Showing posts from February 21, 2015

To Save the Planet, Eat Less Meat, Report Urges

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[Talk about burying your lead. Though it's perfectly true that "top nutritional panel says American consumers must cut back on red meat to prevent irreversible climate change" the final paragraph of the article notes "The committee's findings are not official guidelines, but are used to inform the government's updated versions of dietary rules. The Department of Health and Human Services and the USDA will issue their own guidelines later this year" *RON*]

By Nadia PrupisCommon Dreams, 20 February 2015

To prevent ruinous climate change and stave off an influx of preventable chronic diseases, Americans must reduce their meat intake and switch to a sustainable, plant-based diet, the top U.S. nutritional panel has announced for the first time.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which convenes every five years, released its newest report Thursday calling for Americans to change the way they think about food an…

CNRL's Steve Laut Says Oilsands Face 'Death Spiral' If They Don't Cut Costs

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[Everyone stands in line to chant "Hurray for the Free Market!" until it behaves like one. *RON*]
By Daniel Tencer, Huffington post, 20 February 2015

As the world’s oil glut continues to build, wiping out hopes of a price recovery, the head of one of Canada’s largest oilsands operators is warning the industry faces a “death spiral” if it doesn’t figure out how to cut costs.

Speaking before the Chamber of Commerce in Fort McMurray, Steve Laut, president of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNRL), said oilsands companies can still return to health, but only if they aggressively begin to cut costs.

Costs have risen so far, so fast that oil producers were making three times as much profit in 2004, when oil was at $40 a barrel, than they were a few years ago when oil was at $100 a barrel, Laut said, as quoted at the Globe and Mail.

Laut’s call for cost cutting may be seen by some as a prelude to layoffs and project cancellations, but so far North…

(DON’T) TAKE A DEEP BREATH: India’s toxic air is taking away three years from your life

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[Two billion years of life lost over three years to air pollution in India alone! *RON*]
By Saptarishi Dutta, Quartz, 21 February 2015

The life expectancy of more than half of India’s population could increase by 3.2 years if the country can meet its air quality standards, according to a new study by economists and public policy experts at the universities of Chicago, Yale and Harvard.

About 54.5% of India’s population currently lives in areas where levels of PM 2.5 in the air are way higher than what is considered safe. PM 2.5 are tiny and dangerous airborne particles, less than 2.5 microns in size, and fine enough to enter deep into the lungs and the bloodstream.

Exposure to such toxic air is reducing the lifespan of these 660 million Indians by over three years. In other words, the country stands to lose 2.1 billion life-years if it does not take concrete steps to curb air pollution, the study noted.

The authors of the study gathered data on the l…

Sim card maker’s shares hit by spy claims

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[Stealth state versus corporatocracy. The Wall Street view on espionage appears to be that it's all good and well until it affects share prices. *RON*]

Duncan Robinson, Dan Thomas, Sam Jones, Hannah Kuchler, Financial Times, 20 February 2015
Shares in the world’s largest maker of mobile phone Sim cards fell by as much as 10 per cent on Friday after it was rocked by allegations that British and US intelligence services had stolen its encryption keys.

French group Gemalto — which makes 2bn sim cards annually for companies including AT&T, Verizon and Vodafone — has launched a probe into the claims, which were first made on news website The Intercept. Possessing Gemalto’s encryption keys would enable security services to intercept and decrypt mobile phone communications during their transmission.

The alleged hack — dubbed Dapino Gamma and Highland Fling in apparently leaked GCHQ documents — took place between 2010 and 2011, said The Intercept, …

Kinder Morgan President Says B.C. Spill Plan Doesn't Need To Be Public

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["We want the fact that we are hiding something to in no way be construed as us hiding something. The fact that the people next door in Washington State get to see it is unfortunate but completely irrelevant. You are feeling verrrry sleepy. Your eyes are getting heavier and heavier..." *RON*]
By Laura Kane, The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 20 February 2015

VANCOUVER - An emergency response plan for the proposed $5.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will remain secret in British Columbia — even though a similar plan was recently made public in Washington state.

Kinder Morgan president Ian Anderson defended his company's decision to publish a heavily redacted version in B.C., saying disclosure of the plan wasn't required by the National Energy Board.

"We in no way want to have this perceived lack of transparency around our emergency response plans as any indication of us wanting to hide anything or keep anything a …

Moody’s Downgrades Russia to Junk Status

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[I agree. It's all a bit of a hall of mirrors when the ratings agencies and Wall Street are involved with the US government in a 'You scratch my back; I'll scratch yours' relationship. "Russia’s Finance Ministry Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Moody’s Investors Service ’s downgrade of the country’s debt rating to junk status was primarily driven by political factors" *RON*]
By Alexander Koyandr & Josh Beckerman, Wall Street Journal, 20 February 2015
. Earlier, Moody’s downgraded Russia’s sovereign debt rating to junk status, citing the conflict in Ukraine, low oil prices and the weakened ruble.

The rating was lowered to Ba1 from Baa 3.

Investors unloaded some rubles on the news of the downgrade, lifting the dollar to a 0.6% gain against the Russian currency during the North American session.

In an e-mailed statement, Mr. Siluanov said Moody’s assessment is “not only overly negative, but also based on an extremely pe…

6 ways you may have already broken Harper's new anti-terror law

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[Welcome to the Canadian police state. The point is that the language of the Bill is so obscure that it is nearly impossible to tell what may or may not get you in trouble with the law -- which is a nice way to get people to stifle themselves, n'est-ce pas? *RON*]

PressProgress, 19 February 2015

Don't worry. The Harper government won't get "bogged down" down in legal definitions of terrorism -- Justice Minister Peter MacKay even told reporters to "look it up."

Neither Tory comment is likely to reassure critics who say the new anti-terror legislation could be used against lawful dissenters and legitimate protesters -- including environmental and aboriginal activists.

It's not just civil liberties groups, legal experts and political opponents voicing concerns that the bill could allow CSIS to "go well beyond the collecting of intelligence," or lead to potential "undercover operations against opponents…