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Showing posts from December 18, 2015

UN: Record-breaking 60 Million Forcibly Displaced Worldwide

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[It remains to be seen if this is, in fact, a 'crisis' as it is currently being portrayed, or simply the new normal. "Today, each of us has a one in a 122 chance of becoming a refugee, becoming displaced. And, that is very worrying because what happens to people once they become refugees, today they are staying refugees often for very many years. Some for their lifetime." *RON*]

Lisa Schlein, Voice of America, 18 December 2015
GENEVA—The U.N. refugee agency warns the number of people forcibly displaced from their homes is likely to exceed 60 million in 2015.

The UNHCR has released its Mid-Year Trends 2015 report covering global forced displacement during the first six months of this year.

The UNHCR report does not include the hundreds of thousands of refugees who made the perilous journey to Europe across the Mediterranean nor the thousands more seeking refuge from many conflicts around the world during the last half of this ye…

Donald Trump teams up with Sheriff Joe Arpaio, talks tough on border security

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[In case you've forgotten, the office of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was said to hold a "systematic disregard for basic constitutional protections," by the US Justice Department. At this Arizona rally, he introduced candidate Donald Trump by reminding the audience that the two of them are both prominent "birthers" who question the validity of President Obama’s US birth certificate. *RON*]

By S.A. Miller, Washington Times, 16 December 2015

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump teamed up with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for a post-presidential debate victory lap Wednesday, drawing a crowd of thousands to see the two conservative stars of the illegal immigration debate on the same stage.
“You’re the patriots, and you’ve got a lot of people — believe me — a lot of people won’t say it, but they support Donald Trump. They won’t tell you, but when they go into that voting booth, watch out,” Sheriff Arpaio…

How the DNC Just Sabotaged Bernie Sanders’ Campaign in One Devastating Move

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[Unreal. The DNC just cut off Bernie Sanders campaign's access to its comprehensive 50-state voter file, which effectively destroys Sanders' outreach efforts in the crucial weeks before the Iowa caucuses and Primaries. The timing and severity of the decision is deeply suspicious as Sanders celebrated the most successful week of his campaign with major endorsements and record donations. See also: Bernie Sanders Becomes the First Presidential Candidate to Reach Two Million Individual Campaign Contributions: In 2008, Obama Had Just One Million and Bernie Sanders Just Got Two of His Biggest Endorsements Yet. *RON*]
Amanda Girard | December 18, 2015


As chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Debbie Wasserman Schultz has spent the last 8 months using her position to put a lid on Bernie Sanders’ momentum. And after what was arguably the biggest week of the Sanders campaign, she may have finally succeeded.

Late Thursday night, the DNC too…

Qatar anticipates budget shortfall of $12.77 billion in 2016 amid energy price slump

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[Best read in association with this article: Refuting a common misconception - Is Saudi Arabia trying to 'drive out' North American shale? Also, despite this upbeat article title, even with optimistic oil price projections and talk of austerity, all they predict for 2017 is a somewhat smaller shortfall: Qatar economy expected to grow 3.7% this year. *RON*]

By Associated Press, The Province, 17 December 2015

DOHA, Qatar - The energy-rich Gulf nation of Qatar says it expects to run a budget deficit of more than $12 billion next year as it struggles with a sharp drop in oil and gas prices.

The official Qatar News Agency reported late Wednesday that the 2022 World Cup host nation's budget forecasts revenues of 156 billion Qatari riyals ($42.84 billion) in 2016. That compares with 225.7 billion riyals for the current year.

Government spending next year is expected to reach 202.5 billion riyals, leading to a projected shortfall of 46.5 billion…

Kinder Morgan urges NEB to approve its pipeline expansion

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[The NEB is still all made up of Harper appointees, and yet: "...because the new Trudeau government didn't immediately table legislation this month to overhaul the NEB, it's now too late. Any overhaul of pipeline review processes is not likely to be in place until 2016 or 2017, following consultation with environmental and Indigenous stakeholders." It's okay for him to shed a tear at the Reconciliation ceremonies, but is he going to respect indigenous control over resources? *RON*]

By Mychaylo Prystupa, National Observer, 17 December 2015

With the recent clarification that the Liberal government will not require Kinder Morgan to restart its application for the highly controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the Texas-headquartered energy giant presented its final argument to the National Energy Board on why the Edmonton-to-Burnaby oil pipeline should be built.

“Regardless of the clamour… the project must be weighed …

Donald Trump 'honoured' by Vladimir Putin's compliments

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[Extra-creepy. "The two men share a love for spectacle and an appreciation of its ability to move low-information voters," Christian Whiton wrote on CNN, while the New York Times detected a "long-distance bromance". *RON*]

BBC World News, 18 December 2015
US presidential hopeful Donald Trump has said it is a "great honour" to receive a compliment from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The property tycoon hailed Mr Putin as a man "highly respected within his own country and beyond".

It comes after Mr Putin said Mr Trump was a "very colourful, talented person" during his annual news conference.

The two men, both known for their blunt manner of speaking, do not know each other personally.

After hearing President Putin's comments on Thursday, Mr Trump released a statement praising the Russian leader.

"It is always a great honour to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his …

Why We Don't Want Billionaires Like Mark Zuckerberg Imposing Their Idea of Common Good on Us

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[The super rich have much power to define what is best for us - the corporatocratic common good. That's not good enough. The Zuckerbergs of the world should be forced to pay taxes like the rest of us, and allow democratic processes to decide what constitutes the common good. *RON*]
By Joanne BarkanThe Guardian / AlterNet, 15 December 2015

Almost all multibillionaire philanthropists in the United States set up tax-exempt, grant-making, private foundations when they want to make the world a better place. Not Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. They plan to give away their fortune gradually over the course of their lifetimes, but they’ll do so through a for-profit corporation.

There’s a simple explanation why: private foundations in the US cannot engage in political activity; they cannot campaign for or contribute to candidates for public office or lobby legislators; with limited exceptions, they cannot fund for-profit organizations. By fundin…

Cancer is not just 'bad luck' but down to environment, study suggests

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[I believe it will eventually be found that a large portion of cancers are due to industrial carcinogens. The argument among the experts is whether cancer is mainly caused by your rotten lifestyle or it is just crummy luck. Meanwhile no one will fund the research that is needed on cancer and the corporatocracy. *RON*]
By James Gallagher, BBC News website 17 December 2015

Cancer is overwhelmingly a result of environmental factors and not largely down to bad luck, a study suggests.

Earlier this year, researchers sparked a debate after suggesting two-thirds of cancer types were down to luck rather than factors such as smoking.

The new study, in the journal Nature, used four approaches to conclude only 10-30% of cancers were down to the way the body naturally functions or "luck".

Experts said the analysis was "pretty convincing".

NHS: How to reduce your cancer risk

Cancer is caused by one of the body's own stem cells going rogue a…

Elon Musk: We Can Power America by Covering Small Corner of Utah With Solar

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["...if you just took a small section of Spain you could power all of Europe. It’s a very small amount of area that’s actually needed to generate the electricity we need to power civilization. Or in the case of the U.S., like a little corner of Nevada or Utah would power the United States." *RON*]
Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch, 17 December 2015


Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has once again championed the incredible potential of renewable energy.

During an interview Tuesday at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting in San Francisco, the 44-year-old CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX said that the U.S. could meet its electricity needs just by covering a small corner of Utah or Nevada with solar panels.
Awesome talk on the future of solar power by @elonmusk#AGU15#gpsSTEMpic.twitter.com/obX8f6RVJg — GPS UC San Diego (@GPS_UCSD) December 15, 2015 His remark was captured in this tweet from Nature News reporter Lauren Morello, who was at the ev…