Showing posts from January 14, 2015

B.C. Prisons Crowded, Unsafe, Hardly Stop Repeat Crime: Report

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[Conservative governments love to get tough on crime but, other than locking plenty of people up, they have totally dropped the ball on everything that comes after they slam the door shut. *RON*]
By Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 13 January 2015

VICTORIA - British Columbia's jails are overcrowded, unsafe, tension-filled facilities that fail to prevent inmates from returning to crime when released, concludes an audit by auditor general Carol Bellringer.

In a 32-page report released Tuesday, Bellringer said inmates, staff and the public are at risk and the government must develop goals and targets to achieve safe and secure prisons that reduce criminal behaviour.

B.C. Attorney General and Justice Minister Suzanne Anton said the government is committed to addressing the audit's eight recommendations.

It found B.C. jails — which held 16,000 people last year — are operating at 140 per cent capacity, with more than half of the…

Homeless men freeze to death during Toronto's winter cold snap

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[Austerity and mortality. "In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets, and steal loaves of bread." Anatole France. See also Homeless Man Arrested For Charging Cellphone At Public Park*RON*]
By John Bonnar,, 13 January 2015

A frigid winter morning. In Toronto, -29C with the windchill.

Outside the Church of the Holy Trinity, men and women bundled up in hooded winter parkas and toques, thick scarves wrapped around their necks, were milling about the courtyard behind the Eaton Centre, busy lighting their candles before the start of the monthly homeless memorial vigil.

Click here to see more photos from Tuesday's memorial.

Tuesday's memorial attracted an unusually large number of mainstream media.

A week ago, a homeless man was found in a bus shelter at Yonge and Dundas wearing only a T-shirt and jeans. The day before, a homeless man in his 60s was discovered…

How Trans Mountain Project Will Pump Profits to Its Texas Owners

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[It's all about the corporatocracy; stick with it, this stuff is worth knowing. Charting the Houston-driven inner workings of Kinder Morgan. This makes a similar point to today's article on the German economy. Such growth as is occurring in today's economy tends to be concentrated in foreign multinationals. The reality is that the money from growth is actually being siphoned right out of the economy. *RON*]

By Robyn Allan,, 12 January 2015

Related Tyee stories:
Trans Mountain Pipeline: Big Bucks for US Investors, Peanuts for Us Thanks to clever US owner, firm pays minimal taxes here, sometimes none.A Tyee Kinder Morgan Reader With strife on Burnaby Mountain rising, a sampler of a decade's reporting on the US pipeline giant.Falling Oil Prices Could Rock Canada's Politics: Expert A Tyee interview with Terry Lynn Karl, who wrote the book on petro states. [Editor's note: Scroll down to see chart mapping how Kinder Mo…

What’s Been the Effect of Western Sanctions on Russia?

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[An overview of the sanctions, their effects on the Putin oligarchs and the average Russian, and whether they are effective. *RON*]
by Priyanka Boghani, PBS Frontline, 13 January 2015

When Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine last March, the United States and European Union responded with an economic weapon — sanctions.

The first few rounds, applied in March and April of 2014, targeted Russian and Crimean officials, as well as businessmen seen to have close ties to President Vladimir Putin — his “inner circle” — with travel bans and asset freezes.

Since then, the West has steadily expanded its sanctions against Russian entities, targeting major businesses and parts of Russia’s financial, energy and military industries.

FRONTLINE talked to Anders Åslund, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, on Jan. 8, 2015 about the effects and consequences of Western sanctions on the Russian economy. Åslund served as an economic advise…

Germany Gets Walloped by Its Own Austerity

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[The German economy, the healthiest in sickly Europe, is suffering from austerity fatigue, and such growth as there has been is going toward big corporations (often not even German companies), not the small or medium-sized businesses that are the actual backbone of the economy for the average German. *RON*]
By Mark Gilbert, Bloomberg View, 5 January 2015
The euro region is suffering from austerity fatigue, exemplified by polls showing Greece on the verge of dumping its government for one with less enthusiasm for spending cuts. Germany has been the principal architect of fiscal rectitude and the main opponent to any relaxation of deficit rules. What's happening in the heartland of German industry, however, suggests it's not just Germany's neighbors who are threatened by its economic intransigence.

The backbone of the German economy is formed by about 3.7 million small- and medium-sized enterprises, defined as those with annual sales no …