Showing posts from February 18, 2016

An underground fire is burning near a nuclear waste dump, the EPA says there's no danger

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["Chapman discovered she was pregnant with her first child a few months after buying a house 11 years ago. Each of her three children have developmental problems that require special care. 'I didn’t know a landfill was there, and I definitely didn’t know a Superfund site was there,' she explained while in Washington." *RON*]
By Darryl Fears, Washington Post, 16 February 2016

Her first clue that something was wrong came as she ran her hands through her baby boy’s hair. “My child was losing his hair in clumps,” Meagan Beckermann recalls. A doctor traced the problem to alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that can be triggered by environmental factors.

A frantic search for a likely source ended when neighbors advised Beckermann to follow her nose. That’s when she learned that the charms of her St. Louis suburb of Bridgeton — with its green parks and quality schools — masked two massive landfills, one filled with radioactive waste…

Harsh economic reality on oil price drives Saudi-Russia accord

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[The key point being: "There is very little trust." See also: Young Saudis see cushy jobs vanish along with nation’s oil wealth, and Tehran Gives Cold Shoulder To OPEC On Oil Output Freeze. *RON*]

Anjli Raval, Simeon Kerr, and Jack Farchy, Financial Times, 16 February 2016

Saudi Arabia and Russia are hardly the most obvious allies. The world’s two largest oil exporters have been locked in an increasingly fierce battle for market share. They are on opposite sides of the bloody conflict raging in Syria. Previous attempts to co-operate on oil output have ended in bickering and distrust.

But the two states have been forced together by harsh economic reality, in the shape of collapsing oil price, which led to Tuesday’s tentative agreement to freeze oil production, also backed by Qatar and Venezuela.

Coming at least 14 years since the previous joint agreement between Opec and non-Opec countries, Tuesday’s announcement, which seeks to hold produ…

Hong Kong’s popular, lucrative horror movie about Beijing has disappeared from theaters

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[The preview is quite something to watch. *RON*]
By Heather Timmons, Quartz, 16 February 2016
Hong Kong’s movie industry is in the midst of a long-lamented decline. The industry peaked in the late 1980s and early 1990s, making directors like John Woo international stars. Since then, it has suffered a huge drop in output and profits as Hollywood and mainland China drew bigger audiences and lured away Hong Kong’s talent.

But a recent, little-advertised Hong Kong film, Ten Years, has been a surprise hit. The movie is a collection of vignettes that imagine a dystopian Hong Kong 10 years in the future, as Beijing’s growing influence over the city entails mandatory Mandarin language for residents, fake, fatal, terrorism incidents to scare the citizens, and a ban of the word “local.” In one segment, a Hong Kong resident self-immolates.

Questions over number of missing indigenous women in Canada

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["Regardless of the number, the level of indigenous women and girls who have gone missing or were murdered is an ongoing national tragedy that our government is committed to addressing immediately." See also: Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women: From 1200 To 4000? *RON*]

BBC World News, 17 February 2016

The number of missing or murdered indigenous women in Canada since 1980 may be as high as 4,000 - far more than previous estimates of 1,200, the federal government has said.

The minister for the status of women said there were no accurate figures because of a lack of hard data.

But Patty Hajdu said research from the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) put it at more than 4,000.

A national inquiry is due to begin shortly.

Ms Hajdu and Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett have been speaking to survivors and relatives across Canada.

The inquiry was a key election pledge by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the campaign la…

16% of Trump Supporters in South Carolina Willing to Tell Pollsters They Are Openly White Supremacist

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[Only 14% are not sure if whites are the superior race. "A whopping 56% of Trump supporters don't think the religion of Islam should be legal, with 33% wanting to ban it outright." *RON*]
By Adam JohnsonAlterNet, 16 February 2016

A new Public Policy Poll released today shows a sizable chunk of Donald Trump's support in South Carolina is from white supremacists. When asked by the pollsters if they believe whites are the superior race, 16% of Trump supporters answered "yes." The candidate with the second highest support among white supremacists was Marco Rubio with 9%, followed by Ted Cruz at 7%.

One percent of Ben Carson supporters, despite the fact that Carson is African American, admitted to being white supremacists.

Meet the "Rented White Coats" Who Defend Toxic Chemicals

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[Pseudoscience and the corporatocracy. "Why are some of these companies putting so much money into research to be published in scientific and medical journals years and sometimes decades after they stop making the product? Is its purpose for the advancement of medicine? Is its purpose to address a public health concern? Its purpose is for litigation. It's science for sale." More on the crapification of science: The Unbearable Asymmetry of Bullshit. *RON*]
By David Heath, The Center for Public Integrity / Truthout, 17 February 2016

Bellevue, Ohio - At 2:15 in the morning, an insomniac corporate defense lawyer in San Francisco finished crafting a "revolutionary" scientific theory.

Now Evan Nelson of the law firm Tucker Ellis & West needed a scientist willing to publish it in a medical journal. If his theory were given scientific validity, Nelson could use it to win lawsuits.

Nelson defended companies that had exposed peop…

Newspapers Wither in Canada With Few Billionaires to Save Them

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[The crapification of democracy. Canadian media barons resent CBC and the fact that no billionaires want to buy their newspapers and tell them what to publish. *RON*]

Gerrit De Vynck, Bloomberg, 17 February 2016
Year begins with succession of firings and newspaper closures‘We’re seeing a further cratering of the daily press’ It’s been a dismal start to the year for Canada’s newspapers, and investors see little sign of a turnaround.

Postmedia Network Canada Corp., owner of many of the country’s newspapers, announced in January it was merging newsrooms in cities where it has two papers, eliminating dozens of jobs. Torstar Corp., publisher of the country’s largest circulation paper, closed its printing plant and fired 300. Rogers Media, a unit of Rogers Communications Inc., fired 200 people. The 149-year-old Guelph Mercury shut down its print edition. Some publishers are even suggesting government support is necessary. And that was just in January.


OECD calls for less austerity and more public investment

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[The one-time deficit reduction supporter is now slashing its growth forecasts and urging richer countries to exploit cheap borrowing to spend more on infrastructure. "Fiscal policy is now contractionary in many major economies." *RON*]

Larry Elliott, The Guardian, 18 February 2016
The OECD has called for its rich-country members to ease up on austerity and collectively agree to spend more on infrastructure projects to boost flagging growth.

The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development expressed concern about the state of the global economy as it cut growth forecasts made three months ago and warned that low interest rates and money creation by central banks were no longer enough for a lasting recovery.

Marking the latest stage in its shift away from support for austerity, the OECD criticised the over-reliance on monetary policy – low interest rates and the money-creation process known as quantitative easing – a…