Showing posts from May 3, 2014

CEOs Are Spending More And More Of Their Company’s Money On Vacations

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[Though a true economic recovery is nowhere in sight for the 99%, after briefly hiding their rapacious tails between their legs, CEOs are content enough that the political pendulum has swung back in their favour to pull the full Nero routine once again. *RON*]

By Alan Pyke, Think Progress, May 3, 2014

Corporate CEOs are back to using company jets for personal travel after the practice dipped briefly following the financial crisis, Bloomberg reports.

“Non-business travel expenses” increased for the third straight year, and the 10 largest S&P 500 companies that Bloomberg scrutinized spent 61 percent more last year on personal travel using corporate jets than they did in 2012. The costs rose 3.1 percent for the 50 largest companies that disclosed the relevant figures.

General Electric spent over $343,000 flying CEO Jeffrey Immelt around for personal travel on the company plane last year. Immelt made $19.7 million in 2013, according to Executive Pa…

Eight ingredients for a peaceful society

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[Ingredients of peaceful societies based on the Institute for Economics and Peace's indicators in their Structures of Peace report. I'm very surprised that the US does well on the final five factors. *RON*]

Michael Shank, Christian Science Monitor - Opinion, Not Dated.

What makes for a peaceful society? Hot spots from Congo to the Middle East would benefit from such knowledge. But so would the United States, which, at home, isn’t always so harmonious and abroad, is still at war in Afghanistan.

The Institute for Economics and Peace, an international research group, has come up with eight ingredients for more peaceful societies. They’re laid out in a report, “Structures of Peace,” based on the institute’s annual Global Peace Index and more than 300 data sets from around the world. The US does pretty well on five of them, but falls far short on three key ingredients.

Social Progress Index: Why does US rank No. 16?

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[Is society about economic progress or the common good? The Social Progress Index – covering everything from social inclusion to environmental stability and literacy rates – offers a window into the well-being of people in 132 nations. *RON*]

By Mark Trumbull, Christian Science Monitor, April 10, 2014


The United States remains unmatched by any other large economy when measured by per-person income, but by a new measure of “social progress,” it’s way behind – No. 16 – in delivering a high-quality life to its citizens. That’s the message of the Social Progress Index, a barometer released this month that offers a window into the well-being of people in 132 nations.

1. What is 'social progress' and why is it important to measure?

For decades, the value of goods and services exchanged (gross domestic product per person) has been used as a proxy for the well-being of average citizens. But for just as long, GDP per capita has been acknow…

Harper, Please Don't Make the National Day of Honour All About You

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[While refusing to admit any obligation to disabled vets, Stephen Harper turns the Day of Honour a total publicity opportunity for Stephen Harper. *RON*]

Jeff Rose-Martland, Huffington Post, 3 May 2014

Stephen Harper is not stupid. Nor is Canada's civil service completely incompetent. In some quarters, those statements border on sacrilege, but they are nonetheless true. Harper got himself elected -- repeatedly -- both as MP and as party leader; that speaks to a certain level of intelligence. The nation manages to operate from day-to-day without turning into chaos, which implies that some people, somewhere, are managing to plan things sensibly.

So how is it that the week before Canada marks the end of the biggest war it has ever fought, the commemoration event is shaping up to be a complete debacle?

Diving Birds Have 45 Percent Fewer Viable Babies after Oil Spill

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[A study of colonies of a diving bird on the Spanish coast shows the lingering effect during at least the first 10 years after the 2002 Prestige disaster. *RON*]

By Matt Kaplan and Nature magazine, Scientific American, 3 May 2014 Oil spills kill a lot of wildlife quickly, but their long-term effects are hard to establish because to compare the situation before and after a disaster, a study would need to have been already up and running before the disaster occurred. Fortunately, this was precisely the case for a Spanish team of researchers.

Back in 1994, marine biologist Álvaro Barros and his colleagues at Spain's University of Vigo started looking at the reproductive activity of 18 colonies of a diving bird known as the European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis). Then, on November 13, 2002, the hull of the Prestige oil tanker broke in half off the north-western coast of Spain, releasing 63,000 tonnes of oil. The oil heavily coated regions nea…

Alaska Natives and First Nations Unite to Fight Mining Threat to Salmon Habitat

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[First nations are at the forefront of the environmental protection movement in Canada. The Canadian mining industry is not. *RON*] Paula Dobbyn, Indian Country Today Media Network, 5/2/14

It has become an all-too-familiar story: Pristine waters. Salmon habitat. Sacred significance. Mining.

The Unuk River watershed, straddling the border between British Columbia and Alaska, is on track to become ground zero in a struggle to stop the world’s largest open-pit mine, Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell (KSM). The fight against it is uniting First Nations and Alaska Natives as they battle to preserve stewardship of the pristine region. And it is just one of five massive projects proposed for the region.

If KSM secures the financing and the regulatory go-ahead, the giant mine would turn 6,500 acres of pristine land into an industrial zone that would generate more than 10 billion pounds of copper and 38 million ounces of gold, according to a project summary. As with …

Kinder Morgan Pipeline Legally Challenged By B.C. First Nation

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["The Northern Gateway project is facing at least 10 lawsuits from a range of opponents including First Nations and environmental groups." *RON*]

By James Keller, CP / Huffington Post, 05/02/2014

NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. - A British Columbia First Nation is turning to the courts in an attempt to delay — and ultimately stop — a controversial pipeline project that will run through its traditional territory.

The Tsleil-Waututh Nation is targeting the National Energy Board's review of Kinder Morgan's proposed expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline, which would nearly triple the capacity of an existing pipeline that runs to the Vancouver area from Alberta's oil sands.

The energy board plans to start its review of the project in August, hearing from more than 1,000 people, groups and communities, roughly 400 of which will be considered official interveners. The board is set to hear aboriginal evidence this fall, with wider hearings sc…