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Showing posts from February 8, 2015

Climate change marchers told to hire private security firm

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[Just so you know what side they're on. Another neat trick in the class wars: from now on, in London, you'll need to be able to afford to protest because the publicly funded guardians of public safety won't help you. *RON*]
Jamie Doward, The Guardian, 7 February 2015
The right to stage demonstrations in Britain could be threatened following a demand that climate change protesters planning a march next month hire a private firm to oversee it – a role previously carried out by the police.

The Campaign Against Climate Change (CACC) says it is effectively being made to “pay to protest”, after learning that its demonstration in London, which could attract up to 20,000 people, will carry a bill of thousands of pounds.

Following negotiations with the Metropolitan police, the Greater London Authority and Westminster city council, the organisers of the Time to Act march – which is supported by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, the Stop th…

One of the world’s largest activist hedge funds has made a $152 million bet on Britain’s solar power industry

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[Hedge funds are large enough that they can shape and direct markets in some cases nowadays. This group has just made a large investment in UK solar power. It's interesting, though - solar power is actually one of the least cost-effective forms of alternative energy going nowadays. Perhaps they're buying in because of the level of government support the industry has in Britain. *RON*]

Marion Dakers, The Telegraph / Business Insider, 7 February 2015
One of the world’s largest activist hedge funds has made a bet worth nearly £100m on Britain’s solar power industry, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

Elliott Capital Advisors, the UK arm of the American hedge fund, has put money into half a dozen unnamed projects capable of generating about 85 megawatts – making it one of the largest privately-held solar power operators in the country.

Elliott has hedged its bets by taking out short positions in five other renewable energy funds listed on the L…

America's labour market: The end of the low-pay puzzle?

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[You've got to love this blog piece from The Economist. Cutting benefits forced people to take crap jobs, but it’s all good, because now they can ask for raises! Check out the previous posting to see how well this is working out for US refinery workers. *RON*]
By C.W., The Economist, 6 February 2015

AMERICA’S jobs report, released on February 6th, shows that the economy is in rude health. It added 257,000 jobs in January, a little higher than expectations (of around 230,000). What is more, there were revisions to both December’s and November’s figures—during those two months, employment grew by 147,000 more than previously thought.

The unemployment rate rose a little, to 5.7%, but even that is pretty good news, since it reflects an increase in the size of the labour force, not a decline in the available jobs. Capital Economics, a consultancy, had an interesting take:
the economy…created more than 1,000,000 additional jobs in the last three mon…

Union says U.S. refinery strike widened; cites unfair labor practices

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[In order to fully savour the class wars aspect here, read this story in conjunction with the following: Oil company CEOs are likely to avoid a big hit to compensation, "2014 is going to look like a pretty good year for most," said Mike Halloran, senior partner and executive compensation specialist at the Dallas office of consulting firm Mercer. *RON*]
By Erwin Seba, Reuters, 7 February 2015
(Reuters) - The United Steelworkers union said on Saturday the strike by U.S. refinery workers is expanding to two more plants early on Sunday due to unfair labor practices by oil companies.

Walk-outs at BP Plc's Whiting, Indiana, refinery and the company's joint-venture refinery with Husky Energy in Toledo, Ohio, shortly after 12 a.m. local time on Sunday would bring the number of plants with striking hourly workers to 11, including nine refineries accounting for 13 percent of U.S. refining capacity.

BP said on Friday it had received notice …

Stockholm: Members of Epicenter workspace are using microchip implants to open doors

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[Implanting your employees with Radio Frequency ID chips - yeesh, what's next? RFIDs have caused controversy in US following rumours they could be included in health care reforms. *RON*]
 By Samantha Payne, International Business Times UK Edition, 31 January 2015
Workers at companies based in the Swedish tech business incubator Epicentre are having microchips implanted into their hands.

Up to 400 members of Stockholm's Epicenter will be able to have the highly controversial radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips inserted into their bodies.

The chips, which are the size of a grain of rice, store personalised security information, similar way to an office security pass or a chip-and-pin credit card. They enable people to open doors and operate photocopiers – and in the future make payments – with a wave of their hand.

"We already interact with technology all the time," said Hannes Sjoblad, who is in charge of implanting the chip…

Of droughts and flooding rains

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[A new study on climate change in Australia "predicts less rain on average but far more of it when it does come. On land, more fires and heatwaves are projected; at sea, expect higher surface temperatures and acidity, and higher sea levels overall—all things foreseen with a very high confidence unless emissions are steeply cut." *RON*]
The Economist, 5 February 2015


"MY COUNTRY", a famed poem by Dorothea Mackellar, is known to generations of Australian schoolchildren. They will know by heart the stanza

I love a sunburnt country,
a land of sweeping plains,
of ragged mountain ranges,
of droughts and flooding rains.

Forthcoming generations of Australians will know ever more sunburnt, drought-stricken and flooded lands, if the predictions of a report from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Bureau of Meteorology are realised. Those sweeping plains, especially in the country's centre, wil…

A Blackwater World Order

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[A notable article on sovereignty, the corporatocracy, killing and the military. Coins the term neo-medievalism, where the state no longer holds a monopoly on violence; the "non-state-centric and multipolar world order characterized by overlapping authorities and allegiances." States will not disappear, "but they will matter less than they did a century ago." *RON*]

By Kelley Vlahos, The American Conservative,  6 February 2015

After more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, America’s most profound legacy could be that it set the world order back to the Middle Ages.

While this is a slight exaggeration, a recent examination by Sean McFate, a former Army paratrooper who later served in Africa working for Dyncorp International and is now an associate professor at the National Defense University, suggests that the Pentagon’s dependence on contractors to help wage its wars has unleashed a new era of warfare in which a mult…

Anti-Oilsands Activists In The U.S. Are Getting Visits From The FBI

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[In a corporatocracy, protest that might affect profit is always "reasonable grounds to believe that an individual has engaged in criminal activity or is planning to do so". The emotions held about the tar-sands are deep and complex. (e.g., when people correct me and say "Oil sands is the accepted term," I ask, "Accepted by whom?") *RON*]
By Alexander Panetta, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 7 February 2015


WASHINGTON - Unexpected visitors have been dropping in on anti-oil activists in the United States — knocking on doors, calling, texting, contacting family members.

The visitors are federal agents.

Opponents of Canadian oil say they've been contacted by FBI investigators in several states following their involvement in protests that delayed northbound shipments of equipment to Canada's oilsands.

A lawyer working with the protesters says he's personally aware of a dozen people having been contacted in …