Showing posts from December 22, 2015

This one chart explains why Britain's wage growth is totally crap

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[The crapification of labour markets. Corporations are still not creating sufficient jobs, which ensures that they maintain a buyer's market, meaning workers must accept pretty well whatever wages and working conditions they're offered. *RON*]

Lianna Brinded, Business Insider, 22 December 2015

Britain is enjoying near record-low unemployment levels but wage growth is absolutely terrible.

In other words, lots are people are getting jobs but their pay is stagnant and not rising in line with inflation. It's such a big issue, the Bank of England is going to continue to keep interest rates at a record low of 0.5% way into 2016.

Basically, because wage packets aren't increasing at the same rate as things like house prices and food bills, a rise in interest rates could hurt people's ability to pay for the essentials. Even the latest report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) says that rent and property purchase pr…

Zimbabwe to make Chinese yuan legal currency after Beijing cancels debts

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[The Soviet-American fight for influence in Africa has become the Sino-American fight. Mugabe would sell his mother's bones if it would make him richer or more powerful. "Yuan becomes the latest currency to be approved for public transactions in Zimbabwe, as the southern African nation seeks to increase trade with Beijing." *RON*]

Agence France-Presse, The Guardian, 22 December 2015
Zimbabwe has announced that it will make the Chinese yuan legal tender after Beijing confirmed it would cancel $40m in debts.

“They [China] said they are cancelling our debts that are maturing this year and we are in the process of finalising the debt instruments and calculating the debts,” minister Patrick Chinamasa said in a statement.

ISIL 'caliphate' shrank by 14 percent in 2015: monitor

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[Likewise, Assad has lost 16% of his territory. The Kurds are looking to be just about the only heroes in this mess. "Armed group lost large swaths of Syria's border with Turkey, as Kurds regained control of traditionally Kurdish areas." ISIS is also taking significant financial blows. *RON*]

Agencies, Al Jazeera, 22 December 2015

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has lost about 14 percent of its territory in 2015, while Syria's Kurds have almost tripled theirs, think-tank IHS Jane's has said.

The development will be seen as a blow to the group given its stated aim to capture and hold territory to expand its so-called "caliphate", where it imposes its version of Islamic law.

The losses of ISIL include the strategically important town of Tal Abyad on Syria's border with Turkey, the Iraqi city of Tikrit, and Iraq's Baiji refinery.

Martin Shkreli Is Removed as C.E.O. From Another Company, KaloBios

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[Watching schmelly Shkreli get fired just never gets old. *RON*]

By Andrew Pollack, New York Times, 21 December 2015

Martin Shkreli, who was arrested last week on securities fraud charges, has been ousted from his second pharmaceutical company.

KaloBios Pharmaceuticals, a California biotechnology company that Mr. Shkreli gained control of in November, announced on Monday that he had been terminated as chief executive and had resigned from his seat on the board on Thursday, the day he was arrested.

KaloBios, which had been in severe financial straits before Mr. Shkreli’s involvement, did not name a replacement, not even on an interim basis.

Last week, Mr. Shkreli was removed as chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, a privately held company in New York that he co-founded late last year.

The charges against Mr. Shkreli predate his management of either Turing or KaloBios.

Market-fundamentalist right looks to 'Super PACs' like so-called Alberta Prosperity Fund to grab back power

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[This is a big deal: dark money attempts to come to Canadian politics. "There are virtually no Canadian restrictions on where non-profit organizations without charitable status can raise money. Such entities don't have to open their books or identify their donors. They have no obligation to report how much money they've spent, or what it was spent on." I've sent an email to Democracy Watch to see whether or not they are looking into this issue. PS there is no indication in this story as to who is depicted in the photo shown below. *RON*]
By David J. Climenhaga,, 22 December 2015

Having received serious and unexpected shocks nationally and in Alberta in 2015, the market-fundamentalist right is now reaching enthusiastically into the vast tickle trunk of pernicious American political ideas to regain control of the political agenda north of the Medicine Line.

And if these market true believers can't win a fair fig…

One million migrants and refugees have reached Europe this year – IOM

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[Two good points: the current wave of refugees in Europe are mainly escaping from the denial of their UN refugee convention rights in the Middle East, and 12-14 million Europeans were displaced as a result of World War II. *RON*]

Patrick Kingsley, The Guardian, 22 December 2015

More than one million people have now reached Europe through irregular means in 2015, the International Organisation for Migration has announced, in what constitutes the continent’s biggest wave of mass migration since the aftermath of the second world war.

Out of a total of 1,005,504 arrivals by 21 December, the vast majority – 816,752 – arrived by sea in Greece, the IOM said. A further 150,317 arrived by sea in Italy, with much smaller figures for Spain, Malta and Cyprus. A total of 34,215 crossed by land routes, such as over the Turkish-Bulgarian border.

The overall figure is a four-fold increase from 2014’s figures, and has largely been driven by Syrians fleeing their …

Spanish Election Marks Another Rejection of Austerity

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[This means, at minimum, that a substantial portion of the population rejects austerity. It will mean greater political turmoil. Beyond that, it's hard to say. Because the results are mixed, the business press can say No, Mr. Tsipras, Spain Didn't Reject Austerity. In Italy, Mateo Renzi says, "I don’t know what’s going to happen to my friend Mariano but I know that those who have been in the front line of being the faithful allies of the politics of rigour without growth have lost their jobs. It happened in Warsaw, though the circumstances were very particular there, it happened in Athens, it happened in Lisbon. Let’s see what happens in Madrid."]

By Raphael Minder, New York Times, 21 December 2015

MADRID — European leaders and economists are still locked in a heated debate about whether austerity policies have done more to help or hurt people in the region, particularly in Europe’s heavily indebted south.

But as the election S…

Site C dam’s largest contract awarded but unions, NDP question lack of job guarantees for B.C. workers

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[Originally it was said that Christy Clark was pushing this massive (unnecessary) for two reasons: to provide cheap power to the fracking industry (notice that one of the key partners is Petrowest Corp.) and to placate unions. Now it's clear that jobs for British Columbians wasn't even an afterthought: "This is the largest public project that British Columbia has ever undertaken, and we’re doing it with the least amount of commitment to British Columbian workers." *RON*]

By Dan Fumano, The Province, 21 December 2015

B.C. Hydro has officially awarded a $1.75-billion civil works contract for the Site C dam, the largest single contract for construction on the $8.8-billion hydroelectric project, but some critics questioned how much it will benefit B.C. workers.

Hydro announced Monday the agreement had been finalized with Peace River Hydro Partners, after the utility selected the consortium last month as the preferred proponent

The …