Showing posts from November 20, 2014

Report questions need for coal export terminal at Fraser Surrey Docks

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["There is more than enough capacity in Pacific Northwest coal ports to meet demand, making expansion plans – including a proposed new export terminal at Fraser Surrey Docks – ill-conceived", says a report by a U.S. energy research group. So why did Port Metro Vancouver and the B.C. government approve a dead-end project? *RON*]

Wendy Stueck, The Globe and Mail, 19 November 2014

There is more than enough capacity in Pacific Northwest coal ports to meet demand, making expansion plans – including a proposed new export terminal at Fraser Surrey Docks – ill-conceived, says a report by a U.S. energy research group.

“The global [coal] markets are currently oversupplied,” Tom Sanzillo, finance director for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and author of the report, said Wednesday in a conference call.

“That’s true here in the United States, it’s true around the world – and as it relates to port issues, there’s simpl…

Bankers have tendency to lie for financial gain, say scientists

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[Say it ain't so! :-D *RON*]

Clive Cookson, Financial Times, 19 November 2014

Swiss researchers have come up with what they say is compelling scientific evidence that bankers lie for financial gain.

The team at the University of Zurich used game playing experiments to show “that the prevailing culture in the banking industry weakens and undermines the honesty norm, implying that measures to re-establish an honest culture are very important”.

The study, published in the leading journal Nature, probes the psychology behind what the researchers call “a dramatic loss of reputation and a crisis of trust in the financial sector”, as a result of rogue trading, rigged interest rates such as Libor and tax evasion scandals.

Two hundred bankers took part in the study (including 128 from a single unnamed international bank). The researchers divided participants randomly into two halves. Before the game, the “treatment group” was asked a series of questions …

Harper Government Skipped Internal Study On $550M Job Credit, Relied On Interest Group

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[More economic fairy tales to explain why they are showering the corporatocrats with welfare payments; in this case, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. "We had to; after all, they asked us for it." Meanwhile the Parliamentary Budget Office demonstrates that the credit will create only 800 net new jobs, at a price of $555,000 for each person-year, while a freeze in employment insurance premiums could cost the economy 10,000 jobs over the same period. *RON*]
By Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 19 November 2014

OTTAWA - The Harper government passed up conducting its own internal analysis on the job-creation potential of its $550-million small-business job credit, relying instead on numbers produced by an interest group, the finance minister revealed Wednesday.

Joe Oliver told the parliamentary finance committee that Ottawa's decision to introduce the measure was based on the research of the Canadian Fe…

‘Hoodwinked’: Veterans Affairs has returned $1.1B in unspent funds since Tories took office

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[The tar sand subsidies have to be paid for somehow, and the Conservatives' reputation as terrific fiscal managers must be guarded. Our pro-war Great Patriot PM has no more maple leaves left to hid behind. *RON]
Murray Brewster, Canadian Press / National Post, 20 November 2014

OTTAWA — Veterans Affairs Canada has returned $1.13-billion to the federal treasury in unspent funds since the Conservatives came to power in 2006 — cash that critics say should have gone towards improved benefits and services.

The figure, which surfaced this week in the House of Commons, has led to renewed criticism of the Harper government, which is already smarting over its frayed relations with disgruntled former soldiers.

Austerity has clearly failed. So why don’t they ditch it?

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[Falling incomes (the longest continuous drop since the Victorian era) are fueling the deficit (the elimination of which is the supposed reason for enduring the pain) and costing votes. And on and on. But Cameron, just like Harper, is looking after other interests. *RON*]

Seumas MilneThe Guardian, 19 November 2014
Now we know for sure George Osborne’s economic plan has failed, even on its own account. For all the self-congratulation about credit-fuelled growth, the recession in wages goes on. Four years into the coalition, most people’s living standards are still falling. Last week it seemed as though pay might have finally overtaken prices. But yesterday’s figures showed that real earnings fell by 1.6% over the past year. That continues the longest drop, of seven consecutive years, since records began in Victorian times.

The fall in living standards is greater still for the poorest, who effectively suffer higher inflation. Add in the fact that …

Alberta Income Inequality Is Worse Than In The U.S.

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[Oil leads to greater inequality. Who would have suspected it? *RON*]
By Michelle Butterfield, Huffington Post, 19 November 2014

In Alberta, the rich keep getting richer, but where does that leave the rest of us?

StatsCan’s new survey of top income taxfilers shows Alberta leads the country when it comes to unequal income. In fact, Alberta is the only province in Canada where the top 10 per cent of the population take home more than half the income. In 2012, StatsCan's numbers show Alberta's top 10 per cent of earners took home 50.4 per cent of all income.

And if that sounds bad, consider this: Alberta is now the only province in Canada more unequal than the United States. The top 10 per cent of earners south of the border raked in 48.2 per cent of all income in 2012.

Perhaps this shouldn't come as a surprise. We recently reported that Alberta is projected to have the second largest economy in Canada within three years, surpassing Quebec d…

From Conservative campaigner to criminal: Michael Sona sentenced to 9 months in jail for 2011 robocalls

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[Canadian realpolitik. I had to dig around to find this story presented in this way. In the mainstream media, 90% of the stories do not include the word "Conservative" anywhere in the article. Of course, you can take your pick for poor coverage. This story fails to mention that another Conservative who was involved got away with it by giving evidence against Sona, while another has since fled to the Middle East. *RON*]
By Laura Stone Global News

GUELPH – Michael Sona was led out of a courtroom and into a cell after a judge sentenced him to nine months in jail Wednesday for his role in the 2011 robocalls scheme.

Calling it a “difficult and troublesome sentencing,” Judge Gary Hearn nonetheless ruled that the 26-year-old former Conservative staffer should serve time behind bars for what Hearn called “an affront to the electoral process.”

“This was much more than a prank, ” Hearn told a Guelph, Ont. court.

“It is not only criminal but distaste…

Why tests on mice may be of little use

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[This is about epigenetics, which is about gene regulation, which controls the manner in which proteins will be manufactured. We've based decades of medical research on the fact that we share a similar genetic keyboard with mice, even though, all along, the keyboards have been playing extremely different songs. And here's an interesting 180 degree opposite spin on the same data: Scientists substitute mice for humans, but new research shows just how similar we are*RON*]

By Press Association, The Telegraph, 19 November 2014
Mice and men are genetically far further apart than was previously thought, calling into question the important role the rodents play in medical research.

A new study has found that while mice and humans share many protein-coding genes, the way their genes are regulated is often very different.

US scientists were surprised to find that gene activity diverged wildly between the two species in some key biological pathwa…