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Showing posts from June 1, 2014

Portugal's supreme court knocks down austerity measures

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[In Canada, the Supreme Court has been the true guardian of Canadian sovereignty against the Harper government by standing up for the Constitution, rather than buckling automatically to international banking. It looks like this may be coming true in other parts of the world as well. *RON*]

Lisbon, Reuters, May 31, 2014

(Reuters) - Portugal's supreme court has struck down several austerity measures proposed in the government's 2014 budget, including salary cuts in the public sector, creating a fiscal gap of 700 million euros.

The court ruled against planned salary cuts of between 2 and 12 percent in the public sector, undermining one of the key elements of spending cuts set out in the international bailout that Portugal exited this month.

The court late on Friday also ruled out cuts in pensions, and sickness and unemployment benefits. It said the measures contravened the rights of citizens spelled out in the constitution.

Analysts have se…

Irish swing to the hard Left as voters tire of austerity

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[Thus swingeth the pendulum. Ireland has moved in the opposite direction to Britain and much of Europe in recent elections. *RON*]
By John Walsh, in Dublin, Telegraph, 31 May 2014

While swathes of Europe – including significant parts of the UK – turned to the Right in last week’s European elections, some parts of the continent opted for a different direction when it came to placing a cross on their ballot paper.

Nowhere more so was this the case than in Ireland, one of the countries that has benefited from the largesse of the European Commission – and its partners in the Troika – thanks to a €67.5bn (£54.9bn) bail-out. There, the continental swing to the Right was replaced by a somewhat unexpected swing to the hard Left.

Last Sunday’s election result has led politicians and economists alike to privately question whether the meltdown of Labour, the country’s junior coalition partner, in last weekend’s local and European elections, which led to th…

The Devil in Nigeria: Boko Haram's Reign of Terror

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[Boko Haram in Der Spiegel. However bad you think it is, it's worse. *RON*]

By Bartholomäus Grill and Toby Selander, Der Spiegel, May 30, 2014
A former Boko Haram kidnapping victim helping Nigerian officials recently found two of the schoolgirls kidnapped in the country. The search for the others remains a desperate one and has also cast light on a destitution rampant in the country's northern states.

The two girls had been tied and were found lying in a clearing in the bush, their faces scratched and bleeding, their school uniforms torn. "They were hardly conscious," says Baba Goni. "They were crying and said that their kidnappers had raped them."

Goni, a thin, 15-year-old boy from the area, had been combing the Baale region of northeastern Nigeria with a civilian militia on that day. They were searching for the schoolgirls the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram had abducted from their boarding school in the city of Ch…

National Energy Board says companies must set aside money to abandon pipelines

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[A true red-herring. Take a minor side-issue, regulate it, then say this proves how committed government is to safety and accountability. Ignore all the real 800-pound gorillas in the room. The oil companies reps say “We will comply with all regulatory requirements, now and in the future, and whatever may be required for (Northern Gateway) at that time,” failing to mention that they lobby for, and essentially create, nearly all of said regulations. *RON*]

By Gordon Hoekstra, Vancouver Sun, May 31, 2014
Pipeline companies under federal jurisdiction such as Enbridge and Kinder Morgan, which have plans for major oil projects to the west coast of B.C., must create funds to pay for abandoning pipelines by the start of next year.

The National Energy board announced that starting Jan. 1, 2015 pipeline companies must create a mechanism to start setting aside money to pay for abandoning pipelines, through measures such as a trust or a letter of credit from…