Showing posts from July 27, 2016

It’s Official: Clark’s LNG ‘Plan’ Was a Fantasy

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[The latest developments in Hawaii should put end to faith in job and prosperity promises. *RON*]
By Dermod Travis,, 22 Jul 2016
It seems like only yesterday that British Columbians were being told that the province was on the cusp of LNG riches. In fact, it almost was.

Last October, Finance Minister Mike de Jong predicted: “We are poised to see the final steps taken. Every step of the way, there have been detractors and naysayers and people who have dismissed the opportunities.”

Those final steps hit a speed bump last Friday when the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission nixed NextEra Energy’s proposed $4.3 billion purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries.

The decision effectively scuttled a 20-year agreement for Fortis to sell LNG to Hawaiian Electric that had been announced eight weeks earlier with all the customary fanfare.

Natural Gas Minister Rich Coleman boasted that the announcement “showcases British Columbia’s capacity to supply cle…

Consumer confidence fell less than expected

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[Neoliberal economic policies are not working. But they're certainly doing a great job of managing our expectations. Now we're at the point where we're supposed to be excited about announcements that the economy "is not doing quite as badly as we thought!" The Canadian version of this pathetic attitude is: At least 40 percent of Canada oil spill recovered: officials. Oh, joy! Of course that brilliant news comes after this: Pipeline oil leak detected 14 hours before Saskatchewan government notified. See also: Worried about the oil spill threatening north Saskatchewan's drinking water? It's just one of 18,000. *RON*]

Elena Holodny, Business Insider, 26 July 2016

The Conference Board's consumer confidence index fell to 97.3 in July, which was a lesser drop than expected.

Economists had forecast that the index slipped to 96 this month, after improving to 98.

The index had leveled off after steady gains in the past f…

George Osborne’s austerity choked off the recovery: Brexit is his legacy

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["The former chancellor’s reputation lies in tatters after six years of punishing the poor and rewarding the rich prompted the referendum revolt." This is gaining ground as an interpretation of the Brexit vote. See also: Brexit, Austerity and the Future of the European Union, and Nicola Sturgeon: Brexit was caused by years of austerity. *RON*]

Aditya Chakrabortty, The Guardian, 15 July 2016

By March 2015, George Osborne was pulling together his final budget before the general election. The austerity chancellor had already hacked billions from health, education and social security; now he planned to slash billions more. But he had prepared one massive give-away: the complete abolition of taxes on savings, worth well over £1bn in lost revenue.

It was costly, at a time when the government was cutting to the bone. It was unjust, throwing millions at the richest, who needed it least. And it was a kick in the teeth to all those whose lives had…

OSFI tells some banks to test for sharp drops in Vancouver, Toronto housing markets

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[The financial institution watchdog says the banks should stress test for 40-50% drop in housing prices. See also: The basic reason why there just isn’t enough decent housing for the poor. *RON*]

CBC News, 26 July 2016
Related Stories
Regulator tells Canadian banks to pay more attention to their mortgage loans
Banking regulator to hike amount of capital lenders must hold against mortgages
Top bank regulator warns of housing risks

Some of Canada's banks must stress test their ability to withstand a 50 per cent drop in housing prices in Metro Vancouver area and a 40 per cent drop in the Greater Toronto Area, the country's banking regulator says.

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions also said Tuesday that the banks must all test for a 30 per cent downturn in valuations for all other areas of the country.

Australia PM calls for investigation into juvenile 'torture'

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[When something like this happens to Australians the government takes fast action. When something like this happens, the Aussie government studies its fingernails: Refugee camp company in Australia 'liable for crimes against humanity'. *RON*]
BBC News, 26 July 2016.

Australia's prime minister has called a royal commission after a TV investigation showed prison guards assaulting boys in juvenile detention.

The Four Corners programme showed footage of teenage offenders stripped naked, assaulted and tear gassed.

One of the boys was hooded and cuffed to a mechanical restraint chair wearing a "spit hood".

The Northern Territory's Attorney General John Elferink has been stripped of his corrections portfolio.

The report raised questions about an institutionalised culture of abuse at corrections centres in the Northern Territory, an administrative district that covers a large part of Australia's north.
'Shocked and appalled&#…

Prosecutors drop charges in Freddie Gray case

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[There's something wrong with the world. *RON*]

The Associated Press, CTV News, 27 July 2016
Prosecutors have dropped the remaining charges against Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, bringing an end to the case without a conviction.

Grey was a black man who was critically injured in the back of a police van in April 2015.

Prosecutors' decision Wednesday comes after a judge had already acquitted three of the six officers charged in the case, including the van driver and another officer who was the highest-ranking of the group.

A fourth officer had his case heard by a jury, who deadlocked and the judge declared a mistrial.

Prosecutors had said Gray was illegally arrested after he ran away from a bike patrol officer and the officers failed to buckle Gray into a seat belt or call a medic when he indicated he wanted to go to a hospital.

The death added fuel to the growing Black Lives Matter movement and caused turmoil in Baltim…