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Showing posts from March 7, 2016

Europe’s hope for unity fading as it confronts rising discontent

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[The threatened ‘Brexit’ is only one of many signs Europe is deeply divided. With nationalist parties on the rise, crises keep piling up. A dissolution of the EU could have long-term impacts on U.S. security. Of course, the people who have been nay-sayers all along are having a field-day. *RON*]
By Matthew Schofield, McClatchyDC, 2 March 2016
German wags and social media commentators, looking at the current cocktail of woes facing the European Union, have come up with a notion of a single fix: the “Saxit,” or the forced exit of the deeply angry German state of Saxony from Germany and the EU.

It’s a jest perhaps only a German would understand.

Revealed: the 30-year economic betrayal dragging down Generation Y’s income

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[Exclusive new data shows how debt, unemployment and property prices have combined to stop millennials taking their share of western wealth. Not much is said in this piece about what could be done to improve this situation, however! *RON*]

Who’s winning? Find out how your income compares with every other generation
Caelainn Barr and Shiv Malik, The Guardian, 7 March 2016

The full scale of the financial rout facing millennials is revealed today in exclusive new data that points to a perfect storm of factors besetting an entire generation of young adults around the world.

A combination of debt, joblessness, globalisation, demographics and rising house prices is depressing the incomes and prospects of millions of young people across the developed world, resulting in unprecedented inequality between generations.

A Guardian investigation into the prospects of millennials – those born between 1980 and the mid-90s, and often otherwise known as Generation Y…

Whistleblower Delivers A Triple Whammy To Olympus; More Companies Might Get Hit

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[Quite a fine! More signs of, perhaps, a greater willingness to push back against the corporatocracy? Notice, though, that this is a foreign company in a non-financial sector. *RON*]

Erika Kelton, Forbes, 4 March 2016

Olympus Corp. of the Americas’ jaw-dropping $646 million settlement with the Justice Department this week was important not just because it set a new record for kickback cases, but also because it shows how important whistleblowers are to regulators’ global anti-corruption enforcement agenda.

Now, more than ever, international companies are vulnerable to a variety of legal charges in the US when they export illegal sales practices. Those vulnerabilities are heightened even more by the possibility that employees – whether in the US or other countries – may decide to blow the whistle on those hidden practices because of US programs that offer whistleblowers significant rewards and also, in some instances, job protection and confidential…

Exclusive: U.S. watchdog to probe Fed's lax oversight of Wall Street

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[This would be great - let's hope it has legs (and teeth). *RON*]

By Jonathan Spicer, Reuters, 4 March 2016

A U.S. watchdog agency is preparing to investigate whether the Federal Reserve and other regulators are too soft on the banks they are meant to police, after a written request from Democratic lawmakers that marks the latest sign of distrust between Congress and the central bank.

Ranking representatives Maxine Waters of the House Financial Services Committee and Al Green of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations asked the Government Accountability Office on Oct. 8 to launch a probe of "regulatory capture" and to focus on the New York Fed, according to a letter obtained by Reuters.

In an interview, the congressional agency said it has begun planning its approach.

The probe, which had not been previously reported or made public, is the first by an outside agency into the perception that government regulators are "capt…

The FBI Has a New Plan to Spy on High School Students Across the Country

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[Trump-World is already here. "...in its caution to avoid the appearance of discrimination, the agency [FBI] identifies risk factors that are so broad and vague that virtually any young person could be deemed dangerous and worthy of surveillance, especially if she is socio-economically marginalized or politically outspoken." *RON*]
By Sarah Lazare, AlterNet, 6 March 2016

Under new guidelines, the FBI is instructing high schools across the country to report students who criticize government policies and "western corruption" as potential future terrorists, warning that "anarchist extremists" are in the same category as ISIS and young people who are poor, immigrants or travel to "suspicious" countries are more likely to commit horrific violence.

Based on the widely unpopular British "anti-terror" mass surveillance program, the FBI's "Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools" guidelines, …

Death and Despair in China's Rustbelt

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[Several weeks ago we had a story about lung cancer rates soaring in China's steel country. Now this piece. *RON*]

By Bloomberg News, 1 March 2016
In a snow-covered valley in northeast China, an hour from the North Korean border, a street with brightly-painted apartment blocks hides a story of fear and anger as dangerous to the country as its rollercoaster stock market or sliding currency.

The frozen alluvial river plain that was once at the forefront of the Communist Party’s first attempt to build a modern economy has now fallen behind, leaving a valley of brutal murder, protests, anger, suicide and regret.