Showing posts from September 28, 2015

India Bangalore lake of toxic snowy froth

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[It's reported here that the lake has actually caught fire on two separate occasions. *RON*]

BBC News, 28 September 2015

Is it snowing in India's tropical southern city of Bangalore?

The picture above would certainly make you think so.

Unfortunately, the reality is quite different: what looks like snow is actually harmful snow-white froth that floats up from the city's largest lake and spills over into neighbouring areas.

Over the years, the 9,000-acre Bellandur lake in India's technology capital has been polluted by chemicals and sewage.

IT professional Debasish Ghosh has been taking pictures of the lake of "harmful snowy froth" for months now. Here is a selection of his pictures.

FBI resists calls to reform voluntary reporting system for police killings

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[Here's a thought: let's allow criminals to voluntarily report their crimes. Director James Comey said FBI ‘plans to collect more data about shootings’ while retaining controversial self-reporting method for police departments. *RON*]
Jon Swaine and Oliver Laughland, The Guardian, 28 September 2015
The FBI will continue to resist pressure from legislators and activists for the creation of a fully comprehensive count of all killings by American police officers, the bureau’s director signalled on Monday.

Writing as the FBI released its annual crime statistics, James Comey said an existing voluntary system, under which police departments around the country choose whether or not to submit data on homicides by their officers, will carry on.

Comey said the FBI would try to collect more information – but gave no specific details about how this would be done.

Shell abandons Alaska Arctic drilling

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[A bit of good news, but of course it's only because they didn't find anything up there. (Image via Greenpeace.)

Terry Macalister, The Guardian, 28 September 2015
Shell has abandoned its controversial drilling operations in the Alaskan Arctic in the face of mounting opposition in what jubilant environmentalists described as “an unmitigated defeat” for big oil.

The Anglo-Dutch company had repeatedly stressed the enormous hydrocarbon potential of the far north region in public, but in private began to admit it had been surprised by the popular opposition it faced.

Obama, Putin spar over Assad's role in Syria's future

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[On balance I have to agree with Obama: how could things be allowed to simply return to the status quo ante after 250,000 deaths and a global tidal wave of refugees? On the other hand, where are the specifics about how a democratically elected government will be ensured, as opposed to there being an ISIS takeover? How long of a transition are we talking about? Listening to Putin complain about Obama ignoring the UN is pretty hilarious, though. *RON*]
By Julie Pace and Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press / Denver Post, 28 September 2015

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin sharply disagreed Monday over the chaos in Syria, with Obama urging a political transition to replace the Syrian president but Putin warning it would be a mistake to abandon the current government.

Obama and Putin's dueling speeches at the United Nations General Assembly summit served as a public preview of their private m…

Poll suggests growing tolerance on key social issues

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[Just a few interesting tidbits on the state of public opinion in Canada. A new poll by Forum Research finds more tolerance on social issues such as marijuana legalization and assisted suicide. *RON*]

By: Donovan Vincent, The Star, 28 September 2015
Has Canada become more tolerant on hot-button issues?

That’s what the results of a new Forum Research survey seem to suggest.

The poll of 1,557 randomly selected adults found a majority believe assisted suicide should be made legal and want marijuana legalized. Nearly half, meanwhile, support the idea of legalizing prostitution.

Here’s how respondents feel about these and other controversial issues:

Labour can cut deficit without austerity, John McDonnell pledges

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["Shadow chancellor John McDonnell lays out plans to cut deficit by targeting corporate tax avoidance and increasing taxes on rich." A hard thing to do in any substantial way now that our economy is so effectively globalized. Let's hope this is not the full depth of the advice they've received from Piketty et al. *RON*]

Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, 28 September 2015
John McDonnell has promised that the deficit can be cut without austerity or spending cuts that are loaded on middle-income earners and the poor.

In his first conference speech as shadow chancellor, McDonnell won a warm reception when he said austerity was a political choice and not a necessity. He insisted Labour’s plan to “balance the books will be aggressive”, and appeared to indicate the bulk of the funds will come from higher growth, ending corporate tax evasion and reducing corporate welfare.

Promising an adult debate rather than silly slogans that demeaned the …

Tories promise up to $700 million for Surrey light rail

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["Announcement expected in Surrey Monday morning." Listen to my voice and relax deeply: There was no fear-mongering ISIS attack ad! There was no fear-mongering ISIS attack ad! There was no fear-mongering ISIS attack ad! There was no fear-mongering ISIS attack ad! There was no fear-mongering ISIS attack ad! There was no fear-mongering ISIS attack ad!... *RON*]

By Peter O'Neil and Joanne Lee-Young, Vancouver Sun, 28 September 2015

VANCOUVER -- The Conservatives promised Monday to provide up to $700 million towards the $2.1-billion Surrey light rapid transit proposal.

The announcement was made in Surrey former Surrey mayor Dianne Watts, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s star candidate in South Surrey-White Rock, and by James Moore, the B.C. regional minister who is retiring from politics.

Harper planned to announce his party’s commitment earlier this month, but that was derailed when the shocking photograph of a drowned Syrian boy on a bea…

7 takeaways from the Catalonia election

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[Goodbye Madrid: Catalans vote for an ‘adios’ to Spain within 18 months. *RON*]

By Jan Marot, Politico, 28 September 2015

BARCELONA — Only hours after the polls closed in Catalonia on September 27, it is clear that we are feeling the rumble of tectonic change. This promises to rock not just Spain, but to throw the European Union into a state of ferment at a time when Brussels has, to put it mildly, much too much on its plate already.

Here are seven takeaways from the vote in Catalonia

1 This is a vote for secession from Spain

Catalonians have made a clear choice in their regional elections. With a level of participation so historically huge that they even ran out of ballots, 77.4 percent of the electorate voted. This is a record in democratic, post-Franco Spain. The secessionist coalition “Together for Yes” — Junts Pel Si —obtained 39.6 percent of the vote and thus 62 seats in the Catalan regional parliament. Together with the pro-independence l…