Showing posts from September 23, 2015

Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn resigns

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[One of today's New York Times cartoons: *RON*]
BBC News, 23 September 2015
Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn has resigned following the revelation that the firm manipulated US diesel car emissions tests.

Mr Winterkorn said he was "shocked" by recent events and that the firm needed a "fresh start".

He added that he was "not aware of any wrongdoing on my part" but was acting in the interest of the company.

VW has already said that it is setting aside €6.5bn (£4.7bn) to cover the costs of the scandal.

The world's biggest carmaker admitted last week that it deceived US regulators in exhaust emissions tests by installing a device to give more positive results.

The company said later that it affected 11 million vehicles worldwide.

LeadNow Releases Riding Polls For 'ABC' Voters Targeting Tories

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[LeadNow is holding an online briefing tonight for people who have committed to help them with targeted ABC campaigns. Click here to join them today and you can participate. See also the link to a guide to strategic voting at the end of the article. *RON*]
By Bruce Cheadle, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 23 September 2015

OTTAWA — A flood of new riding-level public opinion polling is being released today in the elusive quest for a strategic voting breakthrough in Canada's deadlocked federal election campaign.

Leadnow, a progressive advocacy group, is publishing voter opinion surveys it commissioned from 31 of Canada's 338 ridings, selected and paid for on the basis of donations from individuals seeking a way to defeat Stephen Harper's Conservative government.

The idea is to use the automated telephone survey data from Environics Research to assist voters who are more intent on defeating their local Conservative candidate than they are…

Hillary Clinton's Keystone Words Make Canadian Oil An Election Issue

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[So much for getting approval from the next President, Mister Harper! See also: Prime Minister Harper’s Inaction on Climate Killed the Keystone XL Oilsands Pipeline. *RON*]
By Alexander Panetta, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 23 September 2015

WASHINGTON — A few little words from Hillary Clinton have turned a Canadian oil project into an election issue, possibly in two countries.

First she came out against the Keystone XL pipeline: "I oppose it," she said Tuesday. Then she went further. The presumed frontrunner in the U.S. presidential election race later referred to Canadian oil in a tweet as the "continent's dirtiest fuel."
Time to invest in a clean energy future—not build a pipeline to carry our continent's dirtiest fuel across the US. I oppose Keystone XL. -H — Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 23, 2015 Clinton's long-awaited position statement almost certainly makes the oil pipeline a U.S. election i…

Starbucks Falls Short After Pledging Better Labor Practices

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[Starbucks likes to support politically correct sounding causes as part of their marketing image, but this does not extend to their employment practices. *RON*]

By Noam Scheiber, New York Times, 23 September 2015

Last year, Starbucksvowed to provide store employees with more consistent schedules from week to week, and to post their schedules at least 10 days in advance. The company said it would stop asking workers to endure the sleep-depriving ritual known as a “clopening,” which requires them to shut down a store at night only to return early the next morning to help open it.

But Starbucks has fallen short on these promises, according to interviews with five current or recent workers at several locations across the country. Most complained that they often receive their schedules one week or less in advance, and that the schedules vary substantially every few weeks. Two said their stores still practiced clopenings.

The complaints were documented m…

Volkswagen 'allowed torture' under Brazil military rule

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[The Volkswagen media relations people can't be happy these days. "They held my arms behind my back and immediately put me in handcuffs. As soon as we arrived in Volkswagen's security centre, the torture began. I was beaten, punched and slapped." According to lawyer Rosa Cardoso, 12 employees at the Sao Bernardo do Campo site near Sao Paulo were tortured, while others were laid off and placed on blacklists. *RON*]
BBC News, 23 September 2015
A group of former Volkswagen employees in Brazil has filed a civil lawsuit against the German carmaker.

The former employees accuse the firm of allowing its workers to be detained and tortured under Brazil's military rule from 1964 to 1985.

Twelve former workers say they were arrested and tortured at a Volkswagen factory in Sao Bernardo do Campo.

Brazil's national truth commission last year found that abuse was rife under military rule.

WHO says most people in Europe too fat

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[Europe is now catching up with North America in the proportion of the population that is overweight or obese. *RON*]
By James Gallagher, BBC News, 23 September 2015

Most people in Europe are too fat, according to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO).

It said 59% of the population were either overweight or obese.

Its European Health Report also said the WHO Europe region, which includes parts of Asia, had the highest levels of alcohol and tobacco use in the world.

And as a result, WHO officials warned, young people in the region "may not live as long as their grandparents".

Al Jazeera journalists pardoned in Egypt

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[No thanks to Stephen Harper. Jailed journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed to be released as part of Eid al-Adha pardon. See also: Stephen Harper, Mohamed Fahmy and the unmade phone call and Mohamed Fahmy case: NDP, Liberals say Harper should do more to free jailed journalist. *RON*]

Al Jazeera, 23 Sep 2015

Jailed Al Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed have been pardoned in Egypt, a spokesman for the Egyptian presidency, Alaa Youssef, has told the al-Ahram newspaper.

Dozens of activists have also been released as part of a pardon marking the occasion of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holiday that starts on Thursday.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on his Facebook page announced on Wednesday that he would release "100 young people trapped in issues related to the breach of the law on demonstrations and some humanitarian and health cases".

Amid Runaway Warming, Richest Nations Spend $200 Billion Backing Fossil Fuels

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["... the world's richest nations spend roughly $160-200 billion each year supporting fossil fuel consumption and production....  We’re trying to reduce emissions, and we subsidize the consumption of fossil fuels."  *RON*]

Lauren McCauleyCommon Dreams, 21 September 2015

One of the greatest contradictions of our time is that while world leaders profess concern over a rapidly warming planet, they continue to spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars subsidizing the fossil fuel industries that are driving climate change.

In fact, according to a new report released on Monday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)—a global forum on economic policy—the world's richest nations spend roughly $160-200 billion each year supporting fossil fuel consumption and production.

"We’re totally schizophrenic," said Angel Gurría, secretary-general of the Paris-based organization. "We’re trying to reduc…