Showing posts from January 5, 2016

Canada 'no intention' to cancel $15bn arms deal with Saudi Arabia - despite condemning execution of 47

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[With oil at $40 a barrel, money plainly speaks louder to the Liberal Party louder than their conscience. The deal will be the largest military exports contract in Canadian history. *RON*]

Ashley Cowburn, The Independent, 5 January 2016

The Canadian government has “no intention” of cancelling a controversial $15 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia despite decrying the oil-rich kingdom’s execution of 47 prisoners, according to reports.

According to Global Research – an independent research organisation based in Montreal – the deal, which dwarves any other military exports brokered by the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), is the largest military exports contract in Canadian history.

Following the mass execution of 47 prisoners, including the prominent Shia cleric and dissident Sheik al-Nimr Nimr, the Canadian government publicly condemned the Saudi government. In a statement St├ęphane Dion, the country’s foreign affairs minister called on the Saud…

For More Than 50 Years, DuPont Concealed the Cancer-Causing Properties of Teflon

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[Cancer and the corporatocracy: the same-old, same-old. No prior testing for potential harms from Teflon was required; deformities and cancers flourished; internal documents demonstrate DuPont knew or suspected the harms of Teflon; the courts now demanded iron-clad proof that precisely Teflon and nothing other than Teflon could possibly be the cause or a contributory cause. As an indication of how overwhelming the evidence again DuPont was, they actually won their case. *RON*]
By Sharon KellyEarth Island Journal / AlterNet, 4 January 2016

Almost two decades ago, Carla Bartlett, a then 41-year -old West Virginia secretary and mother of two, was first diagnosed with cancer – what her surgeon later labeled a “garden variety” type of kidney cancer.

“I was scared to death,” Bartlett, now 59, told an Ohio federal jury this fall during hearings in the first of more than 3,500 personal injury and wrongful death suits by West Virginia and Ohio resident…

Backlog of untested rape kits in Florida far worse than earlier estimates

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[Florida authorities have acknowledged the state has a backlog of more than 13,000 untested rape kits in evidence rooms around the state. The report by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement says it could take several years and tens of millions of dollars to process the rape kits. The Florida backlog is part of a nationwide problem, with federal officials estimating 70,000 rape kits are currently languishing untested across the United States. *RON*]

Jeremy Wallace, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau, 4 January 2016

TALLAHASSEE — The backlog of untested rape kits in Florida is far worse than previously reported.

In their first comprehensive report examining the problem, state officials have found at least 13,435 untested rape kits in evidence rooms around the state, 25 percent more than previous estimates. It could take eight years and more than $30 million to get rid of the backlog, more than triple original cost estimates.

And the problem may stil…

Faced with Israeli denial of access to Occupied Palestinian Territory, UN expert resigns

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[The United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in the Palestinian territories has resigned over Israel’s refusal to allow him into the occupied West Bank and Gaza. Makarim Wibisono said in a statement that he had hoped Israel would grant him access as an impartial observer, but, "Unfortunately, my efforts to help improve the lives of Palestinian victims of violations under the Israeli occupation have been frustrated every step of the way." *RON*]
UN News Centre, 4 January 2016
4 January 2016 – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian territories is resigning due to Israel's failure to grant him access to the areas he is tasked with monitoring.

“Unfortunately, my efforts to help improve the lives of Palestinian victims of violations under the Israeli occupation have been frustrated every step of the way,” Makarim Wibisono said of his resignation,which he submitted to …

Obama to make case for more background checks on gun sales

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[Well, the game is afoot! Methinks this will get messy. See also: New gun laws 'will save lives' - Obama. *RON*]
By Roberta Rampton, Reuters, 5 January 2016

President Barack Obama was set to make the political argument for tightening gun rules on Tuesday, drawing on the anger and frustration he has felt during his presidency about mass shootings in the United States.

In remarks from the White House set for 11:40 a.m. EST, Obama will discuss executive action he is taking to require more gun sellers to get licenses and more gun buyers to undergo background checks.

He will be joined by people who have lost family members to gun violence, as well as gun owners who support the new measures.

Obama has often said his toughest time in office was grappling with the December 2012 massacre of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Admitting a post-Paris truth: B.C.'s LNG pipe dream is over

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[It's not true that the LNG pipe dream is necessarily over. But if it is not over, then the BC Liberals' concurrence with the Paris agreement is a total farce. I'd put money on the latter outcome. *RON*]
By Seth Klein,, 5 January 2016

Since the signing of the new climate treaty in Paris last month, there's been plenty of debate as to whether the new global agreement is a turning point or merely more hollow promises.

The answer, as the CCPA's Marc Lee has written, will be revealed in how governments and markets react. In particular, the litmus test will be whether governments, upon their return home, continue with plans to expand fossil fuel production, or instead are prepared to speak an essential truth -- that most of these ancient carbon reserves need to stay safely in the ground.

Post Paris, many have noted that, given our new international commitment to keep global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees over …

Liberal government breaks promise of pension improvements

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[This piece turns into a rant toward the end, but it is important to track how many campaign promises are kept by the Libs. This is, indeed, a big negative. *RON*]
By Roger Annis and Travis Ross,, 2 January 2016

One week ago, Toronto Star columnist Thomas Walkom wrote a hard-hitting column about the new Liberal government in Ottawa shelving its promise to improve the Canada Pension Plan. His column on the subject was published on December 23.

Amid much fanfare, Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau made a promise on September 14 to boost the old age pensions of Canadians should his party win election on October 19. CBC reported:
The Liberal plan includes a promise to restore the eligibility for old age security and guaranteed income supplement back to 65 [from the change to age 67 by the Harper Conservatives], a new seniors price index to make sure those benefits keep up with rising costs, a ten per cent boost to the guaranteed supplement f…

The Armed Oregon Ranchers Who Want Free Land Are Already Getting A 93 Percent Discount

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[Simple venality masquerading as a 'freedom fight.' "In 2012, the bureau’s fees for grazing were 93 percent cheaper than the average market rate in 16 Western states... As a result, in 2014, grazing fees covered only 15 percent of the bureau’s costs to maintain grazing lands. The rest of the cost is made covered by taxpayers." Borowitz is en pointe as usual: Oregon Considers Wall to Keep Out Angry White Men. Also see: How the Leader of the Oregon Armed Protest Benefited From a Federal Loan Program. *RON*]

By Leah Libresco, Five Thirty Eight, 4 January 2016
The takeover of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon appears to be more than just a protest of the impending imprisonment of two ranchers who set fires that spread into public lands. The armed demonstrators are led by Ammon Bundy, whose father, Cliven, has refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the federal Bureau of Land Management to own some public lands or to regulate the…