Showing posts from July 8, 2014

Doctors strike in Portugal over austerity cutbacks

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[Doctors in Portugal walked out of hospitals and medical centres on Tuesday at the start of a two-day strike over the impact of government austerity measures on the health service. *RON*]
AFP/nd in Channel News Asia, 8 July 2014
LISBON: Doctors in Portugal walked out of hospitals and medical centres on Tuesday at the start of a two-day strike over the impact of government austerity measures on the health service.

The sector -- which has been hit by cutbacks since the country entered an international bailout in 2011 -- is being ordered to make a further 300 million euros ($408 million) of savings this year.

One union said it expects half of all public sector medical staff could take part in the strike, with a protest called by the National Federation of Doctors (FNAM) planned in Lisbon on Tuesday afternoon.

Medical staff are critical of deteriorating working conditions in public hospitals, job losses, pay cuts, and the longer working hours that have…

2,500 Oklahoma Earthquakes Linked To Fracking, Scientists Say

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[Oklahoma frackquakes: "2,500 Oklahoma Earthquakes Linked To Fracking, Scientists Say." Industry comments, "You know, it has not actually been proven to our definitive satisfaction that the sun will rise tomorrow!" Just kidding, but not really. *RON*]
By Emily Atkin,, 7 July 2014

More than 2,500 small earthquakes have hit Oklahoma in the past five years, and nearly all of them can be linked to the process of drilling for oil and gas, according to a recent study published in the journal Science.

The study, led by Cornell University geophysics professor Katie Keranen, is the latest of many scientific studies showing a probable connection between earthquakes and drilling-related activity across the country. Specifically, the quakes are linked not to the fuel extraction itself, but to a process called “wastewater injection,” in which companies take the leftover water used to frack wells and inject it deep into the…

The Real Reason Pot Is Still Illegal

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[Lengthy, good article. Opponents of marijuana-law reform insist that legalization is dangerous—but the biggest threat is to their own bottom line. *RON*]

Lee Fang, The Nation, 1 July 2014 | This article appeared in the July 21-28, 2014 edition of The Nation.

This story was reported in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.

Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Senator Ted Kennedy, did several stints in rehab after crashing his car into a barricade on Capitol Hill in 2006, a headline-making event that revealed the then–US congressman for Rhode Island had been abusing prescription drugs, including the painkiller OxyContin. Kennedy went on to make mental health—including substance abuse—a cornerstone of his political agenda, and he is reportedly at work on a memoir about his struggles with addiction and mental illness. In 2013, he also helped found an advocacy group, Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), which has b…

Bill C-36: $20M To Help Prostitutes 'Inadequate,' Calgary Police Chief Says

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[As noted, this amounts to about $125,000 per year for the city of Calgary - which is basically money thrown away since there is not enough there to actually accomplish anything with. *RON*]
By Mike Blanchfield, CP / Huffington Post, 07/08/2014

OTTAWA - Calgary's police chief says the Harper government's $20-million pledge to help sex workers get out of the industry is "woefully inadequate."

Chief Rick Hanson offered that assessment Tuesday during the second day of hearings by the House of Commons justice committee as it examines the government's new prostitution bill.

The government's five-year commitment amounts to $125,000 a year in Calgary, which is not enough, Hanson said.

He called for a national strategy in which Ottawa, the provinces, municipalities and social agencies would work towards abolishing prostitution.

"We have to look at the exit strategy," Hanson said.

On Monday, Justice Minister Peter MacKay said…

Guatemalan government moves to expel witnesses to police violence at U.S.-Canadian mine site

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[Does this not shame Harper, even in the slightest degree, as a Canadian? More on the joy to our national pride that is the Canadian mining industry. *RON*]
By Jennifer Moore,, 7 July 2014

Last week, Guatemalan authorities informed two Peace Brigades International (PBI) volunteers that their temporary residence permits were cancelled and that they have ten days to leave the country. Both volunteers witnessed a violent eviction on May 23rd at 'La Puya' -- just north of Guatemala City -- where U.S.-based Kappes, Cassidy & Associates and Vancouver-based Radius Gold are interested in developing the El Tambor mine project.

During the eviction, hundreds of police used tear gas and flash bombs against the communities of San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc who have maintained a peaceful blockade at the entrance to the mine project for over two years while they have sought dialogue with Guatemalan authorities to reach a solution. …

The Latest Snowden Leak Is Devastating to NSA Defenders

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[The agency collected and stored intimate chats, photos, and emails belonging to innocent Americans—and secured them so poorly that reporters can now browse them at will. *RON*]
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, 7 July 2014
Consider the latest leak sourced to Edward Snowden from the perspective of his detractors. The National Security Agency's defenders would have us believe that Snowden is a thief and a criminal at best, and perhaps a traitorous Russian spy. In their telling, the NSA carries out its mission lawfully, honorably, and without unduly compromising the privacy of innocents. For that reason, they regard Snowden's actions as a wrongheaded slur campaign premised on lies and exaggerations.

But their narrative now contradicts itself. The Washington Post's latest article drawing on Snowden's leaked cache of documents includes files "described as useless by the analysts but nonetheless retained" that "tell stori…