Showing posts from March 17, 2016

Syria civil war: Kurds declare federal region in north

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[Democratic Union Party and allied groups approve a document that declares a "federal democratic system" in country's north. *RON*]

Source: Al Jazeera Staff and Agencies, Al Jazeera, 17 Mar 2016

The Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and several allied groups have voted to create an autonomous federation in the northern part of Syria.

Officials of the PYD claimed autonomy in the Kurdish-controlled areas on Thursday after two days of meetings with delegates of different communities in the country's north.

Representatives of the Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian communities and other ethnic groups met in the town of Rmeilan in Hassakeh province to discuss combining three Kurdish-led autonomous areas into a federal system.

Both the Syrian government and one of the main opposition blocs have rejected the move.

What’s the Problem With ‘Free Trade’?

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["Freeing up trade does not open new markets as much as it enables giant, multinational corporations to become even more giant and more multinational – at the expense of smaller companies and the rest of us... Free trade encourages further exploitation of workers and the environment in other countries and here." Hopefully Americans will get this and create pressure to drop TPP; that and a blockade by the Republican Party because Obama. *RON*]

By Dave Johnson, Moyers & Company, 15 March 2016

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future blog.

Our country’s “free trade” agreements have followed a framework of trading away our democracy and middle-class prosperity in exchange for letting the biggest corporations dominate.

There are those who say any increase in trade is good. But if you close a factory here and lay off the workers, open the factory “there” to make the same things the factory here used to make and brin…

Netherlands votes to ban weapons exports to Saudi Arabia

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[The Dutch parliament cited Saudi mass executions and the bombing campaign in Yemen. But the Trudeau government can't see fit to support Elizabeth May's proposal for Canada to do the same. *RON*]
Adam Withnall, The Independent, 16 March 2016

The Dutch parliament has voted to ban arms exports to Saudi Arabia in protest against the kingdom's humanitarian and rights violations.

It sees the Netherlands become the first EU country to put in practice a motion by the European Parliament in February urging a bloc-wide Saudi arms embargo.

The bill, voted through by Dutch MPs on Tuesday, quoted UN figures which suggest almost 6,000 people - half of them civilians - have been killed since Saudi-led troops entered the conflict in Yemen.

It also cited the mass execution of 47 people, largely political dissidents, ordered by the Saudi judiciary on 2 January this year.

B.C. Liberals Have Mastered The Art Of Returning Donors' Favours

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[And, in case you were wondering what drives the endless string of abysmally senseless political decisions about resource projects in Super Natural BC... Hint: corporatocratic cronyism. *RON*]
Dermod Travis, Exec Dir IntegrityBC, Huffington Post, 15 March 2016

News this month that the Interior Health Authority had reached a 20-year agreementto outsource laundry services to Ecotex Healthcare Linen Service is the latest in a long string of odd coincidences involving companies that donate to the B.C. Liberal party and companies that do well by the B.C. government.

Ecotex has donated more than $125,000 to the B.C. Liberals since 2005.

Its billings to the Fraser Health Authority -- where it has a similar contract -- have risen from $5.44 million in 2007 to $7.7 million in 2015, an increase of 41.6 per cent.

Truth be told similar coincidences have been happening between campaign contributors and political parties since time immemorial, but the B.C. gover…

Vaughn Palmer: B.C. LNG prospects continue to fade

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[A recent U.S. decision denying approval for an Oregon LNG project cited lack of potential market for product. And this is happening at exactly the same time as the Liberal government is tooting its horn over this: Natural gas supply in B.C. dramatically greater than original estimates. See also: Canada-U.S. Plan to Nearly Halve Methane Emissions Could Be Huge Deal for the Climate and What Keeping Oil in the Ground Can Do for Economic Inequality. *RON*]

By Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, 14 March 2016

VICTORIA — As Premier Christy Clark marks her fifth year in office, U.S. regulators have served up some discouraging news about the current prospects for selling North American liquefied natural gas in Asian markets.

The latest setback happened Friday when the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) turned thumbs down to an estimated $9.5 billion LNG project in Oregon for lack of evidence of any overseas market for the stuff.

“A decision tha…

Liberals to restore Old Age Security eligibility to 65

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[Good news for seniors, not so hot for Gen Y. Perhaps this is what happens when you don't get out and vote? An excellent alternative to all this is being discussed in New Zealand, Finland, Netherlands and Ontario: New Zealanders want to give everyone a 'citizen's wage' and scrap benefits. *RON*]

By Laura Stone, Globe and Mail, 17 March 2016

Next week’s budget will return Canada’s pension eligibility to age 65, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday.

Mr. Trudeau made the announcement in an interview with Bloomberg editor-in-chief John Micklethwait at the company’s offices in New York. He had promised the change during last year’s election.

“We are keeping the old retirement age at 65,” Mr. Trudeau told the room of journalists and businesspeople. “How we care for our most vulnerable in society is really important.”

He said his predecessor, Stephen Harper, was wrong to move the Old Age Security eligibility to 67 from 65. Mr. Ha…