Showing posts from November 14, 2015

Five whoppers British Columbians are being sold on LNG

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[In the haze of national and international events, let's not forget about this. "The B.C. government's plan will privatize a finite, public resource worth hundreds of billions of dollars and lock up that supply to foreign corporations for decades into the future, while grossly overstating the benefits from LNG, as well as the available supply, and downplaying the massive environmental and climate risks from moving forward." *RON*]
By Marc Lee,, 13 November 2015

British Columbians have heard many "too good to be true" claims about the benefits the province will receive by launching a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export industry. The CCPA-BC's LNG Reality Check series has been examining these claims, and what we have uncovered is a pattern of misinformation about LNG -- coming primarily from the B.C. government, which should be looking out for the public interest instead of blindly championing the industry.


WHO director-general criticizes the Trans-Pacific Partnership

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[The Big Pharma corporatocrats are holding our health and lives for ransom, for bigger CEO bonuses. Yet Trudeau can't move fast enough sign us up for the several trade agreements that are now nearing settlement: "If these agreements open trade yet close the door to affordable medicines we have to ask the question: is this really progress at all?" See also the LA Times: How taxpayers prop up Big Pharma, and how to cap that. *RON*]
By Brent Patterson,, 13 November 2015

The World Health Organization director-general has criticized the Trans-Pacific Partnership for its impact on drug costs.

Margaret Chan said she has "some very serious concerns" about the TPP and that, "If these agreements open trade yet close the door to affordable medicines we have to ask the question: is this really progress at all." She added, "Can you bear the cost of $1,000 for a pill to treat Hepatitis C? Unless we get these pr…

Cabinet Mandate Letters Outline Trudeau's Marching Orders For Ministers

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[In general these are all excellent steps forward toward implementing the Liberals' election promises. The only sour note is the enthusiasm with which international trade agreements that raise costs to Canadians (e.g., "This will include working with relevant ministers and provinces and territories to support... compensation for incremental cost increases to public drug plans arising from CETA") and erode national sovereignty are being pursued. *RON*]
By The Canadian Press, Huffington Post, 13 November 2015

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau has instructed Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to review federal court cases and end any appeals or positions that run contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Liberal commitments or values.

That direction is among the formal guidance the new Liberal prime minister spelled out Friday in detailed mandate letters to the 30 members of his cabinet.

The mandate letters include key elements of the Libe…

Crude oil tanker ban for B.C.'s North Coast ordered by Trudeau

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[Environmental group suggests moratorium would kill pipeline proposed from Alberta to Kitimat B.C. See also, from nine months ago: Is Northern Gateway quietly being shelved? *RON*]

CBC News, 13 November 2015
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called for a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic for B.C.'s North Coast.

Trudeau outlined the directive in a mandate letter to Canada's transport minister, Marc Garneau, on Friday. In it, he asked Garneau to formalize the agreement with three other ministries: fisheries, natural resources and environment.

It's unclear what impact a moratorium would have on Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline, which would carry bitumen from Alberta to Kitimat, B.C. The project was approved in June 2014 with 209conditions.

Austerity a factor in rising suicide rate among UK men – study

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[Ideological terrorism. 1,000 extra deaths and an additional 30-40,000 suicide attempts may have occurred after the economic downturn, according to this research. *RON*]
Karen McVeigh, The Guardian, 12 November 2015

Debt, austerity and unemployment have been cited as significant factors in the rising number of British men who have killed themselves since 2008, according to new research.

Academics from the universities of Bristol, Manchester and Oxford estimate that an 1,000 extra deaths from suicide and an additional 30-40,000 suicide attempts may have occurred from 2008-2010 following the economic downturn, reversing previous trends in Britain where suicide rates among men were falling.

Debt and the impact of austerity measures are likely to be other important contributors in this rise, according to research by the universities, which was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The analysis summarises findings from a wider £1.…

Greece: Athens burns amid general strike against austerity

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[Combine this with the recent Podemos and Cuidadanos wins in Spain and the ousting of the centre-right pro-austerity Portuguese government, and it looks like the Mediterranean worm is turning. *RON*]

Russian Times, 13 November 2015

A general strike called in the Greek capital to protest against austerity measures introduced by the Syriza government turned violent, following clashes between the police and protesters on Thursday in Athens. The demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails and stones at riot police who responded by firing tear gas to break up the disturbances. Several buildings including the Bank of Greece caught fire after being struck with firebombs.

The main unions in Greece (GSEE, ADEDY and PAME) called a general strike to show their strong opposition to the austerity measures approved by the government. The authorities plan to cut public spending and raise taxes in exchange for an €80 billion ($85.7 billion) loan, which was agreed by …

Portugal’s anti-austerity left seems to be taking power after all

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[Austerians saw the centre-right’s electoral win as proof that they can survive in southern Europe. Bad call. The Economist appears to be bemused by this: the article subtitle is "Falling off their stools." *RON*]
The Economist, 13 November 2015

IN PORTUGUESE, “swallowing a toad” means having to accept something that is deeply unpleasant. In 1986, when the Communist party (PCP) advised its voters to support Mário Soares, a Socialist, as the lesser of two evils in a presidential race, one militant said famously on television that she would “swallow the toad of voting for him, but I’ll have to take fruit salts afterwards”.

Aníbal Cavaco Silva, Portugal’s conservative president, may have no alternative in the coming weeks but to swallow what for him will be an equally unpalatable amphibian. He will probably have to swear in a Socialist party (PS) government dependent for its support in parliament on the hard-line PCP and the Left Bloc (BE),…

Paris attacks draw condemnation from world leaders

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[An observation from George Takei, a US-born American citizen of Japanese parents, who was locked up in a US internment camp in World War II, "Tonight, hold your loved ones, and pray or wish for peace, not only from guns and bombs, but from hatred and fear. If it is our freedom and joy they seek to destroy, give them not that victory. Against the forces of darkness and terror, love and compassion shall always prevail." See also PBS, Everything we know about the multiple attacks in Paris*RON*]

Associated Press, CBC News, 14 November 2015

As Paris is left reeling from the deadliest attacks to strike France since the Second World War, leaders around the globe are offering both their condolences and their solidarity.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks Friday by gunmen and suicide bombers who targeted a stadium, concert hall and restaurants in and around Paris, killing at least 127 peopl…