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Showing posts from March 31, 2016

Trudeau to discuss horror scenario during U.S. trip: terrorists using nuclear weapons

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[This 'horror' story came out on exactly the same day the Trudeau government said it intends to do precisely nothing about nuclear weapons globally: "Dion said in a speech earlier this month that the current global security environment is simply not conducive to a ban on nuclear weapons because some states just won't relinquish them." See: Canada Must Push For Nuclear Free World, Despite Stephane Dion's Reticence: Activists. *RON*]

By Alexander Panetta, Canadian Press / The Province, 29 March 2016

WASHINGTON — Justin Trudeau will be among the world leaders gathering to contemplate the spine-tingling scenario of terrorists getting hold of nuclear weapons.

The prime minister will be in Washington this week at the last of the nuclear-safety summits organized by President Barack Obama.

The leaders will close out the two-day event with a session that discusses a hypothetical nuclear-terrorism scenario.

But that conversation will…

The enormous carbon footprint of food that we never even eat

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[One quarter of the food produced on earth is wasted, accounting for 7% of total global carbon emissions. *RON*]

By Chelsea Harvey, Washington Post, 28 March 2016
Discussions about how to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions frequently center on clean energy, more efficient transportation and sustainable agriculture. But research suggests that if we really want to pay attention to our carbon footprints, we should also be focusing on another, less-talked-about issue: the amount of food we waste each day.

Food waste is already a hot topic in its own right. But with mounting concerns about our ability to feed the world’s growing population (expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050), cutting down on food waste is a big concern for experts in global food security. Wasted food is a major problem worldwide: In a 2011 report, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated that, in 2007, about 1.6 billion tons of food were wasted. For compa…

The Food Industrial Complex

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[All the profit - and so, all the political clout - is in junk food. *RON*]

By Alex Mayyasi, Priceonomics, 24 March 2016

In 2011, during a debate over the nutritional guidelines for school lunches, Congress decided that pizza counts as a vegetable. And not for the first time.

The American government first proposed that an unhealthy food—if it contains trace amounts of a healthy ingredient—could count as a vegetable in 1981. Looking for ways to cut the school lunch budget, the Reagan Administration suggested that cafeterias include ingredients in condiments like pickle relish and ketchup toward nutritional requirements.

This was not good politics. Democrats and the press had a field day saying that Reagan had just classified ketchup as a vegetable. “This is one of the most ridiculous regulations I ever heard of,” Democratic Senator John Heinz, owner of Heinz, told the press, “and I suppose I need not add that I know something about ketchup and reli…

World watches Britain’s ‘living wage’ experiment

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[Following Seattle, Britain starts dramatically raising their minimum wage this week. It will rise to about $16.70 Canadian. Canada's highest minimum wage is in Nunavut, at $13. The highest provincial wage is $11.40 in Ontario (BC is $10.45). *RON*]

By Sarah O’Connor, Financial Times, 28 March 2016


“I feel as though I have died and gone to heaven,” said Britain’s skills minister in a recent speech, as he prepares to preside over the fastest rise in the minimum wage in the country’s history.

The new policy, which starts on Friday, will see the wages for low-paid workers rise four times faster than average earnings this year.

The world will be watching. Governments in many developed countries are turning to minimum wage policies as they try to deal with inequality and anaemic wage growth.

The stagnation in wages in recent years has been blamed on the rise of global competition, the decline in collective bargaining, a slowdown in productivity growth…

Turkish troops 'are KILLING refugees' as they try to cross border from Syria: Father and child are among 16 migrants 'shot dead in the past four months'

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[Refugees fleeing war in Syria are being shot dead by Turkish border forces. At least 16 migrants, including three children, killed in the past four months. A man and his child were killed in one incident and two refugees in another. Smuggler: Refugees who cross border will now either be killed or captured. *RON*]
By Katie Strick Daily Mail and Sam Tonkin MailOnline, 31 March 2016


Refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war are being shot dead by Turkish border forces, it was reported last night.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 16 migrants, including three children, had been killed in the past four months as they tried to cross into Turkey.

The true number is believed to be higher, according to a Syrian police officer and a Syrian smuggler who lives in Turkey, but it is impossible to say exactly how many because the bodies of those who fell on the Syrian side of the border were dragged back to be buried in the war zone.

Shoot to kill: Refugees fl…

How Austerity Has Crippled The European Economy – In Numbers

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[An unequivocal failure. The overall eurozone GDP is still below the 2008 peak and has performed below target for 3 years. Growth was only 1.6% in early 2016. Industrial production is down 10% from pre-crisis levels. One study shows that austerity reduced GDP by 7.7% from 2011-13. General unemployment is up from 7 to 10.5% while youth unemployment is up from 15 to 21.5%. "In early 2016, nearly one-quarter of EU citizens (24.6 per cent) are regarded as being at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion." All while the debt-to-GDP ratio continued to climb from 79.3% in 2009 to 93% in early 2016. *RON*]

By Thomas Fazi, Social Europe, 31 March 2016

Europe’s post-crisis response – consisting of a combination of fiscal austerity, neoliberal structural reforms and expansionary monetary policies – has unambiguously failed. In early 2016 – eight years after the outbreak of the financial crisis – the eurozone’s overall real GDP was still below the pre-…