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Showing posts from February 16, 2017

U.S. vs. China: Whose income inequality is worse?

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[Somewhat surprisingly, it's the US. Wait, Trump has the answer! Launch a trade war and crash both economies! *RON*]

Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 13 February 2017

Play VIDEO Does China or the U.S. have a bigger income inequality problem?
Income inequality has become a hallmark of the modern economic era, and it’s not only U.S. citizens who are experiencing the trend.

Widening inequality has been called “one of the key challenges of our time” by the World Economic Forum. It cites the negatives associated with a growing gap between rich and poor: weaker social networks, rising crime and weaker democracies. The ratings agency S&P Global Ratings has cited the income gap as a long-term trend that threatens America’s economic growth.

Austerity was a bigger disaster than we thought

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["It turns out that cutting spending right after the worst crisis in 80 years only led to a lower gross domestic product and, in the most extreme cases, higher debt-to-GDP ratios. Cutting spending, you see, shouldn't be a problem as long as you can cut interest rates too. What happens, though, if interest rates are already zero, or, even worse, you're part of a currency union that means you can't devalue your way out of trouble? Well, nothing good." *RON*]

Matt O'Brien, Washington Post, 15 February 2017 We now take a break from your regularly scheduled scandals to bring you some not-so-breaking news: austerity was as big a disaster as its biggest critics said it was.

Church of England rejects report that opposes same-sex marriage

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[*RON*]
Lewis Corner, Gay Times, 16 February 2017


European commission issues 'final warning' to UK over air pollution breaches

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[Pollution level is described as shameful. UK is one of five countries persistently contravening legal nitrogen dioxide levels with pollution from factories and vehicles]

Arthur Neslen, The Guardian, 15 February 2017

Britain has been sent a final warning to comply with EU air pollution limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) or face a case at the European court of justice.

If the UK does not show Brussels how it intends to comply with EU law within two months, a court hearing with the power to impose heavy fines could begin later this year, as the Guardian revealed last week.

Seb Dance MEP, the Labour party’s environmental lead in the European parliament, told the Guardian: “Thousands of lives are lost each year yet the British government simply sits on its hands and does nothing. If the threat of hefty fines and legal action is not enough, then what on earth will compel the government to act when we leave the EU?”

Controversial Andrew Wakefield film Vaxxed will be screened in Vancouver

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[Wakefield plainly senses the time is ripe for 'alternative facts.' It comes in the wake of Donald Trump launching a review of vaccine safety. See also: Robert De Niro withdraws anti-vaccination movie from film festival. *RON*]
Charlie Smith, Georgia Straight, 2 February 2017

There's probably nothing that gets public health officials more agitated than suggestions that parents should not vaccinate their children.

In their mind, one of the greatest villains behind this is former British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield.

In 1998, Wakefield was the lead researcher for a paper linking the widely administered measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to the development of autism and bowel disease.

Defense Secretary Mattis issues new ultimatum to NATO allies on defense spending

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[See also: Trump’s calls for Europe to increase defense spending could force other upheaval and In first under Trump, Russian jets buzzed a U.S. destroyer at close range. *RON*]

By Dan Lamothe and Michael Birnbaum February 15 at 10:30 AM 

Mattis says that NATO is a 'fundamental bedrock' of transatlantic ties
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the NATO military alliance is central to ties between America and Europe and remains of importance to the United States. (Reuters)

BRUSSELS — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued an ultimatum Wednesday to allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, warning that if they do not boost their defense spending to goals set by the alliance, the United States may alter its relationship with them.