Showing posts from January 22, 2016

Oceans to have more plastic than fish by 2050: Report

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[Published by the World Economic Forum, the report says that 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean each year - the equivalent of a dump truck of plastic rubbish every minute. *RON*]

Source: Al Jazeera, 21 Jan 2016
The world's oceans may have more plastic debris than fish by the year 2050, according to a report produced by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and published by the World Economic Forum.

Facts on plastic waste
Use of plastic bags has increased by 20 times in the past 50 yearsMost plastic packaging is used only once then discardedOne-third of all plastic packaging escapes collection systems40 percent of plastics end up in landfillsOnly five percent of plastics are efficiently recycledPlastics production will increase to 1.124 billion tonnes by 2050 Source: World Economic Forum

The study, released on Tuesday, found that a whopping 32 percent of all plastic packaging escapes collection systems and finds its way into natural ecosyst…

Deaths in migrant boat sinkings off Greece rise to 42

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[Hundreds have died in the last year alone. This story involves 2 separate smuggling boats sinking, 1 in Farmakonissi and 1 off coast of Kalolimnos. *RON*]

The Associated Press, CBC News, 22 January 2016
One more body was recovered Friday from the sinking of a wooden smuggling boat off the island of Farmakonissi in the Aegean Sea, bringing the death toll in that sinking to eight, most of them children, Greece's coast guard said.

In all, at least 42 people drowned in two separate smuggling boat sinkings Friday, one in Farmakonissi and one off the coast of Kalolimnos to the south, where at least 34 bodies were recovered.

Earlier, the coast guard said it had recovered the bodies of 16 women, 11 children and seven men, while at least 26 people had been rescued. It was unclear how many people had originally been on the boat. Coast guard vessels, a helicopter and private boats were still searching the area.

Greece has become the main gateway for peopl…

Beyond Koch: Meet the Other Right-Wing Oligarchs Featured in Jane Mayer's "Dark Money"

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[Some names to remember: Scaife, Olin and Bradley"The overall effect is to re-set the range of issues and policy alternatives to which candidates and officeholders are responsive." *RON*]
By Steve Horn, DeSmog Blog, 21 January 2016

The shenanigans of the “Kochtopus” have garnered most of the headlines — including here — pertaining to reviews of New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer's new book, Dark Money.
But the Koch Brothers and Koch Industries' right-wing family foundation network are far from the only big money influencers featured in the must-read book which has jumped to #4 on the Best Sellers list at

Goldman Sachs contributions surge despite attacks

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[The Wall Street punching bag reaches a fever pitch, but Blankfein seems comfortable in his belief that he's untouchable. *RON*]

By Isaac Arnsdorf, Politico, 20 January 2016

Goldman Sachs, the powerful investment bank that has become a symbol of Wall Street influence among Democrats and Republicans alike, is on track to be one of biggest contributors in the presidential race again this year, with $794,609 chipped in so far.

But its allegiances are spread across the political map — consistent with the firm’s long history of cultivating influence no matter which candidate or party is in office.

Goldman Sachs employees are the top contributors to the Republican campaigns of Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, according to an analysis of federal campaign finance records the Center for Responsive Politics conducted for POLITICO. They’ve given $483,500 to the campaign and super PAC supporting Bush and $79,600 to Rubio’s campaign and allied super PAC, the analy…

Why Are Corporations Hoarding Trillions?

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[They could pull the economy out of its rut, create new jobs and help reduce government debt by raising the tax base, but nope. While there are several potential reasons for corporations to hold on to cash, it's still a mystery as to precisely why the hoard is as large as it is today. *RON*]

By Adam Davidson, New York Times, 20 January 2016

There is an economic mystery I’ve been struggling to understand for quite some time, and I’m not the only one who’s confused: Among financial experts, it is often referred to as a conundrum, a paradox, a puzzle. The mystery is as follows: Collectively, American businesses currently have $1.9 trillion in cash, just sitting around. Not only is this state of affairs unparalleled in economic history, but we don’t even have much data to compare it with, because corporations have traditionally been borrowers, not savers. The notion that a corporation would hold on to so much of its profit seems economically absu…

Oil plumbs new lows below $27 as oversupply woes persist

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[I Googled it, and a 12-piece chicken dinner at KFC now costs more than a barrel of oil. *RON*]

By Devika Krishna Kumar, Reuters, 20 January 2016

U.S. oil prices crashed below $27 dollars a barrel on Wednesday for the first time since 2003, caught in a broad slump across world financial markets with traders also worried that the crude supply glut could last longer.
Oil has fallen more than 25 percent so far this year, the steepest such slide since the financial crisis, piling more pain on oil drillers and producing nations alike. Yet they keep pumping more oil into an oversupplied market.

Sure enough, fresh data from the American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday showed U.S. crude stocks rose more than expected last week. Crude inventories rose by 4.6 million barrels in the week to Jan. 15 to 485.2 million, well above analysts' expectations for an increase of 2.8 million barrels, the industry group said.

Venezuela requested an emergency OPEC meet…

Litvinenko 'probably murdered on personal orders of Putin'

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[Public inquiry concludes there is ‘strong probability’ two Russian agents were ordered by FSB to poison former spy, and that the orders ultimately came from Putin. I wonder why they bothered, since now, in the interest of realpolitik, they intend to do precisely nothing about it. *RON*]
Esther AddleyLuke Harding & Shaun Walker, The Guardian, 21 January 2016

The former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko was probably murdered on the personal orders of Vladimir Putin, the UK public inquiry into his death has found.

Litvinenko, who died from radioactive poisoning in a London hospital in November 2006, was killed by two Russian agents, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun, the inquiry report said. There was a “strong probability” they were acting on behalf of the Russian FSB secret service, the report added.

Sir Robert Owen, the inquiry chair, said that taken as a whole the open evidence that had been heard in court amounted to a “strong circumstantial …

Here's how likely you are to become a millionaire based on your education and race

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[The trend is what I expected it to be. I was a bit surprised that more than one in three white people with a Master's degree are millionaires. *RON*]

Libby Kane, Business Insider, 21 January 2016

How likely are you to become a millionaire?

At Bloomberg, Victoria Stilwell reports on the results of an analysis conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and Bloomberg News, calculating how three factors might influence an individual's chances of becoming a millionaire in the US: age, education, and race.

Researchers William Emmons, Bryan Noeth, and Lowell Ricketts looked at data from the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances for 2010 and 2013, which surveyed nearly 12,500 American households.

Mom and Dad may have been right: Everyone's chances of wealth increase with more education, the researchers found. However, members of some races benefit from it more than others.