Showing posts from September 22, 2015

Kochs Demand Walker Return Nine Hundred Million Dollars

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[To be perfectly clear - this is a piece of satirical writing! :-) *RON*]
By Andy Borowitz, New Yorker 21 September 2015

MADISON, WISCONSIN (The Borowitz Report)—Just minutes after the Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker dropped out of the Republican Presidential race, the billionaire Koch brothers demanded that he return the nine hundred million dollars they had allocated to his campaign.

For the Koch brothers, who purchased Walker earlier this year, the demand for a full cash refund reflected how badly their relationship with the formerly promising candidate had deteriorated.

According to an aide familiar with the phone conversation between Walker and the Kochs, the industrialist brothers were “not amused” that the Governor had blown through millions of their dollars to become the choice of only one per cent of likely Republican voters.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” the aide said. “The Kochs were pissed.”

After “tearing into Scott” for nearly thirty…

What happens when you ask to see CCTV footage?

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[In Britain and other EU countries, people have the right to see footage of themselves recorded on CCTV cameras. Yet when one university researcher set out to test this, many operators were less than forthcoming. I have no idea what the law is on this in Canada! I've sent an email to a professor at the UBC Law School, Benjamin J. Goold, who's web page says he specializes in privacy, surveillance and security (among other things), to see if he can enlighten us about this. *RON*]

Nate Berg, The Guardian, 22 September 2015

One day in late 2013, Keith Spiller went for a walk around a city in the south of England. Over the course of about an hour and a half, he walked past the town hall, a train station, a stadium, a few banks, a few shopping areas, a museum and a handful of other public places. And, like countless others walking around UK cities and cities around the world, in each of the places he passed he was recorded on CCTV surveillance …

Tanzania: the smartphone apps putting Africa's fastest-growing city on the map

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[A good application for use with the ubiquitous cellphone technology of the developing world. In Dar es Salaam, many people without formal addresses are denied access to services and a legal identity. But this technology is set to change that. *RON*]
Mark Anderson, The Guardian, 22 September 2015
Johan Knols is used to getting unusual directions as he travels around rural Tanzania. “Usually, when I’m trying to find someone’s house, they’ll guide me by saying, ‘after the fourth tree, down the path to the left’ or something like that,” says Knols, a field operations manager at In2Care, an NGO working to eradicate malaria by distributing mosquito traps in the east African country.

“When I started going to rural areas, I could see some houses had a weird number on them – not a house number – but I could see that some houses had markings on them from previous research that had been done. So everybody is battling with the same problem,” says Knols.


The European Refugee Crisis and Syria Explained.

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[A very good short 'explainer.' *RON*]

Give Native People Veto Power Over Development On Their Lands, Report Urges

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[Everyone, even resource corporations, recognizes it is crucial to have greater clarity of decision making and to be able to enforce agreements that have been reached freely, with full information and participation on all sides. Everyone, that is, except the Canadian government. Pardon me. The Harper Government (TM). *RON*]
CBC / Huffington Post, 21 September 2015

A coalition of resource companies, financial institutions, First Nations and conservation organizations has recommended that aboriginal bands have veto power over development on their traditional lands.

The Boreal Leadership Council – which includes resources companies such as Suncor Energy, Goldcorp and Tembec – released a report Monday that sets out recommendations for engagement with First Nations by business and government.

"Free, prior, and informed consent – the right of Indigenous peoples to offer or withhold consent to development that may have an impact on their territories o…

VW Loses About $20 Billion in Value in 2 Hours

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[One hopes they will continue to bleed capital because of this. They lied openly and repeatedly to the EPA for more than a year with the sole goal of avoiding environmental R&D costs and protecting profits. See also: The Wrath of Volkswagen’s Drivers*RON*]

—By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones, 21 September 2015

Guess what happens when you concoct a contemptible scheme to secretly blow off emission rules on your cars—and then it suddenly becomes not so secret? Answer: your respected multinational corporation loses about $20 billion of value over the course of a few minutes. Your stock gets downgraded by pretty much every analyst on the planet. And the folks who put together the Dow Jones Sustainability Index start suggesting that maybe VW isn't exactly a poster child for sustainability anymore.

By the way, it turns out that VW's deception was actually discovered a year ago, but they doggedly denied any wrongdoing:

For nearly a year, Volkswa…

Hedge Fund Manager Buys Rights To Critical Drug, Hikes Price By 5000%

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[Most of this money will go to line the pockets of the hedge fund manager involved, Martin Shkreli, but he, venally and repugnantly, is trying to sell his actions as 'altruistic.' He says this because, he claims, these unbelievably huge profits will be ploughed into funding research for a better treatment, as though the sick and dying should, personally, be responsible for the R&D investment costs of Big Pharma. *RON*]
By DartagnanDaily Kos / AlterNet, 21 September 2015

This is enough to make anyone sick.
Specialists in infectious disease are protesting a gigantic overnight increase in the price of a 62-year-old drug that is the standard of care for treating a life-threatening parasitic infection.

The drug, called Daraprim, was acquired in August by Turing Pharmaceuticals, a start-up run by a former hedge fund manager. Turing immediately raised the price to $750 a tablet from $13.50, bringing the annual cost of treatment for some pati…

Miley Cyrus spent weekend in Great Bear Rainforest in bid to save our wolves

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[It's easy to poke fun at pop-stars turned activists, but Miley is right. It's true that Woodland caribou are highly endangered and that wolf kills put them at added risk. What The Sun doesn't mention is why they became endangered - the destruction of their habitat by tar sands development. Rather than control tar sands development the government decided the right side of its bread would be buttered if, instead, it kills the wolves. *RON*]

By Bethany Lindasay, Vancouver Sun, 21 September 2015

VANCOUVER - Pop star Miley Cyrus paid a visit to the Great Bear Rainforest this weekend to learn more about the local wolf cull and trophy hunting.

The former child actor travelled to Klemtu this weekend after contacting the local conservation group Pacific Wild. She was accompanied by members of the Kitasoo/Xais’Xai First Nation, wolf biologists Mary and John Theberge and ecologist Carl Safina.

“When I first spoke out, I knew in my heart that the …