Showing posts from March 13, 2016

Hold CBSA Accountable For Deporting Detainees To Torture

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[CBSA is a frighteningly opaque, powerful, undemocratic institution with very little oversight. *RON*]
Monia Mazigh, Huffington Post, 10 March 2016

On March 8, 2016, an unidentified man died in the custody of the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). The name of the person was not released, almost as if it doesn't matter already, or as if he had never existed in the first place.

Was he a refugee, someone with no papers? Was he young or old, healthy or not? We don't know. We might never know. No independent investigation has been ordered. CBSA continues to be above all forms of scrutiny. This is unacceptable.

Meanwhile, the fate of another man remains in the hands of the CBSA and the organization's recent assessment of his deportation to Algeria. Indeed Mohamed Harkat has been fighting a security certificate for over a decade.

A security certificate is a tool that allows the government to order the deportation of an individual deemed to …

Rhino poaching: Another year, another grim record

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[Despite recent high-profile arrests for ivory poaching, and statements by China that new ivory imports will be illegal, the trade in rhino horn in Southeast Asia (another key set of buyers are Saudi Arabians, which is not mentioned in this article) sadly continues to flourish. As usual, poverty and corruption are the drivers. *RON*]
By David Shukman, BBC News, 9 March 2016
The mass slaughter of rhinos has increased for the sixth year in a row, according to grim new figures from international researchers.

At least 1,338 of the iconic animals were killed for their horns in Africa last year.

This is the greatest loss in a single year since an intense wave of poaching began recently.

Since 2008, as many as 5,940 rhinos have been killed although scientists fear that could be an underestimate.

The findings were compiled by researchers from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The losses come despite a drive to fight poaching gangs…

Here's Why Even The World's Largest Coal Company Is Teetering On Bankruptcy

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[Domestic demand for coal has plummeted, and global demand (including China) is dropping steadily. Someone might like to tell the Port of Vancouver this. *RON*]

By Nick Abraham, DeSmog Blog, 9 March 2016
This is a guest post by Nick Abraham, originally published on Oil Check Northwest

Peabody Energy, the largest private coal company in the world, is one of the last remaining coal majors to still be floating above the bankruptcy tidal-wave that has hit the industry. But it now looks like that even this coal behemoth will likely go under. Languishing under the same over capitalization and changing market structures that have plagued the entire industry (more on that below) Peabody's stock has dropped 30% just since the final fiscal quarter of last year.

Peabody is now $6.3 billion in debt. Its Gateway Pacific terminal, just north of Bellingham, WA, (which if built would be the largest facility of its kind in North America) has been in a holding p…

What crisis? Big 3 credit ratings firms stronger than ever

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[Why is this not a government function? One of the guiltiest parties in the 2008 crash comes through not just unscathed, but actively flourishing. S&P, Moody’s and Fitch still issue more than 95% of global bond ratings, and profits are nearing all-time highs. *RON*]

By Timothy W. Martin, MarketWatch / Wall Street Journal, 11 March 2016

The three big ratings firms that played a central role in the last financial crisis never got a downgrade of their own.

Investors still overwhelmingly rely on Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings when deciding whether to buy bonds. The three issue more than 95% of global bond ratings, a total virtually unchanged from the pre-2008 period.

Profits also are nearing all-time highs as they ride a recent wave of debt sales and push into new lines of business.

The resilience of the industry’s largest players was on display again this week as Moody’s, a unit of Moody’s Co…

Basic income: New life for an old idea

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[A combination of economic uncertainty and political possibility (no more Harper!) is giving new life to an old policy idea. *RON*]

By Solomon Israel, CBC News, 9 March 2016
Related Stories
Free money for all could jumpstart the economy: Don Pittis
Is basic income a better way to deal with poverty?
Liberal MP pushes for government to study guaranteed minimum income
Does Quebec need a guaranteed minimum income?

In Ottawa, a federal MP is pushing for government research on the subject.

Ontario's provincial budget announced a pilot program to try it out. In Quebec, a cabinet minister has been assigned to study the topic.

The mayors of Calgary and Edmonton are both on board. And the Manitoba Liberals are promising their own trial if they win the April 19 provincial election.

Basic income is capturing political imaginations in Canada.

Joseph Stiglitz: American Inequality Didn’t Just Happen. It Was Created

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[How to keep power at the top of society. Excerpted from The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future by Joseph E. Stiglitz. Copyright © 2013, 2012 by Joseph E. Stiglitz. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. *RON*]

By Joseph E. Stiglitz, Evonomics, 13 March 2016

American inequality didn’t just happen. It was created. Market forces played a role, but it was not market forces alone. In a sense, that should be obvious: economic laws are universal, but our growing inequality— especially the amounts seized by the upper 1 percent—is a distinctly American “achievement.” That outsize inequality is not predestined offers reason for hope, but in reality it is likely to get worse. The forces that have been at play in creating these outcomes are self-reinforcing.
America’s current level of inequality is unusual. Compared with other countries and compared with what it was in the …