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Showing posts from November 11, 2015

A $108 billion deal just created a beer giant — here's how much of the world's supply it controls

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[A good example of the corporatocratic mantra. Near monopolies should be illegal (darn those Greenlanders!), but the explanation given is totally blasé; it's so much easier than competing. "Buying growth from the likes of SAB makes much more sense than pouring money into markets like Africa and India to compete against a rival giant." *RON*]

Oscar Williams-Grut, Business Insider, 11 November 2015

The megamerger between the Budweiser maker Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller, maker of Pilsner Urquel and Fosters among many others, is finally official.

AB InBev and SAB confirmed in regulatory filings on Wednesday that AB InBev was coughing up £71 billion ($108 billion), or £44 a share ($67), after a long game of hardball. The original bid was £38 ($58) a share.

The deal brings production of Budweiser, Stella Artois, Leffe, Fosters, Pilsner Urquell, and many more under one roof. It also puts a huge chunk of the world's beer market in th…

Renewable energy made up half of world's new power plants in 2014: IEA

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["Renewable energy has become a mainstream fuel, as of now." Rather than listening to the North Americans who say "it can't be done!" we need to pay attention to the rest of world, where people are simply getting on with it. The International Energy Agency says the figures are a "clear sign" of a transition from dirty to clean energy. Globally, the glaring exceptions are India and Southeast Asia. *RON*]
Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 10 November 2015
Renewable energy accounted for almost half of all new power plants in 2014, representing a “clear sign that an energy transition is underway”, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Green energy is now the second-largest generator of electricity in the world, after coal, and is set to overtake the dirtiest fossil fuel in the early 2030s, said the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2015 report, published on Tuesday.

“The biggest story is in the case of renewables,…

The Disturbing Truth About How Airplanes Are Maintained Today

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[Globalization versus public safety. Planes are being hauled off to El Salvador or China for maintenance work, at peanuts on the dollar compared with US labour costs. Although it's required for certification, most of the mechanics cannot speak English, the international language of aviation, and the language in which all the manuals are written. The Federal Aviation Administration is still theoretically responsible for overseeing all this, but has no money to do so (e.g., "The inspectors responsible for checking on how Chinese workers service airplanes are based in Los Angeles, 6,500 miles away"). *RON*]

By James B. Steele, Vanity Fair, from the December 2015 print issue.
In the last decade, most of the big U.S. airlines have shifted major maintenance work to places like El Salvador, Mexico, and China, where few mechanics are F.A.A. certified and inspections have no teeth.

Not long ago I was waiting for a domestic flight in a depart…

Going Off Fossil Fuels Would Boost Disposable Income And Create A Million Jobs

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[Mr. Trudeau, as you prepare for Paris, are you listening? *RON*]

By Samantha Page, Think Progress, 10 November 2015
A new report has found that transitioning to a clean energy economy would be an economic boon to the United States, increasing employment, reducing costs to consumers, and benefiting investors.

The report, from NextGen Climate America, showed that investment in efficiency, renewable sources of electricity, and fuel switching — such as moving from fossil fuel-powered cars to electric vehicles — would add a million jobs by 2030, and roughly 2 million jobs by 2050, while increasing GDP by $290 billion and improving household income. The researchers looked at scenarios that would reduce emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels.

“While addressing climate change is one of our greatest challenges, it is one of our greatest opportunities to build the economy,” Tom Steyer, co-founder of NextGen and billionaire climate activist (and a board m…

What if We Owned the Internet Together? It’s Time to Bring the Co-op Revolution to the Web

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[On bringing the idea of co-ops to bear on how the Internet is developed and operated. The flourishing of farmers markets and credit unions demonstrates a longing for business that serves the common good. Can it infiltrate the Amazon-dominated, Uberized Internet? *RON*]
Nathan Schneider & Trebor Scholz, Yes! Magazine, 9 November 2015


This article was originally published by the Next System Project for New Economy Week, a collaboration between YES! Magazine, the New Economy Coalition, and other organizations that bring you the ideas and people helping build an inclusive economy—in their own words.

Just a year or so ago, Bitcoin was weird. The digital “crypto-currency” had become fairly notorious as a preferred medium of exchange for hackers, outlaws, and the most strenuous libertarians. The underlying blockchain technology—a secure, distributed database requiring no central server or owner—was earning the curiosity of radicals and visionaries wh…

The US did horribly in a state-by-state corruption study

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[Government transparency, accountability and lack of corruption are sine qua non for functioning democracies. Out of all 50 states the best grade, achieved by only 3 states, was a C. The rest got Ds or failed outright. Most states did pretty well on budget visibility and internal auditing. However, all but six states failed in Public Access to Information. *RON*]

Story Hinckley, Christian Science Monitor, 9 November 2015

According to a new 2015 State Integrity Investigation, an assessment of all 50 state governments by the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity, 11 states received failing grades, and the highest grade awarded, to Alaska, was only a C.

These grades are determined by answers to 245 questions “that ask about key indicators of transparency and accountability, looking not only at what the laws say, but also how well they’re enforced or implemented,” the study explains. These key indicators fall into 13 categories, including p…

Keystone XL may be dead. The oilsands probably aren't

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[A lack of pipelines isn't especially slowing the industry down; the Saudis are. Low petroleum prices mean new projects are on pause, but existing production won't disappear. *RON*]

By Tracy Johnson, CBC News, 11 November 2015
There is some soul searching going on in the oilpatch this week in the aftermath of the U.S. rejection of Keystone XL. Would a carbon tax have changed things? A gentler hand with the politics? How much of the U.S. decision was connected to increases in their own domestic production?

What they aren't asking is how to get oilsands product to market. Because it's getting there, in ways both obvious and unexpected. The oilsands have lots of problems, like low prices and high costs. But right now, market access is pretty far down the list.

The Real Map Of Africa

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["Maps of Africa are fictions. They depict a stability that does not exist on the ground. Great swathes of African land are beyond the reach of the states that ostensibly govern them. A realistic map would show that one-third of the continent, mostly in the north, is outside anybody’s control. 'A person can travel from Mauritania to Egypt (provided one survives the journey) without encountering any effective state authority'" *RON*]
Pierre EnglebertForeign Affairs via The Browser, 8 November 2015

WE OFTEN THINK of a map as a realistic representation of the world, but it is actually quite the opposite: a neat and idealistic drawing of borders in what are often messy places with no visible demarcations on the ground. A map can depict state sovereignty over areas with little to no actual governance. Nowhere is the gap between reality and cartographic representation greater than in parts of Africa.

The map of Africa that exists to…