Showing posts from September 29, 2016

Animal trafficking: the $23bn criminal industry policed by a toothless regulator

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[The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species finds itself confronting powerful networks, but has no detectives, police powers or firearms. Part of an excellent, albeit bloody discouraging, series in The Guardian. See also: Revealed: the criminals making millions from illegal wildlife trafficking, and The crime family at the centre of Asia's animal trafficking network. *RON*]

Nick Davies and Oliver Holmes, The Guardian, 26 September 2016

The illegal trade in wildlife is a most attractive crime. But it is highly destructive, and its scale is threatening the extinction of some of the world’s most iconic species.

It is also grotesquely cruel: poachers slice off the faces of live rhinos to steal their horns; militia groups use helicopters to shoot down elephants for their tusks; factory farmers breed captive tigers to marinate their bones for medicinal wine and fry their flesh for the dinner plate; bears are kept for a lifetime in t…

Monetary policy isn't working, and central bankers are getting desperate

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[A good one on the failure of monetarism, a dead horse that's been heartily flogged since the Reagan/Thatcher days. When it all falls apart, "we will just have to see when and whether we get a fiscal response and how effective that response is. Monetary policy is out of bullets." See also: WTO cuts 2016 world trade growth forecast to 1.7 percent, cites wake-up call. *RON*]

Edward Harrison, Credit Writedowns / Business Insider, 26 September 2016

The last few days have made clear that monetary policy is having less and less impact as time goes along. In particular, the latest salvos from the Bank of Japan smack of desperation, as if BOJ Governor Kuroda has decided to throw everything but the kitchen sink into his grab bag of unorthodox monetary policy. Because the Bank of Japan is so far along the curve toward both secular stagnation and unorthodox policy to counteract that slowing, we should pay attention to how their experiments go.…

Guess How Much That Anti-LGBTQ Law is Costing North Carolina

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[Answer: $400 million. Investors don't like their discrimination this overt. See also: Investors blame North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law for the economic backlash. *RON*]
Emma Grey Ellis, Wired, 18 September 2016

IN MARCH, NORTH Carolina state legislators banned transgender people from peeing in the bathroom of their choosing. According to the law, HB2 or the “bathroom bill,” when you’re in public building—a government agency, a public school, whatever—the gender listed on your birth certificate is the only one that matters. You remember the initial hubbub: North Carolina and the federal government suing each other, the boycotts and the hashtags and the Bruce Springsteen concerts cancelled.

In spite of that, North Carolina’s government hasn’t repealed the law, and this week, the state lost high-profile sporting events, too, as the ACC and the NCAA pulled their championship games out of the state in protest. (If the NCAA is looking at you sideways…

California police shoot and kill unarmed, mentally ill black man

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[Witnesses say he was having a seizure. *RON*]

Carimah Townes, Think Progress, 28 September 2016

When Alfred Olango’s sister called 911 for police to assist him,she had no idea that the officers would kill him. But instead of helping Olango, who was reportedly unarmed and having a psychotic episode, officers fatally shot him, saying he was “acting erratically.”

The siblings were at a shopping center in El Cajon, California on Wednesday afternoon when Olango’s sister reached out to authorities. The 30-year-old man had a history of mental illness and was in the middle of a psychotic break. Police were informed of his mental health status, but when Olango didn’t follow commands, they shot him.

U.S. Mining Company Defends Deploying Hired Thugs Against Indigenous Farmers in Peru

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[Similar attacks on environmental defenders are mounting throughout Central and South America. *RON]
By Sarah LazareAlterNet, 27 September 2016

The Denver-based Newmont Mining Corporation was hit with negative press last week following reports that its Peruvian subsidiary sent security forces to attack the prominent indigenous environmental defender Máxima Acuña de Chaupe at her remote farm in the northern Andean highlands. Now, the mining giant's latest public relations campaign to defend its use of force against the Chaupe family, including the destruction of their crops, is provoking fresh outcry from human rights and environmental organizations.

Máxima attracted international acclaim—and a Goldman Environmental Prize—for her years-long resistance against the Yanacocha mining company, which is 51.35 percent owned by Newmont and has waged a relentless campaign to transform her plot into the open-pit Conga gold and copper mine. In retaliati…

Trudeau government on defensive after approving "carbon bomb"

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[Wasting all this political good will for what? "It costs $4 or $5 per thousand cubic feet to liquefy and $2 to move it. That’s $6 that you need to subtract from the $6 or $7 you’re going to get for it when you get across to the Asian market. That leaves you $1 or $2 to get it to market, get it out of the ground, pay royalties and taxes, and the LNG tax." And Christy's simply too proud to publicly remove her foot from her mouth where LNG is concerned. *RON*]

By Elizabeth McSheffrey, National Observer, 28 September 2016

Less than 24 hours after the approval of a controversial $36-billion liquefied natural gas project in British Columbia, the Trudeau government — swooned over for its bold climate commitments in Paris last year — has found itself under attack for what critics label a major conflict between its environmental commitments and economic interests.

But while a number of critics warned the Pacific Northwest LNG project was a…