among Africa's largest
 conservation areas.

___________________________________


Record radiation at Fukushima power plant
could kill person in under 1 hour – reports

Deadly radiation levels of up to 9.4 Sieverts per hour
 have been recorded at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear
 power plant --- enough to kill a person in less than an
 hour, if directly exposed, Japan's local media report.

The mortal radiation reading was taken in a small
 room, using a remote-controlled robot, where a
 pipe leads to the containment vessel of No. 2
reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power
plant, JIJI Press reports, citing Tokyo Electri
c Power Co (TEPCO).

The reading of 9.4 sieverts (Sv) per hour was
taken during the September 4-25 checks.

According to the operator, the highest levels
of contamination were measured on the floor.
TEPCO did not offer any further details. The
company is about to start a decontamination
 process, it hopes to complete by December.

Immediate radiation exposure around the
Fukushima nuclear power plant after the
 deadly incident reached 400 millisieverts
(mSv) per hour in places.

 One millisievert is a thousandth of a sievert,
therefore the new 9.4 Sv reading is 23.5
times higher than the radiation level
recorded in March, 2011.

Just to compare, the typical average dose
 for a person is about 0.0036 Sv. per year.

Combined career exposure limits for NASA's
 male astronauts --- by the time they are 55
years old --- is 4.00 Sv.

Early last week, a government commissioned
study, said that nearly 40% of those involved
 in the emergency assistance operation at
 Fukushima's plant in March 2011, suffered
 from radiation exposure, exceeding the
yearly public norm.

A magnitude 9 earthquake triggered a tsunami
that struck Fukushima on March 11, 2011. The
 disaster caused a triple meltdown at the plant,
 where so far almost 45,000 workers have been
 involved in a clean-up & decommissioning effort
that is expected to cost billions of dollars and
take about 40 years.


_____________________________________________


Fukushima – a Hushed Up Catastrophe

“Its against international law to dump radioactivity
 into the sea, but that is precisely what is happening
 on a daily basis,” says Dr. Keith Baverstock, former
regional adviser for Radiation and Public Health,
World Health Organization (“WHO”), speaker at the
 Citizen-Scientist International Symposium on
 Radiation Protection, in October, 2015.

As intimated by Dr. Baverstock, inexplicably,
 Fukushima is immune to international law,
standards, and conventions, and nobody
cares enough to do anything about it.

Japan’s PM Abe (61), a graduate in political
science from Seikei University, is reopening
nuclear power plants as quickly as possible.

 Dr. Baverstock, “I’m really appalled at the way
 the international system has failed. Quite frankly,
we don’t get anything through the media. There's
no general understanding of the situation here in
 Europe, because the media are not putting this
view forward. In fact, I think many people would
 be very surprised, that it was still a matter for
 discussion. They would be even more surprised
 to learn that it’s still an ongoing accident, and
that it hasn’t terminated yet… and they would
 be more surprised to learn that nobody knows
 how to stop it.”

Abe's administration established a very tight
 news blackout and instituted severe secrecy
 laws --- to prevent the truth from getting out.

Information about the meltdown is controlled
via biased sources. Dr. Baverstock underlines:

 It is imperative for “the IAEA (International Atomic
Energy Agency) to have its role clarified. It cannot
continue to be the promoter of nuclear power and
the organization that is involved for safety. So, the
 failure of the IAEA to respond, in this particular
 instance is very good ammunition to move towards
 getting that view heard at the UN General Assembly,
 and that will be something which politicians have
 to do. There are some politicians who are
sympathetic to the view expressed here.”

Of course, it's only too self-evident that PM Abe
 is preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and
 posturing to re-open nuke facilities. As of 22nd
October, 21 of Japan’s 43 operable reactors,
are undergoing NRA safety reviews.

 Already, Kyushu EPC’s Sendai 2 nuclear power
plant restarted last week, supplying electricity
 to the grid. It’s as if nothing bad has happened.

Corium is a lava-like radioactive hot molten mix
of a nuclear reactor core formed in a meltdown.

The corium is missing at Fukushima Daiichi
 Nuclear Power Plant No. 2. Nobody knows
where it is. Nobody knows! Better yet, or
rather worse yet, finding No.2’s melted
core is an ongoing challenge.

What if the corium leaked or leaks into the
ground, beneath the reactor’s final cement
& steel containment vessel, the last line of
defense? Answer: Nobody knows because
 it has never happened before.

Cesiun-137, deadly to all Earth's life forms,
 and one of many dangerous isotopes, is
water-soluble --- and makes its way into
 soils and waters --- and quickly becomes
ubiquitous in the ecosystem; that’s what
 happens: “ubiquitous in the ecosystem.”

Afterwards, an exclusion zone is established to
 keep everybody out, due to excessive levels of
 radiation. When Ihor Gramotkin, director of the
 Chernobyl Power Plant, was asked how soon
 Chernobyl's reactor site would be inhabitable
again, he replied: “At least 20,000 years.”

Yet the Abe government is already, now,
 moving people back into some of the 4-
year-old exclusion zones of Fukushima.

200 US sailors of the USS Reagan have a
pending lawsuit against TEPCO, et al and
say young sailors are already enduring
 leukemia, ulcers, gall bladder removals,
 brain cancer, brain tumors, testicular
 cancer, dysfunctional uterine bleeding,
thyroid illness, stomach ailments & other
 complaints, unusual in such young adults.

The sailors served in “Operation Tomodachi,”
providing humanitarian relief after the March
 11th, 2011 Fukushima disaster -- based upon
assurances that radiation levels were okay.

According to the plaintiff’s attorneys, more
sailors are now in the process of coming
 on board, as a storm of nuclear radiation
 after-effects, spreads through the ranks.



________________________________



Belgium to power 170 trains with wind energy

Xinhua -- Belgium has inaugurated a project to
power 170 trains by wind energy -- with the first
 seven of the 25 turbines having entered service
on Saturday,
25th October, local media report.

Sudpresse newspaper group says turbines will
 be built along the main rail line from Leuven to
 Liege,
generating enough power for every high-
speed and local train using the line.


The number of trains to be covered by the wind
 project, represents about 5% of the country's
total rail traffic, Belgian railtrack operator
 Infrabel says.

Belgian broadcaster RTL reports that
once all
25 turbines are operating, they are expected
 to produce 35,000 megawatt hours -- enough
 energy to power 10,000 homes.


About two-thirds of the produced electricity is
 needed for the rail line and the surplus will be
added to the domestic electricity supply grid.

Philippe Van Troeye, production director at
Belgian energy firm Electrabel, tells media:

"Wind energy, like solar power, is intermittent,
 but it will play a more and more important role
 in our energy provision, in the future."


________________________________________



The Bee Under Frosty’s Bonnet

This article appeared first in the Morning Star.
 
Peter Frost reports on how relentless and secret
 lobbying of the Tory government by agribusiness
has brought a banned bee-killing poison back to
 our countryside.

Do you remember that once David Cameron vowed
 that his government would be the greenest ever?
Well that is just one more velvet glove that has
 been discarded to reveal yet another Tory iron fist.

Cameron’s Tory government along with its most un-
green minister to destroy the environment Liz Truss
has caved to pressure from agrochemical farming's
 lobby & agreed to let bee-harming pesticides back
 into the UK's fields this autumn.

Truss and her team at Defra have ignored the
 overwhelming science showing neonicotinoids
 harm honeybees, bumblebees and many other
 pollinators and beneficial insects.

After months of secrecy the government has
agreed to let farmers in some parts of England
 sow seeds treated with neonicotinoid pesticides.

They claim it is only a temporary measure,
but in fact it's much more likely to become
permanent and nationwide.

Friends of the Earth bees’ campaigner
Paul de Zylva, tells the Morning Star:

 “It’s scandalous that the government has caved in
 to the National Farmers Union (NFU) pressure and
 given permission for some farmers to use banned
 pesticides that have been shown to harm our
precious bees.

“Ever more scientific evidence shows just how
dangerous these chemicals are to bees & other
 pollinators — they should have no place in our
fields and gardens.”

Dr Lynn Dicks of the University of Cambridge:

 “We now have robust evidence that neonicotinoids
 have a serious impact on free-living bumblebee
colonies in real farmed landscapes.”

The government has been negotiating with the
 agrochemical industry in secret... It continues
to refuse to make publicly available the NFU
 application - and even suppressed the notes
 of its expert advisers’ meeting.

Public pressure finally got these released and
 published but surprise, surprise, they say nothing
 about the alleged scientific basis for the decision.

Truss and other ministers promised that decisions
 would be science-based. But how can we believe
them if the secrecy continues?

The government tell us that this use of chemicals
is only a limited and temporary permission for one
 crop in a particular areas of the country, but we
 know the NFU continues to lobby for the
extension of use for these poisons, that
 we know, kill bees.

These neonicotinoids are banned all over the EU
and there’s more than enough evidence to make
 the ban permanent here in Britain.

For instance the ingredient allowed under this change
of mind by Truss and the government -- clothianidin -- 
was tested in the recent study.........   It showed that
bumblebees in landscapes with clothianidin-treated
 oilseed rape produced only a third as many queens
 as those in landscapes treated with other — non
neonicotinoid — insecticides.

The NFU and the industrial farming lobby continue
 their campaign to get the ban lifted all across the
 UK. Commercial beekeepers are deeply worried
 both about crop pollination and honey production.

Public pressure, protest demonstrations, online
 petitions, have all shown the government, that
most people are totally opposed to the
industrial farming lobby and to their poisons.

The lack of government transparency shows how
 much pressure it has been under from members
of the public who are totally opposed to the use
 of neonicotinoids.


__________________________________



Countries Confirm Presence
    at Climate Summit in Bolivia    

In Morales' opinon, there is a world environmental
 movement for the 'Pachamama', or 'Mother Earth'.

The conclusions of the 2nd World Summit in
October on the Rights of Mother Earth --- in
Cochabamba --- will be presented to the next
UN Conference on Climate Change, slated for
 Paris on November 30 - December 11 this year.


_____________________



and Wales....?
 
Scotland is the latest nation to ban cultivation
 of genetically-modified (GM) crops, also known
 as GMOs – genetically-modified organisms.

Scotland is taking advantage of EU regulations
which permit it to opt out of being forced to let
GMO agri-business gain access to Scotland.

 In its decision, the Scottish National Party
(SNP) government in Edinburgh has broken
with the Tory government in London, which
has allowed the production of GMO crops.

 Opponents of GM foods argue that, although
 the European Union law allows some nations
to opt out of growing GM crops, it lets others
permit GM companies into their agricultural
 sectors, thus circumventing the
current GM
bans in Germany, Italy, and France.

Scottish government official statement:

 "The Scottish Government believes that
 GM policy in Scotland should be guided
by what is best for our economy, & our
 own agricultural sector, rather than by
UK priorities. There is no evidence of a
significant demand for GM products, by
 Scottish consumers. To grow GM crops
 in Scotland, would damage our 'clean
and green' brand."


To stop a contamination of Scottish crops
 by English GM seeds, a strict agricultural
 inspection regime must be established on
 the English-Scottish border, a thing that's
music to the ears of pro-independence
 Scots, and a nightmare for the English,
who want to preserve an increasingly-
unworkable "United Kingdom".

The only Scottish MEP on the EU's
 agricultural committee, Alyn Smith
 of the SNP, says Scotland wants to
 have a reputation for growing and
exporting natural foods, not these
adulterated GM products.

 Smith says, while the SNP favors
 "carefully regulated research and
 development of GM foods", it does
not want to jeopardize Scotland’s
 role, as a producer of natural
 quality foods.

One effect of the Transatlantic Trade &
 Investment Partnership (TTIP) --- if the
UK accedes to the TTIP --- will be that
Monsanto could sue Scotland before
 an ISDST...  and potentially scrap
 Scotland’s GMO farming ban.

The role of the TTIP...   is to circumvent
 national sovereignty & put corporations
- like Monsanto - over the will of elected
governments & the people they govern.

 In addition, under free trade agreements
 like the TPP, articles like this, criticizing
 Monsanto, could result in costly lawsuits
 against both author & publisher, brought
 before ISDSTs.

 Constitutional guarantees of the freedom
 of the press & speech in the US, & other
 TTIP signatory nations are abrogated by
 "free trade" agreements designed to put
 the rights of multinational corporations
above nations, states, provinces,
 counties, municipalities, and
individual citizens.

Russia and France ban the cultivation of
 Monsanto’s GM products, including corn.
Monsanto corn has been found to cause
cancerous tumors in laboratory rats.

Yet the proto-fascist government of Ukraine
 welcomes Monsanto & other GM companies
 with open arms. At risk, is Ukraine’s large
wheat-growing industry.

Perhaps nothing shows the link between
 neo-cons and GM foods, better, than the
US neocons' support for the Ukrainian
 government & its dangerous agricultural
 policy, which aims to benefit Monsanto,
 & destroy the individual Ukraine farmer.

The Monsantos made much of their fortune via
 the transatlantic slave trade. From its roots in
 trading in African slaves, Monsanto now trades
 in adulterated food products and in pesticides
shown to be harmful, not only to humans, but
also livestock and bees, and other beneficial
 insects, and to bird populations.

 Monsanto’s first major Frankenfood offering
was saccharin, a derivative of coal tar, and
 which was sold to the Coca Cola Company.

Saccharin has been shown to cause
 bladder cancer in humans.

After President Obama’s trip to his dad's
 homeland in Kenya, 7 Kenyan MPs from
 parliamentary committees dealing with
 Agriculture, Livestock & Cooperatives,
 Education, Research and Technology,
Health, the Environment and Natural
Resources, Finance, Planning and
 Trade, introduced legislation to
 lift Kenya’s ban on GMOs.

Kenya succumbed to the desires of a US
president, more interested in protecting
the profits of Monsanto -- whose initial
financial backing came from a family of
slave traders -- than in the health of the
people of Kenya.


_______________________



Earth closer to 'irreversible changes' as
 humans cross 4 of 9 planetary boundaries

Earth is slipping towards the “danger zone” as
 humanity has crossed 4 of the 9 environmental
phases (so-called planetary boundaries) moving
closer potentially “irreversible changes,” a new
high-profile study claims.

A combination of factors, including climate change,
 shifting agriculture patterns & other activities that
 cause biological and chemical changes to nature
 (not least of which is the use of fertilizer), have
 got us closer to “the danger zone” from which
 there’s no return, a study in 'Science' claims.

“We’re running up to and beyond the biophysical
 boundaries that enable human civilization as we
 know it to exist,” says the co-author of the study,
 Steve Carpenter, who's director of the University
 of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Limnology.

Carried out by 18 leading experts in their fields,
 the study entitled ‘Planetary Boundaries: Guiding
 human development on a changing planet’ points
 out that human activity is changing the planet's
functions, destabilizing complex interactions
 between people, oceans, land, and atmosphere.

"For the first time in human history, we need to relate
 to the risk of destabilizing the entire set," one of the
 authors of the study, Professor John Rockstrom of
Stockholm University, tells the Thomson Reuters
 Foundation. His colleague, Professor Will Steffen,
believes that “past a certain threshold, curbing
 greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, or
 land-use change may not reverse or even slow
 the trends of Earth System degradation, with
 potentially catastrophic consequences.”

The report is based on the 9 ‘boundaries’
idea
that originated in 2009. Each phase stands for
 boundaries, within which, humanity can live
 sustainably and what that would entail.


The nine planetary boundaries:

1. Climate change

2. Change in biosphere integrity
 (biodiversity loss and species extinction)

3. Stratospheric ozone depletion

4. Ocean acidification

5. Biogeochemical flows
 (phosphorus and nitrogen cycles)

6. Land-system change
 (for example deforestation)

7. Freshwater use

8. Atmospheric aerosol loading
(microscopic particles in the atmosphere
that affect climate and living organisms)

9. Introduction of novel entities
 (e.g. organic pollutants, radioactive
materials, nanomaterials, and micro-plastics).


Each is marked by an irreversible change to our
 environment and, once reached, is followed by
a period where we can either act or let it all slip
 further. And, “given the pace of change, we can
no longer exclude the possibility of reaching
critical tipping points that could abruptly and
 irreversibly change living conditions on Earth,”
 the report says.

Back in September, a WWF report said
Earth has crossed 3 of the 9 identified
"planetary boundaries,” which, it said,
are “potentially catastrophic changes
to life as we know it.”

The 3 extreme danger points crossed:

Biodiversity,
Carbon dioxide levels

Nitrogen pollution from fertilizers.

Scientists consider climate change
as at the top of this list of planetary
boundaries, the researchers believe.

"We are at a point where we may see abrupt,
irreversible changes, due to climate change,"
 Rockstrom says, referencing particularly the
danger of the melting Arctic ice sheets, which
 releases large amounts of greenhouse gases.

According to the study, our planet has been in
a “remarkably stable state” for 12,000 years.
 But this changed roughly 100 years ago, says
Carpenter, who adds “everything important to
 civilization” occurred during that precise time
 – from agriculture to the industrial revolution.

The paper will be discussed at the World
Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland,
 next week, presented as a wake-up call
 to policymakers.

 It will also be incorporated into the UN’s
 upcoming global strategy in September,
for
when the current Millennium
Development
Goals expire.


___________________________



A forum on ecological development 
in southwest China's Guizhou Province

Under the theme "Embracing New Era of Eco-
civilization", Eco Forum Global in Guiyang City,
 Guizhou's capital, saw 1,700 plus delegates
 from across the globe discuss topics like:
sustainable development, climate change,
& green energy, to finance, says the forum
organizer.

The environment is at the highest ever place
on
China's agenda, Du Qinglin, vice chair of
the National Committee of the Chinese
People's
Political Consultative Conference,
said in a speech
at the opening ceremony.

China is trying to find new growth in eco-
friendly industries, create sustainable urban
 patterns, control pollution and cure China's
 environmental damage, Du says.

"We expect to nurture a new competitive edge
 and new sources of national strength through
 green development. Going green will be China's
 new path to tackle the economic new normal,"
he says.

The event is China's latest effort to enhance
 awareness to protect the environment, after
a growth-at-all-costs economic model fueled
 decades of explosive growth --- but tainted
much of the country's air, water and land.


Environment Minister Chen Jining said: 
"the Chinese environment is reaching,
or has reached, its limit -- due to years
of sprawling development at the price
of the
environment".

The Chinese government has promised to take
 "more forceful" measures in the next five years
to protect the environment and promote green
development.


________________________________



6th mass extinction already here as
species disappear 100 times faster - study

The world is on the brink of its 6th mass extinction,
as animals are disappearing 100 times faster than
 previously, scientists warn in a new report. They
say humanity could be among its first victims.

According to Princeton, Stanford and UC Berkeley
 scientists, rates like these haven't been seen since
 the last age of the dinosaurs, some 66 million years
 ago. Paul Ehlrich of Stanford says the data “shows
 without any significant doubt, that we are now
 entering the sixth great mass extinction event."

Data demonstrates “without any significant doubt
 that we are now entering the sixth great mass
extinction event,” Ehlrich, whose work on species
 disappearance, dates back to 1980, says.

The report has been drawn to counter critics who
 believe the data is exaggerated. Ehlrich and co-
authors seek to demonstrate, using conservative
 assumptions, that the new phase is already well
 under way, seeing as they are “far above the
‘background’ rates prevailing in the 5 preceding
mass extinctions.”

The background rate is the normal rate of
disappearance between mass extinctions.

“If it is allowed to continue, life would take many
 millions of years to recover, and our species itself
 will likely disappear early on,” lead author Gerardo
 Ceballos, of the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico,
 says in support.

But the background rate is difficult to estimate,
so scientists had to improvise with techniques.
 Humanity has gaps in its knowledge of what
happened over Earth’s 4.5 billion-year lifespan.

The team used a past extinction rate that was
twice as high as the estimates widely used in
 previous studies, and compared that rate to the
 most conservative estimates. In this way, they
 brought the two approximate rates as close to
 each other as possible – the current and all-
time background rates.

The researchers argue that if the past rate was
two mammal extinctions out of 10,000 species
 over 100 years, the “average rate of vertebrate
 species loss over the last century is up to 114
times higher than it would be without human
activity --- even when relying on the most
conservative estimates of species extinction.”

They add that their “calculations very likely
 underestimate the severity of the extinction
 crisis because our aim was to place a realistic
 lower band on human impact on biodiversity.”

The International Union for Conservation of
Nature backs up the alarming news, giving
 a threat level of 26% for mammals and 41%
 for amphibians – Elrich calls those making
 it into the statistic, “the walking dead.”

“Averting a dramatic decay of biodiversity and
 the subsequent loss of ecosystem services, is
 still possible through intensified conservation
 efforts, but that window of opportunity is
 rapidly closing,” the scientists say.

There is a man-made causal chain that leads to
biodiversity reduction, habitat loss, deforestation,
overexploitation of resources and other evils. As
 species disappear, so do key ecosystem services
 provided by bee pollination, as well as wetlands
 water purification. The researchers say we stand
 to lose many of those biodiversity benefits within
 three generations. As Ehlrich puts it, “We are
sawing the limb that we are sitting on.”

The authors hope their study, published in
Science Advances, will serve to influence
 policy and propel conservation efforts
forward before the changes become
 completely irreversible.


______________________________



China Makes First Electric Plane for Passengers

Prensa Latina - China has produced the first electric
 planes for passengers in the world with an airworth-
iness certificate, according to official media.

The BX1E has a wingspan of 14,5 meters and a load
 capacity of 230 kilograms. This artefact can reach
 an altitude of 3,000 metres, they say.

The energy load is completed in 2 hours, allowing
the flight to last from 45 minutes to an hour, at a
speed of 160 kilometres per hour, notifies news
 agency Xinhua.

The plane is designed by Shenyang Aeroespatial
 University and the Academy of Aviation Liaoning.

The first two airplanes have already been
delivered,
to Liaoning Ruixiang General
Aviation Co., Ltd.


The BX1E can be used in training pilots,
tourism,
meteorology and emergencies.

Each can be sold for around 163,000 US
 dollars, states this official press organ.


__________________________________


G7 Group Agrees to ‘Decarbonize’ Global
 Economy by End of Century – Merkel

Sputnik – The G7 group of the world’s leading
industrialized
nations has agreed to replace
oil, gas and coal, with
alternative energies
by the end of the century, to
reduce global
carbon emissions, the German
Chancellor,
Angela Merkel, says after the 'summit'.


“We are committed to the fact that during the course
 of the century we want to see the decarbonalization
 of the world economy,” Merkel tells media reporters
 commenting on the results of the two-day G7 summit
 in Germany’s Bavaria.

The G7 nations have also agreed to raise funds
 for climate change mitigation, Merkel says.

“It will be one of our goals by 2020. We want
public and private sources to allocate $100
 billion every year,” she says.

The G7 leaders agreed that the world should
 reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much
 as 70% by 2050, the German chancellor adds.

Ahead of key climate talks to be held in Paris
 in December, the group is committed to the
 goal of keeping global warming below two
 degrees Celsius, by the end of the century.

The statement comes a month after Merkel
 pledged to make every effort to achieve a
 global climate change agreement during a
 UN conference in Paris.

The 21st UN Climate Change Conference is due
 to be held in Paris, in late November and early
 December. The Paris deal will replace the 1997
 Kyoto Protocol, which failed to agree on legally
 binding and universal agreements on climate
 for all nations of the world.



_____________________________



G7's "ambitious" climate targets
 another empty promise?

The Group of Seven (G7) leaders say they are to fill
 a gap in financial support for developing countries
 to address climate change, and seek a phase-out
 of fossil energy globally, within this century.

Although the "club of rich countries" describe
this commitment as "ambitious", analysts say
 -- considering their past real actions -- that
what G7 vow now, could be just another
empty promise.

G7 say they will continue their efforts to meet
their previous commitment to provide 100 billion
 US dollars a year by 2020, from both public and
 private sectors, to developing countries, to help
them battle against climate change.

Other targets: to seek world decarbonization
 over the course of this century:- to cut carbon
 emissions by 40 to 70% by 2050 compared to
 2010 levels and transform their own energy
 sectors, by 2050.

"Urgent, concrete action is needed to address
 climate change," said the G7 leaders in their
 communiqué, asking "all parties" to share
the
task of emission cutting.

Environmental activists, however, say the G7
 need more actions than words.

"G7 leaders still aren't spelling out how they will
 keep their vow to deliver 100 billion US dollars
 in climate finance by 2020 and failed to commit
to provide more of this money from public funds
 -- a vital foundation for success in Paris at the
end of the year," states Oxfam: "Developing
 countries need a credible financial roadmap,
 not a set of accounting tricks."

"Developing countries are ready to move fast &
 far on renewables, but they need finance and
 technology from rich countries to do it. We
need to see more concrete commitments for
 immediate action," says Samantha Smith,
leader of WWF's Global Climate and
 Energy Initiative.

The developed countries, including the G7,
promised in 2009 to increase climate cash
 support to developing states to 100 billion
 US dollars a year by 2020. A clear roadmap
 to meet this commitment, however, was
 never provided.

The Green Climate Fund, by June 3rd, has only
 59% of the total pledged money delivered. No
 promised money was transferred from Canada,
Italy or the United States.

"We urgently need a roadmap to the pledged
100 billion US dollars. These (G7) countries
still have plenty of opportunity between now
 and Paris to step up to the plate," says Anoop
 Poonia from Climate Action Network, S. Asia.

Finance & allocation of emission reduction
 responsibilities are two of the key issues in
 ongoing tough climate negotiations within a
 UN framework, towards a new global climate
deal, which is set to be made by the
year's
end, in Paris.


Analysts say the G7 countries themselves
are not making enough efforts to phase
 out fossil fuels and cut emissions.

"G7 leaders have indicated that fossil fuels
 are on their way out. However you wouldn't
 know it by looking at the national emissions
 reduction pledges they have put on the table
 for the crucial climate conference in Paris,"
 says Oxfam's spokesperson Jorn Kalinski,
 "They must now live up to their own rhetoric
 and kick their dirty coal habit."

In Intended Nationally Determined Contributions
 (INDC), or climate actions it was willing to take
 under the new climate deal after 2020, officially
 submitted to the UN, Canada pledged to cut its
 greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005
 levels -- by 2030.

The vow was criticized by environmental groups
 pointing out that the target was just equivalent
 to 14% below 1990 levels, a more commonly
 used base year to calculate emission reduction.

A similarly weak pledge was planned to be
submitted by Japan, whose PM Shinzo Abe
 announced earlier this month that Japan
was willing to reduce carbon emissions to
 26% below 2013 levels by 2030.  But when
compared with the 1990 levels, the target
 means Japan would only cut its emission
 by 18% -- by 2030.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,
 a UN scientific body, says developed countries
 must reduce their emissions by 25-40% below
1990 levels by 2020 to limit global warming to
 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The EU, which had already reduced its carbon
 emissions by 19% from 1990 levels in 2013,
 insisted during the ongoing UN climate talks
 in Bonn that it was only willing to to further
 reduce its emissions to 20% below 1990
 levels by 2020.

"We are looking for more than 'hot air'. We are
 looking for real action from this summit," said
Adrian Lovett, Europe Executive Director of
international campaign group "One" which
 floated huge balloons depicting G7 leaders
 on Sunday when the summit started.

"'Hot air' can mean empty promises...when
 it's all talks, and no action," he said then.


________________________



1000s in Ecuador plant nearly 650,000 trees
--- in one day!

Thousands of people in Ecuador have cooperated
 to plant 647,250 trees in one day -- setting a new
 world record in reforestation, says the president.

President Rafael Correa says several different
 species were planted during the day and that
 reforestation efforts were carried out all over
the country, which prides itself for its diverse
 geography from its Pacific coast, high Andean
peaks, and low Amazon basin.

"I've just been informed that we have broken
 the Guinness record for reforestation," Correa
 announced in his weekly address to the nation.

Environment Minister Lorena Tapia tweets that
44,883 people participated in planting the trees
 on more than 2,000 hectares of land.

Environmental scientists believe planting trees
 is helpful in offsetting carbon buildup -- as they
 sequester carbon dioxide emissions from the
 atmosphere and help to reduce global warming.

Guinness officials say the previous record was
 set by a group in the Philippines, just last year.

And in Wales? All we get is broken promises
to plant native trees - and garbage planted
by the Forestry Commission!


________________________



NASA: Major Antarctic Ice Shelf

to Disintegrate Within Few Years
 
For the last 10,000 years, the Larsen B Ice Shelf
has clung to the edge of the Antarctic Peninsula.

 Two-thirds of it collapsed in 2002, and according
 to a NASA study, the rest could break away and
disintegrate -- by 2020.

The Antarctic continent has a number of huge ice
 shelves which hug the land’s perimeter. Some are
 over half a mile thick.

With rising global temperatures, they are melting
 quickly. According to some estimates a complete
 disappearance of Antarctica’s ice could result in
a sea level rise of 240 feet.

According to a new NASA study based on radar
 information and airborne surveys, one of those
 ice shelves will melt completely in just 5 years.

 While most of Larsen B Ice Shelf collapsed
 in 2002, the rest still covers approximately
 625 square miles.

"These are warning signs that the remnant is
 disintegrating," lead author of the study, Ala
 Khazendar's statement says. "Although it’s
 fascinating scientifically to have a front-row
seat to see the ice shelf becoming unstable
 and breaking up, it’s bad news for our planet."

"What is really surprising about Larsen B is
how quickly the changes are taking place,"
Khazendar says. "Change has been relentless."

The ice shelves serve a specific purpose on
 Antarctica, stopping massive glaciers in the
 continent’s interior, from sliding into the sea.

Without Larsen B, many of those glaciers
 will slowly creep into the ocean.

"This study of the Antarctic Peninsula glaciers
 provides insights about how ice shelves farther
 south, which hold much more land ice, will react
 to a warming climate," states Eric Rignot, the
study’s co-author.


_______________________



Pope’s Top Adviser: Climate Skeptics
Don't Want to Pay For Ruining Earth

One of Pope Francis' advisers says climate
change denial, is a phenomenon rooted in,
and fueled by, capitalism.

In the US, global warming denial is typically
a belief of the far right, despite all scientific
 evidence, and the religious fundamentalists
and conservative talk show hosts, all push
the idea that the majority of scientists are
'bought off' by green technology business
 people, left think tanks, and governments.

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, one
of Pope Francis’ closest advisers, thinks
the answer lies in capitalism.

“The ideology surrounding environmental
issues is too tied to a capitalism that does
not want to stop ruining the environment,
because they do not want to give up their
profits,” Cardinal Rodriguez says, reports
the Boston Globe.

His words are a reaction to lobbying by
some US groups, to the Pope’s planned
 encyclical on climate change.

The Pope's encyclical is timed to coincide
with the UN
climate change summit later
 this year, and a UN-sponsored agreement
on Sustainable Development Goals.

Apparently it is designed to encourage
the world's Catholics to recognize and
fight climate change.


Although the encyclical has not been
released yet, the Heartland Institute,
a think-tank controlled by Charles &
David Koch is already "lobbying" the
 Vatican with the message: “there is
 no global warming crisis.”

Yes, the same Koch brothers who own
 Koch Industries, a big energy company
 which could suffer financial losses -- if
 strict environmental legislation arrives.

“I have already heard criticism of the
encyclical” Rodrigues says, calling it
 “absurd” to reject a document which
has not even been seen yet.

A survey published in 2013, of thousands
 of peer-reviewed scientific papers, found
 97.1% of the world's scientists agreeing -
that climate
change is real, and is being
caused by
human activity.


---------------------------------------------


 Study Links Swarm of Quakes in Texas to Fracking 
             
With real time monitors, scientists have linked a
 swarm of earthquakes west of Fort Worth, Texas,
to nearby natural gas wells & wastewater injection.

In 84 days from November 2013 to January 2014, the
 area around Azle, Texas, shook with 27 magnitude 2
 or greater earthquakes, while scientists at Southern
 Methodist University and the US Geological Survey,
 monitored the shaking.

It's an area that's had no recorded 'quakes for 150
 years on faults "inactive for hundreds of millions of
years," says SMU geophysicist Matthew Hornbach.

When the volume of injections decreased
 significantly, so did the shaking. The scientists
conclude that removing saltwater from the wells
 in the gas production process and then injecting
 that wastewater back underground, "represents
 the most likely cause" for the swarm of 'quakes,
 according to a study published in the journal
Nature Communications.

The scientists determine this based on
where and when the quakes happened;
computer models that track pressure
changes; and company data from near-
by wells.

Hornbach says the timing & location of the
quakes correlates better to the drillings &
 injections, than any other possible reason.

"There appears to be little doubt about the
 conclusion that the earthquakes were in
fact induced," USGS seismologist Susan
Hough, who wasn't part of the study team
emails. "There's almost an abundance of
smoking guns in this case."


______________________________


Russia To Start Producing
Ecologically Clean Wheat

Scientists at Nemchinovka Scientific Research
Institute of Agriculture in Moscow, a well known
 scientific breeding centre, have produced a kind
 of winter wheat which is supposedly superior to
 all types of existing wheat, in that it can grow in
less fertile regions with cool climates - and still
provide higher yields than those grown in more
 favorable conditions.

Protein content in the new varieties is two
 times higher than most wheat on the market.

Breeders at Nemchinovka believe that the
 new varieties of wheat will be able to solve
 a major agricultural problem: the quality of
grain, globally, is on the decline.

“Currently, in the developed world, the average
 yield of winter wheat is 90-100 hundredweight
 (hundredweight = approximately 45 kilograms)
per hectare,” Bagrat Sandukhadze, a famous
 breeder, and head of the Laboratory of Winter
Wheat Breeding at Nemchinovka, tells RIR.

“What’s more its protein content is only 8-9%,
which doesn’t make for good bread.” he says.
 Nemchinovka varieties can produce 100-120
 hundredweight per hectare --- with a protein
 content of 17% and a gluten content of 30%
 or more.

Sandukhadze (& his colleagues) have created
 15 new varieties of winter wheat to grow in the
“Nechernozemye” zone - a vast territory of the
 European part of Russia from the Arctic Ocean
to the forest-steppe zone in the south and from
 the Baltic Sea to western Siberia.

14 have already obtained patents & copyright
 certificates... "The brilliant breeder, Professor
Sandukhadze, can essentially provide quality
 wheat to feed the entire non-Black Earth area
 of Russia," says Valery Charushin, executive
 director of the Demidov Scientific Foundation
 and Chair of the Ural Branch of the Russian
Academy of Sciences.

Margarita Shipitsyna, a member of the
coordinating council of the Russian Guild
 of Bakers and Confectioners and director
 of research at Russian Recipe, says that
genetically modified varieties, presently
 occupy about 70% of the world's fields.

Experts believe that, due to the high yield,
these new Russian varieties are a worthy
 "response to GMOs."

"Growing good varieties of food grains with
 strong genes lets you save the environment
 & is 10 times more profitable than investing
 in chemicals that stimulate growth, or in
genetic engineering,” says Sandukhadze.

“Professional selection is worth a maximum
 of millions, yet technological factors lead to
billions in costs & degrade the environment.

 In Russia, there are 40 million hectares of
vacant land, where you can grow a good
 eco-friendly grain and ensure the health
 of the nation."

Shpitsyna adds that, despite the success
 of breeders, Russia still has to solve some
 problems associated with land quality...

 "In order to get a good healthy bread, Russia
needs to revive quality control, which was
 systematically carried out in the Soviet era.
 The quality of food grains in Russia has
 significantly decreased. There are new
 diseases in the grains."

The breeding of new varieties has taken
 Sandukhadze 47 years. Breeding winter
wheat in non-fertile zones with wet and
cool climates, was started by Soviet
breeders, way back in the 1930s.

 Sandukhadze already belongs to the
 third generation of researchers.

Winter wheat varieties by Sanukhadze in
 recent years are now cultivated throughout
 Russia and abroad. The Moscow 39 variety is
 considered particularly unique and is sown in
 Canada, Austria, Turkey and other countries.

"When this strain was tested at an international
competition in Canada, between 1999-2002, it
was recognized as best, for its combination of
high yield & grain quality,” Sandukhadze says.

 “This wheat can grow in any weather due to its
 special genes & durability. It is frost-resistant,
 disease-resistant & has a unique grain quality
and good baking qualities.

 For his achievements, Sandukhadze won
 the prestigious Demidov Prize in February
2015. It's the first time since the award’s
 inception, in 1832, that it has ever been
 awarded to a breeder.

 This article originally appeared in
full at Russia Beyond the Headlines


______________________________


GMO Lies: Study Shows How Pesticide Use
 Soars with more GMO Crops

And it is killing the pollinators.

Remember claims that genetically modified
 foods would result in less pesticide residues?
Well, those promises were baseless.

What's really happened is that a huge increase
 in bee-toxic neonicotinoids has replaced those
chemical insecticides used previously --- and
especially in GM corn and soy crops.

34−44% more for GM soybeans and 79−100%
for GM corn in 2011 alone.

Biotech has caused an almost 100% increase
 in chemical pesticides --- in just a few years.

Ms Douglas, graduate student in entomology
 at Pennsylvania State University & an author
 of the study, comments:

"The application of neonicotinoids to corn seed &
 soybeans has driven a surge in crop-land treated
 with insecticides, ever since the mid-2000s."

No wonder the bees and butterflies are dying.

Over 40 million hectares of land are doused in
 neonics and the now limited availability of any
 neonicotinoid-free seed, means US farmers,
 are running out of other options.

Bt crops ARE a pesticide. The Bt toxins are
 inside every fibre of the plant once it grows,
and insects that eat them end up with their
gut exploding in a quick and painful death.

Monsanto’s Bt toxins don’t just kill insects.
 They are also harming human embryo cells.

E Toxin Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has also
 been found in the blood of pregnant women
 and baby’s umbilical cord blood supply.

Yet still, Monsanto asserts that all their
pesticide in the form of Bt crops are safe.

Straight from Monsanto’s Pages:

“Are foods & ingredients developed through
biotechnology (or GMOs) safe to eat?

Yes. Plants and crops with GM traits have
been tested more than any other crops —
with no credible evidence of harm to
 humans or animals.


_______________________________



Smog-beater: First hydrogen powered
tram developed in China

Trams fueled by hydrogen could soon be appearing
 on the streets of China. The country has mastered
 the technique of using this clean energy source,
 which has been widely used elsewhere for cars
 and other forms of mass transport.


______________________________


 Air pollution killing Europeans
en masse, says environment body

Hundreds of thousands of Europeans may face
 a premature death over the next two decades
 because of toxic air, a new major report by the
 European Environment Agency (EEA) warns.

 In 2011 alone, about 430,000 people died
 prematurely from air pollution.

A five-yearly environmental study, State of the
 Environment Report for 2015, blames governments
for inaction, and calls for changes in policies and
 technologies and lifestyles. The European Union
will need new, radical policies to safeguard the
 environment by 2050, experts say.

"We need to start now," Hans Bruyninckx, head
 of the EEA, tells Reuters.

The Copenhagen-based EEA says Europe has
 increased waste recycling & cut greenhouse
gas emissions by 19% since 1990. The EU
plans further emissions cuts of 40% by 2030.

 Despite these gains, however, Europe "still
faces a range of persistent and growing
 environmental challenges," including global
 warming, chemical pollution & extinctions
 of species of animals and plants.

“Despite considerable progress in reducing
 the discharge of pollutants into Europe's
waters in recent decades, nutrients,
pesticides, industrial chemicals and
household chemicals continue to affect
 the quality of surface, ground and marine
 waters. This threatens aquatic ecosystems
 and raises concern about potential human
 health impacts,” it states.

Air pollution causes damage to human health
through direct exposure (via inhalation) or
 through exposure to contaminants transported
 through the air, deposited on plants and the soil.

 Vehicles, power plants, agriculture & households
 all contribute to Europe's air pollution, the report’s
 authors state, adding that transport remains the
 main contributor to poor air quality levels in cities
 and the related health impacts.

Exposure to environmental noise is estimated
 to contribute to at least 10,000 premature
deaths due to coronary heart disease and
strokes each year.

Chemicals from pharmaceuticals, personal care
 products, & other consumer products can have
a range of negative effects on the environment
 and on human health.

Endocrine disruption, which impacts the body's
 hormonal system, is of particular concern, says
 the study, which points out that potential human
 health impacts of these chemicals are “poorly
 understood,” especially as people are exposed
 to mixtures of chemicals, or when exposure
occurs in pregnant women and small children.

Europe will scarcely manage to realize its target of
 "living well, within the limits of our planet" by 2050,
according to the report, given that most Europeans
 have been using more than four hectares of the
 planet's resources each year - more than double
what rates as a sustainable ecological footprint.

The European Commission has estimated that a
 shift to a greener, low-carbon economy by 2050
 will require investments of an extra €270 billion
 a year, or 1.5% of the EU's GDP over the coming
 decades.

The EEA says Europe could benefit economically
from greener cities, industry, transport and
 agriculture.

"This is not a threat to well-being. For Europe
 this is a major opportunity," Bruyninckx says,
adding that 2050 green goals are closer than
we think, given that Europeans born today will
 be 35 in 2050, with over half their expected
 lifetimes ahead of them.

According to the report, EU citizens live
longer than in many parts of the world.
 Life expectancy at birth in the EU-28
member states exceeded 80 years in
 2012, and is higher for women.

 The gap between the lowest life expectancy
 in the EU (68.4 years for men in Lithuania)
and the highest (85.5 years for women in
 Spain) is considerable, however.

The share of the older population in all the
member states has been increasing recently.
 
The current proportion of people aged 65
 yrs and over, already exceeds 17.5% and is
 projected to be 29.5% by 2060, says Eurostat.


__________________________



Fracking moratorium rejected by MPs

There was a vote on fracking in the
UK's House of Commons, at which,
Greenpeace held a protest, out-
side Westminster Palace.

MPs overwhelmingly rejected a bid
to suspend fracking for shale gas.

But the government agreed to Labour
proposals for 13 new conditions to be
met, ere shale gas extraction occurs.

During a Commons debate, ministers
 also pledged an "outright ban" on
 fracking in national parks.

Earlier, a committee of MPs called for
 a moratorium on the practice, on the
 grounds that it could derail efforts
 to tackle climate change.

The Environmental Audit Committee
 also warned that there were "huge
 uncertainties" about the impact on
the environment, of fracking.

In the Commons, committee chair,
Joan Walley, backed an amendment
 tabled by a cross-party group of MPs
 calling for fracking to be suspended
 for 30 months... while assessments
 are carried out.

But the measure did not attract front-
bench support and was defeated by
 308 votes to 52.

A Labour amendment was added to the
 bill, to cheers from opposition benches,
 which will impose 13 tests to be met,
 before fracking can take place.

These include environmental assessments
-- and the need to consult residents on an
 individual basis.

Labour and other MPs tabled amendments
 to allow the change to be made, so Energy
Minister Amber Rudd told the House that
 the government will remove the provision
that shale gas exploration will be allowed
 in such areas, only in "exceptional
circumstances".

She later said there will be an outright
 ban in "national parks, sites of special
 interest and areas of national beauty".


_________________________________________


Mass extinction in Earth’s oceans
 probable --- comprehensive study

The first comprehensive ocean study
 has determined that ocean life faces
mass extinction from human activity.

 But the record damage is still reversible –
 unlike our impact on land... US scientists
 say that the effects "can be" mitigated.

"We’ve known for a while that sustainability
will become impossible with our lifestyles.
Although most of Earth is covered in water
we are hugely reliant on, many practices
 cause unprecedented damage to marine
 biology:-- coral reef damage, resource
 mining, fish farming, construction work,
 chemical pollution, the depletion of bio-
resources, unintended species migration,
 global warming, military drills – to name
just a few.

Drs. Malin L. Pinsky, Stephen R. Palumbi,
Douglas J. McCauley and colleagues from
 the University of California have examined
 hundreds of sources, including fossil records
 and statistics on shipping and seabed mining
 to inform their study, published on Thursday
 in the journal 'Science'.

“We may be sitting on the precipice of a
major extinction event,” McCauley says.

“If by the end of the century we’re not off
 the business-as-usual curve we are now,
I honestly feel there’s not much hope for
normal ecosystems in the ocean,”
Palumbi says.

One conclusion is that oceans have until now,
 largely evaded the damage we'd caused to life
 forms on land. But after 1800, industrialization
accelerated land extinction, plus, the stage
was set for irreversible water damage.

“Current trends in ocean use suggest that habitat
 destruction is likely to become an increasingly
 dominant threat to ocean wildlife over the next
 150 years,” the team says in their study.

And because oceans are a fluid mechanism
- more difficult to monitor accurately - some
places could be far worse off than others.

Fishing, for example, has affected 20 million
 square miles of ocean already, altering the
 continental shelf.

Seabed mining contracts are an especially
huge change: the area went from 0 square
 miles in the year 2000, to 460,000 in 2014.

The US Navy alone, kills or injures 1,000s
 of whales and dolphins, during its drills.

Humans have caused a 40% decline in coral
 reefs worldwide, which consequently leads
 to habitat destruction for marine species.

Some migration may result in the arrival
 of predatory species to ecosystems that
 are not prepared to accept them, etc, etc.

 But everything is feeling the impact of
polution and overheating...


“If you cranked up the aquarium heater &
 dumped some acid in the water, your fish
would not be very happy,” Pinsky says. “In
 effect, that’s what we’re doing to oceans.”

And it starts on land for many marine animals:
 some lay eggs – like sea turtles; seabirds nest
 in cliffs, and so on. Some ocean species have
 already become extinct, due to land activity.

“But in the meantime, we do have a chance to
 do what we can. We have a couple of decades
 more than we thought we had, so let’s please
 not waste it,” Palumbi says. "I fervently believe
 that our best partner in saving the ocean is the
 ocean itself.”

McCauley explains that if we severely limit the
 industrialization of Earth’s water, we could let
 species recover – much more so than we ever
 could on land, where damage is irreversible
 in many places.

“There are a lot of tools we can use,” he says.
The team believes that designing an approach
with climate change in mind would be the way.

It’s about considering how & where species
 can escape rising temperatures and lower
pH levels.

 As we learn that some areas are affected more,
one chance may be to limit industrial operations
 to some areas, while allowing others to recover.

“It’s creating a hopscotch pattern up and down the
 coasts to help these species adapt,” Pinsky says.


_________________________________



World’s soil may be degraded in 60 years: UN

 
All of the world's top soil could be gone in the
next 60 years if the current rate of degradation
continues, a prominent UN official says.

Nearly a third of the soil across the world has
 already been degraded, & it takes 1,000 years
 for 3 centimeters of top soil to be generated,
Maria-Helena Semedo of the UN Food and
 Agriculture Organization (FAO) told a forum
 marking World Soil Day in Rome on Friday.

"Soils are the basis of life. Ninety-five percent
 of our food comes from the soil," Semedo said.

Experts say chemical-heavy farming methods,
 deforestation, which raises erosion, and global
 warming are the main causes of soil destruction.

"We are losing thirty soccer fields of soil every
 minute, mostly due to intensive farming," Volkert
 Engelsman from the International Federation of
 Organic Agriculture Movements told the forum.

"Organic may not be the only solution but it's
 the single best (option) I can think of," he said.

Soil is a significant factor in absorbing carbon
 and filtering water, FAO says.

Soil degradation causes a vicious cycle, in
 which less carbon is stored, the world gets
 hotter, and the land is further eroded.


__________________________


                Japan Warns on Big Hole in Ozone Layer               
 
 A hole in the ozone layer, which started to grow
 in early September, reached 23,400,000 square
kilometers on October the 1st, report Japanese
scientific institutions.

That's equivalent to 1.7 times the Antarctic's
surface - and it almost equals last decade's
 measure, says Japan's Meteorology Agency.

Despite the volume of gases in the air shrinking
due to the fulfilling of international regulations,
it will still be midcentury before the ozone layer
 hole recovers to the size it was in 1980, says
 researcher Atsuya Kinoshita, from Japan's
 Meteorology Agency.

According to medical sources, the ozone
layer prevents harmful ultraviolet rays
 coming to earth, from the sun.

Long exposure to electromagnetic radiation
 can cause skin cancer, and other problems.


________________________________



Venezuela Rejects Unipolarity

 at Environmentalist Forum    
 
Capitalism, which destroys the environment and is
 headed by the United States, will be challenged now
 from South America, the Venezuelan Vice President
 for the Social Area, Hector Rodriguez, predicts, at
 an environmentalist forum.

Venezuela supports the consensus against
 unipolarity, defended by the meeting 'Social
 PreCOP on Climate Change', which was held
in Margarita Island, says the Minister, who
is also the Minister for Education.

Our Government supports the central purpose
of the meeting  - to boost the world mobilizing
 towards a new multipolar world, he says.

The participants analysed experiences,
capacities and efforts to save the planet,
and proposals were presented
, to add
them to the global political agenda.

Social PreCOP, which gathered representatives
of 40 States in Venezuela, was the world's first
 gathering to bring both Governments and social
movements face to face on the issue, he said.

The objective of the meeting was to highlight
 the social dimension of the debate on climate
 change and establish the foundations of an
 alliance between people and Governments,
to face the threats that hover over humanity.

Delegates issued a document containing
their proposals, which was then discussed
at a round table with ministers in charge
of the issue, said the organizers.


______________________________________



Greenpeace anti-fracking protesters
block access to Chevron shale gas exploration

Greenpeace activists chained themselves to
 the gates of a Chevron shale gas exploration
well
in Romania --- to protest fracking there.

 Activists from Romania, Hungary, Austria, the
Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Germany
came to the Pungesti site, wearing bright yellow
jackets and holding banners reading "Pungesti-
anti-Chevron quarantine area" & "Stop fracking."

 US energy major Chevron began work on the
 exploration well in the village of Pungesti in
 eastern Romania in December. An exploration
 start was postponed several times by protests.


_____________________________________________



88% of world’s oceans covered by plastic junk – study


At least 88% of the surface of the world’s open
oceans is polluted by plastic debris, says a new
scientific report.

The findings raise big concerns about the safety
of marine life and how this ocean litter may now
be affecting food chains.


______________________________



    US pressures El Salvador to
    buy Monsanto's GMO seeds

As a precondition for authorizing
$300 million in aid, the US is now
pressuring El Salvador to buy
 genetically modified seeds
from Monsanto, instead of non-
GM seeds from local farmers.

According to Sustainable Pulse, a
website covering developments
 related to GM organisms and
 sustainable agriculture, the US
will withhold $277 million in aid
through the Millennium Challenge
Compact --- if El Salvador refuses
 to purchase GM seeds from the
 biotech company Monsanto.

The president of El Salvador's Centre
 for Appropriate Technologies (CESTA)
criticizes the US negotiating position
and says the US should back away
from its demand.

“I'd like to tell the US Ambassador
to stop pressuring the Government
to buy ‘improved’ GM seeds,” CESTA
president Ricardo Navarro says, 
adding that it would hurt the local
economy & only aid US companies.

Navarro then singles out Monsanto:
 “There's a harmful corporation on Earth
called Monsanto. It's truly disturbing,
that the US is trying to promote them.”

In March, France banned the growth and
sale of the company’s insect-repelling
maize seed MON 810, just a few days
 before it was revealed that insects in the
 US were developing resistance to the crop.

El Salvador passed a law in September
2013 banning glyphosate in Monsanto’s
 Roundup pesticides, as well as dozens
 of other agricultural chemicals.

Similar proposals are being considered
in Brazil, where the country’s prosecutor
general recently urged the National Health
 Surveillance Agency to “reevaluate the
toxicity of 8 active ingredients suspected
 of causing damage to human health and
 the environment,” including glyphosate
 and seven other chemicals.

Glyphosate, research shows, becomes
 extremely toxic to humans, as it mixes
with natural metals found in soil.

Other reports link glyphosate to a fatal
kidney disease that has killed thousands
of people in El Salvador and Sri Lanka, &
could also help explain similar situations
 in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and India.


______________________________________



Chernobyl memories fade? Kiev turns blind
 eye to disaster-risk in nuclear deal with US

The coup-imposed government in Kiev has
 resurrected a contract with a US company
 to supply fuel to Ukraine’s nuclear power
 plants, despite the fact that using US fuel
 rods was banned in 2012, because of a
dangerous
incompatibility.

In April 2014, shortly after the armed coup, Kiev
 signed a new deal with the US’s leading nuclear
fuel producer, Westinghouse Electric Company,
instead of the Russian TVEL company that has
 been supplying fuel rods to Ukraine for years.

Ukraine’s 4 nuclear power plants constitute a
 huge part of the country's energy system. The
 country’s 15 nuclear reactors produce at least
 50% (over 13 megawatts) of all electric power
generation in Ukraine.

All nuclear fuel for Ukrainian reactors (worth
 hundreds of millions of dollars a year) has been
 produced in Russia, which also recycles
 Ukraine’s nuclear waste.

Moreover, Russia’s Rosatom state-owned nuclear
 monopoly is currently constructing a nuclear fuel
 fabrication plant in Ukraine, where nuclear fuel rods
 will be assembled using uranium enriched in Russia.

Ukraine has relied on Russia in all atomic
 matters – but since the coup the US has
 muscled in on the relationship.

The Westinghouse Electric Company has been
 trying to ‘ease’ the former Soviet-bloc country's
 energy reliance on Russia and enter the market
 in Eastern Europe for over a decade.

 Back in 2012, the then US Secretary of State Hillary
 Clinton attempted to convince Czech leaders to pick
 Westinghouse as a first nuclear fuel supply partner
 instead of Russia, which would create thousands of
 new jobs in the US.

Westinghouse has tried supplying nuclear fuel to
Energoatom nuclear power generating company,
in Ukraine before...


 In 2005, six experimental Westinghouse
 fuel assemblies, adopted for use in USSR-
developed reactors, were tried at the South
Ukraine plant in one reactor, together with
Russian fuel rods.

Though nuclear engineers were skeptical of
the pilot probe, the government of ex president
 Viktor Yushchenko signed a deal in 2008 with
 Westinghouse on fuel rod supply, despite the
fact that American nuclear fuel is significantly
 more expensive and technologically different.

 Russian nuclear fuel rods are hexagonal in
section, while US fuel assemblies are square.

Despite experts' fears, 42 fuel assemblies were
 loaded into three reactors at the South Ukraine
 nuclear power plant for a standard three-year
period of commercial operation.

When, in 2012, the time came to replace the
 fuel assemblies, Ukrainian nuclear engineers
found that Westinghouse assemblies deformed
during exploitation and got stuck in the core.

Energoatom accused Westinghouse of producing
 poorly engineered assemblies, and Westinghouse
 countered, by accusing the Ukrainian engineers
 of installing the rods badly.

After this, the use of US nuclear fuel was banned
 in Ukraine, while the fuel rods were returned to
the producer ‘to get fixed’, and Russian experts
 were summoned to help with the repair of the
 equipment, produced in the USSR.

 Energoatom Company lost approx. $175 million.

Similar problems with Westinghouse fuel assemblies
 occurred at a number of other USSR-constructed
 nuclear power plants: NPP Krško in Slovenia, NPP
 Loviisa in Finland and NPP Temelin in the Czech
 Republic.

All these countries opted to return to time-proved fuel
 assemblies produced by Russia’s TVEL Company.

Now Ukraine appears to be ready to fall into the
same trap twice.

 The coup-imposed Kiev regime has renewed the
 2008 nuclear fuel deal till 2020, to replace 25%
 of the Russian-made fuel rods, with an option to
 “provide more if needed,” reported AP in April -
 all for the sole purpose of ‘diversifying’ supply.

What happened back in 2012 at Zaporozhskaya
 NPP could have ended with another Chernobyl,
 because having unextractable fuel assemblies
 loaded means a potential loss of control over
 the fission processes inside the reactor.

But the new Kiev authorities, supported by
 Washington, are making every effort to cut
 Ukraine’s ties with Russia, so moving from
 Russian nuclear fuel to US assemblies is
 attractive to A. Yatsenyuk’s coup regime,
 despite the 2012 incident.

Worse, Westinghouse won’t recycle its fuel rods
 when they ‘burn out’, so Ukraine will spend even
 more budget money to prepare special storage
 facilities for nuclear waste.

Westinghouse has its eyes on a bigger prize...

“This move by Westinghouse is really to secure
 not just a fuel contract, which will go on for many
 years, but to put its foot in the door to build a fuel
 fabrication plant in eastern Ukraine. And that’s
 what’s most important and that’s what they’re
after,” John Large, an independent nuclear
 analyst from London, tells RT news.

Experts warn that nuclear power plants
should
not undergo such drastic transitions.

“A nuclear reactor demands a coherent structure
of operations. The active reactor core is the most
 dangerous when it comes to the impact it may have
 on people and the environment. All reactors differ in
 smallest details, and toying around with them leads
 to no good,” Evgeny Akimov of the International
 Union of Nuclear Energy Veterans warns.

If something goes wrong, Kiev may find
 they face all the consequences alone.

“As far as I know, Westinghouse signs contracts
 in which the company bears no responsibility, so
 the burden will lie with Ukraine,” states Rafael
Arutyunyan, nuclear security expert and professor
 at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

Kiev’s actions are being dictated by politics
and corruption rather than risks, even when
 the severe consequences may affect not just
Ukraine, but the entire European continent.

When the Chernobyl tragedy occurred in 1986,
 it was by pure coincidence that Ukraine’s wind
 direction, usually directed to Europe, changed,
 sending most radioactive fallout in the direction
 of Russia and Belarus.

In this over-politicized case, European capitals
 would do well to understand how the wind blows.


__________________________________________________


Japan Intends to Resume Whaling in Pacific Ocean  

             
Japan announces that it expects to resume
 its whaling program in the Northwest Pacific,
despite
the UN International Court of Justice
ruling against it.


According to a Japanese government note,
 the whaling program will now resume after a
request by whaling company Kyodo Senpaku.

Early in April, the UN International Court
ordered Japan to halt its whale hunt in
 Antarctica, and Tokyo promised to
abide
by its decision.

The court ruled that Japan's whaling program
 isn't in keeping with international conventions
 that allows whaling for scientific purposes.

The case was brought to the court in 2010,
 alleging Japan was breaching international
law by killing hundreds of whales each year
for commercial purposes.

Recently, Fisheries Ministry officials reported
that the Japanese fleet captured 251 whales
 this year, in its latest hunt, up until last March.

The catch was more than the 103 whales caught
 the previous year, but less than the planned
 quota of 935.


____________________________



FRANCE INSISTS ON NO GM

France’s lower house of parliament has passed a
law
prohibiting genetically modified (GM) maize
from being grown, citing environmental
concerns.

The law can be applied to any GM strain that is
 adopted at EU level.

The law follows a decree halting the planting of
Monsanto’s insect-resistant maize
MON810,
which will be allowed for cultivation in
the EU,
Reuters reported.


But if any strain of GM crop is adopted in the future
 at EU level – including Pioneer 1507, developed by
 DuPont & Dow Chemical, it will be banned in France.

Pioneer 1507 could be approved by the EU later
this
year, after 19 of the 28 EU member states
failed to
gather enough votes to block it.

The law adopted now by France's lower house
 (National Assembly) is similar to one rejected
by
the upper house in February, which was
 seen as "unconstitutional."

“It's essential today to renew a widely shared
desire to maintain the French ban. This bill
 strengthens the decree passed last March
 by preventing the immediate cultivation of
 GM & extending its reach to all transgenic
 maize varieties” Jean Marie Le Guen, the
minister
in charge of relations with the EU
parliament, told
the National Assembly.

The current Socialist-led government in France,
 like the previous conservative one, has opposed
 the growing of GM crops after public suspicion
 and protests by environmentalists.

Le Guen called for an EU system that would
 make sure that the decisions of member states
 not to adopt GM, couldn't be challenged legally.

A debate on the future of EU policy is going on
 at EU level, with the European Commission
 suggesting an opt-out to allow individual
 countries to ban GM crops.

The French ban on GM maize will now have to
 go to the Senate for approval. However, even if
 it is rejected again, the National Assembly will
 have the final say.

France is against genetically modified crops,
 but the UK argues that without them, Europe
risks becoming a “museum of world farming.”

Spain also says its own farmers have to be able
to compete with those outside the EU – many
of whom are growing GM crops.

GM crops, though still unpopular in Europe,
 are widely grown in the US & parts of Asia.


_______________________________


Rotating crops beats agrotoxins

as crop-eating insects beat GM

For thousands of years, farmers beat pests
by rotating their crops, or placing them next
to plants which kept the insects away.

Then came the wonderful world of agrotoxins.

But the bugs beat all that GM biotechnology
 could throw at them. Now, the latest advice
to farmers is...     go back to rotating crops.


_______________________________________


UN warns world to produce 60% more

 food by 2050... or face mass unrest.

Political turmoil, social unrest, civil war,
terrorism - all could be on the table unless
our world boosts food production by 60%
 by mid-century, the UN’s hunger fighting
 agency warns.

The world’s population is expected to hit
 9 billion people by 2050, which, coupled
with a high calory intake by increasingly
 better off people, is likely to drastically
 increase demand in the coming decades,
 says Hiroyuki Konuma, assistant director-
general of the UN Food and Agriculture
 Organization, for the Asia-Pacific region.

This, at a time when the world is investing
less in agricultural research, raises fears
 among scientists that global food security
could be imperiled.

"If we fail to meet our goal, and a food shortage
 occurs, there will be a high risk of social and
political unrest, civil wars and terrorism, and
 world security as a whole might be affected,"
Reuters cites Konuma as saying at a regional
 food security conference in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

A leaked draft of an Intergovernmental Panel on
 Climate Change's report, says climate change
alone could cause a 2% drop each decade, this
 century. In the past 3 years, Australia, Canada,
 China, Russia and the US, have all suffered big
 flood and drought induced harvest losses.

Our reliance on an ever smaller group of crops
is also leaving global food supplies increasingly
 vulnerable to price inflation, insects and disease.

"As the global population rises and pressure
 increases on our global food system, so too
does our dependence on global crops and
the production system that feeds us,” Luigi
 Guarino, of the Global Crop Diversity Trust,
 told the BBC earlier this month.

"The price of failure of any of these crops
 will become very high."

Progress is been made to stop global hunger:
 with vegetable production in Asia & the Pacific,
where over three-quarters of all vegetables are
 grown, increasing by 25% over the last decade.

The FAO estimates, however, that 842 million
 people in the world remain undernourished,
 and two thirds of them live in the Asia-Pacific.

 One in four children under the age of five is
stunted due to malnutrition.

To combat the problem, the UN body outlines
 two primary options: increasing arable land
areas, and increasing productivity.

Environmentalists also urge better food
 distribution methods. In February, the FAO,
 World Bank and World Resources Institute
 estimated that the world "loses" 25 to 33%
 of all the food it produces – nearly 4 billion
 metric tons.

More efficient agricultural production, better
  food storage, and more biologically diverse,
local food systems, which are less vulnerable
 to global changes, are also proposed, to help
 tackle the growing threat of food insecurity.

______________________________________


EUROPE SPLITS AGAIN ON GM CROPS

The European Commission is set to authorize
the growing of genetically modified maize on
EU land, despite 19 member states voting
 against the move, highlighting the “absurd”
 rules of weighted votes in the EU.

In a debate on Tuesday, 19 EU member states
 indicated they would vote against authorizing
genetically modified maize because of health
 and environmental concerns and opposition
in
the European Parliament.

But because of the EU's "comitology rules",
 their votes will be insufficient to overturn
 decisions by bigger member states who
want insect resistant Pioneer 1507.

The UK & Spain both spoke in favor of GM
 crops, while Germany abstained. France
is staunchly against their introduction.

European health Commissioner Tonio Borg
 says the commission is now legally bound
 to approve the crop, and Borg insists that
extensive research since 2001 shows that
 the crop is safe.

The UK argued that, without GM crops, Europe
 risks becoming “the museum of world farming,”
 and that there is a clear scientific case for GM,
 while Spain said its farmers need to be able to
 compete with nations that grow GM produce.

DuPont, which jointly developed Pioneer 1507
 with Dow Chemical, says in its statement that
 the EU has a “legal obligation to itself, to its
 farmers & scientists and to its trade partners”
 to support the approval of agricultural advances.

France however, warns that if the EC goes ahead
with the introduction of GM maize, it risks fuelling
even more euroscepticism, by granting approval
 in the face of fierce opposition.
 
Thierry Repentin, the French EU affairs minister:
 
“We have a majority against it, so I don’t understand
 how we can approve this. Even more so ahead of EU
elections. This is dangerous to the image of the EU
 institutions, it will fuel the idea that Europe
doesn’t work or works badly.” 

Italy calls the outcome “indigestible” and Hungary
 calls it a showcase of the “European absurd”.

The Green group in the European Parliament says
 there is now no democratic mandate for giving a
 green light to GM maize.

The environmental groups Greenpeace & Friends of
 the Earth say
Pioneer 1507 harms moths & butterflies
 and is designed to be resistant to a kind of weed killer
 about to be phased out anyway, over safety concerns.

Marco Contiero, Greenpeace agriculture policy director:

“Approval by the Commission would be irresponsible
 because of the environmental risk, untenable because
 of widespread political and public opposition, & legally
 compromised, because the Commission has forced it
 through without the required consultation.”

Borg says the EC might compromise, and revive
a separate proposal that would allow individual
member states to ban GM crops while other
countries could approve them.

He appeared to back down then...

“This file took thirteen years to come to fruition,
I am cautious about giving timelines,” he said.


____________________________________


THERMAL POWER - THE NEGLECTED GIANT?

China and Russia are to build the world’s biggest
thermal power plant with an 8 gigawatt capacity.

The Erkovetskaya TPP project in Russia’s Amur
 region could cost up to $24 billion, and will export
 energy to China where domestic demand is high.

The plant will be developed by Eastern Energy
 Company, a subsidiary of Inter RAO, the Russian
 state-run power utility, Vedomosti news reports.

The plant will supply 30-50 kilowatts per year -
 5% of the Russian Federation's total production,
 General director of Eastern Energy Company,
 Mikhail Shashmurin says.

Sergey Beiden from Otkrytie Financial Corporation
estimates the total cost at between $12.5 - $24
 billion, reports Kommersant,

To deliver the energy to Beijing, where demand
 is strongest, 2,000 km of transmission lines
 will need to be installed.

____________________________________



Green Routines launches Wales' first
 Solar PV cooperative at The Senedd

 renewwales.org.uk


_______________________________________


US emits 50% more methane than EPA reports - study


The US is responsible for 50% more methane, a heat-
trapping gas, than previous government estimates,
 a new study finds.

 Methane is the most abundant global warming gas, and
 is 21 times worse than carbon dioxide at trapping heat.

 The study estimates that in 2008, the US spewed 49
 million tons of methane into the air, more than all the
 carbon dioxide pollution from cars and other vehicles
--- in six months.

The figure is way over the 32 million tons estimated
 by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Most of America’s methane comes from Texas,
 Oklahoma & Kansas via livestock - cows, especially
 their manure, are twice as bad as originally thought -
 but also from leaks while refining and drilling for oil,
 the National Academy of Science says in its report
released Monday.

Experts called this study of methane emissions the
most comprehensive yet - given that the gas is
difficult to track and measure.

The study was based on about 13,000 measurements
from airplane flights and tall towers, the most used
 in any such research, the AP reports.


__________________________________________________



LOSS OF AMAZON RAINFOREST GROWS SHARPLY

New data released by the Brazilian government
 shows that deforestation in the Amazon has
 increased by nearly a third over the past year.

According to Brazilian government figures
just released, satellite data for the 12 months
 to the end of last July, shows a 28% increase
in deforestation compared to last year.

The study also shows that approximately 2,256
square miles (5,843 square km) of land has been
 cleared during the period, an area roughly the
 size of the US state of Delaware.

Scientists and environmentalists say the trend
marks a reversal in gains against deforestation
 in Brazil, though other Amazon countries have
also witnessed a rise in deforestation since 2011.

The reason is unknown, but experts attribute it to
 government infrastructure projects, environmental
policy and a rise in demand for soybeans and other
 Brazilian farm exports, which encourages ranchers
 to clear private land in the Amazon.

“You can't argue with the numbers,” says Marcio
 Astrini, a coordinator with Greenpeace, adding,
 “This is not alarmist - it's a real and measured
inversion of what had been a positive trend.”

The Amazon rainforest covers territory belonging
 to 9 nations, with over 60% in Brazil, followed by
 Peru with 13%, Columbia with 10%, and minor
 amounts in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia,
Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.

__________________________________________


 Mass rally staged in Australia for
climate change action


Thousands of Australians gathered to call for
action on climate change across the country
as the PM moved to abolish carbon tax.

GetUp, the group organizing the countrywide event,
estimates that 60,000 people turned out to protest.

Australia has just had the hottest 12 months ever
 recorded, which triggered massive bush fires in
New South Wales.

___________________________________


HUNGER  STRIKE FOR CLIMATE SENSE


Hundreds of activists from different NGOs
joined
a hunger strike on the second day
of talks
at the UN Climate Change Summit.

Wael Hmaidan, director of Climate Action Network
 International and one of the hunger strikers, told
media that organizations away from the summit
 and other well-known individuals, joined in the
voluntary fasting as well.

The strike was in solidarity with Naderev Saño,
 the Philippines' representative to the summit,
 who stated at the event's inaugural meeting
 that he was going on hunger strike until the
 conference was over and agreements made
on concrete action to fight climate change.

"I'm overwhelmed by civil society's solidarity
 all over the world, especially from young
people,"
Saño says.

He also highlights the urgent need to take
action to tackle global warming & prevent
 "natural" disasters.


______________________


THROW AWAY LIVES

One point three billion metric tons -

that's how much food that we waste
 each year, China Daily reports.

As this massive wastage of food occurs, 840 million
 people experience chronic hunger on a daily basis.
 Many millions more suffer from "silent hunger" -
malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies.

The economic cost of waste is  $750 billion a year,
based on producer prices; if we consider retail prices
and the wider impacts on the environment, including
 climate change, the figure is far higher.

As governments preach austerity, it's hard to understand
 how a hemorrhage of money like this could go neglected.
 Yet in some places, the volume of food wastage is rising.

A new report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization,
published at a Green Growth Forum now on in Copenhagen,
 highlights a troubling aspect: the negative consequences
 on the environment and natural resources we all need to
  simply survive on this planet.


When food is wasted, energy, land and water resources
that went into producing it are also squandered - while
at the same time large amounts of greenhouse gases
 are released into the atmosphere during the production,
 processing, and the cooking of food.

We simply cannot tolerate the waste of 1.3 billion tons
 of food every single year - a third of world food production.

This is why seriously cutting down on food loss & waste
 is one of the five elements of UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon's Zero Hunger Challenge is a major focus of the
UN High Level Task Force on Global Food Security.


We are working together within the UN system & with
a broad coalition of partners to rise to the challenge,
 that also calls for 100% access to adequate food all
 year round; to eliminate childhood stunting; to make
all
food systems sustainable; & to end rural poverty.

To begin with, food loss and waste needs to be seen
 as a cross-cutting policy issue, rather than a lifestyle
 choice to be left in the hands of individual consumers.

The world needs to wake up to the need for policies
on food waste and losses, that look at all stages
of the food chain, from production to consumption.

In most developing countries, post-harvest losses
 can reach as high as 40% of production.

 Especially in these places, investment in infrastructure
 for transportation, storage, cooling & marketing of food
 is badly needed. Training farmers in best practices also
 has an important role to play.

In developed countries, food retailing practices require
 a rethink. For example, rejection of food products on the
basis of aesthetic concerns is a major cause of waste.
 
 Some supermarkets are already relaxing standards on
 fruit appearance, selling "misshaped" items at reduced

 prices and helping raise awareness that "ugly does not
mean bad." More approaches like this, to find markets
 or uses for surplus food, are needed.

Both businesses & households should monitor to see
 where & how they waste food & take corrective steps
- because prevention of waste is even more important
than
recycling or composting.

Unlike the mindboggling figure of 1.3 billion tons, these
 simple steps are easy enough to grasp - and within the
 reach of each of us. The world has enough on its plate
but food wastage is something we can all do
 something about now.

Jos Graziano da Silva is director-general of UN Food
and Agriculture Organization, and Achim Steiner is
executive director of UN Environmental Programme.
The two organizations are founding partners of the
Think Eat Save - Reduce Your Foodprint campaign
 launched earlier this year.

_____________________


STOP FRACKING NOW

A new US report shows that fracking for shale gas
 generated 280 billion gallons of toxic waste in 2012
 - containing cancerous and radioactive substances.

Fracking one well, can use 2 to 9 million gallons of
water mixed with sand and chemicals, and 'though
 most of the water used then returns to the earth,
 it contains both radium and bromides, it says:

“When bromide in wastewater mixes with chlorine
 (often used at drinking water treatment plants), it
 produces trihalomethanes, chemicals that cause
 cancer and increase the risk of reproductive or
 developmental health problems”. 

It also finds that 450,000 tons of air pollutants can
potentially be produced in one year by the practice.

Environment America, who published the report,
 calls fracking “highly polluting” and notes growing
 numbers of documented cases of illness as a result.
 As well as cancer, toxic substances from fracking
 chemicals and waste water can cause endocrinal,
 neurological and immune system problems.

“The numbers don't lie — fracking has taken a dirty and
destructive toll on our environment. If this dirty drilling
goes unchecked, these numbers will only get worse,”
John Rumpler, senior attorney for Environment America
says, in a post-publication news release.

Fracking extracts oil and gas by injecting water
to break rock formations deep underground and
its use in the US has rapidly risen recently -
despite scientists warning about the climate-
damaging methane or radiation its use brings.
 
Over 80,000 US wells have been drilled or endorsed
 across 17 different states since 2005, and the report
says that 360,000 acres are "damaged" as a result –
 the highest being in Texas, where 130,000 acres are
 calculated as "damaged".

While this figure includes land cleared for roads, well
sites and pipelines, among other technical processes,
the report states that “the total amount of habitat and
landscape affected by fracking is much greater.”

This report comes after the publication of research
from Duke University in the Environmental Science
and Technology journal.


That team analyzed water and sediment samples from
the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility, Indiana County,
 Pennsylvania, showing radium 200 times greater than
 samples taken upstream from the plant, and far higher
 than permissible under the Clean Water Act.

Radium is a radioactive metal that can cause
 diseases like leukemia and other ill effects,
 if exposure occurs over long periods of time.

The uncertainty over fracking is making house
 prices fall. The report cites a Texas study finding,
 that homes worth $250,000 but within 1,000ft of a
 well, have lost between 3% to 14% of their value.

Another reason for the decline in property
 values, could be the increased chance of
earthquakes. Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas,
Ohio and Colorado have had earthquakes
 after fracking's well wastewater disposal.

Environment America’s report suggests
 that damage from fracking is on a scale
 “unimagined” a few years ago and says:

 “banning fracking is the prudent and
 necessary course to protect the
 environment and public health.”

 The report strongly advises that US states
 take the initiative now and ban the practice.

________________________


NOT IN ROMANIA, CANADA!!!


Thousands of Romanians staged a new day of protest
against a controversial Canadian gold mine project, by
forming a human chain around the parliament building.

The chain stretched 7 kilometers around parliament.
People chanted, “United we can save Rosia Montana.”

“Only pressure on the streets can force politicians
 to stop this project - which is very dangerous for
 the environment,” said protester Stefania Iordache.

The crowd was acting against government support
for a plan
by Canadian Gabriel Resources, to mine in
 the village of Rosia Montana, in Transylvania region.

Protesters say the project - which would become
 Europe’s largest open-cast gold mine - will damage
 the environment, as the Canadian company plans
 to destroy four mountain tops and wipe out three
outlying villages in the area.

The project would also involve using an average
 of 12,000 tons of cyanide a year, to mine approx.
 314 tons of gold and 1,500 tons of silver.

Protests erupted on September the 1st, after the
 Romanian government OKed a draft law granting
 'national interest' status to the Canadian project.

The government approved it, after it received
 a bigger stake in the project by the Canadian
 company, which has waited for 14 years to
gain an official permit for the mine.

 
The recent weeks of protests have forced the
Romanian government to postpone a vote on
 the bill in parliament until November and PM
 V. Ponta has agreed to form a special
committee
'to examine' the project.


________________________


El Salvador Opens Bio-fertilizer Plant
in Cooperation with Cuba

The first bio-fertilizer plant in El Salvador,
 built in collaboration with Cuban scientists,
is opened by VP Salvador Sanchez Ceren,
in La Palma municipality, 80
kilometers
from the capital, San Salvador.

 
"The Cuban and Salvadorian people share
 knowledge and wisdom, because knowledge
 isn't the property of individuals, but humanity
 -- and that is what the Cuban government has
 shown," the Salvadoran vice president says.

The bio-fertilizer plant's main objectives are
 to positively influence crop yields and grow
 healthy products for human consumption.

The project also has the collaboration of
 the Tri-national Trifinio Plan Commission,
 administered by El Salvador, Honduras and
 Guatemala, which seeks to protect natural
 resources and work in harmony with nature.

The Salvadoran vice president stresses the
 importance of replacing utilitarian & predatory
 policies, with new organisations, to promote
 social and economic relations which focus on
 gender equality, equity, and justice, while also
preserving natural processes and biodiversity,
and thus, contributing to
'ecological balance'.

_________________


POOP POWER

"Poop-power is taking human waste by-products
 and extracting the energy from the waste, and
 using the energy for useful things," Michael R.
 Hoffmann, a professor at California Institute of
Technology (Caltech), explains in Beijing.

He was at a next-generation toilet campaign
  launched in China last week, and promoting
 his own design.

His dream is that one day all faeces can be
 disinfected and processed into hydrogen
for
electric power generation.

 His whole toilet unit includes processing
 machinery and a storage tank for hydrogen
 and is designed for 40 uses per day.

The 70-year-old's vision is that one family will
 be able to sustain their daily electrical needs
 using their own excrement and reuse the water
 they urinate after processing in their bathroom.

Each family will need just one next-generation
 toilet, says Hoffmann, winner of the "toilet
 revolution" campaign held by the Bill &
 Melinda Gates Foundation last year.

"The whole unit will cost the same price as
 an iPhone and you can charge your iPhone
 with your own poop-power," says the professor.

The toilet hasn't been fundamentally changed
 in 200 years after its invention in 1775, until the
 likes of Hoffmann created "toilet 2.0."

He came up with the new idea in 2011 when
 he was attracted by a US military toilet project.

 The military was interested in independently
 operated toilet systems to be used by troops
in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

"They didn't want to have to use fuel power
 generators. They wanted something that
 would be self-contained," Hoffmann says.

The military finally dismissed his toilet idea,
but The Gates foundation then came up with
 a similar idea.

The Foundation defines a "next-generation toilet"
 as one which is waterless, hygienic, not needing
 any sewer connection or electricity, and costs
 less than five US cents per user, per day.

"Although we can fly people to the moon, 40% of
 the world's population, 2.5 billion people, practice
 open defecation or lack adequate sanitation
 facilities," says Dr. Doulaye Kone, senior officer
 of water, sanitation and hygiene at the Gates
 foundation.

Even in urban areas, 2.1 billion people still use
 toilets connected to septic tanks that are not
 safely emptied, or use systems discharging
 raw sewage into open drains or surface water.

The Foundation has extended its "toilet revolution"
 campaign to China, kicking off with a competition
and with grants of 5 million dollars to encourage
 Chinese talent to reinvent the toilet.

"Imagine - each person discharges 1.5L urine
 and 300g of feces per day, and if you multiply
 the number of people of Beijing, how much
 stuff has to be processed on a daily basis,"
 Hoffmann says.

Processing today's raw toilet-generated sewage
is a huge project demanding huge facilities, yet
 instead, his small invention could do the job
 within each home, he says.

Hoffmann has been dealing with human waste
 for about 20 plus years. "If you want to study
 something, you have to invite it into your lab.
Yes, all my students and even my brave wife
 have contributed to my research," he says.

Sometimes, the experiments went wrong.
"Yeah, people made mistakes and they forgot
 to do something. And it just ran out on the floor.
 They had to clean up the human waste with
 their hands," the professor says, pulling a face.

Hoffmann says his invention is expensive, as
 research has cost a lot. He has been seeking
 partners in China to manufacture the product
 in large numbers, which would reduce costs.

He has introduced it to industry companies
 and toilet designers in Beijing, calling his
 presentation slides the "shit show."

 He asked the audience to "put our shit
 together" for the new "poop-power."

The Caltech team are also trying to work with an
 electric car company... on battery applications.

"In the future, maybe you can power your car
 with your own poop. If you feel your production
 is not enough, you can invite some of your
 friends to watch television at your home,"
 he suggests.

______________________


JAPANESE AUTHORITIES
"DEVOID OF RESPONSIBILITY"



The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant
admits - for the first time - that its reactors are leaking
highly contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean.


Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, admitted the leakage to
oceans for the first time since a catastrophic earthquake
and tsunami damaged the plant’s reactors in 2011 !!!


The operator made the acknowledgement after steam
was seen at one of the plant's reactors on Tuesday.


TEPCO is under criticism for delaying the announcement,
since experts had strong suspicions about a possible leak
for most of the time they have spent completely denying it.


Previously, the company denied all reports suggesting
that ANY contaminated water was leaking into the ocean.


TEPCO spokesperson Masayuki Ono, says that radioactive
water leaking from the wrecked reactors is likely to have run
into underground water systems, before joining the ocean,
and "might" be the result of initial leaks to the underground
system, spotted way back in 2011.


Ono adds that officials believe now a leak is "possible",
as underground water levels "fluctuate in accordance
with tidal movements and the rate of rainfall".


The plant operator says the number of plant workers with
thyroid radiation exposures exceeding threshold levels for
raised cancer risks, is "noticeably" higher than early reports.


On March 11th, 2011, a 9-magnitude earthquake triggered
a tsunami that inflicted heavy damage on the six-reactor
Fukushima plant. Cooling systems of the plant’s reactors
were knocked out, leading to meltdowns and the release
of radioactive material.


Last July, a Japanese parliamentary panel said the
  crisis at Fukushima nuclear plant was a “man-made
disaster” and not only a result of the tsunami.

Their report criticizes “governments, regulatory authorities
and Tokyo Electric Power” for being devoid of “a sense of
responsibility to protect people’s lives and society.”


_____________________________


NO MORE GMO IN EUROPE

 Monsanto drops bid to approve new crops in Europe

The world’s largest seed corporation says it has dropped
 its bid to get more genetically modified crops onto the
 European market, after  wide-spread popular opposition.
 The biotech giant says it will expand its share of the
 natural seed market instead.

“We will no longer be pursuing approvals for cultivation
 of new biotech crops in Europe. Instead, we will focus
 on enabling imports of biotech crops into the EU and
 the growth of our current business there,” the US-
based company says in an email statement.
 
Pending applications for GM crops – 6 types of corn,
 a soybean variety and a modified sugar beet – will be
 withdrawn shortly, the biotech giant states.
 
Currently, only 2 GM crops are approved in Europe,
 the MON810 maize and a modified potato created by
 BASF, a German biotech company. However, much
 of the allowed genetically modified produce is
 delivered to Europe as animal feed.
 
Europe has long expressed its concern over
 the effects of GM food produce on human health.
 
Several EU member states, including France,
 Germany, Austria, and Spain, have banned the
 cultivation of genetically-modified crops.
 
In September, French scientists from the University
 of Caen released a study showing that rats fed on a
diet containing NK603, a corn seed variety, resistant
 to Monsanto's Roundup weed-killer, along with those
 given water mixed with the product at levels permitted
 in the US, died earlier than those on a standard diet.

Protests against Monsanto are frequent, all over
 the world. In mid-June, the latest initiative against
 the corporation was launched.

 Monsanto Video Revolt  beats a corporate media
 blackout on GMO foods, to bring the issue to the
world’s attention. The campaign was announced
 by the Global Healing Centre, Natural News and
 Natural Society, which have united to counter
 GM produce & the huge amounts of poisonous
 herbicides and pesticides, poisoning the planet.
 
In May, an estimated two million people, many 
in Europe, turned out for global anti-GM rallies.
 
In the UK, a YouGov poll shows  that only 21%
of the UK's people favour growing GM crops,
with 35% opposed.

Yet senior officials in the UK have been stepping up
 their efforts to get large-scale farming of genetically-
modified crops in Europe. In June, the UK's present
 Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, asked the
 EU to loosen its controls, or risk being “left behind.”

Monsanto says they will invest in its European
 non-GMO seed business instead, to boost sales.
 
The company’s seed business in Europe accounts
 for over 98% of its $1.72 billion turnover in Europe.
 
"Conventional seeds is the area where we are focusing
at this time in Europe, and we are funding the business
 in a way that we haven't done for more than 15 years,"
 Monsanto’s President and managing Director for
 Europe, Jose Manuel Madero, says to Reuters.

The corporation is already investing $300 million
 to boost its seed production in France, Romania,
 Hungary and Turkey, with a mind to cashing in on
 "several hundred million dollars" more over the
 next five years, Madero says.

A significant part of that money, an initial investment
 of $150 million, which could double to $300 million
 within a couple of years, is to be directed to Ukraine,
 a major global grain producer. Monsanto stresses
 that the total area sown with its seeds in Ukraine
doubled between 2012 and 2013.

_______________________________


LATIN AMERICA AND CHINA LEAD


The 2nd International Summit on the Environment
(CIMA) was held at Guayaquil city, in Ecuador, and
aims at promoting businesses which work in unity
with environmental protection.

The Guayaquil's Convention Centre hosted some
30,000 visitors, about 103 speakers, a business

 conference, the Latinoamerica Verde Awards for
bio-
entrepreneurs, and eight specific forums.

The CIMA also included Academic Forums for female
 leaders, visionary entrepreneurs & those responsible
 for policies and laws on environmental protection.


Swiss President Ueli Maurer, Dominican PM Roosevelt
Skerrit,
Tongan PM Siale'ataonga Tu'ivakano and Thai
Deputy PM
Nivatthamrong Boonsongpaisal, attended
an ecological
forum in China, a spokesperson says.

The Eco-Forum Global was held over three days in
Guiyang, capital of south China's Guizhou Province,

 says a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying.


_____________________________




THE GREATEST BATTLE

Leaders of Native American tribes have pulled
 out of talks with US federal officials, to show
 their outrage over a planned oil pipeline and
 its contamination of their ancestral lands.

The leaders from 11 tribes walked out of a
meeting in Rapid City on May 16th, and call
on US President Barack Obama to engage

with them in direct negotiations, over the
Keystone XL pipeline.

“I'll only meet with President Obama,”
 Bryan Brewer, president of Oglala
 Sioux Tribe, says.

He adds that talking directly with the US
 president is the only true way to conduct
 nation-to-nation talks.

The 1,897-kilometer (1,179-mile) Keystone
 XL pipeline, worth USD 7 billion, would
 pump oil from Canadian tar sands to
Texas refineries.

The pipeline requires the approval of the
Obama administration, as it crosses an
international border.


Casey Camp-Horinek, an elder with the
 Oklahoma-based Southern Ponca Tribe,
compares the environmental damage of
 the pipeline to that suffered by thousands
 of her people during European colonization.

“We find ourselves victims of another form
 of genocide, & it's environmental genocide,
 & it's caused by the extractive industries,”
she says.


Robin LeBeau, a council representative for the
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe based in S. Dakota,
 vows to oppose the construction of the pipeline
 even if it means standing in front of bulldozers.

“What the State Department, what President
Obama
needs to hear from us, is that we are
going to be
taking direct action,” she says.

She says the pipeline would run directly through

 her tribe's traditional burial grounds near Bridger,
South Dakota.

She urges all Native American tribes to unify in
their
efforts to stop construction of the pipeline.

“I believe this is going to be one of the biggest
 battles we are ever going to have,” LeBeau says.

Members of the Indigenous Council of Nebraska,
 Lincoln Indian Center, and a grassroots movement
from Canada called Idle No More, 
call on Obama,
to resist political pressure
& disallow the pipeline.

They say the project represents a threat to soil,
 water and the atmosphere through the emission
 of more greenhouse gases.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
has estimated that the Keystone XL pipeline will
 increase annual US carbon pollution emissions
 by up to 27.6 million metric tons.


_____________________________________________



The Arctic Council Calls for Peace and Stability        
 
The foreign ministers of the Arctic Council have
approved a special declaration that the area
be kept as a zone of peace and stability.

The declaration highlights the importance of
international cooperation based on international
 law, and the willingness of member countries
 to solve problems jointly.

According to the statement, transparent and
predictable rules and mutual cooperation will
 encourage progress, trade and investment,
 as the stable development of its economic
potential is the key to prosperity in the region.

The Arctic Council, founded about 20 years ago,
groups eight Arctic countries, namely Canada,
 Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia,
Sweden and the United States.

China, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea &
 Singapore were granted new Observer States
 status.

The EU, which also requested that status, will
 have temporary observer status until certain
aspects of its trade relationship with Canada
 are clarified, the Swedish foreign minister,
 Carl Bildt, reports, at the end of the meeting.

The Council already has 6 permanent members
 and 26 observers, including 20 organizations
 and 6 countries, and Bildt says the inclusion of
 more observers won't impede council duties.

This shows the growing international recognition
 of the Arctic Council, Sweden's Foreign Minister
 says, at which a legally binding agreement was
 also adopted on cooperation in oil disasters and
 another one on marine cooperation.

However, when Canada assumed the chair of
the Council, Greenpeace immediately
put out
a statement --- Harper's government
intended
to use the forum to promote industrial

development in the region.

 Greenpeace says the Arctic Council must be
 designed to ensure sustainability & protection
 of the environment, and must not allow the
 Canadian Executive to use the next two years
 to develop their destructive industrial agenda.


_________________________________________



UK THE DIRTIEST POLLUTER

 The UK government is violating EU air quality law
 by producing the highest level of NO2, judges rule.

The UK's High Court rules that the coalition is in
 breach of an EU directive which puts limits on
 nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a colorless, odorless gas
 produced by burning fuels, which can cause
 respiratory conditions leading to early death.

Judges asked the European Court of Justice
in Luxembourg for guidance on what action
needs to be taken. However, an immediate
 improvement to air pollution was delayed.

Air pollution kills almost 29,000 people in the
UK each year, according to a body which
 advises the UK government. Before deciding
 on further action, the High Court has referred
 a number of legal questions to the ECJ, and
these could take up to 18 mths to be answered.

The case was filed against the government in 2011
 by the firm ClientEarth. Alan Andrews, a lawyer at
 the firm, says the High Court could eventually force
 the UK government to take certain steps to improve
 air quality, but does not have the power to issue fines.

The environmental law firm wanted to force the
government to come up with an air quality plan
 to comply with EU limits on N02, by 2015.

 Under the EU directive, member states are supposed
 to have complied with limits on NO2 in 2010, but the
 deadline can be extended by five years if a plan to
 deal with high levels of NO2 is delivered.

Court documents show 40 out of the UK’s 43 air quality
 zones exceeded the limits in 2010, and the government’s
 Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
 (Defra) says 23 zones might comply by 2015 and 16
 between 2015 and 2020, while London is not expected
 to comply before 2025.

“This historic ruling marks a turning point in the fight
 for clean air and will pile the pressure on Owen
Paterson,” says James Thornton, chief executive of
ClientEarth, referring to the UK Secretary of State
for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

“He must now come up with an ambitious plan to
protect people from carcinogenic diesel fumes,”
which are largely blamed for creating NO2, he says.


_____________________________________



Dear Friends,
I'm highly recommending this Canadian film, on Vimeo:


Salmon Confidential
How Government Cover-Up on Fish Farming
Threatens Your Health, 
and the Entire Ecosystem


 

Ben and I watched it on Sunday. 

We actually didn't intend to watch it, but I plugged in
a new set of speakers for my computer, and opened a
link in a mercola.com newsletter to test the sound,
and we were enthralled by this brilliantly presented
extended
report: The problem, analysis, solution is
very clearly laid out,
leading to an uplifting and
inspiring result. 


Salmon Confidential, the film


Summary:


Salmon Confidential is a new film on the government
cover
up of what is killing British Columbia’s wild salmon.


When biologist Alexandra Morton discovers BC’s wild
salmon
are testing positive for dangerous European
salmon viruses
associated with salmon farming world-
wide, a chain of events
is set off by government to
suppress the findings.


Tracking viruses, Morton moves from courtrooms, into
British
Columbia’s most remote rivers, Vancouver grocery
stores and
sushi restaurants.


The film documents Morton’s journey as she attempts to
overcome
government and industry roadblocks thrown in
her path and works to
bring critical information to the
public in time to save BC’s wild salmon. 


The film provides surprising insight into the inner workings
of government agencies, as well as rare footage of the
bureaucrats tasked with managing our fish and the safety
of our food supply. >>> more


http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/04/13/salmon-confidential.aspx?e_cid=20130413_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20130413 In addition, the main points in the extended
mercola.com report:



  • 'Keystone' Species Missing in Action by the Millions

  • Wild Salmon Declines Traced Back to Salmon Farms

  • Lethal Salmon Virus Found in Every Region with

  • Installed Salmon Farms

  • You May Be Buying Salmon Infected with

  • Dangerous Fish Viruses

  • Farmed Fish Pose a Number of Health Hazards

  • to Your Health

  • Buying Local Increases Food Safety and Food Security




Story at-a-glance

• Salmon Confidential draws back the curtain to reveal how
the Canadian government is covering up the cause behind
British Columbia’s rapidly dwindling wild salmon populations:

fish farms

• In British Columbia, pacific salmon are an essential
species for the ecosystem. They fill hundreds of streams
and rivers, feeding hundreds of species, including humans.

Since the early 1990’s, salmon numbers have rapidly
dwindled, coinciding with the introduction of farmed
salmon pens.

• Fish farms breed pathogens that can spread like wildfire
and contaminate any wild fish swimming past. Wild
salmon that died before spawning have tested positive
for a number of salmon viruses, including the highly lethal
“salmon influenza”

• Farmed fish, purchased in stores around British Columbia
have tested positive for at least three lethal fish viruses,
including the dreaded ISA virus (aka salmon flu), salmon
alpha viruses, & Piscine reovirus, which causes salmon to
have a heart attack, preventing them from swimming upriver.

• I recommend buying locally-grown foods & wild fish only.

Fish farms are breeding grounds for disease & toxic waste,
and produce fish of inferior quality. Due to the dramatically
increased disease risk—a natural side effect of crowding—
these animals are further contaminated with drugs, and in
the case of salmon, synthetic astaxanthin, which is made
from petrochemicals that are not approved for human
consumption. >>> more


 


Excerpts: "The position of government and corporations
is
identical. Democracy is slipping away. ... The level of

carelessness is unforgivable.... The government is not
doing it. Somebody has to! 
We must step up to support
politicians who are stopping
that.... Department of Wild
Salmon: That's us!"




And an exemplary statement of Canadian government
official
position on the findings: "...not designed as a
public document.
That's one of the drawbacks of
releasing it to the public."
Dr. Gary D. Marty, British
Columbia Fish Health Vet. 



It was edifying to see the faces of the many
bureaucrats who
have submitted to telling lies.
The camerawoman did a brilliant
job focusing
on their eyes— watching them glaze over when

they lied. I felt sorry for them, and very glad for
the people
who pursued the truth and came up
with the best solution
possible: Department of
Wild Salmon: That's us!"


 — the local communities taking responsibility for
overseeing the protection and health of a wild
salmon
habitat themselves. They show how
they can
turn this around.



We both felt informed and inspired after viewing
this story. I've featured it on GAC too:

 http://www.globalartscollective.org/water.htm


I hope we all can do likewise, because ocean
currents
connect us all!


Maireid





--
Websites:
Personal: Maireid.com
Multimedia Production: LyrebirdMedia.com
Arts Action: GlobalArtsCollective.org
Music Journal: AlternateMusicPress.com
YouTube Lyrebird Channel: http://www.youtube.com/lyrebirdchannel
LinkedIn: http://au.linkedin.com/pub/maireid-sullivan/2b/582/380




****************************************


 Limits to Growth

Queen Elizabeth 1st took a bath once a year –
whether she needed it or not.


Many people now take 2 showers - a day.
This is very relevant to our current stage
of consumption.


Consumption of our resources such as water, land,
clean air and fossil fuels
is now at an unsustainable
level. At the time of Elizabeth 1 the world population
was about half a billion. Today it is 10 billion. That is
a lot of showers.

Clearly there have been many improvements since
the year 1500: we are now more hygienic, warmer,
better fed and more healthy, but the way we have
gone about improving our lifestyles has come at
a price. And although we might think everything
is quite expensive enough already, we are not
actually paying the full price.


A full price would include the cost to the environment.
Trees don’t bill us for their loss of forests, endangered
animals do not bill us for their loss of habitat. The
oceans ask no price for the pollution humans pour
into them, and the air will not send us an invoice for
the extra greenhouse gasses it has to endure.

If the fish and whales took us to court for murder of
their family members, we would at least have more
life left in the sea.


In 1972 a group of eminent scholars, called the Club
of Rome, published a book called Limits to Growth. 
They spent years pulling information together, then
modelled it to create a future trend scenario. Their
conclusions were that we were using up the natural
resources of the planet too quickly, and if we did not
change our ways, collapse was inevitable. Limits to
Growth was an early warning siren. Sadly few people
listened.


Please do look at this very good explanatory graph
and updated info here:
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/
Looking-Back-on-the-Limits-of-Growth.html


In essence, they estimated that if human beings
continue to consume more than nature is capable
of providing, global economic collapse and abrupt
population decline could occur at around 2030.

In other words humans are taking too much,
and not giving enough back, and sooner rather
than later there is going to be a very big problem.


Governments baying for economic growth at all cost
are digging us deeper into the quagmire. They pursue
this because they measure success in money, not in
wellbeing or protection of the ecosystems on which
we all actually depend in order to stay alive.


Ever more dangerous and unwholesome methods
are being used to extract fossil fuels. Tar sands are
huge wasters of energy and put more CO2 into the
atmosphere in their extraction than when they are
burnt. Fracking - or hydraulic fracturing – pumps
toxic chemicals into the ground to release small
pockets of gas, deep sea oil drilling has an
abysmal record, but still they do it,


But there's another way of doing business. Growth is
still possible, but only if we invest in technologies
  like renewable energy supplies, allocate money for
innovation and research so that we can overcome
our dependence on dirty fuels and convert to clean
energies such as wind, tide & sun. We need to stop
wasting so much, & stop polluting the air with CO2
and poisons from incinerators and dirty industries.

We need to reuse more of what we have, and recycle
more of what we need, such as metals and plastics.
Recycling leaves more in the resource pot
for the next generation.


If you had the choice between a car burning fossil
fuels, and a long and healthy life for your children,
which would you choose?


Limits to growth was updated in 2008,
and the data was found to remain relevant.
Update document can be read here
http://www.csiro.au/files/files/plje.pdf



_____________________________




PLASTIC PEOPLE EAT THE EARTH.


From 1970 to 2008, the biological resources of our
planet shrank by 28%. The main consumer? The USA.

Living Planet's specialists at the World Wide Nature
Foundation studied over 9000 mammals, fish, birds,
reptiles and amphibians, Vesti.ru reports. The report
sayss if the whole world used our natural resources
like Americans use them, we would need 5 planets
to sustain the Earth.

Yet the USA is only 5th on the list of countries that
extravagantly uses the world's natural resources
for its own population.

First are Qatar, Kuwait, The United Arab Emirates
and Denmark. After the USA? Belgium, Australia,
Canada, The Netherlands... and Ireland!

Researchers also note that small plastic particles
now present a serious threat to sea life as they are
entering animals' respiratory and digestive systems.

10% of fish caught in areas close to the islands of
rubbish around the USA
& Hawaii have plastic in
their stomachs, says ECO portal.








Image: BRICS


China welcomes Canada's decision
 to apply for AIIB membership: Xi

Xinhua -  President Xi Jinping says China
welcomes Canada's decision --- to become
a member of the Asian Infrastructure
Investment Bank (AIIB) --- on
August 31st, 2016.

Meeting visiting Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau, Xi
says China is willing to improve communication
 and coordination with Canada, protect an open
& inclusive multilateral trade system with the
 country and deepen cooperation in areas such
as climate change, peacekeeping and marine
 protection.

Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau announces
 Canada's decision to apply to be a member of the
 AIIB, at a press conference in Beijing, Wednesday.

This is the first official visit by Trudeau since
taking office in November 2015. His father,
former Canadian PM Pierre Trudeau, was
the first Canadian PM to visit China, after
the establishment of diplomatic relations.

After his stay in Beijing, Trudeau will fly
 to Hangzhou, to attend the G20 summit.


____________________________________________



Brent Crude Oil Tops $50

Oil prices rose on Thursday with Brent
briefly topping $50 thanks to a weaker
 dollar and a drop in US crude
 stockpiles, traders said.

Brent North Sea crude hit $50.05 a barrel --
breaching $50 for the first time since early
 last month.

Later, at 12.30 GMT, Brent North Sea crude
 for delivery in October, was up two cents,
 at $49.87 a barrel, after profit-taking.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for
 September delivery rose 27 cents to $47.06,
 compared with Wednesday's close.


___________________________________


World seeing ‘greatest monetary policy
experiment in history’ - Rothschild

 Low interest rates, negative yields on government
 debt & quantitative easing, are part of the biggest
 financial experiment in world history, and the
 consequences are as yet, unknown, says RIT
Capital Partners Chair, Lord Rothschild.

“The six months under review have seen central
 bankers continuing what is surely the greatest
experiment in monetary policy in the history of
 the world. We're therefore in uncharted waters
 and it is impossible to predict the unintended
 consequences of very low interest rates, with
 30% of global government debt --- at negative
 yields, combined with quantitative easing on
 a massive scale,” Rothschild writes, in the
company's semi-annual financial report.

The banker says this policy has led to a rapid
growth of stock markets --- US stocks have
grown 3-fold since 2008 - with investments
 growing and volatility remaining low.

However, the real sector of the economy didn’t
 enjoy such profits, as “growth remains anemic,
 with weak demand and deflation in many parts
 of the developed world,” says Rothschild.

The billionaire stresses that many risks remain
 for the global economy with the deteriorating
geopolitical situation. Among those risks, he
includes the UK's vote to leave the EU, the
 US' presidential election & China's slowing
economic growth. Another risk is global
terrorism, which Rothschild says is a
consequence of continuing conflict
 in the Middle East.

A Bank of America Merrill Lynch report in June,
shows interest rates in developed countries,
 in particular America’s 0.5%, are now at
their lowest level in 5,000 years.

 In their battle with deflation, countries such
 as Sweden, Switzerland or Japan have even
 turned to negative key lending rates.

Another woe is negative yields on government
bonds. In June, 10-year German government
bonds dipped below 0% for the first time in
 history.

Janus Capital estimates that global yields
are the lowest in 500 years, and the total
amount of such bonds, is $10 trillion.

The investment group’s lead portfolio manager,
 Bill Gross, is calling it a “supernova, that will
 explode one day.”



___________________________________



China cuts US treasuries holding in June

Xinhua - China, the top buyer of US Treasury
 securities, cut its holding in June, the latest
data from the US Treasury Department
showed on Monday Aug. 15th.

China shed its treasuries holding by 3.2 billion
  dollars in June, with its total holding at 1.2408
 trillion dollars. The country added 1.2 billion
dollars of US treasuries in May, but cut the
holding in April and March.

Japan, the second largest foreign holder of
 US treasuries, increased its holding by 14.5
 billion dollars to 1.1477 trillion dollars in June.

By the end of June, overall, the foreign holdings
 of US' Treasury securities... increased to 6.281
 trillion dollars, from May's 6.2099 trillion dollars.

Russia increased their holdings, in June.


______________________________



Post-Brexit Inaction
‘Risks New Recession’

John McDonnell, Labour's UK Shadow Chancellor,
warns that Tory inaction since the Brexit vote...
 is catapulting Britain into another recession.

The shadow chancellor’s comments come as two
 separate studies show rising fears of job losses
 and growing concerns among both employees
and employers.

A report from the National Institute of Economic
 and Social Research (NIESR), a think tank, says
 there is a 50-50 chance of the country falling
 into recession, in the next 18 months.

It predicts that inflation will also pick
up, rising to 3%, by the end of 2017.

NIESR head of forecasting Simon Kirby says:
 “We expect the UK to experience a marked
economic slowdown in the second half of
this year, and throughout 2017.

“There is an evens chance of a technical
 recession in the next 18 months, while
there is an elevated risk of a further
deterioration, in the near term.”

The Confederation of British Industry says
 that UK small & medium-sized enterprises
 (SMEs), fear they will be hit by a fall in
orders, in the next three months.

Its latest quarterly survey of SMEs found
 that business optimism has fallen at its
 fastest rate, since January 2009, when
the economy was heading for recession.

Mr McDonnell urges the new Chancellor,
 Phillip Hammond, to explain what he
 intends to do about it.

“The economic outlook for the UK is uncertain,
 and it is time the Chancellor stepped up, and
told us what he is planning to do.

“The government’s woeful lack of planning for
 the impact of the EU referendum result, has
 only added to the uncertainty employees
and employers are feeling today.

“Many people are understandably anxious,
fearing for their jobs, and worried about
the future of the economy.

“We cannot afford to be stuck with
Mr Osborne’s planned investment
cuts, until an Autumn Statement.


“We must rebalance our economy &
 support our key industries, with an
industrial strategy that can provide
 the good, secure jobs, that we so
desperately need.

“Labour have pledged to invest in our
economy, with priority investment in
 those communities that have been
 economically neglected for years.”


__________________________________



GOOD "POST BREXIT" NEWS !?!


EU mulls abolishing "non-market economy" list


Xinhua - The European Union (EU) is mulling
abolishing its "non-market economy" list, on
which China & 14 other states are included,
to set up a new, "country-neutral" method,
 & reform its anti-dumping and anti-subsidy
 legislation, it announced, on July 29th.

The decision was made after the EU Commission
held another orientation debate on the treatment
 of China, in anti-dumping investigations, as a 15-
year-old EU "surrogate system" is set to expire,
 in December, 2016.

"Colleagues have agreed to propose changes to
 EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy legislation --
with the introduction of a new anti-dumping
 methodology," said EU Trade Commissioner
Cecilia Malmstrom in a press briefing.

"We're eliminating the existing list of non-
market economy countries," Malmstrom
 told reporters. "This is a new method, it
will be country-neutral, and applied to
all WTO member countries, equally."

 "This new methodology, would lead to
approximately the same level of anti-
dumping duties as the EU has now"
-- the commissioner said.

EU officials say... the new method will mark
 a "huge change" to the bloc's anti-dumping
& anti-subsidy laws, & the EU Commission
 will have to shoulder the burden, & prove
 there is "market distortion" in its future
 investigations, on a case-by-case basis.

Besides China, other countries on the
 EU "non-market economies" list, are:

 Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus,
 Georgia, the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea, Kazakhstan,
 Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia,
 Tajikistan, Turkmenistan,
Uzbekistan and, last but
not least, Vietnam.


_____________________________



Deficit in UK's Current Account
Remains Unaltered 
    
 
 The deficit in the current account of the United
 Kingdom --- after all this austerity --- remains at
an historic maximum.

The need to finance the country from abroad, was
high before the yes for Brexit. The British National
 Office of Statistics shows no change in its initial
 growth estimate for the first quarter -- but shows
that the economy still depends mostly on home
 expenditure and services, for any expansion.

On the other hand, the growth of foreign trade,
 investment and manufacturing, slowed down.

In global terms, the UK economy grew 0.4 %
 in the first three months of 2016, in line with
 forecasts, and was 2% higher than last year.


_________________________________



Head of Putin’s Administration calls
 to not lift anti-Russian sanctions

The head of Russia's presidential administration,
 Sergei Ivanov, says the anti-Russian sanctions
 imposed by the EU are having a positive impact
 on the economy. According to him, damage due
to the sanctions is falling, and budget revenue
 has ceased to be dependent on oil and gas.

The introduction of European sanctions has not
 only demonstrated the strength and viability of
Russia's economy, but has also, according to
Mr Ivanov, helped the development of many
industries that were previously forgotten.

The head of the presidential administration
 says Russia will take retaliatory measures
--- if the sanctions are lifted !


______________________________



Americans and Europeans Divided

Over Sanctions Against Russia
 
Prensa Latina - Almost half of Europeans (47%)
 --- believe that sanctions against Russia should
be lifted in June 2016 --- according to a recent
 Sputnik Polls survey.

The poll found that 51% of Italians, 48% of Germans,
& 43% of French respondents, said they agree with
 the lifting of sanctions; according to the consultant
 firms, Ifop and UK Populus.

In contrast, when asked about the same topic, only
 29% of US people, said that they would like to see
 sanctions against Russia lifted.

The poll was conducted by the French opinion and
 marketing research company, Ifop, and UK polling
 agency Populus, for Sputnik News Agency & Radio.

The poll also found that respondents in the US,
are most likely to support extending sanctions.

When asked if sanctions against Russia should
be lifted or extended in June 2016:  42% of the
US citizens said they support extending them.

However, only 31% of respondents in Germany,
 29 per cent in France, and 27 per cent in Italy
agreed with extending sanctions.

The EU's economic sanctions against Russia
 were imposed in 2014. The EU is poised to
make a final decision on extending the
 sanctions, by the end of June 2016.

Analists say that, since the sanctions were
 applied, the EU has had to pay 10 times
more than the US.


_______________________________



 “The Most Corrupt Country in the World”.


 Journalist & world-renowned expert on the
 Italian mafia Roberto Saviano calls the UK
 “the most corrupt country in the world”.

“If I asked, what's the most corrupt place on
 Earth, you might well tell me it’s Afghanistan
 or maybe Greece, Nigeria, the South of Italy:
 and I will tell you --- it’s the UK,” Saviano told
 the audience at Wales’ Hay Literary Festival.

“It’s not the bureaucracy, it’s not the police,
 & it’s not the politics, but what is corrupt is
the financial capital. Ninety percent of the
 owners of capital in London, have their
headquarters offshore,” he added.

The UK is Europe’s “criminal capital” when it
comes to allowing corruption, the journalist
 thinks, with trust funds in Jersey and British
 Overseas Territory the Cayman Islands,
 being its “access gates.”

“That is why it is important, why it is so crucial
for me to be here today & talk to you;- because
 I want to tell you, this is about you, this is about
 your life, this is about your government,” the
36-year-old journalist told the audience.


_____________________________



Surprise! US Should Be Considered

 as a Tax Haven, EU Report Suggests

New research by the Green/EFA group in the
 European Parliament calls for the USA to be
 considered as a tax haven, following claims
 that it has fallen behind in tax transparency.

The research — which was published ahead
of a special visit to the US by the European
 Parliament's special committee, looking at
 tax avoidance this week, could also cast a
 shadow on the ongoing TTIP negotiations
-- which aim to secure closer trade agree-
ments between Europe and the US.

The report is critical of what it sees as inaction
 on the part of the US ---- in tackling the issue of
 transparency of company ownership and bank
 account info' between tax administrations
 --- arguing that, whilst the EU has made
progress, the US has not.

The report, 'The Role of the US as a Tax
Haven — Implications for Europe' says:

"The US is a major financial centre. It holds almost
 20% of the financial services' world market share
 for non-residents. Foreign assets amounted to
US $16,745 billion in 2013, and foreign direct
investment reached US$2.9 billion in 2014.

However, its transparency legal framework
is not consistent with the responsibility
involved in being a major financial hub."

The German Green MEP Sven Giegold comments
 on the report -- claiming the US has failed to live
 up to standards it requires of other countries:

"The US has made bold moves on the exchange of
 financial information but it is just a one-way street:
its exchange of tax information with other states,
 is more limited and full of loopholes," Giegold says.

Molly Scott Cato - a Green MEP for the UK - argues
 that the US is becoming increasingly attractive --
as a "tax haven" for the world's most wealthy.

Responding to the recent report, she argues for
 greater scrutiny of the US tax regime by the EU:

"The EU should carefully scrutinize the US, in the
 upcoming process of creating a common blacklist
 of tax havens. We should introduce a withholding
 tax on US banks not exchanging information -- as
 the US has done with European banks. We need
the US to sign up to the highest international
standards of transparency."

A fact-finding delegation visited the US between
 17-19 May, as part of the European Parliament's
 special committee investigating tax avoidance
 in the US.


__________________________________



Oil Prices Begin June with 2016 Highs

Oil prices hit new 2016 highs in June, as a
slowdown in US drilling added to growing
 expectations --- that the global supply glut
 will gradually disappear;-  and as Canada's
fires took 25% of its 'available' reserves.

Brent North Sea crude reached $48.90 a barrel
 and US benchmark West Texas Intermediate
(WTI) achieved $47.19 -- the highest levels
 since early November.

Later, WTI for delivery in June stood at $47.05.

Brent for July jumped 93 cents to $48.76.

US oilfield services firm Baker Hughes said
that the number of US drilling rigs fell to its
lowest level since October 2009, handing
 a further boost to prices.

Crude futures had already rallied in May, as
advisory-group, the International Energy
 Agency, said the world oil supply glut could
 ease in the second half of this year, and as
 OPEC oil producers said the oversupply
 "may be easing" on reduced output
 by its members.


_______________________________



Iran says it can join oil freeze plan


Tehran says it's ready to join an oil freeze plan
 designed to help stabilize the market, Iranian
news network Press TV reports, on May 6th.

Mohsen Qamsari, director for international
affairs of the National Iranian Oil Company
(NIOC), told reporters Tehran has already
reached the desirable level of
oil output.

“Accordingly, the desirable figure for Oil
Minister [Bijan Zangeneh] has been reached
 and we can join the oil freeze plan,” Tehran-
based Tasnim news agency has reportedly
 quoted Qamsari as saying.

The head of NIOC's international department
 adds that the decision to join the plan should
 be taken by the oil minister alone, however...
“It is expected that he will make a
 decision over this,” he says.


___________________________________


Worst is Yet to Come? US Billionaire
 Warns of Crisis Worse Than 2008

The current situation in the global economy
 is similar to the situation on the eve of the
 crisis of 2008, billionaire trader Stanley
 Druckenmiller says.

According to the businessperson,
the main risk stems from actions
  by the US Federal Reserve.

He criticizes the Federal Reserve for a
 "myopic policy" of low interest rates,
which has led to fast-growing bullish
sentiments, in the market.

"The bull market is exhausting itself,"
 he said, at the Ira Sohn Investment
Conference, in New York.

The Fed’s easy monetary policy has
 resulted in companies taking on big
debt loads... which they then use to
buy back their shares -- instead of
increasing capital spending.

By keeping interest rates low, the Fed is
 'raising the odds of an economic tail risk
 they are trying to avoid', Druckenmiller
points out.

A big concern, is the uncontrollable growth
of US debt, the investor adds. According to
 him, US corporations are "stuck in the mud,
forlorn of growth, unwilling to invest, and
 addicted to share buybacks, to gin up
 their stocks."

"The Fed has borrowed from future
 consumption more than ever before.
It is the least data-dependent Fed
 in history. This is the longest
 deviation from historical norms
 in terms of Fed dovishness that
 I have ever seen in my career,"
Druckenmiller is quoted as
saying, by CNBC.

"This kind of myopia causes
 reckless behaviour."

According to media reports, Druckenmiller -
 whose net worth is estimated at $4.4 billion
- is making long-term investments in gold...
 while holding short positions on US
companies’ shares.

At the same time, some economists believe
 that the current state of the global economy
 indicates that it may be facing a structural
adjustment -- and is not just the downward
 part of an economic cycle.

In April, the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) announced that the global economy
was expecting growth at 3.2 percent, in
2016, & a further growth of 3.5% in 2017.

"Maybe it is not just an economic cycle
 we are facing, but a kind of structural
adjustment of the world economy that
we do not understand, yet: what the
consequences are, and how to deal
 with this," European Commission
 Europe-Aid head, Jose Correia
Nunes, notes.


____________________________



Bankers in Prison --- New Rule?

In October 2015, courts in Iceland handed down
 sentences against 5 bankers who helped usher
in the country’s 2008 financial crisis. Among
the convicted were 3 senior managers from
 Landsbanki Íslands and 2 senior managers
 from Kaupthing Bank. Then suddenly, with
no big hooha, sentences were pronounced
against more bankers working in Iceland.

A total of 26 have been convicted. This is
 the world’s first ruling against the bankers
 who oversaw the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

Is the jig up yet?

On Jan. 11 eleven former employees of Deutsche
 Bank, Barclays, and Société Générale, appeared
in a London court, accused of manipulating the
 Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor), which
sets interest rates on many financial
products, including mortgages.

The Libor and Euribor interbank rates, which
 determine the cost at which banks lend to one
 another, are used to price over $450 trillion of
financial products. Over three years since the
UK bank Barclays, admitted, in 2012, that its
traders had tried to manipulate the Libor &
Euribor rates, between 2005 and 2009,
legal proceedings have begun.

 For many bankers the start of the trial
in London --- was a genuine shock.

In the banking world, where the London law-
suit's currently a hot topic, there're those who
 point out, that only the managers of European
banks are in the dock and they hope that Wall
 Street banks are not next. Others claim that
 the trial in London...  is just the beginning.

 And, finally, a third group is suggesting that it is
 not that hard to figure out which bank managers
 and employees are responsible for misbehaving.

The long silence on the part of the banks and
 regulators, can only be explained by the well-
established bonds of corruption:-  financial
 regulators are always guided by 2 unwritten
 rules in their work. One rule applies to the
banks as legal entities: Too big to fail.

The other applies to the managers
of large banks: Too big to jail.

The lawsuits in Iceland and London are
 the first exceptions to the second rule.


______________________________________



AS THE WEST FACES RUIN...

Xinhua -- The World Bank expects the Chinese
 economy to 'slow' to 6.7 percent in 2016, the
bank says in a report on Monday, April 11th.

The projection is on par with its last estimate
 in January. The bank has kept its projection
for 2017 at 6.5 percent.

"China's orderly transition to slower but more
 sustainable growth has continued --- despite
some volatility in financial markets," states
the East Asia and Pacific Economic Update,
 which is published by the bank twice a year.

Growth deceleration was especially marked,
 in the real estate and manufacturing sectors.

 Excess capacity has been a 'drag' on a wide
range of industries, while the service sector
remains robust, the report notes.

Despite slower GDP growth, urban job creation
 exceeded the annual target in 2015, & house-
hold disposable income grew faster than GDP
 growth.

"The overall capacity of China's economy to create
 jobs is extremely high," says Sudhir Shetty, Chief
 Economist of the World Bank's East Asia and
Pacific Region, at a video conference.

The bank warns that credit growth continues to
 outpace GDP growth, & leverage is still building.

Monetary and fiscal policy stances are expected
to remain accommodative to limit risks of a rapid
 growth slowdown, that could trigger disorderly
 adjustments in accumulated imbalances.

The bank also expects growth in East Asia to
ease from 6.5 percent in 2015, to 6.3 percent
 in 2016, and 6.2 percent from 2017 to 2018.

"Developing East Asia and Pacific continues
 to contribute strongly to global growth. The
 region accounted for almost two-fifths of
global growth in 2015, more than twice
the combined contribution of all other
 developing regions," says Victoria
 Kwakwa, incoming World Bank
 East Asia & Pacific Regional
 Vice President.


__________________________



Crude prices jump at shrinking inventory

Xinhua -- Oil prices surged on Wednesday, as
US crude stockpiles contracted surprisingly.

US crude supplies of last week dropped 4.9 million
barrels to 529.9 million barrels, 47.5 million barrels
 more than the year before, said the official Energy
Information Administration's (EIA), weekly report.

US crude production lost 14,000 to 9.008 million
 barrels a day last week, according to the EIA.



__________________________



More than 30 countries waiting to join AIIB

Xinhua -- There are more than 30 countries waiting
to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
(AIIB) --- in addition to its 57 founding members ---
the bank's president says, on Friday April 2nd.

The AIIB is now working on accepting new
 members, Jin Liqun said at the Boao Forum
 for Asia, in Hainan, China's island province.

"I think the new member issue will be solved
 before the end of this year," he says.

A not-for-profit multilateral development
bank -- initiated by China -- the AIIB was
officially established in December and
 started operating in January. It is due
 to unveil its first projects in the first
half of this year.

Existing financial institutions can not fully
meet every nation's infrastructure & other
demands, so new ones like the AIIB, will
be a great help, Jin says.

The bank chief also said it is possible for
China's Hong Kong Special Administrative
 Region, to become a member --- as a sub-
sovereign government --- based on the
bank's articles of agreement. Hong Kong
 representatives were involved in the AIIB
 negotiations as part of China's delegation.

As a major international banking centre, Hong
 Kong will have a significant role to play, he says.


_______________________________________



 No binding deal on oil production cap
 agreed – Russian energy official

Oil-producing countries which want to strike a deal
 on capping crude production to stabilize prices, are
 yet to agree on a mechanism for it, & there will not
 necessarily be a legally binding treaty on the issue,
 says the Russian deputy energy minister.

“We have not determined a mechanism for the
freeze deal,” Anatoly Yanovsky told journalists
at an economics forum.

After agreeing to cut production with Russia,
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir
said two days later (!) that his country is "not
prepared" to cut oil production to help shore
up extremely low prices.

"If other producers want to limit or agree to a
freeze in terms of additional production, that
may have an impact on the market, but Saudi
Arabia is not prepared to cut production,"
Jubeir said to AFP.

Sputnik reported that, together with
the Saudis, Russia and several others,
Iran had now agreed to cut production
--- in a producers' effort to start prices
stabilising, and, in 2016, raise prices
to a more sustainable level.

On April 1st, the energy ministers of Russia,
Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Qatar, met in 
Doha - and agreed to freeze their average
monthly oil output
throughout 2016, at
 January levels - if others joined the
initiative.


But now they have --- the Saudis won't!



__________________________________



62 billionaires now control half of world’s wealth

The 44-page report, ‘An Economy for the 1%’,
 published by Oxfam GB for Oxfam International
 (ISBN 978-1-78077-993-5, January 2016, Oxford,
UK) says:

“The gap between rich and poor is reaching new
 extremes: Credit Suisse has recently revealed that
the richest 1% have now accumulated more wealth
than the rest of the world put together. Meanwhile,
 the wealth owned by the bottom half of humanity,
has fallen by a trillion dollars in the past five years.
This is just the latest evidence that today we live
 in a world with levels of inequality we may not
have seen for over a century.”

The poorest 50% of the world’s population is now
 worth an estimated $1.76 trillion --- which is also
 the estimated net worth of the richest 62 people.

In 2010, it required the richest 388 persons to
 make up the wealth of the bottom 50%. Since
then, the world’s richest 62 persons have added
 44% to their cash and assets -- while the wealth
of the bottom half has dropped by 41%, despite
the rise in the global population by 400 million.

In the same period, the wealth of the richest 62
 persons increased by $500 billion to $1.76 trillion.

 Within 5 years, the majority of the world’s wealth
 has been consolidated into the hands of less than
 one-sixth of the number of persons who used to
 control it.

Nine out of 10 World Economic Forum corporate
 partners had a presence in at least 1 tax haven.

 It's estimated that tax dodging by multinational
 corporations costs developing countries at least
 $100 billion every year. Corporate investment in
 tax havens almost quadrupled from 2000 to 2014.

The report cited estimates that billionaires have
 $7.6 trillion in offshore accounts. This amount
 is more than the joint GDP of the UK & Germany.

 It is said that, if tax were paid on the income this
 wealth generates, an extra $190 billion would be
 available to governments --- every year.


_________________________________



          EU Tries to Check Tax Evasion by Multinationals               
 
 Prensa Latina - The European Union loses up to
 70 billion euros a year --- due to tax evasion by
 multinationals --- estimates the regional bloc,
and
it announces measures to contain this.

According to the Economic Affairs Commissioner,
 Pierre Moscovici, the transnationals' aggressive
 fiscal engineering, reduces the public coffers of
 the 28 member countries of the EU, by amounts
 fluctuating between 50 - 70 billion euros a year.

In remarks to journalists, Moscovici says these
practices generate a competitive disadvantage
 for local businesses -- and increase the fiscal
 burden for all other tax payers.

Moscovici says the Commission's plan needs
the approval of the 28 member countries and
 considers that the negotiations, as is usual
 over fiscal matters, will not be easy.

Under the proposal, 6 tax practices linked
to aggressive fiscal engineering, would be
 banned - including the transfer of benefits
 to subsidiaries placed in countries where
 lower taxes are paid.

The initiative also tries to prevent dividends
 or profits arriving to the EU from third states
 from enjoying tax exemption, when it hasn't
 been charged in the nations of origin.

Under the package, multinationals will 
have to give specific information to the
 fiscal authorities of the country where
 the headquarters are based and, if it is
 outside the EU, the responsibility will
 fall on the subsidiary.


_________________________________



Europe Bank Rout Erases $434 Billion,
 Twice Greek Economy.

The plunge in European bank stocks over the past
six months, has wiped out about 400 billion euros
 ($434 billion) in market value --- over twice the
 annual output of Greece at current prices.

The STOXX Europe 600 Banks Index, grouping
 46 lenders, has dropped twice as much as the
 region’s benchmark share index since late July.

 Banking stocks have fallen 14% in January alone,
 heading for their worst monthly performance since
 the depths of Europe’s 2011 sovereign-debt crisis.

Deutsche Bank AG and Standard Chartered Plc
are each down by over 40 percent, since July.


______________________________________



Two-thirds of Norwegian oil wealth
 could disappear

If crude prices remain at their current low levels,
 Norway could lose two-thirds of its estimated oil
 wealth, according to an analysis by the country's
 largest business newspaper, Dagens Næringsliv.

Norway's Finance Ministry estimates the value
 of the oil not yet extracted, at 4.2 trillion kroner
 ($475 billion), 89% of which belongs to the state.

This means that the value of Norway’s oil wealth,
 will drop, at current prices, from 4.2 trillion kroner
 to 2.5 trillion. The country could presumably lose
 1.7 trillion kroner ($192.5 billion), of its oil riches.

The price of North Sea oil dropped below $28 per
 barrel last week, compared to $110 in June 2014.

Professor Ragnar Torvik, from the Norwegian
 University of Science and Technology (NTNU),
 says the price change means a significant
 amount... for each individual Norwegian.

“Capital reduction, in the public sector, is at
 2,429 billion kroner, which is 500,000 kroner
 ($57,000) per resident --- or two million, for a
family of four. That illustrates how much the
 fall in oil price reduces wealth,” said Torvik.

Norway's Finance Ministry State Secretary,
 Paal Bjornestad, declined to comment on
the analysis in detail, referring to the
significant degree of uncertainty in
 long-term estimates of this kind.

“There's little doubt that sustained lower oil
prices will eventually have consequences;
 we will be less rich than we thought. This,
 of course, means that we will be putting
smaller earnings into the fund, and the
growth in our expected real return,
will be smaller,” said Bjornestad.


___________________________________



Saudi Riyal Falls Sharply after Cutting Ties with Iran

The Saudi riyal fell sharply against the US dollar in
 the forward foreign exchange market after relations
 between Saudi Arabia and Iran deteriorated, raising
 concerns that dollar funding for the kingdom could
 become more expensive.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran in response
to the storming of its embassy in Tehran. A diplomatic
row between the major oil producers escalated, after
 Riyadh's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric, says
Reuters.


One-year dollar/Saudi riyal forwards then jumped to
 680 points, near a 16-year high, from a close of 425
points three days before.

The riyal has little scope to move in the spot
foreign exchange market, because of its peg
 of 3.75 to the dollar, so banks use the futures
(or forwards) market, to hedge against risks.

In the last few months, the riyal dropped in the
 forwards market to its lowest level since 1999
 because of fears that big Saudi budget deficits
- due to low oil prices - might eventually force
Riyadh to abandon the currency peg.

A new austerity budget for 2016, seemed
to partly ease the fears, but geopolitical
tensions, may now increase them.

Iran & Saudi Arabia have had tense relations
 for many years without direct, major conflict,
and the breaking of diplomatic ties will not,
 necessarily, have a direct impact on their
 economies, which have minimal trade
and investment ties.

But geopolitics could make foreign banks &
 investors more wary of funding Saudi Arabia,
as Riyadh is considering borrowing abroad to
 ease the pressure of funding its fiscal deficit
on the domestic banking system.

"1-year forwards will likely touch 800 points
levels this week, depending on the level of
 escalation of events between Saudi & Iran,"
 a senior bank trader from the region said
-- declining to be named, because of
political sensitivities.


__________________________________



US Companies Led the World in
Debt Defaults in 2015, S&P Says
 
More US companies defaulted on their debt in 2015
than issuers from any other country or region, S&P
 analysts say, in their December reports.

111 companies worldwide defaulted on their
 obligations, the highest tally since 2009 when
 the figure hit 242 for the same period.

 About 60 percent of last year’s global defaults
came from US borrowers, up from 55 percent in
 2014, when 33 of 60 defaulters, were US ones.

After the US, companies from emerging markets
 were the second-largest defaulters, accounting
for 23 percent of the pool, which was a smaller
share than in 2014, according to S&P's data.

Plummeting oil prices and speculation about
how the Federal Reserve’s plan to tighten
monetary policy would affect corporate
borrowing costs has made companies
 more vulnerable, expert Vazza says.

“The current crop of US speculative-grade
issuers appears fragile, and particularly
susceptible to sudden, or unanticipated
 shocks,” she wrote, on December 24th.

Arch Coal Inc. was the most recent,
 with its credit rating downgraded to
“speculative default” by Standard &
Poor’s last week -- after the coal
producer missed about $90 million
 in interest payments, & exercised
 a 30-day grace period, with the
 holders of some of its notes.

Bloomberg.com reports that shale is now
running out of survival tricks, as OPEC
ramps up the pressure.

Looking ahead, S&P expects the US corporate
 default rate to rise to 3.3 percent by September
 2016 from 2.5 percent a year earlier.

The bulk of the failures to come from companies
 in the oil and gas sector, which accounted for
about a quarter of 2015’s defaults.


____________________________



A CRISIS WORSE THAN ISIS?
BAIL-INS BEGIN

While the mainstream media focus on ISIS
 extremists, a threat that has gone virtually
 unreported is that your life savings could be
 wiped out in a massive derivatives collapse.

 Bank bail-ins have begun in Europe, and the
 infrastructure is in place in the US. Poverty
also kills. At the end of November, an Italian
 pensioner hanged himself after his entire
 €100,000 savings were confiscated, in a
bank “rescue” scheme.

 He left a suicide note blaming the bank,
 where he'd been a customer for 50 years
and had invested in bank-issued bonds.

 But he might better have blamed the EU
 and the G20’s Financial Stability Board,
which imposed an “Orderly Resolution”
 regime, to keep insolvent banks afloat
--- by confiscating the savings
of investors and depositors.

 Some 130,000 shareholders and junior
 bond holders suffered losses by “rescue.”   

http://www.blacklistednews.com
/January_1%2C_2016%3A_The_New_

Bank_Bail-In_System_Goes_Into_Effect_
In_Europe/48057/0/38/38/Y/M.html

_______________________________________



BLATANT CORRUPTION?  TAKE IT TO COURT!

Vladimir Putin instructs his Cabinet of Ministers
 to sue Ukraine, if it does not repay its debt to
 Russia, of three billion dollars.

"For 4 years, it would be possible to participate
 in sharing these risks somehow. To even me, it
 is unclear. Well, well, file a lawsuit then", - said
 Vladimir Putin at a meeting with members of
the government after the report of the Ministry
of Finance of the Russian Federation, by Anton
 Siluanov, on the situation of the Ukrainian debt.

The Ukrainian Eurobonds bought by Russia
 in late 2013, mature now in December 2015.

Earlier, Russia expressed its willingness to
 restructure the debt, allowing Ukraine to re-
pay one billion in 2016-2018, subject to the
provision of guarantees for it, from the US
 or EU authorities, or from one of the
 international financial institutions.

However, the US refused to provide such
guarantees, & the IMF Board of Directors
on Tuesday, December the 8th, approved
 a reform - allowing it to lend to debtors in
 cases of default on sovereign debt. This
will allow Ukraine to get the support of
 the Foundation, even in the event of a
non-payment of the debt to Russia.


________________________________



Obama agrees - signs IMF Reform

A special communique of the G20 on the subject
of the IMF adopted at the G20 summit in Turkey
 --- and signed by US President Obama --- urges
the US to ratify IMF reforms agreed in 2010.

This reform implies that the US will have to give
 up its blocking stake of votes in the IMF and the
 fund itself will cease to depend on Washington
politicians.


___________________________________



US saddled with debts of $65 trillion:
Former US comptroller

When all the US's unfunded liabilities are added up,
 the national debt is 3 times more than the oft-cited
 figure of $18 trillion, states Dave Walker, former
US' Comptroller General.


The real US national debt is about $65 trillion,
says Mr Walker, who headed the Government
 Accountability Office (GAO) --- under former
Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

“If you end up adding to that $18.5 trillion -- the
 unfunded civilian & military pensions & retiree
 healthcare, the additional underfunding for Social
 Security, the additional underfunding for Medicare,
and the various commitments and contingencies
 that the federal government has, the real number
is about $65 trillion rather than $18 trillion, and it’s
growing automatically --- absent reforms,” Walker
 tells John Catsimatidis on “The Cats Roundtable”
on New York’s AM-970.

Walker, in charge of ensuring federal spending is
 fiscally responsible, says a large national debt
hinders the US government’s ability to conduct
both
domestic and foreign policy initiatives.

“If you don’t keep your economy strong, and
that means to be able to generate more jobs
 and opportunities, you are not going to be
strong internationally, with regard to
 foreign policy,” he notes.

He adds that such a problem prevents
 the country from investing “in national
defense and homeland security.”

Walker goes on to say that US citizens
 have “lost touch with reality”, when
it comes to spending.

He calls on Democrats and Republicans
to set aside partisan politics in order to
band together to tackle the problem.

“You can be a Democrat or a Republican,
you can be unaffiliated, you can be what-
ever you want, but your duty of loyalty
needs to be to country, rather than to
 party, & we need to solve some of the
 large, known, and growing problems
 that we have,” he says.


___________________________________



IMF warns: Saudi Arabia may go bankrupt by 2020

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns in a
 report, that Saudi Arabia may run out of financial
 assets within 5 years, if the government keeps to
its current policies.

Saudi Arabia is expected to run a budget deficit
of 21.6% in 2015 and 19.4% in 2016, according to
the IMF’s latest regional economic outlook. The
 state needs to adjust its spending, the IMF urges.

The IMF says the region’s outlook is currently
 being shaped by several key factors ---- the
 most important of which include deepening
regional conflicts, and slumping oil prices.

The conflicts have given rise to large numbers
of displaced people and refugees, on a scale
not seen since the early 1990s, according
to the report.

“Achieving fiscal sustainability over the
medium-term will be especially challenging
 -- given the need to create jobs for the over
 10 million people anticipated to be looking
 for work by 2020 in the region’s oil exporting
 countries,” IMF Middle East and Central Asia
 Department Director, Masood Ahmed, told
media, after unveiling the report in Dubai.

“For the region’s oil exporters, the fall in
prices has led to a large fall in revenue,
amounting to a staggering $360 billion
this year alone,” Masood Ahmed said.

OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq,
Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Algeria and Libya
have all seen revenues drop sharply,
 as a result of a decline in oil prices.

Saudi Arabia is currently facing a
 budget deficit for the first time
since 2009.

Oil sales account for 80% of revenues.
 It has prompted the government to cut
spending, delay projects and sell bonds.

The country’s net foreign assets fell by
 about $82 billion from Jan. to August.

The government sold state bonds worth
 $15 billion (55 billion riyals) this year.

The budget deficit has caused project
 layoffs in Saudi Arabia.

Firms working on infrastructure projects
 haven’t been paid for 6 months, or more.
Payment delays increased lately, as the
government wants to cut prices on
 contracts, in order to preserve cash.

OPEC has been refusing appeals to reduce
output and support crude prices --- as the
cartel is trying to maintain market share.

However, last month the cartel signaled
 a possible change of stance, saying it
might cut output and is ready to talk
 to other (non-OPEC) producers.

But experts say OPEC’s statements are not
 important, without a change of policy by its
biggest crude producer --- Saudi Arabia.


______________________________



Deal Reached on Controversial
 Trans-Pacific Partnership

The secretive trade pact is expected to
 cover about 40% of the global economy.

Pacific Rim trade ministers reached a deal on
 a trade pact that will cut trade barriers and
set common standards for 12 countries (the
 USA, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada,
Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand,
Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam), an official
 familiar with the talks tells Reuters.

According to The Politico, the deal follows
 9 days of negotiation, almost stalling due
 to discrepancies in members' approaches
 to the length of copyright protection for
new
medicines.

The deal is expected to be voted on in
the
US Congress, early next year.

The TPP has been negotiated in unusual secrecy
 between the US & 11 Asian & Pacific Rim nations.
 The controversial trade pact is expected to cover
 about 40% of the global economy.

Uncertain
implications for workers' rights,
unemployment and
the environment, have
drawn heavy criticism from
labour unions
and watchdogs.



__________________________________



Growth momentum still huge in
 Chinese economy: People's Daily
             
China's economy still has huge momentum,
 "as structural readjustment will transform
 challenges into strengths in the long run,"
says a commentary in the People's Daily,
the flagship newspaper of the Communist
 Party of China.

China's GDP last year posted its weakest
annual expansion in 24 years, mainly
 resulting from a housing slowdown,
 weakening domestic demand and
unsteady exports.

Economic growth slowed further,
to 7% in the first half of this year.

A 7% rise is not an easy achievement in
 a slowing world economy, & the rate is
among the highest in major economies,
 Premier Li Keqiang says, at the Summer
Davos forum in northeast China's Dalian.

"China is the source of global growth," Li says,
 adding the country has sufficient policy tools
 to reform the macro-economy, and will keep
rolling out targeted & innovative measures
 to counter downward pressure.

China contributed roughly 30 percent of world
 economic growth, in the first half of this year.


______________________________



UN Principles Against Vulture Funds,
Victory for Argentina    

It was worth the fight, said president Cristina
 Fernández on TV, after the UN voted by a big
majority, to approve a resolution with the
principles that create a legal framework
 to protect the process of exchange in
paying off debts.

The UN principles of sovereignty are:

 good faith, transparency, impartiality,
 equitable treatment, sovereign immunity,
 legitimacy, sustainability, & restructuring
 of the majority.

Cristina Fernández --- over the year it took ---
 defended the need to establish a legal frame-
work that protects restructuring of sovereign
debts --- from speculation by financial groups
known as 'vulture' funds.

The proposal was received and sponsored by the
 Group of 77 plus China, which upheld it until now.

Argentinean Minister of Economy, Axel Kicillof
said this approval not only favors his country,
 but all the rest, including developed countries
going through a process of crisis.

Although the resolution by the General Assembly
 isn't obligatory, it constitutes a fundamental step
 against the attacks of vulture funds, like those
 Argentina is suffering today and other countries
 too, affirmed Kicillof.

Cristina Fernandez thanked the 136 nations who
voted 'yes' and the 41 states which abstained,
 "as we know of the pressures they're against."
She also congratulated the diplomatic and
economic teams that made it possible.


__________________________



China intends to oust dollar from oil trade

China plans to launch its own oil benchmark in
 October, similar to Brent and WTI, striving for a
more potent role in establishing 'crude' prices.

Unlike the Western benchmarks, the Chinese
 contracts will be nominated in the yuan -- not
using the US dollar.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_________________________________



The World Bank, using PPP calculations,
 has Russia's economy above Germany's.

 Its top five -- in order -- are:
China, the US, India, Japan
 and Russia.

 It puts BRICS GDP at 96% of the G7's.

 The world is changing.


___________________________________



'Largest-ever' Mediterranean gas field discovered

Italian energy company Eni says it's discovered the
 Mediterranean Sea's "largest-ever" gas reservoir ---
off Egypt.


_______________________



Iran says piping gas to EU 'not economical'

The recent breakthrough in Vienna by Iran &
the P5+1 over Iran’s nuclear energy program
 triggered hopes that many energy projects
  suspended over sanctions could be revived. 
Among them is included a project to pipe
 Iran’s natural gas to Europe.

 However, Iranian officials are now voicing
 skepticism on whether it is now feasible...
  given the complications involved. 

Alireza Kameli, managing director of the
National Iranian Gas Export Company
(NIGEC), is quoted by Iran’s domestic
media saying that piping natural gas
 to Europe is not economically just-
ifiable, under present conditions.

Kameli emphasizes that neighboring
 states & Asian markets, are now the
main goal of Iran’s gas export plans.

Exporting gas to nearby countries, he
 says, is much more cost-effective than
taking it to Europe through a gas pipe-
line, several thousand kilometers long. 

“Besides, taking a pipeline via the territory
 of each host country, means paying transit
 fees, among other technicalities involved,”
 Kameli is quoted as saying by the Persian-
language newspaper, Afarinesh...

 “These will eventually reduce Iran’s profits
 from the whole scheme.”

So it's from Russia with love (from Putin),
or the EU freezes this, and each, winter !


______________________________________



Justice Ministry drafts bill proposing
legalizing seizure of foreign state assets

Kommersant business daily writes that Russia's
 Justice Ministry has developed a bill, according
to which, any state’s property in Russia can be
seized -- in proportion to the amount of Russian
 assets frozen in that country.  Presently, the
bill is approved by a designated committee.

"The number of lawsuits against Russia in
foreign courts is steadily rising," says the
Justice Ministry, "and no one is asking
Russia to agree to participate."

The ministry notes that in several countries
 Russian property now has "limited juridical
immunity," which is why a special law is
needed to guarantee a "balance" on the
basis of the "reciprocity principle."

"Currently, it is possible to seize foreign
government assets when there is a court
 order," says Dmitry Matveyev, executive
 partner of Dmitry Matveyev & Partners
 Law Firm.

 He does not see a special law as necessary,
 but notes that if the law is passed, it will not
 contradict international law.

"Any court or arbitration institute can ‘deprive’
 a foreign government of immunity if it is guided
 by the applicable law," says Marat Davletbayev,
partner from Nektorov, Saveliev and Partners
 Law Firm.

But Davletbayev also warns that the court of
the country whose property was deprived of
immunity, can refuse to recognize this, and
implement the decision of the Russian court.


_________________________________



Gazprom Confirms Gas Delivery Cutoff
 to Ukraine

Ukraine’s Energy Minister, Volodymyr
 Demchyshyn, says the government rejects
Gaz-prom’s new gas offer of $247 per 1,000
cubic meters. The proposal was made at
a trilateral group meeting in Vienna that
included an EU representative.

Ukraine wants to buy Russian gas at a discount
 of 30 percent, or $100 per 1,000 cubic meters.

This discount was stipulated in the terms of the
 expired winter package deal, initially devised to
 last Ukraine through the peak winter season.
 It was prolonged in April, for three months.

Russia argues that the new price of $247 per
1,000 cubic meters, is still lower than the
global market price.


___________________________


Transit Gas Through Ukraine
Politically Motivated by EU

Sputnik – The EU is trying to maintain the transit
of Russian gas via Ukraine, for political reasons,
 Russia's Envoy to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, says.

"I think they have the ultimate goal of keeping
 Ukrainian transit, as a purely political stance.
 It doesn't have any economic basis," he says,
 answering questions in an interview with RIA
Novosti, on why Brussels is not seeking to
enhance co-operation with Russia on the
Turkish Stream gas pipeline project, via the
Black Sea and Greece, bypassing Ukraine.

The European Union won't be able to continue
 giving Kiev financial support, if Ukraine now
announces a default, due to the EU's own
legislation, Vladimir Chizhov says.

"Yes, if a default is announced, they cannot
continue financial support according to the
EU's legislation," he says, in the interview.

The EU is -- to a certain extent -- standing on
the sidelines in Ukraine's conflict settlement
 process, Russia's Envoy to the EU, says.

"Two EU members are participating in the
Normandy format negotiations on the
settlement of the situation in Ukraine,
 and they are both operating in their
national capacity.

"The European structures, as well as US
 representatives -- for obvious reasons --
are not engaged [in the talks]," he says.

The EU is supporting the Kiev authorities,
 who have repeatedly violated the Minsk
agreements, instead of putting pressure
on them, Russia's Envoy to the EU says.

“It's not the first time Kiev has violated the
Minsk agreements. I think this is obvious
 to every unbiased observer, but here [in
 the European Union] they do not even
 think about it. Instead [of imposing
sanctions on Ukraine], they just repeat
 their support for the authorities in Kiev,”
he says, in an interview with RIA Novosti.


___________________________________



‘No mandate or moral right to say yes’:
Greece rejects ‘generous’ EU bailout

It’s up to the Greek people, Tsipras says,
to
make a fateful decision on Greece’s
sovereignty, independence and future.



_________________________________



If Anti-Russia Sanctions Stay...

According to WIFO’s assessment, Germany will
shoulder the main burden. 500,000 jobs now are
under the threat of liquidation in Germany. The
 German economy will lose €27 billion and its
GDP will contract by 1% in the coming years,
according to experts’ estimates.

Italy will lose over 200,000 jobs and 0.9% of GDP
 while France’s losses will amount to 150,000 jobs
 and 0.5% of GDP. Poland, Estonia and Spain will
suffer too. Germany has already lost 175,000
 working places with 290,000 more to be lost,
 if the sanctions war continues.

The unemployment rate may rise by 185,000
 in Poland, 135,000 in Italy, 115,000 in Spain,
95,000 in France, 80,000 in the UK & 75,000
 in Estonia. If we include Switzerland, the EU
 has already lost 950,000 working places.
 With the sanctions in force, unemployment
 will rise by 1,460,000.


____________________________________



Anti-Russian Sanctions Can Cost EU
 Up to $114 Billion - Austrian Study
 
Sputnik - The European Union could lose up to
 €100 billion ($114 billion) over its anti-Russian
 sanctions if things remain unchanged, a study
by Austria's Institute of Economic Research,
 reveals.

Die Welt newspaper reports that the research,
conducted exclusively for the Leading European
 Newspaper Alliance (LENA), considers a worst-
case scenario, if the sanctions remain in place.

“If the situation does not change fundamentally,
 our most pessimistic scenario will come true,”
one of the research authors, Oliver Fritz, is
 quoted as saying, by Die Welt.

According to their calculations, the current
 political situation could also affect over 2
 million EU jobs, through declining exports.

In contrast to the analysts’ forecast, the
European Commission says the losses of
 the European Union are “relatively small
 and manageable,” the newspaper says.

Since March 2014, the US, EU, and other
 western countries have sanctioned Russia’s
 banking, defense & energy sectors, over its
 alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis. Moscow
 has repeatedly denied those allegations.

In August, Moscow imposed a year-long food
embargo on the countries that sanctioned it.

The decision on the extension of anti-Russian
 sanctions is due to be made next week at the
 meeting of EU foreign ministers. Moscow vows
new countermeasures -- if sanctions are kept.


_______________________________________



Two Can Play This Game: Russia Warns:
 Belgium Asset Freeze Works Both Ways
 
Sputnik - Russia's Foreign Ministry summoned
 the Belgian ambassador, informing him that
Russia may adopt reciprocal measures --- if
 the recent asset seizures are not reversed.

A Belgian court instructed Wednesday, that
47 Belgian & Russian companies be stripped
 of assets of 1.65 billion euros ($1.87 billion),
 in connection with a settlement awarded to
 exYukos shareholders by a Dutch arbitration
 court. Russia's Justice Minister, Alexander
Konovalov, says Belgium's legal arguments
 for seizing Russian property are unclear, &
Russia has requested information on this,
through diplomatic channels.

"Belgium's ambassador was informed that
 the Russian side considers such acts by
competent authorities of the Kingdom of
Belgium, as openly unfriendly acts and
flagrant violations of the universally
recognized norms of international
law,"
the ministry statement says.

The ministry calls on Belgium to take
immediate acts to restore the property
 of Russian organizations. The seizures
 appear to be made under the auspices
 of the European Energy Charter Treaty,
which Russia signed, but did not ratify.

"Otherwise, the Russian side will be
 forced to consider adopting appropriate
 response measures, regarding assets
 of the Kingdom of Belgium," it adds.

French authorities also began seizing
Russian state-owned property earlier
 on Thursday. France seized the bank
 accounts of Rossiya Segodnya news
 agency, of which, Sputnik is a part.

The organization's real estate wasn't seized,
as the organization does not own any real
 estate in France, & employees continue to
 access rented buildings without hindrance.

French economist and professor at Moscow
 School of Economics, Jacques Sapir, says
the French government's decision threatens
 to create a "cold war" climate between the
 two countries, and the attacks show how
the West intends to deal with the rise in
influence of Russia's alternative media.


_________________________



India confirms bid to join Russia-led bloc

India has confirmed that it will sign a free trade
 agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union
(EEU) -- a Russia-led bloc which is attracting
more emerging powers. 

TASS news agency quotes a senior diplomat at
 the Indian embassy in Russia, saying that New
Delhi will be “definitely signing this agreement".

Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and
Kyrgyzstan are members of the EEU which
started operation on January 1st, with the
 aim of regional economic integration.

China, Vietnam, Iran, Egypt & Israel, have
 also indicated their interest in joining the
 EEU free trade zone which guarantees the
free transit of goods, services, capital and
 workers, among its members.

Last month, the union gave the initial go-
ahead to signing a free trade agreement
with Iran, a senior EEU official says.

Russia's representative on the Eurasian
Economic Commission board, Andrey
Slepnev, says the Iran proposal was
 approved by all the panel members, 
at an expert-level meeting, held
 in Armenia's capital, Yerevan.

He adds that discussions with China
on joining the union will begin soon,
Xinhua news agency says.

Currently the EEU has a combined population
 of 170 million people, and a gross domestic
 product of $2.7 trillion, and is being tipped
 as a major economic force to challenge the
 might of the European Union and the US.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is also
 calling for a regional currency union, as
it will make it "easier to react to external
 financial & economic threats, & protect
 our joint market".


___________________________



Ukraine to make Russian debt payment 'in days'

Ukraine's government vowed to make the next
interest payment on a multi-billion debt to Russia
-- soon after Moscow said it would stop servicing
 the loan, if there was a non-payment.

Ukraine Finance Minister, Natalie Jaresko, said
 Kiev will pay USD 75 million of the 3 billion USD
Russian debt - in 'the coming days'.

“Two days ago, we paid USD 39 million for Euro-
bonds, and we will also pay USD 75 million to
 cover the so-called Russian bonds,” Jaresko
 told reporters.

The promise came after Russia warned that
 any failure in making the interest payment,
would mean Ukraine would be in default.

Moscow extended the loan to the former
Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, in
December 2013 after he refused to sign an
 association with the European Union (EU)
 in favor of closer relations with Russia.

However, the new pro-EU regime which came
 to power in Kiev, months after the overthrow
of Yanukovych, has been critical of the loan.
 Moscow refuses to negotiate and wants the
bond’s principal returned -- when it matures
 in December.

“Ukraine will continue paying its debts, to
ensure a constructive negotiation on debt
 restructuring,” Jaresko said.

Kiev wants the amount of debt reduced and
wants an extension of the debt repayment.
 
A change in the interest rate is also included
 in the proposal, something which Russia may
 oppose, as a result of the surging hostilities
 between the 2 neighbours over east Ukraine.


___________________________



Australia, China sign landmark
 free trade agreement

Xinhua - The Australian & Chinese governments
 signed a long-awaited, "monumental" free trade
 agreement in Canberra, last month, lifting most
 of the import tariffs between the two countries.
 
The landmark signing by Australia's Trade Minister
 Andrew Robb and China's Commerce Minister Gao
 Hucheng finalized negotiations that began 10 years
 ago and follows the Declaration of Intent signed in
 November by the countries' leaders, Tony Abbott
 and Xi Jinping.
 
PM Abbott says the "unprecedented" and
 "monumental" pact is the "next chapter"
in strong relations between the countries.
 
On full implementation of the wide-ranging
 agreement, tariffs are to be lifted on 95%
of Australian exports, hurdles for Chinese
businesses to invest in Australia will be
 lowered, and more visas for Chinese
holidaymakers will be granted.
 
China is Australia's largest trading partner,
with trade in goods and services last year
exceeding 135 billion U.S. dollars - almost
a quarter of Australia's total world trade. 


Australia FTA to spur more regional deals

 China and Australia's landmark free trade
 agreement, with a recent deal with South
Korea, is expected to serve as a positive
example --- and help advance economic
 integration in the Asia-Pacific region.

Under the deal, 85.4% of bilateral exports will
be tariff-free immediately after it takes effect.

When ChAFTA is fully implemented, 97%
 of Australian products to China and all
Chinese products to Australia, will
enjoy tariff-free entry. 

China has been Australia's largest trade
partner since 2010, and Australia was
China's eighth largest trade partner in
2014, says MOFCOM's statement.

Compared with other free trade agreements
 with China, ChAFTA has a broader tariff-free
 coverage, Tu Xinquan, executive director of
 the China Institute of WTO Studies, tells the
 Global Times.

China & South Korea signed a free trade
agreement on June 1 which will remove
 tariffs on about 90% of products traded
 between the two countries, in 20 years.

Australia & China have complementary
industries, so removing tariffs won't put
 undue pressure on China's enterprises,
 Chen Fengying, research fellow, China
Institute of Contemporary International
Relations, tells the Global Times.

China mainly imports minerals, such as iron
 ore, from Australia & exports manufacturing
 products like clothing & telecommunications
 equipment to the country, according to the
 website of the Australian Department of
Foreign Affairs and Trade.

As for agriculture, Tu says Australian products
 can meet the needs of China's growing middle
class and spur domestic producers to improve.

China's dairy industry, for example, is expected
to work harder for survival as it faces Australian
 competition, when tariffs gradually reduce.


Australia first country to open service
sector to China.


In addition to the removal of tariffs, Australia is
the first country in the world to open its service
sector to China, with a negative list.

The two countries have mutually granted most-
favored-nation status, and reduced the review
 threshold for corporate investments.

"ChAFTA is a comprehensive and high-level
free trade agreement," Chen says.

Most free trade agreements mainly focus on goods
 and services, yet ChAFTA includes lowering review
 thresholds for investments, & in some other areas
 such as e-commerce, & government procurement,
 she says.

China's FTAs with Australia & South Korea, are
 expected to persuade more in the Asia-Pacific
region to join the trend, observers say.

China, South Korea and Japan have discussed
a trilateral free trade agreement since 2013...
 but have not reached a final agreement.

If bilateral ties between China and Japan can
 be improved, it is possible to have a trilateral
 free trade zone, Chen says, noting that the
China-South Korea FTA, has placed some
 pressure on Japan.

Also on Wednesday, the Japanese Chamber
 of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) released its
 2015 Japanese Business in China White Paper,
which says the JCCI expects China, Japan &
S. Korea to OK a free trade agreement 'soon'.

Japan has been involved in talks on the US-led
Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), but
 this trade initiative has not progressed much,
 in recent years.


________________________________



NZ to invest $87m in Asian infrastructure bank

New Zealand's government announces that
the country will invest NZ$125 million ($87.27
million) in the Asian Infrastructure Investment
Bank (AIIB), over five years.


________________________________



Hungary becomes 1st EU country
to join China’s Silk Road project
 
Hungary has become the first European country
 to join the Chinese 'Silk Road’ project, aimed at
 strengthening ties between Asia and Europe &
 developing trade & infrastructure in the region.

The foreign ministers of China and Hungary
have signed a memorandum of understanding
on the New Silk Road, also known as the"One
Belt, One Road" project in Budapest, the
Chinese Foreign Ministry states on its
web-site, Reuters reports.

In March, Chinese President Xi Jinping said
trade among the project’s participants would
he hoped, exceed $2.5 trillion in one decade.

Hungary hopes to intensify cooperation with
 China that can speed up the construction of
 the Hungarian-Serbia railway & other projects,
says the country’s President Janos Ader, as
 quoted by the Chinese foreign ministry.

China is financing and constructing a rail-
way between Hungary and Serbia.

The Chinese government is to inject dozens of
 billions of dollars to support the project via the
building of railways, highways, power grids, oil
& gas pipelines, maritime & infrastructure links
 across Central, West and South Asia to Europe,
increasing the connection between the East
 and the West.


________________________



US to Lose Its Ground Under BRICS Pressure
 © Sputnik/ Alexei Druzhinin

Blind adherence to US policies & introducing
 anti-Russia sanctions, was fatal for Europe,
as the Russia-China-BRICS axis is about to
overturn the global economic system and
prevail over US' hegemony, states the chief
 economist of Germany's Bremer Landesbank.

The real damage to EU countries caused by
 the launch of anti-Russian sanctions is much
 more comprehensive than that estimated by
 statistics, Folker Hellmeyer, chief economist
of Germany's Bremer Landesbank says, in
an interview with the German publication,
Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten.

“The slump in German export volumes of 18% in
 2014 and by 34% for the first two months of 2015
 is just the tip of the iceberg,” he says. “There are
many more side-effects.”

“European countries, like Finland and Austria,
with strong developing businesses in Russia,
are placing fewer orders within Germany.
 Moreover, Europe's corporations are evading
 these sanctions and creating high-efficiency
 production facilities in Russia. We, therefore,
 lose this potential capital stock -- the basis
 of our prosperity -- and Russia wins.”

The relationship of trust between Russia and
 Germany and the EU is somewhat broken. And
 it will take years to rebuild it. As a result, such
 companies as Siemens and Alstom have lost
 major Russian projects, he says. The potential
 damage -- not only for Germany but the whole
 EU -- therefore, is much more comprehensive
 than what's being shown by current figures.

Meanwhile, Moscow, Beijing and other BRICS
 countries, are looking forward to building the
largest project in modern history: construction
 of new Eurasian infrastructure, from Moscow
 to Vladivostok, in South China, and in India.

Participation by Western countries in these
 mega-projects looks quite uncertain, he says.

“For me, the conflict has already been set,” he
says. “The Moscow-Beijing-BRICS axis has won.
 The West has had enough. In 1990, the BRICS
countries were 25% of the world's economic
 output. Now, they are 56% of world economic
output, and 85% of the world's population.

 They control about 70% of the world's foreign
 exchange reserves. They grow annually, by
 an average of 4% to 5%. Since the US hasn't
 been prepared to share power worldwide,
nor build the emerging market sector on
its own financial system --- it has lost.”

Neither problem in the world, now,
can be solved, without Moscow or
Beijing, says the economist.

The lack of its own agenda makes
the EU & Germany look like losers.

“The longer we pursue this policy in the EU,
 the higher the price and the less anyone will
take us seriously as interlocutors,” he adds.



_______________________



BREAKING US

The rating agencies, like Moodys and S&P, are very
 powerful, because practically all lawmakers around
 the world have made it a national law, that certain
 investment groups must follow the agencies' ratings.

Example: Life Insurance (huge investors) in the EU
 must, by law, invest in Class A Investments (those
with the lowest risk). This requires a rating of no
 lower than AA+, otherwise money from such funds
 can't be invested by law. If an insurance company
 does it, it will be fined and the whole Board sacked.

The Rating Agencies are all US controlled. They're
 a typical power multiplier. There's no need for the
 US Government to come out into the open. They
 just tell their Rating Agency Puppets what to do,
 and a large part of the investment world will act
 as per the law, fully automatically and without a
single brain cell as to why, being set in motion.

It's for this reason that each country needs to delink
 the legal link between US controlled Rating Agencies
 and its own legal structure regulating the investment
 companies. This would be way more important than
 a separate currency or a separate investment bank.

 China has done it and Russia is preparing for it. The
 EU has been talking about it, but has not acted on it.


________________________



Japanese and US "Difficulties"

China  will always welcome the US & Japan
 joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment
Bank (AIIB), and has kept them informed on
 all relevant information, China's Finance
 Minister Lou Jiwei says.

"The United States and Japan have not been
 able to join AIIB due to their own difficulties,"
 Lou tells Xinhua on the sidelines of the World
 Bank-IMF Spring Meeting, without elaborating.

The United States and Japan decided to stay
out of China's initiative by the March 31 dead-
line, as both countries worry that the AIIB may
 challenge the Japan-led Asian Development
Bank (ADB) and the US-dominated World Bank.

However, China has underlined that the AIIB
 will take an open and inclusive attitude and,
as complementary to existing development
banks, able to strengthen the whole region's
 communications plus its social & economic
 development.


______________________________



German Media Reveals
              Mass Layoffs by the World Bank               

German media say now that over 3.4 million people
 worldwide, have been displaced over the last years,
 or lost their livelihoods, due to World Bank policies.

According to research by public TV networks NDR
 and WDR, and the journal Sueddeutsche Zeitung,
 many of the people affected by 972 World Bank
 projects, were laid off, or suffered other kinds of
 human rights violations.

The media analyzed over 6,000 documents of
the WB, in collaboration with the International
Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation
 and Development, reacts with "great concern"
to the reports and demands a change in policy
by the international financial institution.

However, the media also finds that the German
 government, through its development policy, is
 involved in some of the controversial projects.

Since the end of 2013, German representatives
on the top Board of Directors at the World Bank
 have voted just once against a project, out of
 its 600 initiatives each year.


______________________________



India Scraps Major Arms Purchase

 with France, Inks Major Deal with Russia

India has essentially annulled a gigantic arms
 contract with France, for the purchase & joint
construction of 126 Rafale fighter planes: the
Indian Prime Minister agreed to buy only 36 of
them on his Paris visit, a serious government
source states. Instead, India will
buy 127
fifth generation Russian fighter jets.


It's part of the direct fall-out from the French
 government's anti-Russian policy, which has
united with Washington. Obedient to the US,
 Le Drian/Hollande's pair chose not to send
the Mistral ships to Russia. This about-face
 by India, constitutes a massive triumph for
Vladimir Putin. Moscow’s revenge against
France, will cost Paris 20 billion euros.

“1 car can’t go on 2 highways at the same time.
The other route had numerous problems” says
Mr Parrikar, alluding to the former Rafale deal
with France signed by the former coalition
government, led by the Indian National
Congress Party.

India, governed by Hindu Nationalists, has
 in effect engaged in conciliation with China,
and a move toward Russia, which now has
disappointed US expectations about any
anti-Russian, anti-China axis.

Indian PM Narendra Modi met Vladimir Putin in
 December when the hot issue was non-delivery
 of the Mistral because of the conflict in Ukraine.

The head of the government of India, determined
 to enter the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
 with China, Russia, and Iran, and to free Eurasia
 from US tutelage, told the Russian president he
 wishes to “keep Russia as the primary partner
 in defense materiel.”

The Indian government therefore entered into
 negotiations to acquire 5th generation Russian
 fighter jets, which should be emerging from the
 factories in 2016. The contract envisions giving
 India 127 Russian fighters, which experts know
  are the best in the world.

Russia undertakes to accelerate production
and to deliver the first fighters in 36 months.

This check on the antiRussian policies asked for
by Le Drian and Holland, is not done yet with its
 consequences for the French arms industry.

Le Drian, a future candidate in regional elections
in 2015 and the current Defense Minister, will do
 anything to avoid the Mistral question, which is
 striking a decisive blow now to the shipyards of
 Saint-Nazaire.

An Atlantist, Le Drian has considerably damaged
 the interests of Brittany as well as of France, as
 the cost of the non-delivery of the Mistral has set
France back at least 20 billion euros, five times
 the cost of a Mistral.

The impact of the Russian counter-attack on
 France is considerable, both in the mid-term
 and the long term.

Meanwhile, France’s press, anxious to please
 the government, prefers to congratulate it for
 a 36 Rafales deal with India, preferring to not
bring to mind the ruinous effect of a French
foreign policy firmly aligned with Washington.


__________________________________


 Asia Times: Merkel Urges Japan
 to Join China's Asian Bank.

Japan’s Jiji Press agency quoted Japanese
government sources as saying the German
Chancellor Angela Merkel, called on Japan
to join AIIB, as a founding member.

Sources state that Merkel made her request
 to Japanese PM, Shinzo Abe, in an April 1st
 'phone call. Abe is said to have repeated his
 concerns about the AIIB’s structure and its
lending sustainability.

A high-level European diplomatic source has
also confirmed to Asia Times correspondent
Pepe Escobar, in an April 6th dispatch, that
Merkel’s government has 'vigorously' talked
to Beijing, in an effort to disrupt its present
 strategic partnership with Russia.

“Beijing won’t necessarily listen to this
political gesture from Berlin, as China
is tuning the strings on a pan-Eurasian
'New Silk Road' project, which implies
closer trade/commerce/business ties
with both Germany and Russia,”
Pepe Escobar writes.


___________________



The new Chinese rating agency set up
to counter US agencies' obvious bias:

They give Russia - an A rating = stable.

But the US gets - an A rating negative
(because of its gigantic debt and deficit)


_____________________________________



CHINA SIDE-STEPS DOLLAR -- AGAIN

China's central bank signs a currency swap
 agreement -- valued at 30 billion yuan ($4.9
 billion) -- with South Africa's central bank.

The agreement lasts for three years and can
 be extended upon agreement, by both sides,
 says a spokesperson for the People's Bank
of China (PBOC).

The deal aims to facilitate bilateral trade and
 investment and to maintain regional financial
stability, Xinhua news agency reports.

South Africa's Reserve Bank (SARB) states
 the agreement's purpose is to support trade
 and investment between South Africa and
China, and act as a mitigating resource for
short term balance of payment pressures.

The PBOC also signed swap agreements
 with Armenia & the Republic of Suriname
 in March.

To promote international use of the yuan,
China has currency swap agreements now
with over 20 countries & regions since the
 start of a global financial crisis in late 2008.


_______________________



Telegraph: Greece Plans To Nationalise
 Banks, And Issue A Parallel Currency:
 
Greece is drawing up plans to nationalise banks
and introduce a parallel currency to pay salaries
 and pensions --- unless the eurozone softens its
 demands for austerity measures --- reports the
UK newspaper, The Telegraph.

The present coalition led by left-wing Syriza,
 could also decide to default on an IMF loan,
according to sources close to Syriza, the
newspaper says.

“We're a Left-wing government. If we've to choose
 between a default to the IMF, or a default to our
own people, it is a no-brainer,” The Telegraph
quotes a senior Greek official as saying.

“We may have to go into a silent arrears process with
 the IMF. This will cause a furore in the markets and
 means that the clock will start to tick much faster,”
 the source adds.

“We will shut down the banks and nationalise them,
and then issue IOUs if we have to, and we all know
 what this means. What we will not do is become a
 protectorate of the EU,” stated the source The
Telegraph quoted in its article.


_________________________________




AIIB having tremendous influence

 on shift of power from West to East.

The popularity of the China-proposed Asian
 Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) shows
 that Asia in general, and China in particular,
are leading the world in another -- and more
 relevant -- direction, a Dutch expert says.

Rien T. Segers, a Dutch expert on the political
 economy of east Asia, believes that the world
 is undergoing a transition from "the financial,
 economic and political dominance of the US,
 towards the dominance of a number of Asian
 countries, led by China."

"If dominance is a politically incorrect word,
leadership is not nice either. I would prefer
'cooperative influence'", says Segers.

"The rich and old economies have no other
choice, but to go for a development which
 is a reflection of the cooperative influence
 of Asian countries on the West - and vice
versa", he adds.

Over 40 countries, so far, have shown an
interest in becoming members of the AIIB.

 European countries, including France, Italy,
the UK, Germany, Spain & the Netherlands,
 have all stated that they want to become
founding members of the new bank.

The Netherlands has now applied to join
 the AIIB as a founding member.


__________________________________________



WEST's MONOPOLY WEAKENING FASTER

Russia, Australia, the Netherlands and Brazil
have all announced that they plan to join the
 Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).   

Despite US criticism, more countries from
the heart of Washington’s camp, say they
too, are considering joining. They include
 diehard allies like Turkey & South Korea.

China says it has already accepted the
application of Brazil, its largest trading
 partner, to the AIIB, adding that Austria
has also applied to join.

The AIIB is a multinational lender. It has
30 founding members with applications
still coming in.

Other nations will still be able to join
 the bank, but as common members.


__________________________________



India confirms bid to join Russia-led bloc

India has confirmed that it will sign a free trade
 agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union
(EEU) -- a Russia-led bloc which is attracting
more emerging powers. 

TASS news agency quotes a senior diplomat at
 the Indian embassy in Russia saying that New
Delhi will be “definitely signing this agreement".

Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and
Kyrgyzstan are members of the union which
started operation on January 1st, with the
 aim of regional economic integration.

China, Vietnam, Iran, Egypt and Israel have
 also indicated their interest in joining the
 EEU free trade zone which guarantees the
free transit of goods, services, capital and
 workers, among its members.

Last month, the union gave the initial go-
ahead to signing a free trade agreement
with Iran, a senior official of the EEU says.

Russia's representative on the Eurasian
Economic Commission board, Andrey
Slepnev, says the Iran proposal was
 approved by all members of the panel
during an expert-level meeting, held
 in Armenia's capital, Yerevan.

He adds that discussions with China to
 join the union will begin soon, Xinhua
 news agency says.

Currently the EEU has a total population of
170 million people --- and a gross domestic
 product of $2.7 trillion --- and is being tipped
 as a major economic force, to challenge the
 might of the European Union and the US.


__________________________________



US SEES EUROPE SHIFT TO CHINA

France, Germany and Italy have all joined
the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
 - and the UK joined it the week before.

Their choice is a vote of confidence in China,
which has achieved 3 decades of economic
 success and readied itself to make greater
 contributions to world development. How-
ever, what makes the AIIB so popular,
does not end there...

Unlike existing world lending bodies like
the World Bank, in which the US has the
dominant role and a veto, the AIIB gives
China no such privileges.

Instead, all members participate in the
decision-making process, in order to
 achieve win-win results.

The AIIB doesn't seek to weaken present
 institutions, but to strengthen them, and
 vigorously push forward the global
economy.

The World Bank welcomes the AIIB, says
 World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani
Indrawati, adding: "the WB will cooperate
closely" with the AIIB.

The US may be embarrassed that so many
 allies braved its warnings, and embraced
 the AIIB, but as a NYT editorial says: "this
 is a problem of America's own making."

The US has been too sluggish in reforming
 global financial institutions it controls, as
 their power distribution no longer reflects
 reality in the global economic landscape.

Decision-makers in the United States truly
do have to be reminded - that if they don't
 jump on the bandwagon of change in time,
they'll soon be overrun by the bandwagon.

 Meanwhile, South Korea and Australia
are also applying for membership, but
Japan, wishing to keep its relationship
exclusively with the US, has said 'no'.


AIIB --- launched last year --- is a China-led
 international development bank, targeting
 investment in Asian infrastructure such as
transport, energy and telecommunications.

 Analysts consider the new institution as a
 rival to the Western-controlled World Bank
 and the (US-led) Asian Development Bank.



________________________



Money Pouring into Russia despite Sanctions

The net inflow of money into funds investing in
 Russian shares continued its six-week streak,
 $40.7 million between 26 February – 4 March,
the Emerging Portfolio Fund Research shows.

The leader among BRICS countries is India,
whose inflows totaled .55% ($678.1 million)
over the course of the week (the 12 month
 total was 7.4%, or $7.4 billion).

China had comparatively weak results—
an outflow of .12% ($341.1 million) in the
week, or 3.8% ($11.1 billion) over the year.

Investors continued to withdraw assets
 from Latin America--.75% ($216.3 million)
 in the week, reports Vesti Ekonomika.

Russia is in 2nd place among the BRICS.
Its total capital influx over the year
reached 1.1% ($525.2 million).

Therefore Russia is continuing to outpace
 developing markets, concludes Sberbank
 Investment Research.

Most are funds oriented toward Russia
 (inflow of .11%, $34.3 million). Passive
 funds attracted .47% ($54.2 million),
active funds lost .02% of assets ($4.6
million). In the week ending March 4th,
RTS index increased by .1% and Brent
crude rose by 3.2%.

J.Hawk:

'To put it in plain English, Russia is
considered to have an attractive
investment climate, no mean feat
after a decade of sanctions, credit
 rating downgrades, threats of more
 sanctions, even threats of military
 action and provocative NATO
exercises on its border.'

'All of these measures were intended,
 not to hurt Russia’s economy directly,
 but to create the impression Russia
 is surrounded, isolated, starved of
 capital, and with its economy “in
tatters”, to quote Barack Obama.

 International investors know
 when they see a winner.

_______________________


US Frenzy at Chinese ad of yuan
 as new world reserve currency
 
In Thailand, China has recently erected a
curious billboard. The words on the billboard
 announce a new "world currency" called the
 Renminbi. The US dollar is nearing the end
 of its global power and dominance.

Renminbi's trading hubs have appeared all
over the world, from Singapore to London
 to Luxembourg to Frankfurt and Toronto.

Transnational corporations like McDonald's
 issue bonds in renminbi. Sovereign states,
including the UK, issue debt in renminbi.

The renminbi is the official currency of the
 People's Republic of China. Renminbi literally
 means "people's currency." The yuan is the
 basic unit of the renminbi, but is also used
to refer to the Chinese currency generally,
 especially in international contexts.

A historic look at dominant reserve currencies
 shows that reserve currencies run in cycles
 that last somewhere between 80 and 110
 years per cycle.

The US Dollar has held its status as a reserve
 currency since 1921, bringing it to a 94 year
long streak, indicating that the US Dollar has
almost run its course.

The US prints money in an attempt to postpone
 the crisis, creating currency wars with nearly
 all major central banks in the world. As history
 shows, money printing will only aggravate the
 problem, making the transition more painful
 and costly.

Many international experts in finance believe
that the US Dollar is on its last legs. Central
banks simply manipulate events to help the
dollar maintain its status for a little longer.
However, the time when the US Dollar
crashes is not too far away.

China and other countries, including Russia,
 have been calling for the US Dollar to be
 replaced by another world reserve currency.

More and more countries are deciding to
do without the dollar in their settlements.


________________________



Rothschild warns of 'chaos, extremism'
 and 'horrendous' problems in Europe

Jacob Rothschild, 78-year-old banker & chair of
RIT Capital Partners, warns of global instability
 and the fragility of any hope for future incomes,
Richard Dyson writes, in The Telegraph.

In his statement on the economic year 2014,
 Rothschild expresses his concern about the
complicated economic background investors
 will face in the future.

According to Jacob Rothschild, the current
 geopolitical situation is perhaps even more
 dangerous than it was during the Second
World War, Pravda.Ru reports.

He stresses that the current state of affairs
 exists, as a result of the rampant chaos and
 extremism in the Middle East, the crisis in
 Ukraine and a general weakening of Europe
 -- which faces horrendous unemployment --
 against the backdrop of the EU's inability
 to conduct necessary reforms.


_________________________________



The US is Completely Bankrupt.

Some time ago, a summary of a report by the
 authoritative Washington-based Cato Institute
 was published. According to this institute, US
 government debt in 2014, was not USD 18
 trillion, but was in fact, USD 91 trillion.

The huge difference arises from the fact that
 official estimates do not include “unfunded
 liabilities of programs like Social Security
 and Medicare.”

“While those liabilities don’t show up on official
 balance sheets, they nonetheless, represent
the legal obligations of the US government.”

 “The expected shortfall from these programs
 brings the true debt to an unfathomable
USD 90.6 trillion,” notes the Cato Institute’s
 brief summary. The full version of the report
-- including all calculations -- was in March.


_______________________



US Investment Advisor, Ron Holland:


"Americans should take advantage of the
recent dollar strength to diversify into gold,
 investments, real estate and safe havens
outside the US dollar & the United States.

"Better to be early than too late, because
 eventually the consequences of aggressive
 military actions, central bank manipulation,
 uncontrolled government debt & unfunded
 liabilities, will come home to the American
 people.

"Neither the guilt of our political and banking
 leadership nor the innocence of our citizenry
 will protect you, your assets or your family."


________________________________



Russia ratifies $100bn
BRICS New Development Bank


Russia's State Duma ratifies the $100 billion
 BRICS bank, that will serve as a money pool
for infrastructure projects in Russia, Brazil,
India, China and South Africa, and challenge
the dominance of the West-led World Bank
 and the IMF.

The New Development Bank is expected to
start fully functioning by the end of 2015,
according to the Russian Finance Ministry.

Russia has agreed to provide $2 billion
dollars from the federal budget for the
bank, over the next seven years.

It will have 3 tiers of corporate governance,
with a Board of Governors, a Board of
Directors, and a President.

The bank’s board of directors will hold its first
 meeting in Ufa, Russia this summer. Russian
 Finance Minister Anton Siluanov is likely to
become the bank’s first Chair of the Board
of Governors, says Deputy Finance Minister
Sergei Storchak, on 'Russia 24' TV channel.

The bank will be headquartered in Shanghai,
 India will serve as the first five-year rotating
 president, and the first Chair of the Board
 of Directors will come from Brazil.


______________________



China outstrips US foreign investment in 2014

More foreign direct investment flowed into
 China than the US in 2014, bumping the US
off its top spot for investment in the world,
 a position it has held since 2003.

China's $127.6 billion in foreign investment
 in 2014, was far more than the $86 billion
flowing into the US, according to figures
published by the UN Conference on Trade
and Development (UNCTAD).

The difference between 2013 is staggering,
 when $123.9 billion poured into China and
 $230.8 billion into the US.

The US saw foreign direct investment (FDI)
falling to its lowest since 2009, when the
market was wiped out by a financial crisis.

 The US ‘lost’ so much investment because
 of Verizon’s $130 billion purchase of Voda-
fone in the UK, which counted against it in
 the UNCTAD tally.

China, the 2nd largest economy, has been
 steadily gaining ground in FDI, which has
accelerated since the yuan's exchange
rate became flexible, and other reforms
made it easier for Western businesses
to operate in main-land China.

“There were structural changes in inflows
 to China, from manufacturing, to services,
& from labour-intensive to tech-intensive,”
according to the Director of Investment
 and Enterprise at UNCTAD, James Zahn.

After China, Hong Kong too, passed the US
--- into second spot, followed by Singapore
 and Brazil. The US is the only developed,
 and not developing, nation in the top five.

The UN survey notes a major shift favoring
 investment in the developing economies ---
which saw investment rise 4% in 2014 ---
while developed economies fell by 14%.

The biggest losers are the EU --- and the
former Soviet bloc.

 (Russia lost 70% of its foreign investment,
 and Ukraine lost out on $200 million. Both
 as a result of the conflict in E. Ukraine.)

Another title China took from the US in
October 2014, was the world’s biggest
economy in terms of purchasing power.

“China's been steady with modest growth
over the past few years -- & it's expected
to continue,” Zhan tells the WSJ.


__________________________________




Iran stops using dollar
in international settlements

Iran is stopping the use of the US dollar in
settlements
with foreign countries, Iran's
Central Bank says, on
Saturday (24th of
January, 2015).


“In foreign trade from now on, we'll be
using other
currencies, including the
yan, euro, Turkish lira,
Russian rouble
and South Korean won,” the Central

 Bank’s deputy head, Gholam Ali
Kamyab, tells
Tasnim News Agency.

He says Iran is presently considering
bilateral
currency agreements with
several countries on
the use of other
currencies. The agreements
favour
trade and economic operations, he

 says, and are planned for in the
"near future".



__________________________________________



GERMANY FALLING

Fresh official figures show that for the first time
 in three months, German industrial production
 fell sharply in November last year.

Figures provided by the German Economics
 Ministry show a 0.1% drop in industrial out-
put, as energy production and construction
 activity also fell.

The fall comes after a 0.6% rise in October.

Data from the Federal Statistics Office shows
that seasonally adjusted exports declined for
 a 2nd consecutive month, by 2.1%,  in Nov.

The figures also show imports rose by 1.5%.

Economists predicted a 0.3% rise in production.

The Federal Statistics Office says German
 factory orders fell by 2.4% in November,
compared with October..

The drop is thought to have been caused by
 a 2.6% fall in orders from non-euro countries
 and a 4.7% decline in domestic demand.

Economists say the Ukrainian conflict and
Western sanctions imposed against Russia
 have contributed to the geopolitical crisis,
 limiting growth.


_______________________________



S&P cuts Ukraine’s rating to
 triple C-, spurring default fears

Standard & Poor (S&P) has lowered Ukraine’s
 credit rating from CCC to CCC-, 9 rungs below
 investment grade.

S&P warns that Ukraine, which is in dire need of
 international financial assistance, may be on the
 brink of default, as Central Bank reserves shrink
and bailout funds are delayed.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says that
- despite productive talks with Kiev - the parties
failed to reach an agreement.

Though the country has received billions in aid
from the IMF, the US and the EU, a tumultuous
year has left Ukraine’s economy in ruins.

The IMF estimates that Ukraine would need
$15 billion in the short term to avoid a full-
blown financial crisis.


_______________________________



The US is behind the current drop in oil prices –
Bolivia’s president

The US is behind the current drop in oil prices,
 as it is aiming to undermine the economies of
petroleum producers Russia and Venezuela,
Bolivian President Evo Morales tells RT.

Morales says it is “a pity” that Washington
 stays on the “wrong course” by continuing
 to use sanctions against its political rivals.

“[The US thinks] we are living 200, 300 or
 500 years ago, instead of today. But all the
past should remain in the past. The US
 should realize this,” he states.

America is acting like other large empires
 did for centuries, as they “disseminated
 strife & hatred inside & outside, wishing
to establish political control over other
nations and plunder them economically,”
 Morales says, in an apparent reference
to the Spanish conquistadors’ invasions
of Latin America.

The Bolivian president also slams Europe
as “US accomplices”... for implementing
sanctions worldwide.

“We must think of a way to liberate Europe,
and just think --- they used to be invaders
of our countries,” he says.

Morales says President Obama “should stop
 imposing sanctions” and pay more attention
 to America’s internal problems, such as
 “abolishing capital punishment, or thinking
 of new laws to fight racial discrimination.”

He describes the US president as a
“discriminator against Afro-Americans”
who's “discriminating against migrants.”

“Of course, when America can’t overthrow
 a president by a violent military coup, it
starts to view the option of economic
sanctions.

“I am sure that the oil prices plunge was
 provoked by the US, to undermine the
 Russian and Venezuelan economies.
This is my opinion,” Morales says.

He urges Moscow and Caracas to “join
their efforts” to counter Washington’s
 “aggressive policies.”

Morales says that current oil prices, which
have reached their lowest since 2009, are
 the result of “temporary difficulties.”

“I am sure the US aggression related to oil
price cuts will not last long. Is $60 per
barrel a feasible price? Washington is not
interested in this.

“All the US is interested in, is an economic
assault on some countries to overthrow
their presidents. But they will not succeed
 in this task,” he says.

The oil price has fallen from $100 per barrel
in June, to $60 a barrel now, due to a drop
in global demand, and increased oil
 production in the US.


_______________________________



UNASUR Rejects IMF Criticism
          of Regional Pro-Integration Processes               
 
The Secretary General of the Union of South
American Nations (Unasur), ex Colombian
president Ernesto Samper, says that the
 International Monetary Fund lacks the
moral authority to make recommendations
 about regional pro-integration processes.

"The IMF has no moral authority to come and
give us
any recommendations, after we were
- for many years -
subjected to its terms that
hindered any possibility
of progress. It is
like Dracula running a blood bank,"
said
Samper, at a press conference in Quito.


In remarks in Santiago de Chile, the IMF's
 Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, said
 pro-integration mechanisms like Unasur,
the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of
Our America (ALBA), the Southern Common
Market (Mercosur)  & the Central American
Integration System (SICA) --- should be
rejuvenated, and compared them to
a big plate of spaghetti.

Mrs. Lagarde should rather worry about what is
happening in Europe, says Samper, who, in turn,
compared the current economic crisis in Europe
 to a lasagne: with only two countries eating the
 cheese and meat and leaving pasta to the rest.

Samper recalls that all the difficulties Unasur
 countries, and Latin America in general, have
 suffered, to curb poverty and have economic
growth, have all been caused by the IMF's
"poisonous demands" which have hindered
 any chance of progress in the region.

It's like Methuselah giving lessons on youth,
 says the secretary general of the regional
 bloc which includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil,
 Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay,
 Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.


_____________________________________



         Greece: All Time High Long term Unemployment             
 Long term unemployment grew over the last year
 in Greece reaching an all-time high, the quarterly
 report on employment issued by the EC shows.

Data shows that during the second quarter of
2014, unemployed people seeking jobs for one
 year or more, reached 19.6% of the financially
 active population , that is, over two thirds of
the total number unemployed in the country.

The report confirmed that despite the relative
 stability of the unemployment rate, about 27%
 for over a year, the rate of unemployed people
 still shows a long term an upward trend, with
 an increase of 1.9% during the last year.

The CE also reports a decreasing Gross Domestic
 Product, now back at its 2000 rate, plus increased
 inequality among the population, due to the total
 elimination of social assistance and the collapse
 of household incomes.


_________________________________



Russia's MDM Bank joins China’s Union Pay

MDM Bank, one of Russia’s top 30 banks,
has joined the Chinese payment system,
Union Pay, the bank says.

“After the project’s technical implementation,
 the owners of Union Pay cards will be able to
receive cash in MDM Bank’s ATMs and pay in
 those stores and malls serviced by the bank,”
the bank says.

Union Pay’s representative in Russia, Fan
Zhiguang, says the number of the system’s
 cards in Russia will be 2 million within 3 yrs.

The Chinese system and Japan’s JCB will work on
 co-branding with the operator of Russia's national
payment system - whose founding was ordered by
President Vladimir Putin, when Visa/MasterCard
 stopped processing cards by some Russian banks
 --- due to sanctions imposed on Russia by the US.


__________________


Russia bans all US agricultural products,
EU fruit & vegetable imports - watchdog

Moscow bans all US agricultural products,
 including poultry, plus EU fruit & vegetable
imports, in response to Western sanctions
imposed on Russia over Ukraine's crisis,
says Russia’s agricultural watchdog.

All agricultural goods produced in the US and
 imported into Russia, will be halted for 1 year,
 assistant to the head of Rosselkhoznadzor,
 Aleksey Alekseyenko, reports.


EU fruit & vegetables fall under the ban,
 Alekseyenko says, adding that all dairy
products from the EU,
are on the list.

“The list includes milk powder, butter & cheese,”
 a source says, adding that this also includes all
mass production cheeses.

Russia's sanctions on US and EU food imports
 will be “quite substantial,” Alekseyenko says.

The restrictions are to affect those countries
 which initiated sanctions against Russia.

By the end of 2013, the major importers of dairy
 products to Russia were:-  Finland, with 17,8000
tons worth US$19.6 million dollars; Estonia, with
8,300 tons worth $19.4 million; Poland, with 3.8
tons worth $8 million; and Lithuania, with 3 tons
worth $7.3 million, according to Russia’s Federal
Customs Service.

Alekseyenko states that many countries that
 didn't sanction Moscow, are ready to increase
 their exports of similar products to Russia.

Russian officials have already held
 consultations with representatives from
Ecuador, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina, on
expanding food imports from them, says
 Rosselkhoznadzor.

Russia’s agricultural watchdog is permitting
 imports from over 90 Brazilian suppliers of
animal origin products.

The list comprises 31 suppliers of beef
by-products, 27 suppliers of poultry, 27
suppliers of beef, 4 suppliers of pork and
pork by-products, and 3 suppliers of milk
 and dairy products.

This is a retaliatory measure for the several
rounds of sanctions imposed by the US and
 EU on Moscow, over the crisis in Ukraine.

The month before, the EU chose the harshest
 restrictions ever, targeting the finance, energy
 and defense sectors of the Russian economy.

They hit 5 Russian banks, including the biggest,
 Sberbank. The EU also introduced an embargo
 on the import and export of arms and related
 material, to and from Russia.



___________________________



Sanctions against Russia already
 taking toll on Western businesses — FT

According to the Financial Times, shares in Adidas,
the world’s 2nd largest sportswear group, fell 15%
after the company issued a profit warning & said it
would accelerate a closure of its stores in Russia.

“These warnings come as the EU directs its toughest
 sanctions against Russia since the end of the cold
war, targeting Russia’s energy, financial & defense
 sectors,” the newspaper’s online article says.

According to the newspaper, shares in Adidas, the
 world’s second-largest sportswear group, dropped
 15% after the company issued a profit warning and
 said it would accelerate the closure of stores in
 Russia because of increasing risks to consumer
spending in the region.

Joe Kaeser, chief executive of Siemens, warns
 that geopolitical tensions, including those in
 Ukraine, pose “serious risks” for Europe's
growth, both this year, and the next.

Royal Dutch Shell’s chief executive, Ben van
Beurden, says that, along with other western
 oil majors, he is assessing the impact of the
tighter sanctions on Russia’s energy sector
imposed by the US and EU.

 “It’s a bit early to say how it will play out, what
the consequences might be or how we'll react,”
he says. Last month the oil company suspended
 operations in the Yuzivska field in east Ukraine,
 amid mounting clashes between separatist and
 government forces, the newspaper says.

Erste Group, the third-largest lender in emerging
 Europe, warns the turmoil could impact banks in
 Eastern Europe:

 “I can’t exclude any nasty surprises in the region
 due to political decisions or developments,” says
 Erste chief executive, Andreas Treichl. “If the
crisis accelerates, of course, we will have to
 revise our forecast for all of Europe in 2015
 and in 2016,” he adds.


_____________________



"Inclusive growth and sustainable solutions."

The day after the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil,
 the 6th BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China
and South Africa) Summit started there.

Fortaleza and Brasilia were the host cities from
 June 14 -16, to finally establish a new financial
 framework under the title, "Inclusive growth
 and sustainable solutions."

The countries of the BRICS group are
now setting the foundations for a new
 global financial framework.

A monetary stabilization fund - the Contingency
 Reserve Agreement (CRA) & a development bank,
 known as BRICS Bank, are going to operate as a
multilateral support mechanism for balance of
payments, and a fund to finance investments.

 BRICS is to distance itself from the IMF and the
World Bank, institutions created 70 years ago,
by the US Treasury Department.

 This financial cooperation in the face of
the dollar's volatility, offers alternatives
 without 'structural adjustment programs'
 or "economic restructuring".

As a consequence of the growing global
economic slow down, it has become more
difficult for the BRICS countries to attain
 growth rates above 5%.

 The continued fall in prices of primary materials
 for industrial use, due to a reduced demand from
 Asia and the return of short-term capital flows to
 Wall Street, has negatively impacted most foreign
 trade and exchange rates.

With the exception of the slight improvement of
the yuan, the currencies of the BRICS countries
 have fallen from 8.80 percentage points (Indian
 ruppee) to 16 (South African rand), compared to
 the dollar, between May 2013 and June 2014.

The CRA will reduce volatility in trade and
 investment, between BRICS members.

The CRA won't need the support of the IMF
 to make its own loans, affording it greater
 political autonomy from Washington.

 The currency war of the central economies
 against the economies of the capitalist
 periphery, demands the implementation
of the CRA --- as soon as possible.

 The Contingency Reserve Agreement and
the BRICS Bank will be valuable financial
instruments beyond the reach of the US,
the International Monetary Fund and the
World Bank.

The BRICS Bank begins with 50 billion dollars
 of capital, rising to 100 billion in 2 years and
 200 billion in five years.

 It will be able to finance up to 350 billion dollars
for infrastructure, education, health, science,
technology and environmental projects.

In South America, the BRICS Bank could reduce
 financing costs and strengthen the Development
 Bank of Latin America's role in smoothing trade
 cycle instability, by increasing credits in times
 of crisis, and thus rule out loans from both the
 Inter-American Development Bank (IADB),
and the World Bank.

On the other hand, as a credit provider, the
BRICS Bank will compete with other financial
entities which hold considerable influence in
 the region, such as the Brazilian National
Bank of Economic and Social Development
 (BNDES), CAF, China Development Bank and
 Exim Bank of China – the Chinese banks
with the greatest number of credits.

  If BRICS Bank loans are issued in yuans,
 the currency's internationalization will
gradually strengthen its position as a
 means of payment & reserve currency,
 to the detriment of other currencies.

Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, the five
 most dynamic emerging economies on the planet,
 make up the BRICS group, a powerful association
 which represents 43% of the world's population,
 30% of the earth’s surface, 18% of the world's
GDP and 35% of the world's currency reserves.

BRICS members’ industries produced over 50%
of global economic growth over the last decade.

 Goldman Sachs states that by 2035 the BRICS
 could become an economic bloc greater than
 G-7, composed of the major industrial powers.

Goldman Sachs also argues that Brazil, Russia,
India and China’s economic potential is such,
 that they could become the world’s dominant
4 economies --- by 2050.

 They constitute an enormous territory (39.7
million square kilometers), which gives them
 strategic continental dimensions and a huge
 quantity of natural resources.


___________________________________



US appetite for European market
 responsible for Ukrainian crisis - experts

The Ukrainian crisis broke out because of US
wishes to devour European markets by ousting
 its competitors --- Russia and China --- says the
President of Neokon consultants, Mikhail Khazin.

The European Union market is optimal for the US,
 and the US won't yield it to Russia or China, or to
the EU's powerhouse, Germany, the economist
told the 'Free Thought' intellectual club.

“It's no accident that the US proposal to the
EU, makes Europe a free trade zone. Then,
the EU countries will be deindustrialized, as
production costs are higher in Europe, than
in the US,” Khazin said.

 “Over time, the European market, according
to Washington’s designs, should become a
market for US goods.”

The US “has revised its energy strategy and is
 going to export shale gas to Europe,” the expert
 added. “Since it is more expensive than Russian
 natural gas, the US seeks to limit or completely
 stop, Russian gas supplies to Europe,” he said.

 This, Khazin believes, is the reason for Kiev’s
 stubbornness in the gas conflict with Russia,
-- forcing Gazprom to cut supplies to Ukraine
 on June 16th, until Ukraine pays for already
supplied gas.

US shale gas plans also explain the interference
of certain US politicians, including Ambassador
 to Bulgaria Marcie Ries & Senator John McCain,
into talks on the South Stream pipeline's future,
 between Russia and the EU, he added.

“Washington’s global economic aim is to destroy
 & devour the European Union consumer market
 to harm Russia and China, as the latter is set to
 become world leader this year, and challenge
the US,” Khazin said.

The economist recalls ex Ukrainian President
 Viktor Yanukovych’s visit to Beijing --- straight
 after his trip to Vilnius for the EU Association
 Agreement signing last November...

 Yanukovych had agreed with China on a deep-
water port construction in Crimea in advance.
The project would attract about $12 billion of
investment & about 2 million Chinese workers.

 This was Beijing’s plan on how to lay a new Silk
Road to Europe, and it has faced persistent US
 resistance, Khazin says.

“Washington does not want to see China taking
the EU sales market, or Russia’s strengthening
 position as energy supplier to Europe, via the
South Stream pipeline.

 Hence the US politicians’ eagerness in Kiev &
 their numerous visits to the Maidan at the time
 of protests by EU integration supporters.

 It's the US that deprived Yanukovych of the
 presidential post, to sweep into power pro-
American politicians,” the expert believes.

The US is keen to take a tight grip on Ukraine's
 energy sector, & the new government in Kiev
 is eager to help it. Ukrainian Prime Minister
Arseniy Yatsenyuk has already announced
 that the country’s gas transportation system
is being handed over to its US & EU partners.

 Moreover, US Vice-President Joe Biden’s son
is now a board director of Ukraine's private
oil and gas company, Burisma.

Professor Daisuke Kotegawa, former executive
Japan director at the IMF, shares Khazin’s view:

 “As a specialist in the settlement of major
 financial crises, I can say that the political
crisis in Ukraine is hugely influenced by
global financial instability & uncertainty
 about the US establishment patronizing
 Ukraine over its position in the world.”

Mikhail Delyagin, director of the Institute
 for Globalization Problems, says “the US
purposefully destabilized the situation in
 the Middle East during the Arab Spring”.

“This time, the US has provoked a political
 crisis in Ukraine. Russia could be its next
target. The chief US strategic goal in the
context of these destructive actions, is
to instill fear and drive global financial
speculators’ money into US securities,
to keep the US's national economy
 afloat,” the expert says.


_________________________________



Russia-Ukraine ties chillier over gas cutoff

Kiev wanted to pay 268.5 dollars per 1,000 cubic
 meters of gas -- the price it had when Yanukovych
 was in power. Then it wanted to pay at 326 dollars
for an "interim period", until a lasting deal was
finally reached.

Moscow offered a discounted price of 385 dollars.

EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger says
 Moscow declined Kiev's final offer, under which
 Kiev would pay 1 billion dollars immediately and
 then make monthly repayments to Gazprom.

 That proposal was for 385 dollars per 1,000
 cubic metres in winter, 300 dollars in summer.

Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller says now
that it will no longer be enough for Kiev to pay a
part of its debt, for supplies to resume. Ukraine
 must now pay off its entire 4.45 billion dollars in
 debt, & pay in advance for 1 month's deliveries,
 he says.

This appears almost impossible for Ukraine,
 with its economy hard hit by chronic unrest.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk
accuses Russia of deliberately blocking a
deal to cause Kiev supply problems in the
winter, when temperatures plunge, and
heating needs, increase.

 "It is yet another step against the Ukrainian
state and against Ukrainian independence,"
he says.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev claims
that part of the Ukrainian leadership is "losing
 adequacy," citing Yatsenyuk's refusal of Russia's
 earlier preferential gas price offer and "paranoid
 behaviour" by the acting foreign minister, Andrei
Deshchytsa, who made insulting remarks about
 Russian President Vladimir Putin, that weekend.

He has now been replaced, as are several
others, such as the Chief prosecutor.

Medvedev says Russia is still open to dialogue.

"If our colleagues in Ukraine start to hear (our)
 reasoning better (and) return to discuss the
 highly concessional, very preferential offers
 made by Russia, I think we will be ready to
 continue talks," he says. "But, of course,
 under the condition that the debt is
settled in full."

Gazprom has filed a lawsuit at Stockholm
 arbitration court, demanding Ukraine pay
off its gas debt. Naftogaz, in turn, says it
has also made a case at the same court,
to contest Gazprom's pricing.

The Ukrainian company says it is also seeking
 to recover about 6 billion dollars "overpaid" to
 Gazprom since 2010, by an "unfair" contract.

Gazprom promises it will continue to supply gas to
 consumers in other parts of Europe at full volume,
 but warns the European Commission of potential
 interruptions in gas transit through Ukraine, and
 urges Ukraine to abide by all its obligations, to
ensure a smooth transit of gas to the EU.

Instead of compromising and settling
its debt, Kiev seems to be prepared
 to raise the stakes.

Kiev’s desire to dictate the terms to Russia
 may have an irrational basis underneath, says
international law expert Alexander Mercouris.

“It is difficult for the Ukrainians at this time
to negotiate with Russians about anything.
There are many people in Kiev who don’t
 like that,” he says.

“One of the fundamental problems with
the way in which Ukraine's authorities
 have been dealing with their multiple
 crises since taking power in February,
 is that they don’t seem to show very
much grasp of reality,” he adds.

There are also concerns that Kiev will
just begin siphoning off gas in transit
 from Russia to European consumers,
as happened during previous rounds
of gas stand-offs.

“The Ukrainian government has been
intransigent and is putting the people
of Europe at risk. That’s why the EU
is actually cautiously supporting
Russia’s position at this time,”
political analyst Bill Dores said.

Ukraine has for years enjoyed a
politically motivated preferred
treatment by Russia, in gas
price discounts, he added.

 Now there's a government in Kiev
hostile to Russia, Moscow has no
reason to support it with subsidies.

An escalating conflict will hurt all three
 parties involved... but the coup leaders
 are tempted to raise the stakes, says
Mercouris.

“There's an expectation that once things
 are deteriorating in Ukraine --- it can be
 blamed on the Russians,” he explains.

With Ukraine's economy already in peril,
& with painful austerity measures being
demanded by international creditors in
exchange for loans, plus political turmoil
in the eastern provinces, Kiev has loads
 of blame to apportion in the near future.


_________________________


Emirates Airline Cancels
 70 Airbus Planes Order

The United Arab Emirates on Wed 11th June
cancelled their order for 70 long-haul A350
planes from European manufacturer Airbus.
  
The decision was taken following "on-going
 discussions with the airline in light of their
fleet requirement review", Airbus says.
  
Airbus adds that it is still very confident in
the A350 program & says there are almost
750 planes on their order books already.

"The program of test flights for the A350 is
 progressing well, scheduled for certification
 (by the Aviation Authorities) in the coming
months," says Airbus.

According to AFP, the cancellation of such
a big order seems to be a serious setback
for the manufacturer, based in Toulouse.
John Leahy, boss of Airbus, is to make a
statement later.
  
The Emirates is one of Airbus's biggest clients
 and placed their order for 70 A350s in 2007.
The first deliveries were scheduled for 2019.

In London, aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce says
 the cancellation reduces the value of its order
book by 2.6 billion pounds (3.2 billion euros,
$4.3 billion).


_________________________________



EUROPE ENTERS NEGATIVE TERRITORY

The ECB drops interest rates to an historic
 record low, entering negative territory.

 The European Central Bank(ECB) lowers its
benchmark interest rate, to 0.10%, as the
continent battles deflation, after multiple
failed monetary policy attempts.

The European Central Bank also cuts its main
 refinancing rate to 0.15% from 0.25%, and the
 deposit rate from zero to -10%, the first time
the ECB has ever seen a negative rate.

The new interest rate applies to all EU
member states.


__________________________________



NATO's RASSMUSSEN & RICH ELITE

140 participants representing 22 countries
 attend Bilderberg meeting, in Copenhagen.

As is usually the case with the summit,
this year Bilderberg attracted notables
such as the NATO Secretary General,
the former director of the US National
Security Agency, Keith Alexander, and
the former US national security advisor
to the White House, Thomas E. Donilon.

 In addition to the guest attendees, the Bilderberg
 Steering Committee is a list of powerful financiers,
 including Peter D. Sutherland, Chair of Goldman
 Sachs International, as well as Peter Thiel, the
 president of Thiel Capital.

Bilderberg runs under “Chatham House Rules,”
 which stipulate that the identity or affiliation
 of a speaker may not be revealed by the other
 participants, including by any media there.

 Though it may be intended to promote a
free exchange of ideas among the rich,
such rules feed what detractors say is an
 unnecessary cloud of secrecy, as well as
 a range of conspiracy theories, that say
 the summit is a shadowy gathering of
 architects of a “New World Order.”


______________________________________



Talks to resume on China's $10 billion
 investment plans for Crimea

Chinese investors will resume suspended talks in
 August on building a $3 billion, 25-meter deep-water
port near Yevpatoria in Crimea, the republic’s first
Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliyev says.

First moves in a project announced in December
 and sealed with a letter of intent, await Crimea's
 transfer to ruble transactions & securing stable
 water supplies recently seized by Ukraine,
Temirgaliyev says.

This will be the first move forward in Chinese
 plans to invest $10 billion in the peninsula's
 developments, which were announced before
 the fall of President Viktor Yanukovych.

These were, to develop Yevpatoria, upgrade
 the port in the city of Sevastopol and create
 an economic zone in Crimea for electronics
 and IT companies.

A $7 billion worth second stage is expected
 to build oil complexes, grain elevators and
 liquefaction plants, and to lease Crimean
agricultural land.

As Crimea’s status changed to become
 a region of the Russian Federation, China's
 interest broadened into prospective joint
projects with Russia, including a bridge or
 a tunnel across the Kerch Strait. This links
 Crimea's Kerch peninsula and the Taman
 peninsula of Russia's Krasnodar region.

Construction could require upwards of 100
 billion rubles ($2.9 billion) if rail tracks were
 laid along the bridge, according to Russian
 Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov.

Chinese companies are also keen to take part
 in thermal and alternative energy projects in
Crimea, though further investment schemes
have not yet been specified.


______________________________________



RUSSIA TO DUMP DOLLAR FOR RUBLE

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says
 Western sanctions on Moscow, will galvanize
 it into using the ruble more, as the currency
for global trade.

"Trading for rubles - this is a definite priority,"
 Medvedev says.

"This, in fact, should ultimately move the ruble
from the cohort of freely convertible currencies
 into the ranks of reserve currencies," he adds.

The Russian government is reportedly considering
 plans to oblige state-owned companies to receive
 payment for key exports in rubles, rather than in
 dollars, as at present.

"Of course, the more we sell, for example, our
 products, including oil, gas, machine-building,
 defense products for rubles, the more we will
 encourage such a quality for our currency,"
 Medvedev says.

He plays down Western sanctions, saying,
 "At present the effect of sanctions on the
Russian economy is absolutely minimal,
if you can talk about any effect at all."

Russia warns of retaliatory measures
 if the West continues with sanctions
 over the crisis in Ukraine.


___________________________________



EU and Russia on 'lose/lose' sanctions road


Russia has prepared a classified document
with measures to retaliate, if more Western
sanctions are used against Moscow over
 Ukraine, a senior economic aide says.

There are tactics developed in response to
 sanctions, Andrey Belousov tells Rossiya
 24 TV, at St. Petersburg Economic Forum.

 Certain acts will provoke different reaction levels
– it depends on whether the sanctions are imposed
 against individuals or sectors, or they're systemic,
 he says.

 If any new sanctions are imposed against Russia,
 “we know exactly how to react,” the official says.


______________________________________________



WEST "ONE-UPMANSHIP" FALLS INTO NET


 China and Russia ink the long-awaited gas deal
 in Shanghai, ending decade-long natural gas
supply talks between the two.



_____________________________



Australia’s Woodside pulls out
 of massive Israel gas venture

Australian energy giant Woodside Petroleum
 has pulled out of the massive Leviathan gas
 joint venture off the coast of Israel — one of
 the largest deposits found in the world.

The company says it has terminated an early-
stage agreement with Leviathan partners,
led by US oil producer Noble Energy, to take
a 25% stake, worth an estimated US$2.5
billion, in the discovery.

Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman says
 that negotiations between the parties, which
started in 2012, failed to reach an acceptable
 outcome on development and supply.

“While Woodside’s commitment to growth
 is strong, even stronger is our commitment
 to making disciplined investment decisions.

“I would like to acknowledge and thank the
 Leviathan Joint Venture participants and
 the Israeli government for working with us.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
said the exports would bring in some US$60
 billion to state coffers over the next 20 years.

Woodside signed a non-binding memorandum
 of understanding in February, outlining its
intention to take up a stake in the project,
running all the downstream gas production
 operations, with Noble in charge of up-
stream processing.

The Leviathan field’s size is estimated at
18.9 trillion cubic feet (535 billion cms) of
natural gas, plus 34.1 million barrels of
condensate, and has been hailed as the
 largest gas deposit found in the world
 in a decade.


_________________________



READ MAX KEISER HERE...

It will blow your mind!  Paste this in your browser now:

http://rt.com/op-edge/158988-bankers-killing-suicide-fraud/


_______________________________



US TREASURY BONDS SCAM
HIDES PRECIPICE


From November 2013 to January 2014, Belgium,
 with a GDP of $480 billion, bought $141.2 billion
of US Treasury bonds.

Somehow, Belgium came up with enough money
to allocate during a 3-month period, 29% of its
 annual GDP, to purchase US Treasury bonds.

Certainly Belgium did not have a budget surplus
 of $141.2 billion.  Was Belgium running a trade
 surplus during a 3-month period equal to 29 %
 of Belgium's GDP?

No, Belgium’s trade and current accounts are
 in deficit.

Did Belgium’s central bank print $141.2 billion
worth of euros in order to make the purchase?

No, Belgium is a member of the euro system.
Its central bank can't increase money supply.

So where did the $141.2 billion come from?

There is only one source.  The money came
from the US Federal Reserve, and the purchase
was laundered through Belgium in order to
hide the fact that actual Federal Reserve bond
purchases during November 2013 through to
January 2014, were $112 billion per month.


____________________________________



GERMANY CAN SEE US POWER PLAY

 
Economic sanctions against Russia, demanded
 by the US, will hurt the economy of Germany's
 eastern states first, says Herman Winkler, a
German European Parliament deputy, from
the
centre-right Christian Democratic Union.

“Sanctions will only damage ourselves and
 affect, first of all, the economy of eastern
Germany,” Winkler says.

US' calls for more rigorous sanctions against
 Moscow suggest that Washington is pursuing
 its own economic objectives, he states.

“After the fracking boom, the United States
is on its way to becoming the largest gas
exporter in the world,” Winkler says, “and
Russia is now an unwelcome competitor.”

“We should stop being the Americans' servants,”
 he says, adding that the Ukrainian crisis can be
settled, only by co-operating with Moscow.


A policy of confrontation is “blind to history
and deaf to the other side,” Winkler says.


__________________________



G20 determined to spur growth,
pushed US to ratify IMF reforms

Policymakers from G20 nations urged the US
Congress to pass the long-
delayed quota &
governance reforms
to the IMF,  "by the end
of 2014".


Instead, a Congress paralized by fear of
losing control, dithered, which has led,
in 2015, to Russia, China and the BRICS
setting up their own investment banks --

Representing over 80% of the global GDP,
the G20 nations are Argentina, Australia,
Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France,
 Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan,
 Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South
Africa, Republic of Korea, Turkey, the
 US and the EU.

They say they are "deeply disappointed"
 with the long delay in IMF quota and
 governance reforms.

"The implementation of the 2010 reforms
 remains our highest priority, and we urge
 the US to ratify these reforms at the
 earliest opportunity," the G20 says.

"If the 2010 reforms are not ratified by year-end,
 we will call on the IMF to build on its existing
 work and develop options for next steps and
 we will work with the International Monetary
 and Financial Committee  to schedule a
 discussion of the options."

 The IMFC is the IMF's top decision-making body.

The reforms have been blocked by the US,
which has veto power over IMF decisions,
 due to party political squabbling.

IMF's Managing Director Christine Lagarde
 says the IMF is not giving up on pushing the
 quota reform, as it matters for the credibility
 of the institution.

"I very strongly hope that the resolve of
 the institution, the pressure brought to
bear by the members of this institution
on
all those who haven't yet ratified will
 deliver fruit in the not too distant future,"
 she says.

The reform package includes a doubling
 of IMF quotas and a shift in quotas to
 dynamic emerging markets and under-
represented countries, and a proposed
amendment to reform the executive board
 to be more representative and all-elected.

If the reform package is implemented,
four large emerging economies, China,
 India, Russia and Brazil, will all become
 top 10 shareholders of the Washington-
based global lender.


________________________________



BRICS countries - allies in opposing unipolar world

Cooperation within the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia,
 India, China and South Africa) is now the overriding
 central geopolitical format for Russia, the Chair of
 the Russian National Committee for BRICS Studies,
 State Duma deputy Vyacheslav Nikonov, says.

He has recently come back from Rio de Janeiro
 where he led the Russian delegation at the 6th
 BRICS academic forum.

The politician believes that “amid the present
 principal disagreements with the US and EU
 over Ukraine and because of G8 reformatting,
Russia will develop increasingly close ties
with
BRICS members and the Shanghai
Cooperation
Organization (SCO), as well
as the Eurasian
Economic Community,
with the participation
of several
former Soviet republics & other

 interregional organizations”.

“The recent refusal by major settlement systems
 Visa and Mastercard to service cards for several
 Russian banks, puts Russia and the other BRICS
 countries face to face with the need to put into
 practice the idea of a joint Bank of Development
 and a Stabilization fund for mutual settlements
 in national currencies and to establish national
 settlement systems,” the expert adds.

Nikonov says “the Brazilians are now most
 concerned about economic growth issues,
social policy, environmental issues, & aid
 to developing countries”.

 The summit’s focus was on information security
 amid the revelations by former CIA contractor
 Edward Snowden “that brought to light bugging
 of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s phones”.

“BRICS is not a binding structure, it doesn't
 encroach upon anyone’s sovereignty. It's
nothing like the EU, whose headquarters
in
Brussels take away the most part of
member
countries’ sovereignty.

 "BRICS is not planning any supranational bodies
 to which imperative rights would be delegated.
 BRICS is the 21st century cooperation format
 and by no means a hierarchical organization,”
 the analyst believes.

“There's no place for a single centre of influence
 in the modern world. The idea of a multipolar
world was actively promoted in geopolitical
polemics in the 90s, when the world had just
 dropped the bipolar system & some hotheads
 declared it was time to have the only centre
 to decide in international affairs as the US,”
 Nikonov says.

“BRICS countries have a number of trump cards
 up their sleeve,” the expert adds. “Brazil is the
 largest Latin American state, with a highly
 developed industry and agriculture.

 "Russia is the world’s major supplier of
 hydrocarbons. China demonstrates brisk
 economic growth. India, huge intellectual
 resources. Furthermore, over 2.5 billion
 people live in China and India - almost a
 quarter of the global population."

 "South Africa is the most mature country on
the African continent, with enormous natural
 resources and a developed agricultural sector,
 whose produce suffices not only for the nation
 itself, but also makes the country one of the
 leading agricultural suppliers,” Nikonov says,
 about BRICS’ economic potential.

“Therefore, it is BRICS that is capable of offering
 the world a historical alternative & undertaking
 building the foundations for a new world order,”
 believes the politician.

 “BRICS’ key task now, is to assist a transition
 from US hegemony to a polycentric world order,
 where interference in countries’ internal affairs
 for the overthrow of unwanted regimes, is
 unacceptable."


__________________________



EU/US SANCTIONS SPUR
RUSSIA/CHINA GROWTH


Russia’s biggest billionaire has bought shares
in big Chinese internet retailer Alibaba, after
selling his stakes in US tech giants Apple and
 Facebook. The deal comes as the US and EU
 impose sanctions on Russia, that could turn
 from politics to business.

Usmanov, 60, a founder of Russia’s iron ore
Metalloinvest holding company, has a fortune
of $18.6 billion as of March 2014, & is betting
more on China, while selling US assets.

“Chinese companies account for 70 - 80%
 of our foreign internet investments portfolio,”
 Ivan Streshinskiy, head of Usmanov’s asset-
management company USM Advisors LLC,
 tells Bloomberg in an interview in Moscow.

In recent months Usmanov has sold the stake
 in Apple he bought for about $100 million last year,
Streshinskiy says. Before the Apple sale, Usmanov
 started a slow sale of the 10% stake in Facebook
 he bought in 2009, when the company was valued
 between $6 billion and $10 billion.

 Usmanov sold some shares in the Facebook
 IPO, that valued the company at $104 billion.

Alibaba, the world’s 2nd biggest internet company
 - after Google Inc. - is valued at about $200 billion.
The Chinese on-line retailer posted surging sales
 in the three months through to September, and
marked a fourth straight quarterly profit.

As Russia’s relations with the west sour over
 the Crimea referendum & the crisis in Ukraine,
Usmanov says his Metalloinvest holding will
 increase its presence in the Chinese market,
 if Europe imposes sanctions on its exports.

“We are concerned with the possible sanctions
 against Russia, but we do not see any dramatic
repercussions on our business,” the tycoon says.

 “China is unlikely to impose any sanctions. So we
will be trading in rubles, yuan, and Hong Kong or
Singapore dollars.”

China is one of Russia’s biggest trading partners,
 with bilateral trade estimated at a record $87.5
 billion in 2012.

Direct investment by Chinese companies into
 Russia is also increasing.  Between 2004 and
 2012, it grew by 40 times, to reach S4.9 billion
  says Tang Hua, an official with China's National
Development and Reform Commission.


__________________________________



QUANTATIVE EASING (PRINTING MONEY)
OBSCURES US' COLLAPSE

In a leaked memo to clients, financial expert
David John Marotta, calculates the actual
number of Americans out of work to be an
astronomic 37.2%, as opposed to the 6.7%
 claimed by the Federal Reserve.

“The unemployment rate only describes people
 who are currently working or looking for work,”
 he says.

“Unemployment in its truest definition, meaning
 the portion of people who do not have any job,
 is 37.2 percent.

This number obviously includes some people who
 are not or never plan to seek employment. But it
 does describe how many people are not able to,
do not want to, or cannot find, a way to work,”
 he and colleague Megan Russell reveal in their
client report --- leaked to the Washington
Examiner.


Contrary to expectations, a drop in the
unemployment rate, Marotta argues, is
 presently a sign -- that the unemployed
are just
dropping out of the job market.

“Officially-reported unemployment numbers
 shrink as time passes, as the unemployed
become discouraged enough to stop look-
ing
for work,” say Marotta and Russel.

 “A decrease is not necessarily beneficial;
 an increase is clearly detrimental.”

They also criticise the so-called Misery Index,
 based on official unemployment and inflation.

 The Wall Street advisers say the Index is 14
 plus and not the 8 advertised by Washington,
 as it totally ignores how the US economy is
being hugely subsidized by Q.I. schemes ---

including monthly bond purchases by the
Federal Reserve.

“Today, the Misery Index would be 7.54, using
official numbers,” analysts write.... But, if the
true unemployment picture, including workers
 who've given up the job search, is placed with
 the historical method of calculating inflation,
  ‘the current misery index is closer to 14.7.”



___________________________________



Youth Unemployment Marks Opening
 of World Economic Forum

Persistent labour difficulties in the world,
especially high youth unemployment levels,
 started the discussions on the first day of
the World Economic Forum, in Davos.

According to experts and executives attending
the meeting --- high youth unemployment is the
 main obstacle to economic recovery in Europe.

That situation is one of the main problems on
 the continent where an entire generation with
 neither present nor future, will be wasted.

In addition to that, is what experts describe
 as a rampant aging population, high energy
 costs and high debt levels.

Axel Weber, president of Germany's Central Bank
(Bundesbank), says that optimism about Europe's
recovery is not entirely justified, as a 1% average
 growth rate isn't enough to create jobs and
attract investment.

Financial markets have improved, but not
the real economy, he says.

Data from the International Labour Organization
shows that the youth sector is still one of the
 most affected, with over 74 million men and
women under 24, unemployed.

The 44th World Economic Forum, gathers
economic, political and global top figures
and is attended by 2,500 top people,
including heads of state and Government.

Specialists draw attention to many criticisms of
the meeting including "the lack of humility and
 unselfishness of the richest" who talk annually
 but don't generate concrete actions in a world
 of growing inequalities.


______________________



WISDOM OF THE EAST

Nearly 1,500 political leaders, entrepreneurs and
academics.... analyzed new growth paths in Asia
 during the annual conference of the Boao Forum,
 its Secretary General Zhou Wenzhong announces.

The annual conferences of the forum, which began
 in 2002, are a perfect moment for Asians and other
 emerging economies to hold talks, assess the state
of the global economy and promote development
 and cooperation between the two parties.

The forum, held in the province-island of Hainan,
had the motto: "Asia's New Future: Identifying
New Growth Drivers".

On the sustainable development category,
Zhou underlines issues like climate change,
 society, human development, cyber security,
 the power of eastern wisdom, and business
ethics in
the pharmaceutical industry.

Nearly 500 journalists attended the forum,
 as well as 1,500 guests.


_____________________________



NETHERLANDS DEGRADED

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) ratings agency
 has downgraded the Netherlands’ credit
 rating from AAA to AA+, citing growing
 concerns over its "performance".

The Netherlands has been following
"austerity" cuts for several years, and
now has inflated house prices, mass
unemployment, rising inequality and
 an ever-increasing national debt.

The Netherlands is the latest eurozone
 country to be downgraded, leaving only
 Germany, Luxembourg and Finland with
 AAA+ from all 3 main credit agencies;
 that is, S&P, Fitch and, Moody’s.



_________________________________



CHINA TO AVOID FED's "TAPERING"

China’s central bank says that it no longer sees
any benefit at all, in increasing its $3.66 trillion
foreign currency reserves, the world's largest.
 
China will cap its purchases of US dollars, in
 an effort to limit the depreciation of the yuan.

“It’s no longer in China’s favour to accumulate
 foreign-exchange reserves,” Bloomberg quotes
 Yi Gang, a deputy governor at the central bank.

Decreasing the influence of the dollar and
 other currencies is a step closer to reaching
 China’s 2015 goal to “float” its currency and,
says the People’s Bank of China, it will help
the everyday Chinese citizen.

Between July and September 2013, China
 increased its foreign currency holdings by
 $166 billion, making it the world’s highest,
 at $3.66 trillion. This is more than the GDP
 of Germany – Europe’s biggest economy,
 Bloomberg reports.

This cap will “basically” end the interference
 of foreign currency in the Chinese market,
and widen the yuan’s daily trading range.

The move also provides a buffer to China from
 future US Federal Reserve stimulus "tapering",
which is a sneaky way of exporting US deficit
 problems, and has already had severe ripple
 effects on emerging market currencies in
 Brazil and India.



_________________________________



US's "INVISIBLE" EARNER ON THE LINE

The TRIPS agreement, which the US presented
as a "free trade" agreement, is currently facing
an update; TPP, the "Trans-Pacific Partnership."

Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
 (TRIPS), lie at the heart of the World Trade Organization.
Its champion was then-CEO of Pfizer, Edmund Pratt.

 Mr Pratt wants to prohibit people in the third world
from using their own raw materials & pharmaceutical
knowledge, in their own laboratories and plants, to
cure and treat their own people's diseases.

He wants to force them to buy from Pfizer or die
trying. Millions have died as a result of the success
of the TRIPS "free trade" agreement and the WTO.

 It concerns the monopolies and exclusive rights we
 know as copyrights, patents, trademarks, and so on.

As people in the US started shunning Detroit's cars
 in favor of Toyota, policymakers in the US realized
 that the country's age of industrial competitiveness
had effectively come to an end.

 They sought new ways to enrich the US by redefining
 "value,” "industry,” and "production" with contracts
 that made sure the US kept being paid by the world.

As TRIPS was negotiated, every interest in the US
 - Hollywood, the record industry, cars - all benefited.

 This new Wiki-leaked agreement also has little
 to do with free trade, but with the upholding of
exclusive rights and monopolies.

 Building on the previous TRIPS agreement, TPP,
the "Trans-Pacific Partnership," strengthens it,
despite the rest of the world's aspirations, seen
in this introductory paragraph...

"The objectives of this chapter are... to maintain
 a balance between the rights of intellectual property
 holders and the legitimate interests of users and the
 community in subject matter protected by intellectual
 property; to protect the ability of Parties to identify,
promote access to and preserve the public domain;
ensure that measures and procedures to enforce
 intellectual property rights do not themselves
 become barriers to legitimate trade."

The US position opposes all of this.  There "shall
only be" exclusive rights, typically held by the US.

The US even seeks to give Hollywood the right
to shut people off from the internet without due
process; yet this outrage is obscured in legal
terms such as "injunctive relief" or "liability
conditions".

Copyright & patent monopolies, by definition,
 are the opposite of free trade and the rights
now being proposed by the US are monopoly
rights which will prevent free trade.

This is similar to the land rights and trading
monopolies forced by the British Empire, on
its unwilling subjects. And just as disgusting.


_____________________


MALTESE

The Maltese House of Representatives announces
 now, that it will grant citizenship to people born
 outside the European Union -- for 650,000 euros.

Labour Party PM Joseph Muscat, states that
this will generate cash and attract important
 investment to the Mediterranean island.

Muscat asserts that the plan will generate
around 30 million euros in the first year, with
 an initial naturalization of 45 people, who
 will be able to work and obtain residence in
any of the EU's 28 member countries.

The above figure will increase to 200 or more
 individuals annually, say Henley and Partners
group, which will administer the project.

About 50 residents organized a demonstration
 outside government headquarters, while
 the vote for the measure was taking place.

Nationalist leader Simon Busuttil criticizes the
decision to sell national citizenship, saying
he fears that Malta will become a 'tax haven'.


_____________________________________________



BANKRUPT US & EU  RUSH INTO TRADE DEAL

The "biggest free market in the world" attracts
EU and US officials, despite the spy row... just
as the two face a massive bad debt implosion.

Slovenian PM Alenka Bratusek's government is
 now to face a vote of confidence, as it struggles
to avoid being the next eurozone state to take
 an international "bailout".

Slovenia, an economic star among EU newcomers
when it joined in 2004 and adopted the euro as its
 currency in 2007, was badly hit by the global crisis
 and fell back into recession in the third quarter of
 2012, amid lower export demand and budget cuts.

The coalition government is struggling to tackle
  7.9 billion euros of "bad loans" at mainly state
-owned banks.

Avoiding an international bailout will mean
 raising taxes - particularly on real estate -
spending cuts and privatization, says the
 centre-left government.

The EU warns that eleven other EU countries,
 including the United Kingdom, France, Italy,
 the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark,
 Finland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Malta, are all
"experiencing macroeconomic imbalances."


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a non-
partisan federal data agency, forecasts that
US debt will grow to levels not seen since

World War II, when the US took on the massive
 cost of arming and sending 16 million service
 members to fight in Europe and the Pacific.


________________________________________



AFRICA CAUGHT BY UK BANKING CON

The UK is “by far the most important” player
in the global financial secrecy market. Its
web of jurisdictions around the world makes
 the UK the top router of global financial secrets.

John Christensen, director of Tax Justice Network
 states: “Our index reveals that Britain plays a key
 role in the global market for financial secrecy.”

This, despite David Cameron’s recent G20 drive
 to crack down on tax avoidance and to promote
 tax transparency.

“The City of London uses a web of satellite
secrecy jurisdictions based on UK crown
dependencies and overseas territories,
to channel huge illicit flows, which feed
London’s mad property boom,” he says.

The findings by the non-aligned network of
 researchers and activists, were presented
to Queen Elizabeth II, before release.

“Britain, taken together with its Overseas
 Territories and Crown Dependencies, is by
 far the most important part of the global
offshore system of tax havens or secrecy
jurisdictions,” the letter read.

The note to the Queen also mentioned that
 PM David Cameron, is doing little to deliver
on his pledge to provide more transparency.

“Our findings show that these jurisdictions
 still fall woefully short of acceptable standards
of transparency, having made only modest
reforms since 2009, when the G20 led by your
government committed itself ‘to take action
 against non-cooperative jurisdictions, including
 tax havens,’” the message to the Queen read.

“The crown dependencies and overseas
territories have long been considered among
the worst offenders of world tax havens",
Salman Shaheen, editor for International
Tax Review magazine tells RT.

“What is surprising is that the UK government
is not doing very much about it. I mean, it has
introduced certain legislation to clean up its
own companies onshore, but it really needs to
 get its work on tax havens offshore in order.”

Of the 82 global financial jurisdictions ranked,
 10 are directly connected to UK, whose head
 of state is the British queen. They include the
Cayman Islands, Bermuda and the British
Virgin Islands. 

According to the financial secrecy watchdog,
up to US$32 trillion is sitting in offshore zones
 where it is either untaxed or slightly taxed.

“Rolling back the secrecy that shrouds up to
 $32 trillion in offshore financial assets remains
 one of the great challenges of the 21st century,”
 Christensen says in a statement .

The report believes that offshore zones have
cost African countries over $1 trillion since
 the 1970s, of which, $640 billion came from
 16 Commonwealth countries.

“These losses dwarf the external debts of
 $190 billion for the 33 countries, meaning
 that Africa is a major net creditor to the
world, contrary to what is widely
believed,” the letter said.

“The European Union’s decision to curb one
 important aspect of banking secrecy from
 2015 – masks waning momentum for the
other urgent changes elsewhere,” Markus
Meinzer, lead researcher for the Financial
 Secrecy Index says.

The three highest ranking countries are
 Switzerland, Luxembourg and Hong Kong. 

Switzerland, the “grandfather of the world’s
 tax havens”, accounts for less than 5% of
 the world's offshore financial services. 

Yet last year the country managed one quarter
of the world’s total assets (approx $2.8 trillion),
according to the Swiss Bankers’ Association. 

“Switzerland has also been playing the spoiler,
 striving to block or derail emerging international
transparency initiatives,” the watchdog says. 

Luxemburg was placed second on the index. 

“Outside what might traditionally be regarded
 as the financial sector, it also runs a lucrative
 line hosting holding companies of transnational
 corporations, principally to help them avoid (&
 evade) tax.

 It's also strenuously seeking to build an
 industry based on Islamic finance, and in
 October 2012 achieved a boost when a
group of major Chinese banks said they
 were leaving the (very lightly regulated)
 London markets in favor of the even less
 regulated Luxembourg one. 

Hong Kong, though, is the “fastest growing
secrecy jurisdiction, or tax haven, today.” 

Moran Harari, researcher, Financial Secrecy Index:

“Without public disclosure of the owners of
 these assets, and the automatic exchange
 of information between jurisdictions to
provide information the law enforcement &
tax authorities need, it will be impossible
 to tackle some of the world’s most
pressing problems.” 


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DEFEND THE CO-OP --- IF YOU CAN !!!

May 9th 2013, was the day credit ratings agency
 Moody’s downgraded the Co-operative bank - the
 supposedly ‘ethical bank’ - debt rating to “junk”.
 
It said it was vulnerable to potential losses and
 warned that it might need “external support”
if it could not strengthen its balance sheet.

The bank said at the time it was “disappointed” by
Moody’s decision, which preceded the resignation
 of chief executive Barry Tootell & the collapse of
a bid to buy 631 Llo