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Rhondda Records Daily Cartoon
having a laugh - WITH the Rhondda !
Richard Gould's Page
Move over Titch Gwilym and Micky Gee, Richard Gould IS the new Welsh virtuoso
Efran Kaye's Page
The master of music, Efran Kaye is here!
Peace Page
A Page from the Rhondda dedicated to Peace
Peace Events Page
Some activities you just might like to aid Peace
Penrhys, Rhondda Page
A page telling the story of a unique magical village - Penrhys, in the Rhondda !
Rhondda History Page
A page to help those who want to know the Rhonddas past
Your Health Page
A page to help your health - be positive !
Jobs in the Arts Page
News of opportunities in drama, music, dance in Wales
Quotations Page
Words said in truth or jest
Rhondda Records' Top Ten Books Page
Great Thinkers point the way forward
One Union
A Page to help unity among working people
Glynbyerful Male (voice) Choir's Very Own Page
a choir from all the Glyns of the Rhondda for nutters
A Page for those who DO care about true folk
Poetry and Literature in Wales Page
Poetry and Literature in Wales
Welsh Recipes Page
Food to honour from Wales' tradition for now
Siarad Gwmraeg?
Welsh language News
Discussion Page
Let's open up and share (communicate)
Rhondda Records' Shop
Stuff yew cun buy, frwm the Rhondda, innit
Poet's Page
music and opinion from Wales' wandering poet.
Business Support
courses, seminars, advice, trends, jobs, help business & economy.

Rhondda Records Home Page

We wish you all SHALOM ! (PEACE)

The US war lobby is still trying to destroy Syria,
but has
n't yet dragged us into World War Three.
Let’s hope they ca
n’t succeed in Ukraine either.
By the way, did you know that...
Donets'k, founded in 1869, was originally named
Yuzovka (Yuzivka) in honour of John Hughes, the
Welsh industrialist who founded the coal industry
in Donbass region?
Efran Kaye is still producing masterpieces!
'HOT COFFEE' is here for you!
with 4 other tracks from the master on his page...

'Live To Try' a call from the Heart,
second,"Vanity Trance", which takes you on
a journey from town, far into the country,
then"Endless Sea", which asks us all the question:
where DO we go from here? and finally,
"Rising Tide", which envelopes you
in surround-sound Peace!

The brilliant Richard Gould is here with his own page,
and four unique, free tracks for you to enjoy...
"Our Strange Light": - cosmic! -
"Thicker Than Water", an affectionate tribute to
his late father, who passed on in 2011,
"Creation", a sweet explosion of music...

and now
"Horus" which Richard says is
just best played - no words here needed!!!


Lots of great music scattered over several Pages:

"Wales; honest & free", "It Comforts You", "We Can",
"Requiem", "Be Good" "I'm Loved By God", etc.

- please watch this space for many more
great new tracks - and a few surprises! -
like "Mother Jones", "What Goes Around",
and "Hey Beautiful Girl" on Poet's Page,

'Jobsworth' on the 'Jobs in the Arts' Page,
'Penrhys Hill' on Penrhys, Rhondda, Page,
& 'Plenty More Fish' and now GYPSY HOUR,
on Poet's Page!

plus 'Rise Up Africa' on the 'ONE UNION" Page
and 'The White House Sparrow of Penrhys'
plus 'Love is Bliss and Pain', again, on the
Penrhys, Rhondda, Page

and now! A Tribute to Maggie by
the Glynbyerful Male (voice) Choir
on their very own page!!!!

Land Day 2015

Today, March the 30th, is

Land Day 2015.

Land Day commemorates the day in 1976,
 when the Israeli government announced
 its expropriation of thousands of dunams
 of land for Israel's security & 'settlement'.

 A general strike & marches were organized
 in Arab towns: from the Galilee to the Negev.

 In confrontations with Israel's army & police,
six unarmed Arab citizens were killed, about
a hundred wounded, and hundreds arrested.

This was a pivotal event in the struggle
 over land - and in the relationship of Arab
 citizens to Israeli statehood and politics.

 It was the first time since 1948, that Arabs
 in Israel had organized a response to the
Zionist project --- as a Palestinian nation.

 Today is marked not only by Arab citizens of
 Israel, but by Palestinians across the world.

events in Rhondda

The Poet and other stories

Dorothy Morris says:

Jacqueline Janine Jones

will be exhibiting
Greenspace Gallery

Saturday 24th March,
April the 18th.

I'm really excited to have this up and coming
 artist at Greenspace & she's been selected to
exhibit her work in The RCA next September,
a group exhibition curated by Shani Rhys
James.... !

Greenspace Gallery,
30 King Street,
SA31 1BS


Recluse AltRock invites you to Recluse's event

Novana & Recluse

- The Globe, Cardiff -

Friday 3rd, April


Clwb y Bont Pontypridd Boyd Clack 25th April

Hay in May

Doyl Vic invites you to

3 weekends of live music
and spoken word events

 at The Hollybush Inn & Campsite,
on May 2nd/3rd, 23rd/24th. 30th/31st.

wristbands £5 a day, car parking & camping,
restaurant etc available, book early -

and mention hay in may when you book, this
is a
riverine environment with kayaking and
potential as well, just ask etc.



Roger Waters formerly of Pink Floyd, in an open letter,
 calls on his fellow musicians to boycott the Zionist
Israeli regime and follow the example of the cultural
boycott against the ex South African Apartheid regime.

“Given the inability or unwillingness of our governments
 [to act] …. I write to you now, my brothers and sisters …
 to ask you to join with me, and thousands of other artists
 around the world, to declare a cultural boycott on Israel,”
Roger Waters says in his letter.

Waters says the Zionist regime has been found guilty of
 major breaches of human rights and the international law
 by international organizations, UN officials and the
International Court of Justice.

He touches on two such cases, saying the regime has been
 identified as perpetrating the “crime of Apartheid”, including
 in a statement on March 9th, 2012 by the UN Committee on
the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and the “crime of
ethnic cleansing” including in East Jerusalem (al-Quds).

Waters adds that he has been a member of the Boycott,
 Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the
 Israeli regime’s occupation of the Palestinian lands and
 Tel Aviv’s violations of Palestinian human rights for seven
 years, and now wants other musicians to also join the
 anti-Israeli front.

“Please join me and all our brothers and sisters in global
 civil society in proclaiming our rejection of Apartheid in
 Israel and occupied Palestine, by pledging not to perform
 or exhibit in Israel or accept any award or funding from
 any institution linked to the government of Israel, until
 such time as Israel complies with international law and
 universal principles of human rights.” 

The former Pink Floyd Musician also says he has recently
 faced a boycott by the US media after his November 29th,
 2012 address at the UN on behalf of the Russell Tribunal.

In the address, he sought accountability for the Zionist
 regime’s violations of the international law and the lack
 of United Nations resolve that prevents the Palestinian
 people from achieving their inalienable rights,
the right of self-determination.



Tickets from



browse venues in Wales


02920 230130

Cash tickets from:

The Factory, Porth
Instrumental Music, Penygraig
Spillers Records, Cardiff

For more details visit

Twitter @TheFactoryPorth
01443 687080


Daytime Delights...

Starts at 1pm
The Parc & Dare, Treorchy

Lunchtime Concerts in the Lounge Bar.

Indulge in a delicious cake and a cup of tea
while enjoying music and sing-along songs
from fantastic Welsh musicians.

Ticket information:
The Cultural Services Booking & Information Line:
08000 147 111
or book online at


Mid Rhondda Modelling Club...

7pm - 9pm

Tonyrefail Comprehensive School
Mid Rhondda Modelling Club
has been running for over 30 years.

We meet on a regular basis
& enjoy making models for display.

We encourage both Gentlemen
and Ladies to attend,
and also young people aged 12+.
However, Young people under 16,
must be accompanied by an adult.

Ticket information
£1 contribution every week. Under 16's free

Telephone Mr. Davies on 01443 686658


 Comedy In The Laughter Lounge

The Park & Dare Theatre, Treorchy.


Join us once a month in the intimate setting
of the Laughter Lounge for some
top notch comedy with some of the
biggest and brightest

rising comedians on the circuit.

Laugh? You'll snort like a pig!

Hilarious - TimeOut.


Wales elderly paying for health care

Figures released by The Office for National Statistics
(ONS) reveal that UK pensioners are 4th worst off....
out of all of the countries in the European Union.


'Tory scorched earth policy': National Health Service
 signs biggest-ever privatization deal

The National Health Service (NHS) has agreed its
 largest ever deal to privatize services in an attempt
 to tackle the increasing backlog of patients waiting
 for surgery, scans and tests. Critics say the move is
 undemocratic and threatens care standards.

The deal, worth up to £780 million, will see 11 private
 firms perform heart and joint surgery, carry out scans
 and provide diagnostic tests for patients from mobile
 medical facilities.

NHS Supply Chain secured the deal, which marks an
 increase in the number of mobile units being used for
 procedures. Local NHS trusts will be able to buy in
 the services if they are suffering a backlog.

However, the move now allows the health service
 to rapidly buy in private services, causing concern
 among supporters of continued public ownership.

The Labour Party’s Shadow Health Secretary, Andy
 Burnham, says the contract shows that “chunks”
of the health service are being sold off. The Dept of
 Health, however, claims the deal does not mean an
 increase in levels of privatization.

“It is outrageous that large chunks of the NHS
 are being parceled up and sold off without the
 permission of a single person in this country,”
 Burnham says.

“This now needs to become an election issue.
The country has never given its approval for
 the NHS to be bought and sold in this way.

“This sounds like a race to the bottom. It’s clear
 that quality isn't a deciding factor when people
 with poor care records are winning contracts,”
 he says.

Some private companies involved in the deal
 have previously faced criticism for providing
 substandard care for patients in hospitals
care homes.

The Guardian calculates the 4-year deal can
 secure firms maximum profits of £780 million,
with five national contracts of £240 million,
 £160 million, £240 million, £80 million and
£60 million, respectively.

It's the largest private deal since Virgin Care
was awarded £500 million in 2012 to provide
 community services in Surrey until 2017.

Dr Jacky Davis, founding member of Keep
 Our NHS Public and author of NHS for Sale:

"What we are seeing now is Tory scorched earth
 policy, pushing through their biggest ever NHS
 privatisation deal. And they are doing this ahead
 of an election which they're afraid they won't win
 because of the damage they've done to the NHS."

"Jeremy Hunt insists they aren't privatising the NHS
 but this is just nonsense." she adds. "Private firms
 don't want to run most of the NHS because they can
not make a profit. But just look instead at profitable
 areas, where they are running up to two thirds of the
 services. These include community services and the
 diagnostic tests and elective surgery involved in this
 massive contract. This is privatisation by any

Davis remarks that another Conservative government
 would "be the end of the NHS".

A spokesperson for the Department of Health calls
 the suggestion of greater privatization “nonsense.”

“Use of the private sector in the NHS represents only
 6% of the total NHS budget: an increase of just 1.7%
 since May 2010.”

Vanguard, one of the companies involved in the
 recent deal, lost its contract with a hospital
it emerged their surgeons had performed
operations and patients reported

They are currently facing legal action over a series
 of eye operations at Musgrove Hospital in 2014.

Another company, Circle, controversially pulled out
 of the running of Hitchingbrooke Hospital following
a damning report into levels of care. Circle was the
 first private firm to manage an NHS hospital.


Employees from British Museum
               Strike against Privatization               
The employees of the British National Gallery
 held a 5-day strike from Feb 3 to 7, against
the privatization of visitor services.

The Public and Commercial Service Union (PCS)
 says in its statement, that the 250 employees
 there, oppose attempts to charge for the guide
 service and for public educational courses at
 a centre belonging to the British people.


UK ministry bids for deal
 with Saudi prison service

A commercial arm of the UK Justice Ministry
 is bidding for a multi-million pound contract
 with Saudi Arabia’s prison service, despite
human rights concerns.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) hopes to profit
 from selling its expertise to the Persian Gulf
 monarchy, which faces accusations of human
rights violations, the Guardian reports Sunday.

The new commercial arm of the ministry,
 Just Solutions international (JSi) has bid
 for a £5.9 million contract in Saudi Arabia;
 will soon start setting up a probation
service in Macedonia; and is also in the
running to build a prison in Oman, the
report adds.

Human rights groups have raised concerns
 over the MoJ working so closely with Riyadh
-- which is currently under scrutiny over the
 botched execution of a woman who died
 protesting her innocence, and the harsh
 punishment given to a liberal blogger --
 not to mention the kingdom’s severe
crushing of anti-government protesters.

“Amnesty has serious concerns about
Saudi Arabia’s justice system, given its
 use of the death penalty, the prevalence
 of torture in detention, and its use of
cruel and degrading punishment,” the
report quoted Amnesty’s UK head of
 policy and government affairs Allan
 Hogarth, as saying.

The British ministry said all JSi projects
had to be signed off by the Foreign Office
and the local embassy after an evaluation
 that covers human rights, but declined
 to provide further details as the project
 is “commercially sensitive”.

The JSi bid was featured in a December
 report to parliament which gave details
 of a memorandum of understanding on
 judicial cooperation signed by the UK
and Saudi Arabian justice ministers in
Riyadh in September.

It said the contract will be “to conduct
 a training needs analysis across all the
 learning and development programs,
in the Saudi Arabian prison service.”

It is also unclear how much money
JSi will be able to earn for the justice
ministry, or whether that income will
come at the expense of other UK
services, as there are no public
accounts for the organization.




Only the few intelligent customers who
appreciate what the Co-op does to keep
food standards safe, shop there now.

So many claim it's "too expensive" and
shop elsewhere, as a tsunami of cheap
adulterated food hits the UK public...

A newspaper report shows that over a third
of food & drink sold in the UK is mislabeled.

According to the report, run by the Guardian,
 food samples taken recently show the huge
 scale of cheating and misrepresentation.

Citing laboratory tests, it says consumers are
 being sold food including;- mozzarella that is
less than half real cheese, "ham" on pizzas
 that is either poultry or “meat emulsion,”
and frozen prawns that are 50% water.

West Yorkshire’s public analyst, Dr. Duncan
 Campbell, says of the findings:

“We are routinely finding problems with over
 a third of samples, which is disturbing at a time
 when the budget for food standards inspection
 and analysis is being cut.”

Maria Eagle, shadow environment secretary:

 “Consumers deserve to know what they are
buying and eating and cracking down on the
mislabeling of food must become a greater
priority for government.”

A year ago, DNA tests proved that foods
advertised as containing beef in the UK
& across Europe, contained undeclared
horse meat.


            UK Students Demonstrate Against Cuts          

 4 people  are arrested as thousands of students
 march through London to stop education cuts,
tuition fees and student debt.

The Free Education march was held against
 tuition fees of up to £9,000 (11,800 dollars)
 a year at universities in England.

It was backed by groups including the
 National Campaign Against Fees & Cuts
 who want free higher education.

The demonstration was scheduled to finish
 earlier but some marchers stayed in central
 London: there were clashes with police.

Officers forced them back and arrested 2
 people for affray, while two others were
 arrested for assaults on police officers.

Student groups from universities across
the UK joined the march against tuition
fees, student debt and spending cuts.

The march was supported by groups
 like the Student Assembly Against
Austerity and the Young Greens.


UK parents hit by government cuts in legal aid

Official figures show that 20,000 UK parents
 were all forced to represent themselves last
year, before family courts, after government
cuts to legal aid.

According to the report, for the first time over
half of the parents, or 58%, went to court with
no lawyer to fight their cases in 2013/2014.

The increase in such cases follows the Tory
government's decision in April 2013, to cut
 legal aid for most private family law issues.

The government argued at the time, that
cutting legal aid to family law would result
in parents solving their disputes through
mediation, rather than through the courts.

However, the newly-released figures show
family courts in England and Wales dealt
with 19,140 more unrepresented parents
 compared to the previous year.


Wales bans smoking in cars with children
Smoking in private vehicles with child
passengers is now banned in Wales -
another UK "first", for Wales.

Although the latest research showed that
 the number of children being exposed to
 smoking in private vehicles has declined,
a sizeable minority of young people is still
 exposed to 2nd-hand tobacco smoke and
adults are continuing to smoke when
 children are in the cars.

"In 2012, we launched the Fresh Start Wales
 campaign to promote smoke-free cars carrying
 children and raise awareness to parents and
others of the risk their smoking poses to the
health of children. We made clear throughout
 that campaign, that we would consider the
 possibility of legislation when evidence of
the prevalence of smoking in cars carrying
children in Wales is available in the summer
of 2014," says Carwyn Jones, first minister.

"There is also evidence from a primary school
 survey that inequalities in children's exposure
 to second hand smoke remains, so we'll press
 ahead with plans to ban people smoking in
cars carrying children," he adds.

"Although the research findings show that
progress has been made in reducing children's
 exposure to second-hand smoke in cars, we
 now believe that introduction of regulations to
 prohibit smoking in private vehicles carrying
 under-18s is needed as the final piece in the
 jigsaw to eliminate the harm & end persistent
 inequalities in exposure," Mark Drakeford,
 health minister of Wales, says.


80% of UK school buildings
 ‘crumbling, beyond their life cycle’

The Government must invest more in building
new schools, as almost 80% of today's buildings
should not still be in operation, say architects.

Children across the UK are being failed by four-fifths
 of schools that are “beyond their life cycle,” while
 75% of existing schools still contain asbestos, the
Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) claims.

With 250,000 extra school places needed by
 September, the current wave of new designs
 is not big enough to prevent overcrowding,
the society for the architectural industry’s
“Building Better Britain” report argues.

“Overcrowding in narrow corridors
exacerbates bullying and harassment,
fewer social areas outside classrooms
limit students’ abilities to socialize,”
the report adds.

The standard “baseline” designs are 15%
 smaller than those built under the Labour
 government’s “Building Schools for the
Future” program, the group says.

 The report says the next government must
 increase the cost per square metre of new
 schools by 20 percent.

“The new schools being built aren’t fit for
purpose and will certainly not stand the
 test of time.”

“Years of underinvestment, coupled with the
recent changes to school building, rebuilding
 and refurbishing programs, have left us with
crumbling schools which fail those trying to
 learn and teach in them,” the report says.

The government’s school building scheme is
slammed by teachers’ unions, who condemn
 the health and safety standards in schools
 and the low morale they cause.

“Getting rid of the Building Schools for the
Future program was clearly a huge mistake,”
 a spokesperson for the National Union of
Teachers (NUT), the UK’s largest teachers’
 union, says.

“While the Education Secretary throws money at
 free schools and academies, many schools are
being left in a dilapidated state or built where
they are not needed,” the spokesperson says.

 “The NUT has been at the forefront of campaigning
 about the presence of asbestos in our schools. It
 is outrageous that something which poses such
 a serious health threat to staff and pupils is still
 in place in so many schools.

“When the conditions of school premises have gone
 way beyond cosmetic damage and now pose a real
 health and safety issue, it is poor for the morale of
both pupils and the community.”


London hit by anti-austerity rallies
Thousands of people gathered on London’s streets
 on June 28th
, to demand that the UK government’s
austerity cuts
in public spending, come to an end.

The protests started outside the BBC's offices in
 London as the general public, politicians, union
 leaders and celebrities were brought together
by the People's Assembly campaign group.

Demonstrators marched towards the House
 of Commons, demanding “No more austerity,”
 and an alternative to “greed and selfishness.”

People's Assembly spokesperson:

 “It is essential for the welfare of millions of people
 that we stop the austerity cuts and halt this coalition
 government dead in its tracks, before it does lasting
 damage to people's lives and our public services."

A protester told media that it's frustrating,
 and that “People want to work here if only
pay a decent wage. I can't always
pay my
way if I go out with friends.”

"If I needed to pay lots for a prescription it
 would be hard. And I might have to move
 soon but nothing is affordable,” she said.

On the same day, members of the Fire Brigades

 Union (FBU) went on strike in protest against
 the government’s plans to raise their pension
 contributions & the retirement age from 55-60.

This strike was the 14th since industrial action
over the long dispute
began, last September.


‘Govt has failed’: Poverty doubles
 in UK over last 30 years

The number of Britons living in poverty has
more than doubled over the past 30 years,
a report has revealed.

About one in three UK families now live
 below the breadline, despite the UK's
 economy doubling over the same period.


UK child death rate second worst
 in western Europe, say experts:

Study finds only Malta has more
 deaths of children under five.



A study by kidney disease experts and
 Insight Health Economics, reveals now
 that acute kidney injury (AKI) causes
 between 15,000 - 40,000 excess deaths
 every year, and this could be avoided if
staff ensured that the sick are hydrated.

The study also finds that AKI is five times
 more prevalent in English hospitals than
previously thought.

“We know that at least a thousand people
 a month are dying in hospital from AKI due
 to poor care,” Professor Donal O’Donoghue
 of Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, says.

“These deaths are avoidable. This is
completely unacceptable and we
 can’t allow it to continue,” he adds.

He stresses that good basic care, including
 elementary checks by doctors and nurses,
 could save these lives and save millions
 of pounds for the NHS.

Health economists say AKI costs the NHS
over £1 billion every year, adding that simple
 improvements in basic care could save this
money and, more importantly, also save
thousands of lives.

The NHS has been failing patients and losing
public trust, since a damning report showed
 that 1,200 patients from January 2005, to
March 2009, died at Stafford Hospital alone
- due to poor care.

Experts believe the government’s cuts to
 the health service harm hospital care and
 patient safety at NHS units.

There are no figures given for Wales.



People marched in London,
Cardiff, Leeds,
 Manchester, Nottingham and other cities,
as part of a national day of action against
the "Bedroom Tax" policy.

They called on the government to stop the
 implementation of a law that cuts housing
 support to the poorest households.

In Cardiff, capital of Wales, dozens of people
 gathered outside City Hall to protest against
 the controversial law.

“The bedroom tax disrupts lives, breaks up families
 and divides communities. It cuts people adrift from
 important bits of their personal and family story,”
 John Davies, the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon,
 told the crowd.

He also added, “Cutting their benefit, if they stay
 put, achieves nothing just. It simply creates more
 poverty and risks deeper social problems.”

The legislation, brought in by the Lib Dems and
Tories a year ago, reduces housing benefit for
those with "spare" rooms. It's widely unpopular
 because millions already struggle with poverty.



Criminal solicitors and probation officers in Wales
 and  England have staged another strike to protest
 at changes introduced by the Ministry of Justice
(MoJ), including cuts to legal aid fees.

The 48-hour strike affected magistrates and
 crown courts in major cities like London,
 Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds.

According to the London Criminal Courts
Solicitors' Association (LCCSA), police
 stations also faced delays, due to a
 decreased number of solicitors working.

The strikers assembled at Westminster
 for a rally, and afterwards marched to
the Ministry of Justice.

Based on the ministry's plans, most probation
 work supervising low or medium-risk offenders
 are to be "outsourced" to private firms and
voluntary groups.

“The government plans to outsource 70%
 of the probation service are untried and
 untested,” says Ian Lawrence, gen. sec.
 of the probation officers' union Napo.

Solicitors say that those accused of crimes
 could be at risk of miscarriages of justice
 if they do not have access to a “decent”
lawyer, because of the legal aid cuts.

“The MoJ is taking a gamble on outsourcing
 supervision of the most persistent offenders
on release from short-term prison
says Nicola Hill, president of the LCCSA.

The LCCSA estimates that two-thirds of
legal aid firms will close if the cuts
enacted - a total of 1,000
and England.



Hundreds of thousands of older people in the UK
 have been left without state-funded social care
 in the past 4 years as a result of council budget
cuts and rationed services, a new study shows.

According to the report by the Nuffield Trust
 and Health Foundation think tanks, 245,855
 fewer elderly received help with carrying out
 everyday activities such as bathing, dressing
 and eating in 2012-13, compared to 2009-10,
showing a 26 percent drop.

The report also finds that the number of
vulnerable elderly people receiving the
"meals on wheels" service has fallen by
59% over the same period.

The study also finds that spending on home
 and day care services and meals by councils
 has fallen by 23% and 46% respectively, in
 recent years.

"Our analysis paints a picture of increased rationing
 of social care by hard-pressed local authorities in
 response to deep cuts from central government,
despite the growing numbers of older people in
 the population,” says Holly Holder, a co-author
of the report at the Nuffield Trust.

She also notes that “without adequate data to
 assess” the effects of cuts, “the National Health
 Service (NHS) and government are 'flying blind'
 managing demand and planning for the future."

A separate analysis by the Care & Support Alliance,
 comprising seventy charity organizations, predicts
 that thousands of venerable people will lose out on
 publicly-funded social care in the UK...

Earlier, the Age UK charity said that spending on
social care for the elderly has fallen by 1.2 billion
pounds since the coalition took office in 2010,
despite significant increases in the number of
people aged 65 and over in the UK.



Tens of thousands of vulnerable mentally-ill
patients in the UK, are being imprisoned in
 "care homes", a House of Lords report says.

According to the investigation, carried out
by a committee at the UK’s House of Lords,
 people with "mental illness" are being forced
 into care homes against their will, and those
safeguards brought in to protect patients...
 are now being used to oppress them.

"The evidence suggests that tens of thousands
 of people are being deprived of their liberty
without the protection of the law, and without
 the protection that parliament intended,” says
 the committee's chair, Lord Hardie.

The UK government passed a Mental Capacity
 Act in 2005, to protect those suffering from
 mental illness.

However, the Peers group finds that vulnerable
 adults are being failed by the legislation, and call
 for a new system to be drawn up "from scratch".

Top barristers and solicitors working in the Court
 of Protection, also warn that UK mental health
 patients are denied human rights by some judges.

They say the “marked variation” in judges’
willingness to consider patients’ wishes,
 amounts to a violation of their rights.


PM David Cameron has reneged on his pledge
 to let voters recall disgraced MPs, sparking
a furious coalition row.

As part of the "coalition agreement" of 2010,
 the PM pledged to bring in "early legislation"
to allow voters to force a by-election, in an
 attempt to deal with voter anger over the
MP's expenses scandal.

"Bring forward early legislation to introduce
a power of recall, allowing voters to force a
by-election where an MP is found to have
engaged in serious wrongdoing, and having
had a petition calling for a by-election
signed by 10% of his or her constituents,"
read the coalition agreement.

Last year, Cameron watered the proposal
down to stop attempts to remove sitting MPs.

 Liberal Democrats now accuse the PM
 of blocking the bill from inclusion in the
final Queen's Speech of the Parliament.

If no bill is included in the Speech, there is
really no chance of it becoming law before
 the UK votes in next year's general election.

Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, a staunch
 supporter of the bill, comments that voters
 will feel deceived by the government. (Lol)

"Parties can stuff their manifestos full of clever
 promises, but if voters don't believe them, they
 may as well present blank sheets," he tweets.

"Goldsmith blames Deputy PM Nick Clegg for
 failing to properly support the measure, and
 brands the Lib Dems as "revolting".

You CAN NOT remove your MP !
(THAT's NOT democracy)



Tens of thousands of people may have been
 wrongly identified as being eligible for the
 bedroom tax in the UK, housing experts say.

According to a report by The Guardian, a
 recently discovered error made by the
 Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)
 may have impacted as many as 40,000
people, forcing some to be evicted or
 move to smaller homes.

Although the DWP says a “small number”
of people, an estimated 5,000 working-age
tenants were affected by the mistake,
housing experts say the figure could be
 as high as 40,000.

An error in legislating the implementation
 of the “spare room subsidy” has caused
tenants to be exempt from the law.

People impacted by the loophole received
reduced benefits since last April. They
 could now be entitled for refunds worth
on average at least £640 per claimant.

The department says regulations will
 be "amended" to close the loophole.

The "bedroom tax" was introduced in April,
2013 as part of UK government reforms
 to the country's welfare system. It refers
to a cut in housing benefits for claimants
whose homes have a spare room.

Under the law, tenants who receive housing
 support lose 14% of benefits if their home
has a spare room and 25% if they have
 more than one extra room.

Last September, the United Nations Special
Investigator on Housing, Raquel Rolnik,
 called for the abolishment of the bedroom tax.



Another ex-Labour MP is convicted in court for
false accounting over parliamentary expenses.

Denis MacShane, ex-Rotherham MP, faces prison
for making bogus expense claims of £12,900.

He pleaded guilty last November to having filed
19 fraudulent invoices in a 3-year period between
 January 2005 and January 2008.

During the hearing at the Old Bailey, in November,
 he said he used the money to fund trips to Europe.

The guilty plea comes after 4 years of scrutiny
into the lawmaker’s use of MP's allowances.

The Times recently stated police have failed
 to pass on evidence to prosecutors about a
number of fraudulent expenses claims by
 MPs and peers.

If you know that your MP fraudulently claimed,
it is your duty to press for charges to be made,
and - if the police in your area do not - then they
are also criminal and deserve to be rooted out.

According to a study for the Committee on Standards
 in Public Life (CSPL), faith in MPs in England dropped
 to just 20% after 2010... and has not risen since.

Only 27% see MPs as “dedicated to doing a good job
 for the public”, down from 46% in 2008, a year before
it emerged that dozens of MPs "misused" expenses.



According to a two-year investigation,
conducted by Bedfordshire University for
 the Office of the Children’s Commissioner
for England, children as young as 11 are
being sexually assaulted by other gang
members, as part of UK gang "culture".

The study focused on “chilling” abuse
 in gang-associated contexts, but the
researchers say abuse is “widespread”
and deeply institutionalised in the UK.

“We have found shocking and profoundly
 distressing evidence of sexual assault,
including rape, being carried out by young
people against other children and young
people,” says the deputy children’s
commissioner, Sue Berelowitz.

The research suggests that the scale of
sexual assaults indicates a “deep
 malaise” within UK society.

A recent report by the UK’s National Crime
 Agency (NCA), entitled “The Foundations
 of Abuse,” found that UK children are still
 not safe from sexual abuse in institutional
 settings, such as schools, care homes
and churches.

The National Society for the Prevention of
 Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) also warned
in October that child victims of sexual
abuse in the UK do not get the support
 they need to give evidence in courts.

 The charity says less than 25% of the
 23,000 child abuse cases in the UK
 last year, resulted in prosecution.



Police in England and Wales regularly manipulate
 crime figures in order to meet targets and distort
 the realities about police performance, serving
and retired officers tell MPs.

According to the Public Administration Select
 Committee (PASK) of the House of Commons,
statistics on crimes are routinely falsified
 to showcase police performance.

PASK is tasked with considering the quality
and standards of services provided by civil
service departments in England and Wales.

“This is a really savage thing to say, that we
can’t trust the leadership of our constabularies
to measure their own performance,” says
Committee Chair Bernard Jenkin, adding that
he is "shocked" that these offences occur
"on such a wide scale."

Retired and incumbent police officers disclosed
some of the methods applied to skew information,
which included devaluing crimes to unimportant
 ones and encouraging victims not to file complaints.

Metropolitan Police Constable James Patrick,
who is now awaiting disciplinary proceedings
due to the publication of a whistleblowing book,
 told the committee about the data manipulation.

He was seriously concerned about the distortion
 of information after joining the police in 2009,
 and finding that robberies were logged as
"theft snatch”, to appear less serious.

He also found other discrepancies between
the numbers of reported crimes and those
finally recorded.

“Burglary is an area where crimes are downgraded
 or moved into other brackets, such as criminal
damage for attempted burglaries, or other types
 of thefts,” Patrick says.

“Things were clearly being reported as burglaries
 and you would then re-run the same report
 after there had been a human intervention - a
 management intervention - and these burglaries
 effectively disappeared in a puff of smoke.”

Patrick also said he analyzed the registration
of sexual offences... and found that in 80%
 of cases, they were incorrectly recorded as
 “no crime.”


Traditional households with fathers as sole
 breadwinners, are now the biggest group
living in poverty in the UK, a study shows.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows
 that a third of all the 1.3 million families
 with children living in poverty in the UK
 are “single breadwinner couple families.”

The report also says that the risk of slipping
 below the poverty line is higher for children
 in families where only one parent works.

"Our low pay jobs market means many families
 reliant on a single breadwinner, find it hard to
 make ends meet,” says JRF policy & research
 manager, Katie Schmuecker.

She calls for government to tackle the barriers
 that prevent people from going to work, including
 unaffordable childcare and the lack of financial
 incentives to work.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says that
 UK household’s are “under pressure” as they now
spend far more on "fuel and essentials".

The ONS reveals that the proportion of UK families’
income accounted for by expenditure on essentials
increased from 19.9% in 2003,   to 27.3% in 2013.



A report shows that the Tory’s drive to
 implement harsh cuts to the NHS has
caused a shortfall of nearly 20,000
 nurses and is putting patients at risk.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) reports
that there are 19,526 full-time nursing posts
 vacant as a result of the government’s drive
 to cut "costs" by 20 billion pounds before 2015.

According to officials, the number is equivalent
 to a shortage of 125 nurses... at every hospital.

Peter Carter, chief executive at the RCN, warns
 that frontline staffing levels are “down to the bone.”

“With rising demand for healthcare services,
workforce shortages will have significant
implications for staffing levels and the ability
 of providers to deliver safe, good quality care
 for patients,” the report reads.

The RCN and patient groups, urge ministers
 to impose “safe staffing” rules that would set
 mandatory minimum staffing levels at hospitals.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham:

 “This report shines a spotlight on the true extent
 of understaffing in the NHS. David Cameron has
 left the NHS facing Accident and Emergency
crises, with thousands fewer nurses.”

The report comes at a time when the UK
government is facing increasing pressure
to reinvest the surplus generated by the
 NHS every year.

The Foundation Trust Network wants the
 600 million pounds under-spent by NHS
England by March, to be used to help
 A&E departments under strain.

Experts predict that the NHS could
 experience its toughest winter ever, as
 there are mounting pressures on services
and widespread shortages of consultants.

The latest figures show that there has been
 a 44% increase in patients waiting over 4 hours
 in A&E between April and October of this year,
compared to the same period in 2011.

The NHS medical director, Professor Bruce Keogh,
is to present a report on November 13th, in which
 he will call for radical changes to the way the NHS
 provides urgent and emergency care, aimed at
tackling an “inexorable climb” in A&E attendances.



Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond pledges
that one of the first acts of an SNP government
 in an independent Scotland, will be to abolish
 the bedroom tax.

Mr Salmond:  “The bedroom tax is becoming
 a symbol of why independence is necessary.”

He also vows that an SNP Government will
 return the Royal Mail to public ownership.

Scotland will continue to invest in its future
he says firmly, and notes how Scotland has
 kept Scottish water as publicly owned and,
 as a result, now has the best, cheapest UK
 water supplies.



A former child protection officer says UK police 
threatened him - to stop his investigations into
child abuse by high-profile MPs, in 1990.

Chris Fay states he was threatened with a gun to
his head, to avoid probing allegations surrounding
Elm Guest House in Barnes, where young boys were
allegedly taken to be abused by a VIP pedophile ring.

According to Fay, members of Special Branch routinely
warned him, his colleagues, and even the victims when
the story broke in the early 90s.

“At one point they had me up against a wall by my throat
with a gun at my head telling me in no uncertain terms
that I was to back away if I knew what was good for me,”
Fay says.

“I was told by the police implicitly, ‘We do not want you
to come to us with big names’,” he adds.

Fay, who worked for the National Association of Young
People In Care, attacks the Metropolitan police for
“physically” stopping the victims from speaking with
the group and says that they acted like “gangsters”.

“I witnessed Special Branch officers manhandling them
[the victims] and turning them away with a warning to
keep their mouths shut. It was blatant,” says the 67
year-old child protection officer.

Campaigner Bill Maloney also accuses the police of
protecting high-profile criminals, saying “police cover-
ups to protect the wealthy” should stop immediately.

The British police have so far declined to comment
on Fay’s remarks.

The next step could be to expose the scapegoating
by the UK state of the abused victims themselves.

Current social work practice theory is that those
who are abused, inevitably end up abusing others.

This travesty is being taught NOW at the highest
 ideological levels by social
worker courses and
to first degree and post-graduate students.

They even pervert the defence mechanisms
postulated by
Freud, as "evidence" to look for
when "assessing" those to
be scapegoated.

'Innocent until proven guilty?

Not when police and social workers collude
to scape-goat those who dare to open their
mouths against the UK state's injustices !

  More like 'stitched up' in the UK !!!



The number of reports of elderly & disabled abuse
 in the UK has jumped by 28%, a charity warns.

According to Age UK, the analysis of data from the
 Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC)
 shows cases of alleged abuse against people aged 65
 or over up from 82,000... to over 105,000 in 2012-2013.

70,000 plus cases were reported for investigation
 last year, of which 25% were related to physical abuse,
 35% to neglect, and about 18% to financial abuse of
 vulnerable old people, the charity says.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK
 describes the figures as “disturbing”:

“Any abuse of older people is unacceptable and
we need a zero-tolerance approach to any abuse,
whether through neglect, financial manipulation
 or physical or mental cruelty,” she says.

A Department of Health (DoH) official says elderly
people should be protected and that they should
 not face abuse in their homes, or in a care setting.

HSCIC figures show that in 37% of reported cases
 the alleged abuser was a social care worker.



The UK government’s welfare cuts and changes to taxation
have encouraged economic inequality so intensely that they
amount to ‘speeded-up Thatcherism.’ The divide between
rich and poor is widening faster than in the 1980s, says a
new report.

The slashing of UK welfare benefits and simultaneous cuts
in tax credits, means that inequality will have soared twice
as fast by 2015, than it did under Margaret Thatcher, says a
new Fabian society report.

Working-age families with children will be particularly hard-hit
in the coming years, says the report, written by economist
Howard Reed. He lays out the impact of Conservative / Liberal
Democrat coalition policies on household income, drawing
the conclusion that the poorest families in the UK, are on a
path to losing some 12 percent of their average income.



Police in England have again tasered a young man
 to death before trying to arrest him, for what they
 describe as ‘having a knife’ in his hands inside
 his own home.

The 23-year-old man, named locally as Jordan Begley,
 had a "medical episode" after being fired with the stun
 gun on Wednesday evening in Gorton, Manchester.

An unidentified friend of the man told the press that
 eight armed police officers attended Begley after
responding to a 999 call in Beard Road which said
 there was a man with a knife.

"They turfed his mum outside and then went in”,
the friend said. "There were about eight armed
response officers who went in”, he added.
"He didn't have a knife though. I know for a fact
 he would not have had a knife”, noted the friend.

A police cordon surrounded 10 terraced houses at
 the end of Beard Road & a forensic tent was erected.

"I saw the lad being brought out the house and put
 in the ambulance. Paramedics were working away
 on the CPR with the doors open”, says neighbour
 Kirstie Porter.

"Everybody was out in the street, all the neighbours.
There was police everywhere, loads of vans turned
up, there was police all over with guns all over.

"The ambulance was there for about 5 or 10 minutes
 and then it drove off.

"His mum and brother were sobbing in the street",
added Kirstie.

Another woman, who did not wish to be named, said:
 "There's a lot of bad boys around here but Jordan
 was one of the good guys."

Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said:
"Police received a 999 call reporting a disturbance
 on Beard Road in Gorton where there was a man
 with a knife.

"Officers were dispatched immediately and
arrived in eight minutes.

"On arrival, a Taser was discharged to detain
 a 23-year-old man.

"At this time it is unclear what happened, but
at some point afterwards the man suffered a
 medical episode.

"Paramedics performed first aid on the man
 at the scene before he was taken to hospital
 where he sadly died."



The UK's biggest unions joined forces to back
 mass protest at this year's Conservative Party
 shindig to stop the dismantling of the NHS.
Unite, Unison & GMB joined with campaign groups
 to spoil the Tories'
recent Manchester conference.

They warn that they are about to "haunt this government
 all the way to the ballot box" in elections expected in 2015.

The unions promise to help swell community protests
 that highlight mounting public concerns over policies
 that could see the NHS parcelled off to private firms...
very firms which now help to finance the Tories.
A growing crisis in accident and emergency units,
 the imposition of £20 billion in cuts and increasing
 job losses, particularly among nurses, will be just
some of the issues demonstrators want to arrest.

In a joint statement, the general secretaries - 
Len McCluskey of Unite, Dave Prentis of

 Unison, and Paul Kenny of the GMB, declare:

 "If this government felt that its Health and Social Care Act
 last year would be the last word in the debate on the future
 of our NHS - then ministers are sorely wrong.

"The people of this country do not want a health service
 run by the same global boardrooms that have brought
 misery to every other public service, such as the
 energy industry, that they have got their hands on.

"We pay for this NHS to be different - to serve the public,
 and to ward off the twin fears of illness and poverty.

"There  is simply no place in our health service for
 business to profit from the misfortunes of others. "

The Act passed early this year will see the NHS broken
 up and handed to GP "units," which, experts warn, will
 provide a gateway for private firms to snap up larger
and larger areas of the UK's public health service.

Yet neither the Tories nor their Liberal-Democrat
 co-conspirators declared their intention to privatise
 the NHS in their 2010 general election manifestos!
The Labour-affiliated unions also advise leader
 Ed Miliband that he must put reversing the so-called
 "reform" programme higher up his party's agenda.

"We will be demanding that a future Labour government
 repeals the Act as a top priority --  and this should be a
 warning to potential private companies, not to bid
 for contracts."

Pro-NHS campaign Health Emergency chair Geoff Martin:

 "This is a welcome move and the message has to be
rammed down this government's throat that the
 dismantling of the NHS, through the twin attack of cuts
 and privatisation, will be met by all-out resistance.

"It's equally important that Labour isn't let off the hook either.

"Much of the demolition programme for the health service
 started under the last government and has been seized on
 by the Con-Dems."
Mr Martin warns Labour: "Grandstanding on the back
 of public outrage at the attack on the NHS would be
 pure political opportunism."



Unison general secretary Dave Prentis warns Labour leader

 Ed Miliband that his union will keep criticising the Labour
party until it offers credible alternatives to austerity.

"People will not vote Labour mainly because they
what the Tories are doing," he tells the
Morning Star.

"We want a Labour Party that has policies that
with our people."

Mr Prentis says that stopping NHS privatisation
 by replacing the health Act, ending cuts to local
government funding, and rolling back anti-trade
 union laws, are to be Unison's key demands for
 a future Labour government.
He also pledges that the 1.3 million-strong union
 is about to lead the biggest protests seen in the UK
 since the 1990 poll tax rebellion, in order  to consign
 the coalition government to the dustbin of history.
Mr Prentis says Unison is ready to lead a wave of
 anti-austerity action that will include demonstrations
 in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, from now,
 and throughout next year.

He says that the massive demonstration
 at the Tories' Manchester conference
 is "just the beginning of a major campaign
in which
unions and people affected by
'austerity' can show
their feelings...
"The other rallies will be about the health service,
 but they'll also be about  what's happening to public
 services, local communities and the vulnerable.
"It will include what's happening with the bedroom tax
 and the way in which poor families are being abused
 and are having  to move from homes they may have
 occupied for decades, and out of communities that
 support them.

"It will be against the whole austerity programme
 and the timing is right, as we move towards the
 election period.

"I think there's a groundswell now of people
who want to show their opposition - just like
 they did to the poll tax."


 People's Assembly Offers Renewed Hope

 Celebrities rally behind campaigners to launch
the historic People's Assembly
initiative in a
bid to replace Con-Dem austerity
"common sense" politics for the people.

 Over 3,000 people joined the first People's Assembly
 Against Austerity in London on June 22nd, before the
 project was rolled out across the UK to give a voice to
 ordinary people let down by Westminster politicians.

 In the face of the government's "organised mugging,"
 journalist Owen Jones vows that the People's Assembly
 will be a "formidable, broad coalition" that will reach
out  to communities across the countries of the UK.

He says: "There is lots of anger, lots of fear and not a lot
 of hope - but that's what we're going to give people."

Comedian Mark Steel appeals to people who "shout at
George Osborne when he's on the TV or radio" to join
 the People's Assembly.

"Instead of just swearing at the TV, people should do
 something because the government is getting away
 with saying there is no alternative to the cuts," he says.

Fellow comedian and disabled activist Francesca
Martinez adds that the assembly represents a
"common sense" approach to politics compared
 to the Con-Dem government's "radical" agenda.

The assembly is backed by major trade unions
 representing millions of workers, including the
union Unite, civil servants' union
PCS and the National
Union of Teachers.

Unite director of policy Steve Turner says the UK will
 lose the crucial public services that "our grandparents
 fought for" unless people resist the government's
"extreme ideological" attacks.

He says his union is committed to "building a mass
 movement against the cuts" because the "answer
to what the government is doing is not austerity-lite."

The People's Assembly seeks to provide an alternative
 democratic forum to Westminster, which organisers
 believe has "failed the people it is supposed to represent."

 But that isn't stopping many progressive MPs from
 putting aside party differences, to give their support.

 Left Labour MP Katy Clark says the People's
 Assembly can give people the "confidence to
 believe that the cuts are not necessary."

Green MP Caroline Lucas describes the People's
Assembly as a "once-in-a-generation opportunity
 to unite against this reckless administration and
 expose the lie that there is no alternative to cuts."

 She says the assembly will "create political space to
 put forward alternatives to austerity" and outlines
 her vision of a "labour- intensive, green economy."



Plans to give London officers over 50% more Tasers
  are raising concerns over police methods, as fears
grow around the unnecessary use of stun guns, an
inquiry reveals.

A 66% increase in Taser use has been reported.

The number of officers issued stun guns in London’s
Met will increase from 800 to almost 1,300, opening
up a debate in the force over 'mission creep' risks
of using Tasers for minor violations, the Guardian
reports. The plan will see 40 officers per borough
issued Tasers, says a new inquiry report by the
London Assembly.

The decision puts the Met on an equal footing with other
police forces in the UK that already have an increased
number of stun guns in their units. The Sussex police
force will also be extending its use of Tasers and is
currently training more officers, while West Yorkshire
police have been noted for their extensive use of
Tasers over the past two years.

The actual firing of stun guns in the UK is also on the rise:
Tasers were discharged 1,371 times in the year ending
March 2011, a 66%  increase over the previous year,
according to freedom of information requests obtained
by the Guardian.

Tasers are electroshock weapons, shaped like pistols,
that disrupt voluntary control of muscles by jolting
the victim with 50,000 volts of electricity.

When Tasers were first introduced in the UK, only
officers with firearms training were permitted to
carry them; now, an officer only needs to pass a
3-day training course to be armed with one.

These changes have prompted concerns over how
Tasers are being used. Met data revealed that half of
those Tasered last year were black. Also, the number
of people Tasered between 2008 and 2011 with
emotional and mental health problems, increased
from 20% to 30 percent.

The rate of youths being Tasered has risen as well:
Between 2008 and 2011, 61% of those Tasered were
under 30.

There are concerns in the Met that the Taser might
"become a compliance tool," the Guardian quotes
deputy chief constable Simon Chesterman as telling
the assembly. Chesterman says that these types of
weapons have been used to enforce submission,
including forcing a person out of a car, or getting
consent to have fingerprints taken.

The Met had previously tried to limit police use of Tasers,
but the London mayor’s office insisted on the expansion,
saying that the devices could protect officers. Amnesty
International argues Tasers are potentially lethal, and
that stricter rules should govern their use.

Amnesty also criticizes the plan to increase the issuance
of Tasers, and says it might negatively impact policing
methods in the UK, as the stun guns are portable, easy
to use and could cause "severe pain at the push of a
button, often without leaving marks."

There is also evidence linking being hit by a Taser
to long-term health issues like heart failure.

A study published by the journal Circulation has connected
Tasers to irregular heart rhythms, which at times lead to
cardiac arrest. It analyzed eight cases of people who were
Tasered and went into cardiac arrest, opening up a wider
debate around the safety of the electric stun gun. Seven of
the people in the study died, and one survived.


Wales losing to South East England

Health inequalities between South East England and Wales
  are growing, a new analysis of census figures shows now.

The percentage of people with at least "good" health
risen dramatically in London and the south-east
of England
but has fallen again in the north, the
midlands, and in Wales.

People in the north of England and Wales are also much
more likely to have disabilities than people living in
the affluent South East of England.

Experts at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) believe
the figures are further proof that healthy young people are
moving out of the UK's poor areas to find work in London.

Socialist Health Association director Martin Rathfelder
health funding is following these people, further
funding the services for disadvantaged
communities in Wales.

Mr Rathfelder says that "the fundamental issue is not
the health service, it's about economics. The
people who are
left are mostly unwell or older people,
and their children have
gone to the south-east
because that's where the work is."

Unite's head of health Rachael Maskell says A&E closures
tend to be in the most deprived communities, bringing an
added risk to the very poorest in our society.

Ms Maskell  warns that unequal health service provision
will be rigged even more in favour of England's wealthier
communities under Con-Dem government funding plans
which come into effect in April.

"The most affluent areas will have a population which will
attract greater funding due to longevity and thus be able
to propagate this trend," she states.



When asked how much of the UK welfare bill
 is spent on the unemployed, the average poll
 respondent, fooled by constant media spin,
 said 41%. The real figure is 3%.

The overwhelming majority of the welfare budget
 is spent on pensioners, children, the disabled
 and the working poor. As a percentage of the
 entire public spending budget,  the amount
 spent on unemployment, is under 0.75%.

Instead of blaming the 1%, the UK public is
conned into scapegoating the vulnerable...



Con-Dem Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announces
plans to sell off the probation service to privateers.

Mr Grayling says he is looking to outsource supervision
and rehabilitation programmes for all but the most high-
risk ex-inmates to charities and private companies
across both England and Wales.

The plan cuts an estimated 70% of the Probation Service's
core work, with contractors paid by results, in a manner
similar to the Con-Dems' controversial work programme.

Mr Grayling - who has no legal training or experience in the
justice system - says his plan is a "rehabilitation revolution."

NAPO's assistant general secretary Harry Fletcher,
speaking earlier, called the decision "astonishing":

"You're looking at 6,000 to 7,000 jobs lost because they
want to make a profit out of punishment - ultimately
it will put public safety at risk."

Mr Fletcher says the service has met all its targets
and last year won the British Quality Foundation
Gold Award for Excellence.

"This move, therefore, is purely ideological", he explains...
"There is no plan for dealing with the escalation or decline
of risk of individual offenders.

"If this plan proceeds it will be chaotic and will compromise
public protection," he states.

Labour MPs scorned those Coalition MPs who couldn't
turn up to debate, and SNP and Plaid Cymru MPs
were outraged.

Justice unions parliamentary group chair Elfyn Llwyd calls
these plans "a triumph of ideology over common sense,"
  and secretary John McDonnell says the scheme is simply
a pretext for privatisation...

"This has nothing to do with tackling crime but is simply
opening up the service to profiteering companies like G4S."

In Wales, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood AM demands
that London give up the legal right to shape social services
in Wales, and allow the Welsh National Assembly to decide.

Former probation officer Ms Wood says the changes are
risky, and give greater reason to devolve custodial

"Rarely has the quality of a service been improved through
privatisation and, with the Probation Service, the risks are
too high." There is now "an even greater reason to devolve
custodial powers to Wales," she says.



The TUC's first female general secretary,
Francis O'Grady attacks the Tory-led coalition
today over its "vicious spiral" of spending cuts
often hitting low-paid workers and jobseekers.

She says the coalition has reduced living standards
 for some of the poorest people in the UK through
welfare and benefits cuts, and is failing to offer
a vision for the economy, or hope for the future.

"In short, our economy is sick and the government's
 medicine is not working," she says.

"We were told that short-term pain would deliver
 long-term gain, yet all we see are nasty side-effects
 with no sign of a cure.

"What is worse is that we now seem to be locked
 into a vicious downward spiral of cuts. They are
not working, so the government cuts even more."

She says the Tory policy of cutting the living
standards of the poorest and most vulnerable
in society while "attempting to tar them all as
scroungers" is the "very definition of a party
determined to be seen as nasty."

And, she says, it will further depress demand
and weaken the economy.

"People on the breadline spend every penny of their
and mainly spend it in the local economy,
while those who
will benefit from the cut in the 50p
tax rate coming this year,
are as likely to save it, or
take it offshore."

Ms O'Grady urges the government to change course,
abandon its austerity programme, and boost industry.

She says it is vital to create decent jobs and
 apprenticeships, and workers should be given a say on
bosses' salaries through staff reps on pay committees.

"This all adds up a very different approach to the economy
 and a challenge to all the political parties, employers and
 indeed unions," she says.

"My strong belief is that when we look back at the period
 from the 1980s to the 2008 crash, historians will see
as exceptional times, as damaging in their way
as the 1930s.

"What will dismay them most, is how slowly
we are building a new economic model
to replace the one that fell with

 Lehman Brothers.

"There is surprisingly broad consensus
that we need real change."



Official figures show that the United Kingdom of England,
Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, is the most unequal
  place in Europe, and the wealth gap between the UK’s
rich & poor, is twice as wide as any EU member state.

An analysis by the Office for National Statistics reveals
that some regions in the UK are up to 10 times poorer than
London, according to its Gross Value Added (GVA) measure.

The poorest areas are West Wales and the Valleys
and the Wirrel, with just £11,000 in GVA per person
compared to the inner-London figure of £111,000.


(Right "gives" racism, immigrant scapegoating and gangs)

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa highlights
Community Police Units which open a new era
with regard to security in Latin America, he says.

The president opens another integrated centre
in Ambati, capital of the province of Chimborazo,
as he tours the first (rebuilt) railway, made in 1908,
which he calls the most beautiful in the world.

Nearly 1,800 CPUs will be built in the country and
are essential for bringing police closer to their
communities, plus supplying patrol cars,

communication equipment, and other resources.

Ecuador's taxes are being used to fight crime,
guarantee secure safe urban areas, plus improve
education, health, and roads, and reduce poverty.

Over $100 billion USD will be invested in the
coming years to reach these goals, and raise
the wellbeing of all Ecuadorians, says Correa,
referring to the pending social investment there.

In the country's history, such a huge investment
in security has  never been made, he says, with
a territorial analysis aimed at  protecting
Ecuadorians. He says the ECU 911 Centres

will save thousands of lives.

Quito and Guayaquil have national security centres,
and  13 regional centres, with the best integrated
emergency assistance system in Latin America now,
in which a large number of institutions are
participating, says Correa.

Police assistance arrives on average within two minutes
in the places where these centres are operating, he says,
  in 68% of the country. These centres are scheduled to
reach the entire nation.

The most unsafe countries in the region have rightwing
governments, he points out. Correa highlights that this
is, and will be, a country with open doors, requiring
entry visas for citizens of only 10 countries.



Protestors turned Starbucks into refuges,
crèches and homeless shelters in protest
against the impact of the cuts on women.

Sarah Greene, a UK Uncut activist: “It is an outrage
that the government continues to let multinationals
like Starbucks dodge millions in tax while cutting vital
services like refuges, creches and rape crisis centres.
It does not have to be this way. The government could
easily bring in billions that could fund vital services by
clamping down on tax dodging.”

Responding to Starbucks’ announcement that it will not
claim tax deductions in the UK on a range of its tax
arrangements, Hannah Pearce, a UK Uncut supporter:

“Offering to pay some tax if and when it suits you
doesn’t stop you being a tax dodger. This is just a
desperate attempt by Starbucks to deflect public
pressure- hollow promises on press releases don’t
fund women’s refuges or child benefits."

“We need the government to force Starbucks and
every other tax dodging company to pay their fair share,
instead of cutting welfare and tax credits for single mums
and disabled women. People are angry, this weekend
44 actions took place in Starbucks stores in towns and
cities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
People transformed Starbucks stores into refuges, crèches
and other services threatened by the Government’s
unjust and unnecessary cuts.”

A spokesperson from Global Women’s strike, one of
the women’s groups which supported the action:

“Women – in families, homes, communities and jobs –
bear the brunt of austerity. At our Women’s Centre
we see more women cut off benefits, losing their jobs,
being made homeless and going hungry.

Already, 3.5m children live in poverty, 1 in 5 mothers
skips a meal to feed her children, and many walk miles
to get food handouts as they can’t afford the bus fare.

"Women are also expected to pick up the pieces as
services disappear or turn people away, saying they
are overwhelmed.

Asylum seekers were the first to be made destitute,
and this is now becoming the norm. Victims of rape
and domestic violence are particularly affected as
more will be forced to stay in violent relationships,
to keep a roof over their heads.”

Starbucks has come under fire after a Reuters
investigation disclosed that the company had
paid no UK corporation tax for last three years,
despite reporting sales of £1.2bn. [6]

The company is reported to have filed accounts saying
the companies UK operations were making a loss, while
reporting strong UK profits to investors.

Campaigners have highlighted research showing that
women will experience a disproportionate impact as
a result of the government’s public spending cuts. [7]

Women are bearing the brunt of cuts to public sector jobs,
wages, housing benefit, childcare, and pensions. [8]

Additional hardship on women is being caused by the
government’s decision to cut £5.6m from violence
against women services, £300m from Sure Start
centres & a further £10 billion in benefit cuts.

Every day 230 women are turned away from refuges as
a result of government cuts  to women’s services. [9]

Sheena Shah, a UK Uncut activist:

“Women have had enough of being attacked
by a cabinet of out of touch millionaires.

The government’s savage austerity plans are
pushing the cause of women’s equality back decades.

Welfare, healthcare, Sure Start centres, childcare, rape
and domestic abuse services are being cut and female
unemployment is rocketing. Benefits cuts are forcing
women to choose between heating the house and
feeding the family. No one should have to
make these choices.”

07415 063231 | 07572 594128



Unemployment among UK youngsters has shot up
by 279% nationally, compared to the 2011 figures...
with the region-based figures even more shocking.

Long-term youth unemployment for 18 - 24 year olds
has soared by 706% in the South West, 476% in the
North East and 264% in the South East, The Daily

At least half of the one million jobless youth have
been searching for work for at least six months.

The TUC, representing  six million UK workers says

“Government economic strategy is holding young people
back. It's time for a new plan that invests in their futures,
rather than stunting careers before they've barely begun,”
says TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber.



The charity organization Save the Children, which
normally focuses on hungry children in Africa and
South America is now to raise funds for hungry
children in the UK.

Save the Children says its decision follows findings
that many children’s families in the UK now, cannot
afford regular hot meals, warm clothes and shoes.

The charity says it is to raise £500,000 to help with
this alarming poverty, which is “tearing families apart.”

“No child should see their parent going hungry or start
the new term without a warm coat & with holes in their
shoes. Poverty is tearing families apart, with parents
buckling under the pressure of mounting bills & children
seeing their parents argue more about money,” says the
charity’s chief executive, Justin Forsyth.

“That’s why for the first time in our history we are
launching a UK appeal. We need to help poor
families survive the recession,” he states simply.



The International Monetary Fund (IMF) calls on the
UK government to raise the retirement age again -
to save the country from financial ruin.

The US-based organization also warns that the UK's
national debt will spiral out of control if the average
lifespan in Britain increases by only three years
more than estimated. It says that the “financial
implications of people living longer than expected
are very large,” and could ruin public finances
as the cost of pensions and healthcare rises.

In a report into the “longevity risk”, the IMF urges
governments to take action "immediately" to handle
the problem. It suggests a further raise in retirement
ages, higher contributions from both employers
and workers, and lower payouts.



As our masters follow the US on everything...
from police arms to postal votes, etc,
spare a thought for the consequences,

A new study by the Pew Centre finds that
one out of every eight voter registrations
in the United States is invalid. According to
the survey, over 1.8 million dead US citizens
are enrolled as active voters...

The study by the non-partisan think tank also
finds that US electoral systems “are plagued
with errors and inefficiencies that waste
taxpayer dollars, undermine voter confidence,
and fuel partisan disputes over the integrity
of our elections.”






The UK's appeal court in London has ruled that
kettling tactics employed by the 'met' are legal,
despite the high court already criticizing the

violent practice. The appeals court has granted
the Metropolitan police an appeal victory
against a previous ruling by the high court over
the kettling tactics they employed during the
G20 demonstrations in London in 2009.

In April 2009, with the G-20 summit being held near
the Bank of England, demonstrations erupted in
London as protesters voiced their anger at the UK
government's economic policies, banking system
and bankers' huge paychecks and bonuses.

The Met used violent tactics like kettling

to the extent that a newspaper seller, Ian
Tomlinson, died after a policeman attacked
him and pushed him to the ground.

During the protests, thousands of peaceful
demonstrators raised their hands to protect
themselves, while the police kept beating
them, as they peacefully chanted:
“This is not a riot.”

The protesters are infuriated by the appeal
court's ruling and plan to take the case to
the highest UK court.



A survey reveals that workers in the UK are
more likely to experience bullying by bosses
or colleagues than any workers in the world.

The survey by recruitment company Monster
shows that 7 in 10 workers admit to being
bullied at work in the UK.

It found that a quarter of UK workers find bullying
and cruel jibes so upsetting it dramatically affects
their work performance.

The research finds that many European workers
also suffer badly from workplace bullying, with a
staggering 83% claiming to be victims of physical
or emotional bullying at work "at some point".

The number of workers who complain about bullying
in the US, is 65%, and in Asia, 55%. The survey
shows that Spanish workers are most likely to be
physically attacked, while Dutch workers are the
most likely to be driven to tears by work bullying.

Belgium has the lowest rate of

workplace bullying, with just 38%.

"Employers are responsible for a worker's health,
safety and welfare while at work and should provide
an atmosphere where people can get on with their job,"
says Alan Townsend, Chief Operating Officer, Monster
UK & Ireland.

"All companies should ensure they have clear policies and
procedures for employees that are followed through by
management. This can then prevent potentially dangerous
outcomes, such as, poor workplace morale, lost
productivity, litigation and health costs," Alan adds.

These findings follow a previous study by Staffordshire
University Business School which discovered that 14
million UK employees in the UK are bullied at work.

Lucky them! In the valleys, we're happy if
we can find a job to be bullied in !



Rates of mortality in the poorest areas of Wales
are higher than in some crisis-hit African nations,
official figures now reveal.

According to records released by the Office for
National Statistics (ONS), the death rate in some
parts of Wales is as high as 1,500 deaths per
100,000 people in one year.

Bryncethin in Bridgend, south Wales, comes top of all
areas in both England and Wales with the highest rates
of mortality, with 1,499 deaths per 100,000 people in 2009.

Whittington in Oswestry is second with 1,468, third,
Portrack & Tilery in Stockton-on-Tees, (1,422), then
Gwersyllt West, Wrexham (1,419), Offa, Wrexham
(1,297), and Grosvenor, Wrexham (1,284.)

mortality rate in Rwanda, in central & eastern Africa,
is 1,427,  and in Botswana, in southern Africa, it's 1,452,
the UN's WHO reports.

Health experts believe that the data reveals problems
in  'post-industrial' areas, including mining valleys or
dockyards, that have been neglected for decades.

The experts stress that elderly people who have had
to endure hard manual work, will die sooner, while
youngsters often turn to drinks or drugs due to high
rates of unemployment.

They also say poor diets and pollution affect the lives
of those living in the crisis hit areas.



Railway bosses have ordered ticket office workers
not to help disabled people plan their journeys,
transport union TSSA says.

The TSSA says disabled passengers can no longer
get direct help at stations but are being told to call
a new phone service, used by most train operators.

"It is simply disgraceful that train companies are
charging the most vulnerable people in the land
for a service that should be free,"

general secretary Manuel Cortes says:

"Previously our booking office members were only
too willing to spend as long as it took helping the
disabled plan what can be quite complicated journeys,
given that they have to be met at each stage of their
journey. Now that has all been stopped by Scrooge
bosses. Ordinary passengers are used to being ripped
off by these profit-chasing cowboys, but even they will
be shocked by this latest cynical penny-pinching move."

The Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc)
admits that some calls are now being charged at
local rates, but insists that the service is
more efficient & "significantly improved."



The Scottish National Party is working on a detailed plan
to join the Scandinavian countries, including Sweden,
Denmark and Norway, when it achieves independence.

Independent Scotland will have its own army, navy
and air force, modelled on its Nordic neighbours,
according to the detailed plan.

SNP leaders are seeking to look north and east in Europe
for partnerships, trade and key defence relationships,
rather than continuing to focus on western Europe
and the Commonwealth, like England, and England's

first colony, Wales.

Senior Nationalists, including Alex Salmond, have made
several trips to Scandinavia over the last couple of
years, meeting ministers and officials in an attempt to
pave the way for greater co-operation if Scotland
becomes independent, particularly on energy.

SNP strategists insist that Scotland would continue
to be extremely close to the rest of the UK, which
would remain its biggest trading partner, but
they also believe that Scotland has more in
common with its Scandinavian neighbours than
the UK does, and they are keen to take this
relationship to a higher level.

The Scandinavian approach is being led by Angus
Robertson, the SNP's defence and foreign affairs
spokesperson in Westminster:

"Our neighbours to the north and east have already
made a good start and work constructively together.
We need to join them and play our part.

The UK has opted out of a serious approach.
We should not".



Denmark's Social Democrat-led government
is to BOOST public spending, to kick-start
the country's economy, making Denmark
bloom -  to protect Denmark's welfare state.

Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt's

SDP has formed an administration with
the centrist Social Liberal Party (SLP) and
the left-wing Socialist People's Party (SPP).

Together the three parties hold a majority of 92 seats
in Denmark's 179-member Folketing. The new cabinet
includes 14 men and nine women, the Social Democrats
holding 13 posts and the two other parties, six each.

Ms Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark's first female PM,
is the daughter-in-law of the UK's former Labour
party leader, Neil Kinnock, and says that her
government "will show the way out of the crisis".

Her government is to spend 10 billion kroner (£1.2bn)
to renovate council housing stock and upgrade
railways, cycle paths and roads. She says the

government's stimulus will generate government
revenue, by creating "many new jobs."

Ms Thorning-Schmidt: "We are very proud of
our economic plan. We believe it will get us
through the crisis and ensure the future of

the welfare state."

The coalition also pledges to reduce the cost of
public transport & RAISE unemployment benefits.
She also vows to slash greenhouse gas emissions
and harness wind power to ensure that half of
Denmark's electricity comees from a renewable
source, by 2020.

"We're laying down a path that will", she says,
"lead us back to being proud of Denmark."
Her plans to increase taxes on the rich,

and banks, were scrapped after opposition ...
from the Social Liberals.



The lotus has been a religious symbol for aeons;
no dirt sticks to its unique molecular structure.
Now scientists have replicated that structure
to produce materials which are highly commercial!

Imagine Wales combining science and agriculture
that wisely: using wasted land to employ our youth.


conserving life on earth

Smog-beater: First hydrogen powered
tram developed in China

Trams fueled by hydrogen could soon be appearing
 on the streets of China. The country has mastered
 the technique of using this clean energy source,
 which has been widely used elsewhere for cars
 and other forms of mass transport.


 Air pollution killing Europeans
en masse, says environment body

Hundreds of thousands of Europeans may face
 a premature death over the next two decades
 because of toxic air, a new major report by the
 European Environment Agency (EEA) warns.

 In 2011 alone, about 430,000 people died
 prematurely from air pollution.

A five-yearly environmental study, State of the
 Environment Report for 2015, blames governments
for inaction, and calls for changes in policies and
 technologies and lifestyles. The European Union
will need new, radical policies to safeguard the
 environment by 2050, experts say.

"We need to start now," Hans Bruyninckx, head
 of the EEA, tells Reuters.

The Copenhagen-based EEA says Europe has
 increased waste recycling & cut greenhouse
gas emissions by 19% since 1990. The EU
plans further emissions cuts of 40% by 2030.

 Despite these gains, however, Europe "still
faces a range of persistent and growing
 environmental challenges," including global
 warming, chemical pollution & extinctions
 of species of animals and plants.

“Despite considerable progress in reducing
 the discharge of pollutants into Europe's
waters in recent decades, nutrients,
pesticides, industrial chemicals and
household chemicals continue to affect
 the quality of surface, ground and marine
 waters. This threatens aquatic ecosystems
 and raises concern about potential human
 health impacts,” it states.

Air pollution causes damage to human health
through direct exposure (via inhalation) or
 through exposure to contaminants transported
 through the air, deposited on plants and the soil.

 Vehicles, power plants, agriculture & households
 all contribute to Europe's air pollution, the report’s
 authors state, adding that transport remains the
 main contributor to poor air quality levels in cities
 and the related health impacts.

Exposure to environmental noise is estimated
 to contribute to at least 10,000 premature
deaths due to coronary heart disease and
strokes each year.

Chemicals from pharmaceuticals, personal care
 products, & other consumer products can have
a range of negative effects on the environment
 and on human health.

Endocrine disruption, which impacts the body's
 hormonal system, is of particular concern, says
 the study, which points out that potential human
 health impacts of these chemicals are “poorly
 understood,” especially as people are exposed
 to mixtures of chemicals, or when exposure
occurs in pregnant women and small children.

Europe will scarcely manage to realize its target of
 "living well, within the limits of our planet" by 2050,
according to the report, given that most Europeans
 have been using more than four hectares of the
 planet's resources each year - more than double
what rates as a sustainable ecological footprint.

The European Commission has estimated that a
 shift to a greener, low-carbon economy by 2050
 will require investments of an extra €270 billion
 a year, or 1.5% of the EU's GDP over the coming

The EEA says Europe could benefit economically
from greener cities, industry, transport and

"This is not a threat to well-being. For Europe
 this is a major opportunity," Bruyninckx says,
adding that 2050 green goals are closer than
we think, given that Europeans born today will
 be 35 in 2050, with over half their expected
 lifetimes ahead of them.

According to the report, EU citizens live
longer than in many parts of the world.
 Life expectancy at birth in the EU-28
member states exceeded 80 years in
 2012, and is higher for women.

 The gap between the lowest life expectancy
 in the EU (68.4 years for men in Lithuania)
and the highest (85.5 years for women in
 Spain) is considerable, however.

The share of the older population in all the
member states has been increasing recently.
The current proportion of people aged 65
 yrs and over, already exceeds 17.5% and is
 projected to be 29.5% by 2060, says Eurostat.


Fracking moratorium rejected by MPs

There was a vote on fracking in the
House of Commons on Monday, during
 which, Greenpeace held a protest
out-side Westminster Palace.

MPs overwhelmingly rejected a bid
to suspend fracking for shale gas.

But the government agreed to Labour
proposals for 13 new conditions to be
met, ere shale gas extraction occurs.

During a Commons debate, ministers
 also pledged an "outright ban" on
 fracking in national parks.

Earlier, a committee of MPs called for
 a moratorium on the practice, on the
 grounds that it could derail efforts
 to tackle climate change.

The Environmental Audit Committee
 also warned that there were "huge
 uncertainties" about the impact on
the environment, of fracking.

In the Commons, committee chair,
Joan Walley, backed an amendment
 tabled by a cross-party group of MPs
 calling for fracking to be suspended
 for 30 months... while assessments
 are carried out.

But the measure did not attract front-
bench support and was defeated by
 308 votes to 52.

A Labour amendment was added to the
 bill, to cheers from opposition benches,
 which will impose 13 tests to be met,
 before fracking can take place.

These include environmental assessments
 and the need to consult residents on an
 individual basis.

Labour and other MPs tabled amendments
 to allow the change to be made, so Energy
Minister Amber Rudd told the House that
 the government will remove the provision
that shale gas exploration will be allowed
 in such areas, only in "exceptional

She later said there will be an outright
 ban in "national parks, sites of special
 interest and areas of national beauty".


Mass extinction in Earth’s oceans
 probable --- comprehensive study

The first comprehensive ocean study
 has determined that ocean life faces
mass extinction from human activity.

 But the record damage is still reversible –
 unlike our impact on land... US scientists
 say that the effects "can be" mitigated.

"We’ve known for a while that sustainability
will become impossible with our lifestyles.
Although most of Earth is covered in water
we are hugely reliant on, many practices
 cause unprecedented damage to marine
 biology:-- coral reef damage, resource
 mining, fish farming, construction work,
 chemical pollution, the depletion of bio-
resources, unintended species migration,
 global warming, military drills – to name
just a few.

Drs. Malin L. Pinsky, Stephen R. Palumbi,
Douglas J. McCauley and colleagues from
 the University of California have examined
 hundreds of sources, including fossil records
 and statistics on shipping and seabed mining
 to inform their study, published on Thursday
 in the journal 'Science'.

“We may be sitting on the precipice of a
major extinction event,” McCauley says.

“If by the end of the century we’re not off
 the business-as-usual curve we are now,
I honestly feel there’s not much hope for
normal ecosystems in the ocean,”
Palumbi says.

One conclusion is that oceans have until now,
 largely evaded the damage we'd caused to life
 forms on land. But after 1800, industrialization
accelerated land extinction, plus, the stage
was set for irreversible water damage.

“Current trends in ocean use suggest that habitat
 destruction is likely to become an increasingly
 dominant threat to ocean wildlife over the next
 150 years,” the team says in their study.

And because oceans are a fluid mechanism
- more difficult to monitor accurately - some
places could be far worse off than others.

Fishing, for example, has affected 20 million
 square miles of ocean already, altering the
 continental shelf.

Seabed mining contracts are an especially
huge change: the area went from 0 square
 miles in the year 2000, to 460,000 in 2014.

The US Navy alone, kills or injures 1,000s
 of whales and dolphins, during its drills.

Humans have caused a 40% decline in coral
 reefs worldwide, which consequently leads
 to habitat destruction for marine species.

Some migration may result in the arrival
 of predatory species to ecosystems that
 are not prepared to accept them, etc, etc.

 But everything is feeling the impact of
polution and overheating...

“If you cranked up the aquarium heater &
 dumped some acid in the water, your fish
would not be very happy,” Pinsky says. “In
 effect, that’s what we’re doing to oceans.”

And it starts on land for many marine animals:
 some lay eggs – like sea turtles; seabirds nest
 in cliffs, and so on. Some ocean species have
 already become extinct, due to land activity.

“But in the meantime, we do have a chance to
 do what we can. We have a couple of decades
 more than we thought we had, so let’s please
 not waste it,” Palumbi says. "I fervently believe
 that our best partner in saving the ocean is the
 ocean itself.”

McCauley explains that if we severely limit the
 industrialization of Earth’s water, we could let
 species recover – much more so than we ever
 could on land, where damage is irreversible
 in many places.

“There are a lot of tools we can use,” he says.
The team believes that designing an approach
with climate change in mind would be the way.

It’s about considering how & where species
 can escape rising temperatures and lower
pH levels.

 As we learn that some areas are affected more,
one chance may be to limit industrial operations
 to some areas, while allowing others to recover.

“It’s creating a hopscotch pattern up and down the
 coasts to help these species adapt,” Pinsky says.


World’s soil may be degraded in 60 years: UN

All of the world's top soil could be gone in the
next 60 years if the current rate of degradation
continues, a prominent UN official says.

Nearly a third of the soil across the world has
 already been degraded, & it takes 1,000 years
 for 3 centimeters of top soil to be generated,
Maria-Helena Semedo of the UN Food and
 Agriculture Organization (FAO) told a forum
 marking World Soil Day in Rome on Friday.

"Soils are the basis of life. Ninety-five percent
 of our food comes from the soil," Semedo said.

Experts say chemical-heavy farming methods,
 deforestation, which raises erosion, and global
 warming are the main causes of soil destruction.

"We are losing thirty soccer fields of soil every
 minute, mostly due to intensive farming," Volkert
 Engelsman from the International Federation of
 Organic Agriculture Movements told the forum.

"Organic may not be the only solution but it's
 the single best (option) I can think of," he said.

Soil is a significant factor in absorbing carbon
 and filtering water, FAO says.

Soil degradation causes a vicious cycle, in
 which less carbon is stored, the world gets
 hotter, and the land is further eroded.


                Japan Warns on Big Hole in Ozone Layer               
 A hole in the ozone layer, which started to grow
 in early September, reached 23,400,000 square
kilometers on October the 1st, report Japanese
scientific institutions.

That's equivalent to 1.7 times the Antarctic's
surface - and it almost equals last decade's
 measure, says Japan's Meteorology Agency.

Despite the volume of gases in the air shrinking
due to the fulfilling of international regulations,
it will still be midcentury before the ozone layer
 hole recovers to the size it was in 1980, says
 researcher Atsuya Kinoshita, from Japan's
 Meteorology Agency.

According to medical sources, the ozone
layer prevents harmful ultraviolet rays
 coming to earth, from the sun.

Long exposure to electromagnetic radiation
 can cause skin cancer, and other problems.


Venezuela Rejects Unipolarity

 at Environmentalist Forum    
Capitalism, which destroys the environment and is
 headed by the United States, will be challenged now
 from South America, the Venezuelan Vice President
 for the Social Area, Hector Rodriguez, predicts, at
 an environmentalist forum.

Venezuela supports the consensus against
 unipolarity, defended by the meeting 'Social
 PreCOP on Climate Change', which was held
in Margarita Island, says the Minister, who
is also the Minister for Education.

Our Government supports the central purpose
of the meeting  - to boost the world mobilizing
 towards a new multipolar world, he says.

The participants analysed experiences,
capacities and efforts to save the planet,
and proposals were presented
, to add
them to the global political agenda.

Social PreCOP, which gathered representatives
of 40 States in Venezuela, was the world's first
 gathering to bring both Governments and social
movements face to face on the issue, he said.

The objective of the meeting was to highlight
 the social dimension of the debate on climate
 change and establish the foundations of an
 alliance between people and Governments,
to face the threats that hover over humanity.

Delegates issued a document containing
their proposals, which was then discussed
at a round table with ministers in charge
of the issue, said the organizers.


Greenpeace anti-fracking protesters
block access to Chevron shale gas exploration

Greenpeace activists have chained themselves to
 the gates of a Chevron shale gas exploration well
 in eastern Romania to protest fracking there.

 Activists from Romania, Hungary, Austria, the
Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Germany
came to the Pungesti site, wearing bright yellow
jackets and holding banners reading "Pungesti-
anti-Chevron quarantine area" and "Stop fracking."

 US energy major Chevron began work on the
 exploration well in the village of Pungesti in
 eastern Romania in December. An exploration
 start was postponed several times by protests.


88% of world’s oceans covered by plastic junk – study

At least 88% of the surface of the world’s open
oceans is polluted by plastic debris, says a new
scientific report.

The findings raise big concerns about the safety
of marine life and how this ocean litter may now
be affecting food chains.


    US pressures El Salvador to
    buy Monsanto's GMO seeds

As a precondition for authorizing
$300 million in aid, the US is now
pressuring El Salvador to buy
 genetically modified seeds
from Monsanto, instead of non-
GM seeds from local farmers.

According to Sustainable Pulse, a
website covering developments
 related to GM organisms and
 sustainable agriculture, the US
will withhold $277 million in aid
through the Millennium Challenge
Compact --- if El Salvador refuses
 to purchase GM seeds from the
 biotech company Monsanto.

The president of El Salvador's Centre
 for Appropriate Technologies (CESTA)
criticizes the US negotiating position
and says the US should back away
from its demand.

“I'd like to tell the US Ambassador
to stop pressuring the Government
to buy ‘improved’ GM seeds,” CESTA
president Ricardo Navarro says, 
adding that it would hurt the local
economy & only aid US companies.

Navarro then singles out Monsanto:
 “There's a harmful corporation on Earth
called Monsanto. It's truly disturbing,
that the US is trying to promote them.”

In March, France banned the growth and
sale of the company’s insect-repelling
maize seed MON 810, just a few days
 before it was revealed that insects in the
 US were developing resistance to the crop.

El Salvador passed a law in September
2013 banning glyphosate in Monsanto’s
 Roundup pesticides, as well as dozens
 of other agricultural chemicals.

Similar proposals are being considered
in Brazil, where the country’s prosecutor
general recently urged the National Health
 Surveillance Agency to “reevaluate the
toxicity of 8 active ingredients suspected
 of causing damage to human health and
 the environment,” including glyphosate
 and seven other chemicals.

Glyphosate, research shows, becomes
 extremely toxic to humans, as it mixes
with natural metals found in soil.

Other reports link glyphosate to a fatal
kidney disease that has killed thousands
of people in El Salvador and Sri Lanka, &
could also help explain similar situations
 in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and India.


Chernobyl memories fade? Kiev turns blind
 eye to disaster-risk in nuclear deal with US

The coup-imposed government in Kiev has
 resurrected a contract with a US company
 to supply fuel to Ukraine’s nuclear power
 plants, despite the fact that using US fuel
 rods was banned in 2012, because of a

In April 2014, shortly after the armed coup, Kiev
 signed a new deal with the US’s leading nuclear
fuel producer, Westinghouse Electric Company,
instead of the Russian TVEL company that has
 been supplying fuel rods to Ukraine for years.

Ukraine’s 4 nuclear power plants constitute a
 huge part of the country's energy system. The
 country’s 15 nuclear reactors produce at least
 50% (over 13 megawatts) of all electric power
generation in Ukraine.

All nuclear fuel for Ukrainian reactors (worth
 hundreds of millions of dollars a year) has been
 produced in Russia, which also recycles
 Ukraine’s nuclear waste.

Moreover, Russia’s Rosatom state-owned nuclear
 monopoly is currently constructing a nuclear fuel
 fabrication plant in Ukraine, where nuclear fuel rods
 will be assembled using uranium enriched in Russia.

Ukraine has relied on Russia in all atomic
 matters – but since the coup the US has
 muscled in on the relationship.

The Westinghouse Electric Company has been
 trying to ‘ease’ the former Soviet-bloc country's
 energy reliance on Russia and enter the market
 in Eastern Europe for over a decade.

 Back in 2012, the then US Secretary of State Hillary
 Clinton attempted to convince Czech leaders to pick
 Westinghouse as a first nuclear fuel supply partner
 instead of Russia, which would create thousands of
 new jobs in the US.

Westinghouse has tried supplying nuclear fuel to
Energoatom nuclear power generating company,
in Ukraine before...

 In 2005, six experimental Westinghouse
 fuel assemblies, adopted for use in USSR-
developed reactors, were tried at the South
Ukraine plant in one reactor, together with
Russian fuel rods.

Though nuclear engineers were skeptical of
the pilot probe, the government of ex president
 Viktor Yushchenko signed a deal in 2008 with
 Westinghouse on fuel rod supply, despite the
fact that American nuclear fuel is significantly
 more expensive and technologically different.

 Russian nuclear fuel rods are hexagonal in
section, while US fuel assemblies are square.

Despite experts' fears, 42 fuel assemblies were
 loaded into three reactors at the South Ukraine
 nuclear power plant for a standard three-year
period of commercial operation.

When, in 2012, the time came to replace the
 fuel assemblies, Ukrainian nuclear engineers
found that Westinghouse assemblies deformed
during exploitation and got stuck in the core.

Energoatom accused Westinghouse of producing
 poorly engineered assemblies, and Westinghouse
 countered, by accusing the Ukrainian engineers
 of installing the rods badly.

After this, the use of US nuclear fuel was banned
 in Ukraine, while the fuel rods were returned to
the producer ‘to get fixed’, and Russian experts
 were summoned to help with the repair of the
 equipment, produced in the USSR.

 Energoatom Company lost approx. $175 million.

Similar problems with Westinghouse fuel assemblies
 occurred at a number of other USSR-constructed
 nuclear power plants: NPP Krško in Slovenia, NPP
 Loviisa in Finland and NPP Temelin in the Czech

All these countries opted to return to time-proved fuel
 assemblies produced by Russia’s TVEL Company.

Now Ukraine appears to be ready to fall into the
same trap twice.

 The coup-imposed Kiev regime has renewed the
 2008 nuclear fuel deal till 2020, to replace 25%
 of the Russian-made fuel rods, with an option to
 “provide more if needed,” reported AP in April -
 all for the sole purpose of ‘diversifying’ supply.

What happened back in 2012 at Zaporozhskaya
 NPP could have ended with another Chernobyl,
 because having unextractable fuel assemblies
 loaded means a potential loss of control over
 the fission processes inside the reactor.

But the new Kiev authorities, supported by
 Washington, are making every effort to cut
 Ukraine’s ties with Russia, so moving from
 Russian nuclear fuel to US assemblies is
 attractive to A. Yatsenyuk’s coup regime,
 despite the 2012 incident.

Worse, Westinghouse won’t recycle its fuel rods
 when they ‘burn out’, so Ukraine will spend even
 more budget money to prepare special storage
 facilities for nuclear waste.

Westinghouse has its eyes on a bigger prize...

“This move by Westinghouse is really to secure
 not just a fuel contract, which will go on for many
 years, but to put its foot in the door to build a fuel
 fabrication plant in eastern Ukraine. And that’s
 what’s most important and that’s what they’re
after,” John Large, an independent nuclear
 analyst from London, tells RT news.

Experts warn that nuclear power plants
not undergo such drastic transitions.

“A nuclear reactor demands a coherent structure
of operations. The active reactor core is the most
 dangerous when it comes to the impact it may have
 on people and the environment. All reactors differ in
 smallest details, and toying around with them leads
 to no good,” Evgeny Akimov of the International
 Union of Nuclear Energy Veterans warns.

If something goes wrong, Kiev may find
 they face all the consequences alone.

“As far as I know, Westinghouse signs contracts
 in which the company bears no responsibility, so
 the burden will lie with Ukraine,” states Rafael
Arutyunyan, nuclear security expert and professor
 at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

Kiev’s actions are being dictated by politics
and corruption rather than risks, even when
 the severe consequences may affect not just
Ukraine, but the entire European continent.

When the Chernobyl tragedy occurred in 1986,
 it was by pure coincidence that Ukraine’s wind
 direction, usually directed to Europe, changed,
 sending most radioactive fallout in the direction
 of Russia and Belarus.

In this over-politicized case, European capitals
 would do well to understand how the wind blows.


Japan Intends to Resume Whaling in Pacific Ocean  

Japan announces that it expects to resume
 its whaling program in the Northwest Pacific,
the UN International Court of Justice
ruling against it.

According to a Japanese government note,
 the whaling program will now resume after a
request by whaling company Kyodo Senpaku.

Earlier in April, the UN International Court
ordered Japan to halt its whale hunt in
 Antarctica, and Tokyo promised to abide
 by its decision.

The court ruled that Japan's whaling program
 isn't in keeping with international conventions
 that allows whaling for scientific purposes.

The case was brought to the court in 2010,
 alleging that Japan was breaching international
law by killing hundreds of whales each year for
 commercial purposes.

Recently, Fisheries Ministry officials reported
that the Japanese fleet captured 251 whales
 this year, in its latest hunt, up until last March.

The catch was more than the 103 whales caught
 the previous year, but less than the planned
 quota of 935.



France’s lower house of parliament has passed a
prohibiting genetically modified (GM) maize
from being grown, citing environmental

The law can be applied to any GM strain that is
 adopted at EU level.

The law follows a decree last month, which halted
 the planting of Monsanto’s insect-resistant maize
 MON810, which will be allowed for cultivation in
the EU, Reuters reported.

But if any strain of GM crop is adopted in the future
 at EU level – including Pioneer 1507, developed by
 DuPont & Dow Chemical – it will be banned in France.

Pioneer 1507 could be approved by the EU later this
 year, after 19 of the 28 EU member states failed to
 gather enough votes to block it.

The law adopted now by France's lower house
 (National Assembly) is similar to one rejected by
 the upper house (Senate) in February, which was
 seen as "unconstitutional."

“It's essential today to renew a widely shared
desire to maintain the French ban. This bill
 strengthens the decree passed last March
 by preventing the immediate cultivation of
 GMO & extending their reach to all transgenic
 maize varieties” Jean Marie Le Guen, minister
 in charge of relations with parliament, told
 the National Assembly.

The current Socialist-led government in France,
 like the previous conservative one, has opposed
 the growing of GM crops after public suspicion
 and protests by environmentalists.

Le Guen called for an EU system that would
 make sure that the decisions of member states
 not to adopt GM, couldn't be challenged legally.

A debate on the future of EU policy is going on
 at EU level, with the European Commission
 suggesting an opt-out to allow individual
 countries to ban GM crops.

The French ban on GM maize will now have to
 go to the Senate for approval. However, even if
 it is rejected again, the National Assembly will
 have the final say.

France is against genetically modified crops,
 but the UK argues that without them, Europe
risks becoming a “museum of world farming.”

Spain also says its own farmers have to be able
to compete with those outside the EU – many
of whom are growing GM crops.

GM crops, though still unpopular in Europe,
 are widely grown in the US and parts of Asia.


World court revokes permits,
 rules Japan's whaling not
 for scientific ends

Japan’s whaling program in seas near Antarctica
 is not for scientific purposes, judges at the UN’s
 highest court ruled on Monday 31st of March.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague
also agreed with Australia, that Tokyo should
 revoke permits to catch and kill whales for
research purposes, Reuters reported.

Australia, which brought the case before the
court in The Hague in 2010, had argued that
 Japan's assertion that it was carrying out
scientific research, was to justify what was
 in fact, pure commercial whaling.

The JARPA II research program has been going
 on since 2005, and has involved the killing of
 about 3,600 minke whales, and “the scientific
 output to date appears limited,” presiding
Judge Peter Tomka said.


Rotating crops beats agrotoxins

as crop-eating insects beat GM

For thousands of years, farmers beat pests
by rotating their crops, or placing them next
to plants which kept the insects away.

Then came the wonderful world of agrotoxins.

But the bugs beat all that GM biotechnology
 could throw at them. Now, the latest advice
to farmers is...     go back to rotating crops.


UN warns world to produce 60% more

 food by 2050... or face mass unrest.

Political turmoil, social unrest, civil war,
terrorism - all could be on the table unless
our world boosts food production by 60%
 by mid-century, the UN’s hunger fighting
 agency warns.

The world’s population is expected to hit
 9 billion people by 2050, which, coupled
with a high calory intake by increasingly
 better off people, is likely to drastically
 increase demand in the coming decades,
 says Hiroyuki Konuma, assistant director-
general of the UN Food and Agriculture
 Organization, for the Asia-Pacific region.

This, at a time when the world is investing
less in agricultural research, raises fears
 among scientists that global food security
could be imperiled.

"If we fail to meet our goal, and a food shortage
 occurs, there will be a high risk of social and
political unrest, civil wars and terrorism, and
 world security as a whole might be affected,"
Reuters cites Konuma as saying at a regional
 food security conference in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

A leaked draft of an Intergovernmental Panel on
 Climate Change report, warns that climate change
alone, could cause a 2% drop each decade, this
 century. In the past 3 years, Australia, Canada,
 China, Russia and the US, have all suffered big
 flood and drought induced harvest losses.

Our reliance on an ever smaller group of crops
is also leaving global food supplies increasingly
 vulnerable to price inflation, insects and disease.

"As the global population rises and pressure
 increases on our global food system, so too
does our dependence on global crops and
the production system that feeds us,” Luigi
 Guarino, of the Global Crop Diversity Trust,
 told the BBC earlier this month.

"The price of failure of any of these crops
 will become very high."

Progress is been made to stop global hunger:
 with vegetable production in Asia & the Pacific,
where over three-quarters of all vegetables are
 grown, increasing by 25% over the last decade.

The FAO estimates, however, that 842 million
 people in the world remain undernourished,
 and two thirds of them live in the Asia-Pacific.

 One in four children under the age of five is
stunted due to malnutrition.

To combat the problem, the UN body outlines
 two primary options: increasing arable land
areas, and increasing productivity.

Environmentalists also urge better food
 distribution methods. In February, the FAO,
 World Bank and World Resources Institute
 estimated that the world "loses" 25 to 33%
 of all the food it produces – nearly 4 billion
 metric tons.

More efficient agricultural production, better
  food storage, and more biologically diverse,
local food systems, which are less vulnerable
 to global changes, are also proposed, to help
 tackle the growing threat of food insecurity.



The European Commission is set to authorize
the growing of genetically modified maize on
European soil, despite 19 member states voting
 against the move, highlighting the “absurd”
 rules of weighted votes in the EU.

In a debate on Tuesday, 19 EU member states
 indicated they would vote against authorizing
genetically modified maize because of health
 and environmental concerns and opposition in
 the European Parliament.

But because of the EU's "comitology rules",
 their votes will be insufficient to overturn the
 decision of bigger member states who support
 the introduction of insect resistant Pioneer 1507.

The UK & Spain both spoke in favor of GM
 crops, while Germany abstained. France
is staunchly against their introduction.

European health Commissioner Tonio Borg
 says the commission is now legally bound
 to approve the crop, and Borg insists that
extensive research since 2001 shows that
 the crop is safe.

The UK argued that, without GM crops, Europe
 risks becoming “the museum of world farming,”
 and that there is a clear scientific case for GM,
 while Spain said its farmers need to be able to
 compete with nations that grow GM produce.

DuPont, which jointly developed Pioneer 1507
 with Dow Chemical, says in a statement that
 the EU has a “legal obligation to itself, to its
 farmers & scientists and to its trade partners”
 to support the approval of agricultural advances.

France however, warns that if the EC goes ahead
with the introduction of GM maize, it risks fuelling
even more euroscepticism, by granting approval
 in the face of fierce opposition.
Thierry Repentin, the French EU affairs minister:
“We have a majority against it, so I don’t understand
 how we can approve this. Even more so ahead of EU
elections. This is dangerous to the image of the EU
 institutions, it will fuel the idea that Europe
doesn’t work or works badly.” 

Italy calls the outcome “indigestible” and Hungary
 calls it a showcase of the “European absurd”.

The Green group in the European Parliament says
 there is now no democratic mandate for giving the
 green light to GM maize.

The environmental groups Greenpeace & Friends of
 the Earth say
Pioneer 1507 harms moths & butterflies
 and is designed to be resistant to a kind of weed killer
 about to be phased out anyway, over safety concerns.

Marco Contiero, Greenpeace’s agriculture policy director:

“Approval by the Commission would be irresponsible
 because of the environmental risk, untenable because
 of widespread political and public opposition, & legally
 compromised, because the Commission has forced it
 through without the required consultation.”

Borg says the EC might compromise, and revive
a separate proposal that would allow individual
member states to ban GM crops while other
countries could approve them.

He appeared to back down from approving the bill
 on Wednesday.

“This file took thirteen years to come to fruition,
I am cautious about giving timelines,” he said.



China and Russia are to build the world’s biggest
thermal power plant with an 8 gigawatt capacity.

The Erkovetskaya TPP project in Russia’s Amur
 region could cost up to $24 billion, and will export
 energy to China where domestic demand is high.

The plant will be developed by Eastern Energy
 Company, a subsidiary of Inter RAO, the Russian
 state-run power utility, Vedomosti news reports.

The plant will supply 30-50 kilowatts per year -
 5% of the Russian Federation's total production,
 General director of Eastern Energy Company,
 Mikhail Shashmurin says.

Sergey Beiden from Otkrytie Financial Corporation
estimates the total cost at between $12.5 - $24
 billion, reports Kommersant,

To deliver the energy to Beijing, where demand
 is strongest, 2,000 km of transmission lines
 will need to be installed.


Green Routines launches Wales' first
 Solar PV cooperative at The Senedd



US emits 50% more methane than EPA reports - study

The US is responsible for 50% more methane, a heat-
trapping gas, than previous government estimates,
 a new study finds.

 Methane is the most abundant global warming gas, and
 is 21 times worse than carbon dioxide at trapping heat.

 The study estimates that in 2008, the US spewed 49
 million tons of methane into the air, more than all
 carbon dioxide pollution from cars and other vehicles
 in six months.

The figure is way over the 32 million tons estimated
 by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Most of America’s methane comes from Texas,
 Oklahoma and Kansas via livestock - cows, especially
 their manure, are twice as bad as originally thought -
 but also from leaks while refining and drilling for oil,
 the National Academy of Science says in its report
released Monday.

Experts called this study of methane emissions the
most comprehensive yet - given that the gas is
difficult to track and measure.

The study was based on about 13,000 measurements
from airplane flights and tall towers, the most used
 in any such research, the AP reports.



New data released by the Brazilian government
 shows that deforestation in the Amazon has
 increased by nearly a third over the past year.

According to Brazilian government figures
just released, satellite data for the 12 months
 to the end of last July, shows a 28% increase
in deforestation compared to last year.

The study also shows that approximately 2,256
square miles (5,843 square km) of land has been
 cleared during the period, an area roughly the
 size of the US state of Delaware.

Scientists and environmentalists say the trend
marks a reversal in gains against deforestation
 in Brazil, though other Amazon countries have
also witnessed a rise in deforestation since 2011.

The reason is unknown, but experts attribute it to
 government infrastructure projects, environmental
policy and a rise in demand for soybeans and other
 Brazilian farm exports, which encourages ranchers
 to clear private land in the Amazon.

“You can't argue with the numbers,” says Marcio
 Astrini, a coordinator with Greenpeace, adding,
 “This is not alarmist - it's a real and measured
inversion of what had been a positive trend.”

The Amazon rainforest covers territory belonging
 to 9 nations, with over 60% in Brazil, followed by
 Peru with 13%, Columbia with 10%, and minor
 amounts in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia,
Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.


 Mass rally staged in Australia for climate change action

Thousands of Australians gathered to call for
action on climate change across the country
after PM T. Abbott moved to abolish carbon tax.

GetUp, the group organizing the countrywide event,
estimates that 60,000 people turned out to protest.

Australia has just had the hottest 12 months ever
 recorded, which triggered massive bush fires in
New South Wales.



Hundreds of activists from different NGOs
a hunger strike on the second day
of talks
at the UN Climate Change Summit.

Wael Hmaidan, director of Climate Action Network
 International and one of the hunger strikers, told
reporters that organizations away from the summit
 and other well-known individuals, joined in the
voluntary fasting as well.

The strike was in solidarity with Naderev Saño,
 the Philippines' representative to the summit,
 who announced at the event's inaugural meeting
 that he was going on a hunger strike until the
 conference was over and agreements made
on concrete action to fight climate change.

"I am overwhelmed by civil society's solidarity
 all over the world, especially from young people,"
 Saño says.

He also highlights the urgent need to take
action to tackle global warming and prevent
 "natural" disasters.

The Philippines has just been hit by a Category
 5 mega typhoon, which destroyed entire villages
and killed more than 10,000 people.



One point three billion metric tons -

that's how much food that we waste
 each year, China Daily reports.

As this massive wastage of food occurs, 840 million
 people experience chronic hunger on a daily basis.
 Many millions more suffer from "silent hunger" -
malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies.

The economic cost of waste is  $750 billion a year,
based on producer prices; if we consider retail prices
and the wider impacts on the environment, including
 climate change, the figure is far higher.

As governments preach austerity, it's hard to understand
 how a hemorrhage of money like this could go neglected.
 Yet in some places, the volume of food wastage is rising.

A new report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization,
published at a Green Growth Forum now on in Copenhagen,
 highlights a troubling aspect: the negative consequences
 on the environment and natural resources we all need to
  simply survive on this planet.

When food is wasted, energy, land and water resources
that went into producing it are also squandered - while
at the same time large amounts of greenhouse gases
 are released into the atmosphere during the production,
 processing, and the cooking of food.

We simply cannot tolerate the waste of 1.3 billion tons
 of food every single year - a third of world food production.

This is why seriously cutting down on food loss and waste
 is one of the five elements of UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon's Zero Hunger Challenge is a major focus of the
UN High Level Task Force on Global Food Security.

We are working together within the UN system and with
a broad coalition of other partners to rise to that challenge,
 that also calls for 100 percent access to adequate food all
 year round; to eliminate childhood stunting; to make all
 food systems sustainable; and to eradicate rural poverty.

To begin with, food loss and waste needs to be seen
 as a cross-cutting policy issue, rather than a lifestyle
 choice to be left in the hands of individual consumers.

The world needs to wake up to the need for policies
on food waste and losses, that look at all stages
of the food chain, from production to consumption.

In most developing countries, post-harvest losses
 can reach as high as 40% of production.

 Especially in these places, investment in infrastructure
 for transportation, storage, cooling and marketing of food
 is badly needed. Training farmers in best practices also
 has an important role to play.

In developed countries, food retailing practices require
 a rethink. For example, rejection of food products on the
basis of aesthetic concerns is a major cause of waste.
 Some supermarkets are already relaxing standards on
 fruit appearance, selling "misshaped" items at reduced

 prices and helping raise awareness that "ugly does not
mean bad." More approaches like this, to find markets
 or uses for surplus food, are needed.

Both businesses and households should monitor to see
 where and how they waste food and take corrective steps,
because prevention of waste is even more important than
 recycling or composting.

Unlike the mindboggling figure of 1.3 billion tons, these
 simple steps are easy enough to grasp - and within the
 reach of each of us. The world has enough on its plate
but food wastage is something we can all do
 something about now.

Jos Graziano da Silva is director-general of UN Food
and Agriculture Organization, and Achim Steiner is
executive director of UN Environmental Programme.
The two organizations are founding partners of the
Think Eat Save - Reduce Your Foodprint campaign
 launched earlier this year.



A new US report shows that fracking for shale gas
 generated 280 billion gallons of toxic waste in 2012
 - containing cancerous and radioactive substances.

Fracking one well, can use 2 to 9 million gallons of
water mixed with sand and chemicals, and 'though
 most of the water used then returns to the earth,
 it contains both radium and bromides, it says:

“When bromide in wastewater mixes with chlorine
 (often used at drinking water treatment plants), it
 produces trihalomethanes, chemicals that cause
 cancer and increase the risk of reproductive or
 developmental health problems”. 

It also finds that 450,000 tons of air pollutants can
potentially be produced in one year by the practice.

Environment America, who published the report,
 calls fracking “highly polluting” and notes growing
 numbers of documented cases of illness as a result.
 As well as cancer, toxic substances from fracking
 chemicals and waste water can cause endocrinal,
 neurological and immune system problems.

“The numbers don't lie — fracking has taken a dirty and
destructive toll on our environment. If this dirty drilling
continues unchecked, these numbers will only get worse,”
John Rumpler, a senior attorney for Environment America
says, in a post-publication news release.

Fracking extracts oil and gas by injecting water
to break rock formations deep underground and
its use in the US has rapidly risen recently -
despite scientists warning about the climate-
damaging methane or radiation its use brings.
Over 80,000 US wells have been drilled or endorsed
 across 17 different states since 2005, and the report
says that 360,000 acres are "damaged" as a result –
 the highest being in Texas, where 130,000 acres are
 calculated as "damaged".

While this figure includes land cleared for roads, well
sites and pipelines, among other technical processes,
the report states that “the total amount of habitat and
landscape affected by fracking is much greater.”

This report comes after the publication of research
from Duke University released on Wednesday, in the
 Environmental Science and Technology journal.

That team analyzed water and sediment samples from
the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility, Indiana County,
 Pennsylvania, showing radium 200 times greater than
 samples taken upstream from the plant, and far higher
 than permissible under the Clean Water Act.

Radium is a radioactive metal that can cause
 diseases like leukemia and other ill effects,
 if exposure occurs over long periods of time.

The uncertainty over fracking is making house
 prices fall. The report cites a Texas study finding,
 that homes worth $250,000 but within 1,000ft of a
 well, have lost between 3% to 14% of their value.

Another reason for the decline in property
 values, could be the increased chance of
earthquakes. Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas,
Ohio and Colorado have had earthquakes
 after fracking's well wastewater disposal.

Environment America’s report suggests
 that damage from fracking is on a scale
 “unimagined” a few years ago and says:

 “banning fracking is the prudent and
 necessary course to protect the
 environment and public health.”

 The report strongly advises that US states
 take the initiative now and ban the practice.



Thousands of Romanians staged a new day of protest
against a controversial Canadian gold mine project, by
forming a human chain around the parliament building.

The event was held last Saturday in Bucharest, and
chain stretched 7 kilometers around parliament.

Protesters chanted, “United we can save Rosia Montana.”

“Only pressure on the streets can force politicians
 to stop this project - which is very dangerous for
 the environment,” said protester Stefania Iordache.

The crowd was acting against government support
for a plan
by Canadian Gabriel Resources, to mine in
 the village of Rosia Montana, in Transylvania region.

Protesters say the project - which would become
 Europe’s largest open-cast gold mine - will damage
 the environment, as the Canadian company plans
 to destroy four mountain tops and wipe out three
outlying villages in the area.

The project would also involve using an average
 of 12,000 tons of cyanide a year, to mine the
 estimated 314 tons of gold and 1,500 tons of silver.

Protests erupted on September the 1st, after the
 Romanian government approved a draft law granting
 'national interest' status to the Canadian project.

The government approved it, after it received
 a bigger stake in the project by the Canadian
 company, which has waited for 14 years to
gain an official permit for the mine.

The recent weeks of protests have forced the
Romanian government to postpone a vote on
 the bill in parliament until November, and PM
 V. Ponta has agreed to form a special
'to examine' the project.


El Salvador Opens Bio-fertilizer Plant
in Cooperation with Cuba

The first bio-fertilizer plant in El Salvador,
 built in collaboration with Cuban scientists,
is opened by Vice President Salvador Sanchez
 Ceren, in La Palma municipality, about 80
 kilometers from the capital, San Salvador.
"The Cuban and Salvadorian people share
 knowledge and wisdom, because knowledge
 is not the property of individuals, but humanity,
 and that is what the Cuban government has
 shown," the Salvadoran vice president says.

The bio-fertilizer plant's main objectives are
 to positively influence crop yields and grow
 healthy products for human consumption.

The project also has the collaboration of
 the Tri-national Trifinio Plan Commission,
 administered by El Salvador, Honduras and
 Guatemala, which seeks to protect natural
 resources and work in harmony with nature.

The Salvadoran vice president stresses the
 importance of replacing utilitarian & predatory
 policies, with new organisations able to promote
 social and economic relations which focus on
 gender equality, equity, and justice, while also
preserving natural processes and biodiversity,
and thus, contributing to
'ecological balance'.



"Poop-power is taking human waste by-products
 and extracting the energy from the waste, and
 using the energy for useful things," Michael R.
 Hoffmann, a professor at California Institute of
Technology (Caltech), explains in Beijing.

He was at a next-generation toilet campaign
  launched in China last week, and promoting
 his own design.

His dream is that one day all faeces can be
 disinfected and processed into hydrogen
electric power generation.

 His whole toilet unit includes processing
 machinery and a storage tank for hydrogen
 and is designed for 40 uses per day.

The 70-year-old's vision is that one family will
 be able to sustain their daily electrical needs
 using their own excrement and reuse the water
 they urinate after processing in their bathroom.

Each family will need just one next-generation
 toilet, says Hoffmann, winner of the "toilet
 revolution" campaign held by the Bill &
 Melinda Gates Foundation last year.

"The whole unit will cost the same price as
 an iPhone and you can charge your iPhone
 with your own poop-power," says the professor.

The toilet hasn't been fundamentally changed
 in 200 years after its invention in 1775, until the
 likes of Hoffmann created "toilet 2.0."

He came up with the new idea in 2011 when
 he was attracted by a US military toilet project.

 The military was interested in independently
 operated toilet systems to be used by troops
in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

"They didn't want to have to use fuel power
 generators. They wanted something that
 would be self-contained," Hoffmann says.

The military finally dismissed his toilet idea,
but The Gates foundation then came up with
 a similar idea.

The Foundation defines a "next-generation toilet"
 as one which is waterless, hygienic, not needing
 any sewer connection or electricity, and costs
 less than five US cents per user, per day.

"Although we can fly people to the moon, 40% of
 the world's population, 2.5 billion people, practice
 open defecation or lack adequate sanitation
 facilities," says Dr. Doulaye Kone, senior officer
 of water, sanitation and hygiene at the Gates

Even in urban areas, 2.1 billion people still use
 toilets connected to septic tanks that are not
 safely emptied, or use systems discharging
 raw sewage into open drains or surface water.

The Foundation has extended its "toilet revolution"
 campaign to China, kicking off with a competition
and with grants of 5 million dollars to encourage
 Chinese talent to reinvent the toilet.

"Imagine - each person discharges 1.5L urine
 and 300g of feces per day, and if you multiply
 the number of people of Beijing, how much
 stuff has to be processed on a daily basis,"
 Hoffmann says.

Processing today's raw toilet-generated sewage
is a huge project demanding huge facilities, yet
 instead, his small invention could do the job
 within each home, he says.

Hoffmann has been dealing with human waste
 for about 20 plus years. "If you want to study
 something, you have to invite it into your lab.
Yes, all my students and even my brave wife
 have contributed to my research," he says.

Sometimes, the experiments went wrong.
"Yeah, people made mistakes and they forgot
 to do something. And it just ran out on the floor.
 They had to clean up the human waste with
 their hands," the professor says, pulling a face.

Hoffmann says his invention is expensive, as
 research has cost a lot. He has been seeking
 partners in China to manufacture the product
 in large numbers, which would reduce costs.

He has introduced it to industry companies
 and toilet designers in Beijing, calling his
 presentation slides the "shit show."

 He asked the audience to "put our shit
 together" for the new "poop-power."

The Caltech team are also trying to work with an
 electric car company... on battery applications.

"In the future, maybe you can power your car
 with your own poop. If you feel your production
 is not enough, you can invite some of your
 friends to watch television at your home,"
 he suggests.



The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant
admits - for the first time - that the site’s reactors are leaking
highly contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, admitted the leakage to the
ocean for the first time since a catastrophic earthquake and
tsunami damaged the plant’s reactors in 2011 !!!

The operator made the acknowledgement after steam
was seen at one of the plant's reactors this Tuesday.

TEPCO is under criticism for delaying the announcement,
since experts had strong suspicions about a possible leak
for most of the time they have spent completely denying it.

Previously, the company denied all reports suggesting
that ANY contaminated water was leaking into the ocean.

TEPCO spokesperson Masayuki Ono, says that radioactive
water leaking from the wrecked reactors is likely to have run
into the underground water system, before joining the ocean,
and "might" be the result of initial leaks to the underground
system, spotted way back in 2011.

Ono adds that officials believe now a leak is "possible",
as underground water levels "fluctuate in accordance
with tidal movements and the rate of rainfall".

The plant operator says the number of plant workers with
thyroid radiation exposures exceeding threshold levels for
raised cancer risks, is "noticeably" higher than early reports.

On March 11th, 2011, a nine-magnitude earthquake triggered
a tsunami that inflicted heavy damage on the six-reactor
Fukushima plant. The cooling systems of the plant’s reactors
were knocked out, leading to meltdowns and the release of
radioactive material.

Last July, a Japanese parliamentary panel found that the incident
at the Fukushima nuclear plant had been a “man-made disaster”
and not only a result of the tsunami.

Their report criticizes “governments, regulatory authorities
and Tokyo Electric Power” for being devoid of “a sense of
responsibility to protect people’s lives and society.”



 Monsanto drops bid to approve new crops in Europe

The world’s largest seed corporation says it has dropped
 its bid to get more genetically modified crops onto the
 European market, after  wide-spread popular opposition.
 The biotech giant says it will expand its share of the
 natural seed market instead.

“We will no longer be pursuing approvals for cultivation
 of new biotech crops in Europe. Instead, we will focus
 on enabling imports of biotech crops into the EU and
 the growth of our current business there,” the US-
based company says in an email statement.
Pending applications for GM crops – 6 types of corn,
 a soybean variety and a modified sugar beet – will be
 withdrawn shortly, the biotech giant states.
Currently, only two GM crops are approved in Europe,
 the MON810 maize and a modified potato created by
 BASF, a German biotech company. However, much
 of the allowed genetically modified produce is
 delivered to Europe as animal feed.
Europe has long expressed its concern over
 the effects of GM food produce on human health.
Several EU member states, including France,
 Germany, Austria, and Spain, have banned the
 cultivation of genetically-modified crops.
In September, French scientists from the University
 of Caen released a study showing that rats fed on a
diet containing NK603, a corn seed variety, resistant
 to Monsanto's Roundup weed-killer, along with those
 given water mixed with the product at levels permitted
 in the US, died earlier than those on a standard diet.

Protests against Monsanto are frequent, all over
 the world. In mid-June, the latest initiative against
 the corporation was launched.

 Monsanto Video Revolt  beats a corporate media
 blackout on GMO foods, to bring the issue to the
world’s attention. The campaign was announced
 by the Global Healing Centre, Natural News and
 Natural Society, which have united to counter
 GM produce and the huge amounts of poisonous
 herbicides and pesticides, poisoning the planet.
In May, an estimated two million people, many 
in Europe, turned out for global anti-GM rallies.
In the UK, a YouGov poll released last month shows
 that only 21% of the UK's population are in favour of
 growing GM crops, with 35% opposed.

Yet senior officials in the UK have been stepping up
 their efforts to get large-scale farming of genetically-
modified crops in Europe. In June, the UK's present
 Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, asked the
 EU to loosen its controls, or risk being “left behind.”

Monsanto says they will invest in its European
 non-GMO seed business instead, to boost sales.
The company’s seed business in Europe accounts
 for over 98% of its $1.72 billion turnover in Europe.
"Conventional seeds is the area where we are focusing
at this time in Europe, and we are funding the business
 in a way that we haven't done for more than 15 years,"
 Monsanto’s President and managing Director for
 Europe, Jose Manuel Madero, says to Reuters.

The corporation is already investing $300 million
 to boost its seed production in France, Romania,
 Hungary and Turkey, with a mind to cashing in on
 "several hundred million dollars" more over the
 next five years, Madero says.

A significant part of that money, an initial investment
 of $150 million, which could double to $300 million
 within a couple of years, is to be directed to Ukraine,
 a major global grain producer. Monsanto stresses
 that the total area sown with its seeds in Ukraine
doubled between 2012 and 2013.



The 2nd International Summit on the Environment
(CIMA) was held this month, at Guayaquil city, in
Ecuador, aimed at promoting businesses which
work in unity with environmental protection.

The Guayaquil's Convention Centre hosted some
30,000 visitors, about 103 speakers, a business

 conference, the Latinoamerica Verde Awards for
entrepreneurs, and eight specific forums.

The CIMA also included Academic Forums for female
 leaders, visionary entrepreneurs and those responsible
 for policies and laws on environmental protection.

Swiss President Ueli Maurer, Dominican PM Roosevelt Skerrit,
 Tongan PM Siale'ataonga Tu'ivakano and Thai Deputy PM
 Nivatthamrong Boonsongpaisal, attended an ecological
 forum in China this week, a spokesperson says.

The Eco-Forum Global was held over three days in
Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province,

 says a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying.


Dear folks

An updated 2013 agroforestry and forest garden
network list is now available at


We have a few spaces left on our
last forest gardening courses of 2013 on
30th August - 1st September -

see details at:



Martin Crawford

Agroforestry Research Trust


Out now: Food from your forest garden -
a forest garden cookbook.



Leaders of Native American tribes have pulled
 out of talks with US federal officials, to express
 their outrage over a planned oil pipeline and
 its contamination of their ancestral lands.

The leaders from 11 tribes walked out of a
meeting in Rapid City on May 16th, and now
call on US President Barack Obama to engage
with them in direct negotiations, over the
Keystone XL pipeline.

“I will only meet with President Obama,”
 Bryan Brewer, the president of the Oglala
 Sioux Tribe, says.

He adds that talking directly with the US
 president is the only true way to conduct
 nation-to-nation talks.

The 1,897-kilometer (1,179-mile) Keystone
 XL pipeline, worth USD 7 billion, would
 pump oil from Canadian tar sands to
Texas refineries.

The pipeline requires the approval of the
Obama administration because it crosses
an international border.

Casey Camp-Horinek, an elder with the
 Oklahoma-based Southern Ponca Tribe,
compares the environmental damage of
 the pipeline to that suffered by thousands
 of her tribespeople during European colonization.

“We find ourselves victims of another form
 of genocide, and it's environmental genocide,
 and it's caused by the extractive industries,” she says.

Robin LeBeau, a council representative for the
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe based in South Dakota,
 vows to oppose the construction of the pipeline
 even if that means standing in front of bulldozers.

“What the State Department, what President Obama
 needs to hear from us, is that we are going to be
 taking direct action,” she says.

LeBeau says the pipeline would run directly through
 her tribe's traditional burial grounds near Bridger,
South Dakota.

She urges all Native American tribes to unify in their
 efforts to stop the construction of the pipeline.

“I believe this is going to be one of the biggest
 battles we are ever going to have,” LeBeau says.

Members of the Indigenous Council of Nebraska,
 the Lincoln Indian Center, and a grassroots
 movement from Canada called Idle No More,
 call now on Obama, to resist political pressure
 and disallow the pipeline.

They say the project represents a threat to soil,
 water and the atmosphere through the emission
 of more greenhouse gases.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
has estimated that the Keystone XL pipeline will
 increase annual US carbon pollution emissions
 by up to 27.6 million metric tons.


The Arctic Council Calls for Peace and Stability        
The foreign ministers of the Arctic Council have
approved a special declaration that the area
be kept as a zone of peace and stability.

The declaration highlights the importance of
international cooperation based on international
 law, and the willingness of member countries
 to solve problems jointly.

According to the statement, transparent and
predictable rules and mutual cooperation will
 encourage progress, trade and investment,
 as the stable development of its economic
potential is the key to prosperity in the region.

The Arctic Council, founded about 20 years ago,
groups eight Arctic countries, namely Canada,
 Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia,
Sweden and the United States.

China, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea and
 Singapore were granted new Observer States
 status on Wednesday.

The EU, which also requested that status, will
 have temporary observer status until certain
aspects of its trade relationship with Canada
 are clarified, the Swedish foreign minister,
 Carl Bildt, reports, at the end of the meeting.

The Council already has six permanent members
 and 26 observers, including 20 organizations
 and six countries, and Bildt says the inclusion of
 more observers will not impede the council´s duties.

This shows the growing international recognition
 of the Arctic Council, Sweden's Foreign Minister
 says, at which a legally binding agreement was
 also adopted on cooperation in oil disasters and
 another one on marine cooperation.

However, on Wednesday, when Canada assumed
 the chair of the Council, Greenpeace immediately
put out a statement that Harper's government
 intends to use the forum to promote industrial
development in the region.

 Greenpeace says the Arctic Council must be
 designed to ensure sustainability and protection
 of the environment, and must not allow the
 Canadian Executive to use the next two years
 to develop their destructive industrial agenda.



 The UK government is violating EU air quality law
 by producing the highest level of NO2, judges rule.

The UK's High Court rules that the coalition is in
 breach of an EU directive which puts limits on
 nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a colorless, odorless gas
 produced by burning fuels, which can cause
 respiratory conditions leading to early death.

Judges asked the European Court of Justice
in Luxembourg for guidance on what action
needs to be taken. However, an immediate
 improvement to air pollution was delayed.

Air pollution kills almost 29,000 people in the
UK each year, according to a body which
 advises the UK government. Before deciding
 on further action, the High Court has referred
 a number of legal questions to the ECJ, and
these could take up to 18 mths to be answered.

The case was filed against the government in 2011
 by the firm ClientEarth. Alan Andrews, a lawyer at
 the firm, says the High Court could eventually force
 the UK government to take certain steps to improve
 air quality, but does not have the power to issue fines.

The environmental law firm wanted to force the
government to come up with an air quality plan
 to comply with EU limits on N02, by 2015.

 Under the EU directive, member states are supposed
 to have complied with limits on NO2 in 2010, but the
 deadline can be extended by five years if a plan to
 deal with high levels of NO2 is delivered.

Court documents show 40 out of the UK’s 43 air quality
 zones exceeded the limits in 2010, and the government’s
 Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
 (Defra) says 23 zones might comply by 2015 and 16
 between 2015 and 2020, while London is not expected
 to comply before 2025.

“This historic ruling marks a turning point in the fight
 for clean air and will pile the pressure on Owen
Paterson,” says James Thornton, chief executive of
ClientEarth, referring to the UK Secretary of State
for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

“He must now come up with an ambitious plan to
protect people from carcinogenic diesel fumes,”
which are largely blamed for creating NO2, he says.


Dear Friends,
I'm highly recommending this Canadian film, on Vimeo:
Salmon Confidential
How Government Cover-Up on Fish Farming
Threatens Your Health, 
and the Entire Ecosystem
Ben and I watched it on Sunday. 
We actually didn't intend to watch it, but I plugged in
a new set of speakers for my computer, and opened a
link in a mercola.com newsletter to test the sound,
and we were enthralled by this brilliantly presented extended
report: The problem, analysis, solution is very clearly laid out,
leading to an uplifting and inspiring result. 

Salmon Confidential, the film


Salmon Confidential is a new film on the government cover
up of what is killing British Columbia’s wild salmon.

When biologist Alexandra Morton discovers BC’s wild salmon
are testing positive for dangerous European salmon viruses
associated with salmon farming worldwide, a chain of events
is set off by government to suppress the findings.

Tracking viruses, Morton moves from courtrooms, into British
Columbia’s most remote rivers, Vancouver grocery stores and
sushi restaurants.

The film documents Morton’s journey as she attempts to overcome
government and industry roadblocks thrown in her path and works to
bring critical information to the public in time to save BC’s wild salmon. 

The film provides surprising insight into the inner workings
of government agencies, as well as rare footage of the
bureaucrats tasked with managing our fish and the safety
of our food supply. >>> more

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/04/13/salmon-confidential.aspx?e_cid=20130413_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20130413 In addition, the main points in the extended mercola.com report:

  • 'Keystone' Species Missing in Action by the Millions
  • Wild Salmon Declines Traced Back to Salmon Farms
  • Lethal Salmon Virus Found in Every Region with
  • Installed Salmon Farms
  • You May Be Buying Salmon Infected with
  • Dangerous Fish Viruses
  • Farmed Fish Pose a Number of Health Hazards
  • to Your Health
  • Buying Local Increases Food Safety and Food Security

Story at-a-glance
• Salmon Confidential draws back the curtain to reveal how
the Canadian government is covering up the cause behind
British Columbia’s rapidly dwindling wild salmon populations:
fish farms

• In British Columbia, pacific salmon are an essential species
for the ecosystem. They fill hundreds of streams and rivers,
feeding hundreds of species, including humans. Since the
early 1990’s, salmon numbers have rapidly dwindled,
coinciding with the introduction of farmed salmon pens

• Fish farms breed pathogens that can spread like wildfire
and contaminate any wild fish swimming past. Wild
salmon that died before spawning have tested positive
for a number of salmon viruses, including the highly lethal
“salmon influenza”

• Farmed fish, purchased in stores around British Columbia
have tested positive for at least three lethal fish viruses,
including the dreaded ISA virus (aka salmon flu), salmon
alpha viruses, and Piscine reovirus, which causes the salmon
to have a heart attack, preventing them from swimming upriver

• I recommend buying locally-grown foods, and wild fish only.
Fish farms are a breeding ground for disease and toxic waste,
and produce fish of inferior quality. Due to the dramatically
increased disease risk—a natural side effect of crowding—
these animals are further contaminated with drugs, and in
the case of salmon, synthetic astaxanthin, which is made
from petrochemicals that are not approved for human
consumption. >>> more
Excerpts:  "The position of government and corporations is
identical. Democracy is slipping away. ... The level of
carelessness is unforgivable.
... The government is not doing it. Somebody has to! ... 
We must step up to support politicians who are stopping
that.... Department of Wild Salmon: That's us!"

And, an exemplary statement of Canadian government official
position on the findings: "...not designed as a public document.
That is one of the drawbacks of releasing it to the public."
Dr. Gary D. Marty, British Columbia Fish Health Vet. 

It was edifying to see the faces of the many bureaucrats who
have submitted to telling lies. The camerawoman did a brilliant
job focusing on their eyes— watching them glaze over when
they lied. I felt sorry for them, and very glad for the people
who pursued the truth and came up with the best solution
possible: Department of Wild Salmon: That's us!"

 —the local communities taking responsibility for
overseeing the protection and health of wild salmon
habitat themselves. They show how they can
turn this around.
We both felt informed and inspired after viewing this story.
I've featured it on GAC too:
I hope we all can do likewise because ocean currents
connect us all!

Personal: Maireid.com
Multimedia Production: LyrebirdMedia.com
Arts Action: GlobalArtsCollective.org
Music Journal: AlternateMusicPress.com
YouTube Lyrebird Channel: http://www.youtube.com/lyrebirdchannel
LinkedIn: http://au.linkedin.com/pub/maireid-sullivan/2b/582/380


 Limits to Growth

Queen Elizabeth 1st took a bath once a year –
whether she needed it or not.

Many people now take 2 showers - a day.
This is very relevant to our current stage of consumption.

Consumption of our resources such as water, land,
clean air and fossil fuels
is now at an unsustainable
level. At the time of Elizabeth 1st the world
population was about half a billion.
Today it is 10 billion. That is a lot of showers.

Clearly there have been many improvements since
the year 1500: we are now more hygienic, warmer,
better fed and more healthy, but the way we have
gone about improving our lifestyles has come at
a price. And although we might think everything
is quite expensive enough already, we are not
actually paying the full price.

The full price would include the cost to the environment.
Trees don’t bill us for their loss of forests, endangered
animals do not bill us for their loss of habitat. The
oceans ask no price for the pollution humans pour
into them, and the air will not send us an invoice for
the extra greenhouse gasses it has to burden.

If the fish and whales took us to court for murder of
their family members we would at least have more life
left in the sea.

In 1972 a group of eminent scholars, called the Club
of Rome, published a book called Limits to Growth. 
They spent years pulling information together, then
modelled it to create a future trend scenario. Their
conclusions were that we were using up the natural
resources of the planet too quickly, and if we did not
change our ways, collapse was inevitable. Limits to
Growth was an early warning siren. Sadly few people

Please do look at this very good explanatory graph
and updated info here:

In essence, they estimated that if human beings
continued to consume more than nature was capable
of providing, global economic collapse and abrupt
population decline could occur at around 2030.

In other words humans are taking too much,
and not giving enough back, and sooner rather
than later there is going to be a very big problem.

Governments baying for economic growth at all cost
are digging us deeper into the quagmire. They pursue
this because they measure success in money, not in
wellbeing or protection of the ecosystems on which
we all actually depend in order to stay alive.

Ever more dangerous and unwholesome methods
are being used to extract fossil fuels. Tar sands are
huge wasters of energy and put more CO2 into the
atmosphere in their extraction than when they are
burnt. Fracking - or hydraulic fracturing – pumps
toxic chemicals into the ground to release small
pockets of gas, deep sea oil drilling has an
abysmal record, but still they do it,

But there is another way of doing business. Growth is
still possible, but only if we invest in technologies such
as renewable energy supplies, allocate money for
innovation and research so that we can overcome
our dependence on dirty fuels and convert to clean
energies such as wind, tide and sun. We need to stop
wasting so much, and stop polluting the air with CO2
and poisons from incinerators and dirty industries.

We need to reuse more of what we have, and recycle
more of what we need such as metals and plastics.
Recycling leaves more in the resource pot
for the next generation.

If you had the choice between a car burning fossil fuels,
and a long and healthy life for your children,
which would you choose?

Limits to growth was updated in 2008,
and the data was found to remain relevant.
Update document can be read here



From 1970 to 2008 the biological resources of our planet
shrank by 28%. The main consumer? The USA.

Living Planet's specialists at the World Wide Nature
Foundation studied over 9000 mammals, fish, birds,
reptiles and amphibians, Vesti.ru reports. The report
states that if the whole world used our natural resources
like Americans use them, we would need five planets
to sustain the Earth.

Yet the USA is only in 5th place on the list of countries
which extravagantly uses the world's natural resources
for its own population.

First are Qatar, Kuwait, The United Arab Emirates
and Denmark. After the USA? Belgium, Australia,
Canada, The Netherlands... and Ireland!

Researchers also note that small plastic particles
now present a serious threat to sea life as they are
entering animals' respiratory and digestive systems.

10% of fish caught in areas close to the islands of
rubbish around the USA
& Hawaii have plastic in
their stomachs, says ECO portal.


The TRANSITIONERS' podcast: some Warmer Homes,
and turning carparks into
food gardens!

We hear
about Transition Guelph's recent 'Resilience Festival',
what Marsden and
Slaithwaite Transition Towns did with their
  LEAF funding, and what happened
when Transition Belper
suggested turning a local car park into a vegetable garden.

http://transitionculture.org/2012/04/13/its-the- april-podcast-a-resilience-
 festival-some-warmer- homes-and-turning-carparks-into-food-gardens/



Russia, Australia, the Netherlands and Brazil
have all announced that they plan to join the
 Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).   

Despite US criticism, more countries from
the heart of Washington’s camps say they
too, are considering joining. They include
 diehard allies like Turkey and South Korea.

Several other countries from the same camp
  joining the bank, despite US opposition, are
the UK, France, Germany and Italy. 

China says it has already accepted the
application of Brazil, its largest trading
 partner, to the AIIB,  adding that Austria
has also applied to join.

The AIIB is a multinational lender. It has
30 founding members with applications
still coming in.

Other nations will still be able to join
 the bank, but as common members.



France, Germany and Italy all joined the
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
(AIIB) last week - and the UK joined it
 the week before that.

AIIB --- launched last year --- is a China-led
 international development bank, targeting
 investment in Asian infrastructure such as
transport, energy and telecommunications.

 Analysts consider the new institution as a
 rival to the Western-controlled World Bank
 and the Asian Development Bank.

The AIIB's 26 founding member countries
who started AIIB earlier this year, hailed
primarily from Asia and the Middle East.

Despite Washington's repeated pleas for its
'partners' to stay away from the bank, which
 it claims has "dubious standards" on social
 safeguards, governance & the environment,
its allies are joining the China-led initiative.

Their choice is a vote of confidence in China,
which has achieved 3 decades of economic
 success and readied itself to make greater
 contributions to world development. How-
ever, what makes the AIIB so popular,
does not end there...

Unlike existing world lending bodies like
the World Bank, in which the US has the
dominant role and a veto, the AIIB gives
China no such privileges.

Instead, all members participate in the
decision-making process, in order to
 achieve win-win results.

The AIIB doesn't seek to weaken present
 institutions, but to strengthen them, and
 vigorously push forward the global

The World Bank welcomes the AIIB, says
 World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani
Indrawati, adding: "the WB will cooperate
closely" with the AIIB.

The US may be embarrassed that so many
 allies braved its warnings, and embraced
 the AIIB, but as a NYT editorial says: "this
 is a problem of America's own making."

The US has been too sluggish in reforming
 global financial institutions it controls, as
 their power distribution no longer reflects
 reality in the global economic landscape.

Decision-makers in the United States truly
do have to be reminded - that if they don't
 jump on the bandwagon of change in time,
they'll soon be overrun by the bandwagon.

The US worries on governance standards
and environmental and social safeguards,
 --- now European countries have joined ---
 can be eased somewhat, analysts say.

 Meanwhile, South Korea and Australia
are also considering membership, but
Japan is keeping silent.

According to procedure, March 17th was
the last day to apply for AIIB membership.


Money Pouring into Russia despite Sanctions

The net inflow of money into funds investing in
 Russian shares continued its six-week streak,
 $40.7 million between 26 February – 4 March,
the Emerging Portfolio Fund Research shows.

The leader among BRICS countries is India,
whose inflows totaled .55% ($678.1 million)
over the course of the week (the 12 month
 total was 7.4%, or $7.4 billion).

China had comparatively weak results—
an outflow of .12% ($341.1 million) in the
week, or 3.8% ($11.1 billion) over the year.

Investors continued to withdraw assets
 from Latin America--.75% ($216.3 million)
 in the week, reports Vesti Ekonomika.

Russia is in 2nd place among the BRICS.
Its total capital influx over the year
reached 1.1% ($525.2 million).

Therefore Russia is continuing to outpace
 developing markets, concludes Sberbank
 Investment Research.

Most are funds oriented toward Russia
 (inflow of .11%, $34.3 million). Passive
 funds attracted .47% ($54.2 million),
active funds lost .02% of assets ($4.6
million). In the week ending March 4th,
RTS index increased by .1% and Brent
crude rose by 3.2%.


'To put it in plain English, Russia is
considered to have an attractive
investment climate, no mean feat
after a decade of sanctions, credit
 rating downgrades, threats of more
 sanctions, even threats of military
 action and provocative NATO
exercises on its border.'

'All of these measures were intended,
 not to hurt Russia’s economy directly,
 but to create the impression Russia
 is surrounded, isolated, starved of
 capital, and with its economy “in
tatters”, to quote Barack Obama.

 International investors know
 when they see a winner.


US Frenzy at Chinese ad of yuan
 as new world reserve currency
In Thailand, China has recently erected a
curious billboard. The words on the billboard
 announce a new "world currency" called the
 Renminbi. The US dollar is nearing the end
 of its global power and dominance.

Renminbi's trading hubs have appeared all
over the world, from Singapore to London
 to Luxembourg to Frankfurt and Toronto.

Transnational corporations like McDonald's
 issue bonds in renminbi. Sovereign states,
including the UK, issue debt in renminbi.

The renminbi is the official currency of the
 People's Republic of China. The name literally
 means "people's currency." The yuan is the
 basic unit of the renminbi, but is also used
to refer to the Chinese currency generally,
 especially in international contexts.

A historic look at dominant reserve currencies
 shows that reserve currencies run in cycles
 that last somewhere between 80 and 110
 years per cycle.

The US Dollar has held its status as a reserve
 currency since 1921, bringing it to a 94 year
long streak, indicating that the US Dollar has
almost run its course.

The US prints money in an attempt to postpone
 the crisis, creating currency wars with nearly
 all major central banks in the world. As history
 shows, money printing will only aggravate the
 problem, making the transition more painful
 and costly.

Many international experts in finance believe
that the US Dollar is on its last legs. Central
banks simply manipulate events to help the
dollar maintain its status for a little longer.
However, the time when the US Dollar
crashes is not too far away.

China and other countries, including Russia,
 have been calling for the US Dollar to be
 replaced by another world reserve currency.

More and more countries make decisions
to do without the dollar in their settlements.


Rothschild warns of 'chaos, extremism'
 and 'horrendous' problems in Europe

Jacob Rothschild, 78-year-old banker & chair of
RIT Capital Partners, warns of global instability
 and the fragility of any hope for future incomes,
Richard Dyson writes, in The Telegraph.

In his statement on the economic year 2014,
 Rothschild expresses his concern about the
complicated economic background investors
 will face in the future.

According to Jacob Rothschild, the current
 geopolitical situation is perhaps even more
 dangerous than it was during the Second
World War, Pravda.Ru reports.

He stresses that the current state of affairs
 exists, as a result of the rampant chaos and
 extremism in the Middle East, the crisis in
 Ukraine and a general weakening of Europe
 -- which faces horrendous unemployment --
 against the backdrop of the EU's inability
 to conduct necessary reforms.


The US is Completely Bankrupt.

Some time ago, a summary of a report by the
 authoritative Washington-based Cato Institute
 was published. According to this institute, US
 government debt in 2014, was not USD 18
 trillion, but was in fact, USD 91 trillion.

The huge difference arises from the fact that
 official estimates don't include any “unfunded
 liabilities of programs like Social Security
 and Medicare.”

“While those liabilities don’t show up on official
 balance sheets, they nonetheless, represent
the legal obligations of the US government.”

 “The expected shortfall from these programs
 brings the true debt to an unfathomable
USD 90.6 trillion,” notes the Cato Institute’s
 brief summary. The full version of the report
-- including all calculations -- is expected
to appear in March.


US Investment Advisor, Ron Holland:

"Americans should take advantage of the
recent dollar strength to diversify into gold,
 investments, real estate and safe havens
outside the US dollar & the United States.

"Better to be early than too late, because
 eventually the consequences of aggressive
 military actions, central bank manipulation,
 uncontrolled government debt & unfunded
 liabilities, will come home to the American

"Neither the guilt of our political and banking
 leadership nor the innocence of our citizenry
 will protect you, your assets or your family."


Russia ratifies $100bn
BRICS New Development Bank

Russia's State Duma ratifies the $100 billion
 BRICS bank, that will serve as a money pool
for infrastructure projects in Russia, Brazil,
India, China and South Africa, and challenge
the dominance of the West-led World Bank
 and the IMF.

The New Development Bank is expected to
start fully functioning by the end of 2015,
according to the Russian Finance Ministry.

Russia has agreed to provide $2 billion dollars
 from the federal budget for the bank, over the
 next seven years.

It will have three-tiers of corporate governance,
with a Board of Governors, Board of Directors
 and a President.

The bank’s board of directors will hold its first
 meeting in Ufa in Russia this summer. Russian
 Finance Minister Anton Siluanov is likely to
become the bank’s first Chair of the Board of
 Governors, says Deputy Finance Minister,
Sergei Storchak, on 'Russia 24' TV channel.

The decision to establish the BRICS bank, with
 $100 billion in capital, was made in July 2014.
Each of the five member countries is expected
to allocate an equal share of the $50 billion
startup capital --- expanding to $100 billion.

The bank will be headquartered in Shanghai,
 India will serve as the first five-year rotating
 president, and the first Chair of the Board
 of Directors will come from Brazil.


China outstrips US foreign investment in 2014

More foreign direct investment flowed into
 China than the US in 2014, bumping the US
off the top spot for investment in the world,
 a position it has held since 2003.

China's $127.6 billion in foreign investment
 in 2014, was far more than the $86 billion
flowing into the US, according to figures
published by the UN Conference on Trade
and Development (UNCTAD).

The difference between 2013 is staggering,
 when $123.9 billion poured into China and
 $230.8 billion into the US.

The US saw foreign direct investment (FDI)
falling to its lowest since 2009, when the
market was wiped out by a financial crisis.

 The US ‘lost’ so much investment because
 of Verizon’s $130 billion purchase of Voda-
fone in the UK, which counted against it in
 the UNCTAD tally.

China, the 2nd largest economy, has been
 steadily gaining ground in FDI, which has
accelerated since the yuan's exchange
rate became flexible, and other reforms
made it easier for Western businesses
to operate in main-land China.

“There were structural changes in inflows
 to China, from manufacturing, to services,
& from labour-intensive to tech-intensive,”
according to the Director of Investment
 and Enterprise at UNCTAD, James Zahn.

After China, Hong Kong too, passed the US
--- into second spot, followed by Singapore
 and Brazil. The US is the only developed,
 and not developing, nation in the top five.

The UN survey notes a major shift favoring
 investment in the developing economies ---
which saw investment rise 4% in 2014 ---
while developed economies fell by 14%.

The biggest losers are the EU --- and the
former Soviet bloc.

 (Russia lost 70% of its foreign investment,
 and Ukraine lost out on $200 million. Both
 as a result of the conflict in E. Ukraine.)

Another title China took from the US in
October 2014, was the world’s biggest
economy in terms of purchasing power.

“China's been steady with modest growth
over the past few years and it's expected
to continue,” Zhan tells the WSJ.


Greece’s anti-austerity Syriza party

 officially wins parliamentary elections

Radical left-wing opposition party Syriza
has officially won the Greek parliamentary
elections, securing 149 seats, out of 300.

Syriza managed to gain key support to
form a new government, after meeting
with Panos Kammenos, the head of the
anti-austerity party, Independent Greeks,
 which also opposes Greece's bailout deal.

Kammenos says his party backs Tsipras
to be the next prime minister.

"From this moment there is a government in
the country. The Independent Greeks give
 a vote of confidence to PM Alexis Tsipras.
There is an agreement in principle," Panos
 Kammenos says, after talks with Syriza's
 leader, as quoted by Reuters.

“It's an historic victory. It sends a message
against austerity and
in favor of dignity and
democracy,” Panos
Skourletis, spokes-
person, tells
Greek Mega TV.

Syriza is the first anti-austerity party
to come to
power in the EU.

The government has announced that it
is no longer bound to the Troika loans
and has announced privatisation plans
are now "on ice", plus a series of new
benefits for the elderly and a reversal
of many job cuts.

(For details, see 'One Union' page)


Iran stops using dollar
in international settlements

Iran is stopping the use of the US dollar in
with foreign countries, Iran's
Central Bank says, on
Saturday (24th of
January, 2015).

“In foreign trade from now on, we'll be
using other
currencies, including the
yan, euro, Turkish lira,
Russian rouble
and South Korean won,” the Central

 Bank’s deputy head, Gholam Ali
Kamyab, tells
Tasnim News Agency.

He says Iran is presently considering
currency agreements with
several countries on
the use of other
currencies. The agreements
trade and economic operations, he

 says, and are planned for in the
"near future".



Fresh official figures show that for the first time
 in three months, German industrial production
 fell sharply in November last year.

Figures provided by the German Economics
 Ministry show a 0.1% drop in industrial out-
put, as energy production and construction
 activity also fell.

The fall comes after a 0.6% rise in October.

Data from the Federal Statistics Office shows
that seasonally adjusted exports declined for
 a 2nd consecutive month, by 2.1%,  in Nov.

The figures also show imports rose by 1.5%.

Economists predicted a 0.3% rise in production.

The Federal Statistics Office says German
 factory orders fell by 2.4% in November,
compared with October..

The drop is thought to have been caused by
 a 2.6% fall in orders from non-euro countries
 and a 4.7% decline in domestic demand.

Economists say the Ukrainian conflict and
Western sanctions imposed against Russia
 have contributed to the geopolitical crisis,
 limiting growth.


S&P cuts Ukraine’s rating to
 triple C-, spurring default fears

Standard and Poor (S&P) has lowered Ukraine’s
 credit rating from CCC to CCC-, nine rungs below
 investment grade.

S&P warns that Ukraine, which is in dire need of
 international financial assistance, may be on the
 brink of default, as Central Bank reserves shrink
and bailout funds are delayed.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says that
- despite productive talks with Kiev - the parties
failed to reach an agreement.

Though the country has received billions in aid
from the IMF, the US and the EU, a tumultuous
year has left Ukraine’s economy in ruins.

The IMF estimates that Ukraine would need
$15 billion in the short term to avoid a full-
blown financial crisis.


The US is behind the current drop in oil prices –
Bolivia’s president

The US is behind the current drop in oil prices,
 as it is aiming to undermine the economies of
petroleum producers Russia and Venezuela,
Bolivian President Evo Morales tells RT.

Morales says it is “a pity” that Washington
 stays on the “wrong course” by continuing
 to use sanctions against its political rivals.

“[The US thinks] we are living 200, 300 or
 500 years ago, instead of today. But all the
past should remain in the past. The US
 should realize this,” he states.

America is acting like other large empires
 did for centuries, as they “disseminated
 strife & hatred inside & outside, wishing
to establish political control over other
nations and plunder them economically,”
 Morales says, in an apparent reference
to the Spanish conquistadors’ invasions
of Latin America.

The Bolivian president also slams Europe
as “US accomplices”... for implementing
sanctions worldwide.

“We must think of a way to liberate Europe,
and just think --- they used to be invaders
of our countries,” he says.

Morales says President Obama “should stop
 imposing sanctions” and pay more attention
 to America’s internal problems, such as
 “abolishing capital punishment, or thinking
 of new laws to fight racial discrimination.”

He describes the US president as a
“discriminated against Afro-American”
who is himself  “discriminating against

“Of course, when America can’t overthrow
 a president by a violent military coup, it
starts to view the option of economic

“I am sure that the oil prices plunge was
 provoked by the US, to undermine the
 Russian and Venezuelan economies.
This is my opinion,” Morales says.

He urges Moscow and Caracas to “join
their efforts” to counter Washington’s
 “aggressive policies.”

Morales says that current oil prices, which
have reached their lowest since 2009, are
 the result of “temporary difficulties.”

“I am sure the US aggression related to oil
price cuts will not last long. Is $60 per
barrel a feasible price? Washington is not
interested in this.

“All the US is interested in, is an economic
assault on some countries to overthrow
their presidents. But they will not succeed
 in this task,” he says.

The oil price has fallen from $100 per barrel
in June, to $60 a barrel in December, due to
a drop in global demand, and increased oil
 production in the US.

Many observers believe that low oil prices
 & Western sanctions imposed on Moscow
 over its reunion with Crimea and alleged
 involvement in the Ukrainian crisis, have
given a painful blow to Russia’s economy.

A decline in confidence in Russia’s economy
 prompted investors to sell off Russian assets,
 which in turn saw the ruble plunging over 40%
 against the dollar, since the start of the year.


UNASUR Rejects IMF Criticism
          of Regional Pro-Integration Processes               
The Secretary General of the Union of South
American Nations (Unasur), ex Colombian
president Ernesto Samper, says that the
 International Monetary Fund lacks the
moral authority to make recommendations
 about pro-integration processes in the region.

"The IMF has no moral authority to come and
give us
any recommendations, after we were
- for many years -
subjected to its terms that
hindered any possibiluty
of progress. It is
like Dracula running a blood bank,"
Samper, at a press conference in Quito.

In recent remarks in Santiago de Chile, the IMF's
 Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, said that
pro-integration mechanisms like Unasur, the
 Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America
(ALBA), the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) 
& the Central American Integration System (SICA)
 should be rejuvenated, and compared them to a
big plate of spaghetti.

Mrs. Lagarde should rather worry about what is
happening in Europe, says Samper, who, in turn,
compared the current economic crisis in Europe
 to a lasagne, with only two countries eating the
 cheese and meat and leaving pasta to the rest.

Samper recalls that all the difficulties Unasur
 countries, and Latin America in general, have
 suffered to curb poverty and have economic
growth, have been caused by the IMF's
"poisonous demands" which have hindered
 any chance of progress in the region.

It's like Methuselah giving lessons on youth,
 says the secretary general of the regional
 bloc which includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil,
 Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay,
 Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.


         Greece: All Time High Long term Unemployment             
 Long term unemployment grew over the last year
 in Greece reaching an all-time high, the quarterly
 report on employment issued by the EC shows.

Data shows that during the second quarter of
2014, unemployed people seeking jobs for one
 year or more, reached 19.6% of the financially
 active population , that is, over two thirds of
the total number unemployed in the country.

The report confirmed that despite the relative
 stability of the unemployment rate, about 27%
 for over a year, the rate of unemployed people
 still shows a long term an upward trend, with
 an increase of 1.9% during the last year.

The CE also reports a decreasing Gross Domestic
 Product, now back at its 2000 rate, plus increased
 inequality among the population, due to the total
 elimination of social assistance and the collapse
 of household incomes.


IMF warns of downside risks
in uneven global recovery

The International Monetary Fund, on Tues (6th Oct),
 lowered its global economic growth forecast for the
 third time in 2014, warning that the global recovery
 remains uneven and that downside risks have risen,
 compared with the spring.


Russia's MDM Bank joins China’s Union Pay

MDM Bank, one of Russia’s top 30 banks,
has joined the Chinese payment system,
Union Pay, the bank says.

“After the project’s technical implementation,
 the owners of Union Pay cards will be able to
receive cash in MDM Bank’s ATMs and pay in
 those stores and malls serviced by the bank,”
the bank says.

Union Pay’s representative in Russia, Fan
Zhiguang, said the number of the system’s
 cards in Russia will hit 2 million within 3 years.

The Chinese system and Japan’s JCB will work in
 co-branding with the operator of Russia's national
payment system, whose founding was ordered
 by President Vladimir Putin, after Visa/MasterCard
 stopped processing cards by some Russian banks,
 due to sanctions imposed on the country by the US.


Russia to ban all US agricultural products,
EU fruit & vegetable imports - watchdog

Moscow is to ban all US agricultural products,
 including poultry, plus EU fruit and vegetable
imports, in response to Western sanctions
imposed on Russia over the Ukrainian crisis,
says Russia’s agricultural watchdog.

All agricultural goods produced in the US and
 imported into Russia, will be halted for 1 year,
 assistant to the head of Rosselkhoznadzor,
 Aleksey Alekseyenko, reports.

EU fruit & vegetables fall under the ban,
 Alekseyenko says, adding that all dairy
products from the EU,
are on the list.

“The list includes milk powder, butter & cheese,”
 a source says, adding that this also includes all
mass production cheeses.

Russia's sanctions on US and EU food imports
 will be “quite substantial,” Alekseyenko says.

The restrictions are to affect those countries
 which initiated sanctions against Russia.

By the end of 2013, the major importers of dairy
 products to Russia were:-  Finland, with 17,8000
tons worth US$19.6 million dollars; Estonia, with
8,300 tons worth $19.4 million; Poland, with 3.8
tons worth $8 million; and Lithuania, with 3 tons
worth $7.3 million, according to Russia’s Federal
Customs Service.

Alekseyenko states that many countries that
 didn't sanction Moscow, are ready to increase
 their exports of similar products to Russia.

Russian officials have already held
 consultations with representatives from
Ecuador, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina, on
expanding food imports from them, says

Russia’s agricultural watchdog is permitting
 imports from over 90 Brazilian suppliers of
animal origin products.

The list comprises 31 suppliers of beef
by-products, 27 suppliers of poultry, 27
suppliers of beef, 4 suppliers of pork and
pork by-products, and 3 suppliers of milk
 and dairy products.

This is a retaliatory measure for the several
rounds of sanctions imposed by the US and
 EU on Moscow, over the crisis in Ukraine.

Last month, the EU came up with the harshest
 restrictions ever, targeting the finance, energy
 and defense sectors of the Russian economy.

They hit 5 Russian banks, including the biggest,
 Sberbank. The EU also introduced an embargo
 on the import and export of arms and related
 material, to and from Russia.


Sanctions against Russia already
 taking toll on Western businesses — FT

According to the Financial Times, shares in Adidas,
the world’s 2nd largest sportswear group, fell 15%
after the company issued a profit warning & said it
would accelerate a closure of its stores in Russia.

“These warnings come as the EU directs its toughest
 sanctions against Russia since the end of the cold
war, targeting Russia’s energy, financial & defense
 sectors,” the newspaper’s online article says.

According to the newspaper, shares in Adidas, the
 world’s second-largest sportswear group, dropped
 15% after the company issued a profit warning and
 said it would accelerate the closure of stores in
 Russia because of increasing risks to consumer
spending in the region.

Joe Kaeser, chief executive of Siemens, warns
 that geopolitical tensions, including those in
 Ukraine, pose “serious risks” for Europe's
growth, both this year, and the next.

Royal Dutch Shell’s chief executive, Ben van
Beurden, says that, along with other western
 oil majors, he is assessing the impact of the
tighter sanctions on Russia’s energy sector
imposed by the US and EU.

 “It’s a bit early to say how it will play out, what
the consequences might be or how we'll react,”
he says. Last month the oil company suspended
 operations in the Yuzivska field in east Ukraine,
 amid mounting clashes between separatist and
 government forces, the newspaper says.

Erste Group, the third-largest lender in emerging
 Europe, warns the turmoil could impact banks in
 Eastern Europe:

 “I can’t exclude any nasty surprises in the region
 due to political decisions or developments,” says
 Erste chief executive, Andreas Treichl. “If the
crisis accelerates, of course, we will have to
 revise our forecast for all of Europe in 2015
 and in 2016,” he adds.


"Inclusive growth and sustainable solutions."

The day after the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil,
 the 6th BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China
and South Africa) Summit started there.

Fortaleza and Brasilia were the host cities from
 June 14 -16, to finally establish a new financial
 framework under the title, "Inclusive growth
 and sustainable solutions."

The countries of the BRICS group are
now setting the foundations for a new
 global financial framework.

A monetary stabilization fund - the Contingency
 Reserve Agreement (CRA) & a development bank,
 known as BRICS Bank, are going to operate as a
multilateral support mechanism for balance of
payments, and a fund to finance investments.

 BRICS is to distance itself from the IMF and the
World Bank, institutions created 70 years ago,
by the US Treasury Department.

 This financial cooperation in the face of
the dollar's volatility, offers alternatives
 without 'structural adjustment programs'
 or "economic restructuring".

As a consequence of the growing global
economic slow down, it has become more
difficult for the BRICS countries to attain
 growth rates above 5%.

 The continued fall in prices of primary materials
 for industrial use, due to a reduced demand from
 Asia and the return of short-term capital flows to
 Wall Street, has negatively impacted most foreign
 trade and exchange rates.

With the exception of the slight improvement of
the yuan, the currencies of the BRICS countries
 have fallen from 8.80 percentage points (Indian
 ruppee) to 16 (South African rand), compared to
 the dollar, between May 2013 and June 2014.

The CRA will reduce volatility in trade and
 investment, between BRICS members.

The CRA won't need the support of the IMF
 to make its own loans, affording it greater
 political autonomy from Washington.

 The currency war of the central economies
 against the economies of the capitalist
 periphery, demands the implementation
of the CRA --- as soon as possible.

 The Contingency Reserve Agreement and
the BRICS Bank will be valuable financial
instruments beyond the reach of the US,
the International Monetary Fund and the
World Bank.

The BRICS Bank begins with 50 billion dollars
 of capital, rising to 100 billion in 2 years and
 200 billion in five years.

 It will be able to finance up to 350 billion dollars
for infrastructure, education, health, science,
technology and environmental projects.

In South America, the BRICS Bank could reduce
 financing costs and strengthen the Development
 Bank of Latin America's role in smoothing trade
 cycle instability, by increasing credits in times
 of crisis, and thus rule out loans from both the
 Inter-American Development Bank (IADB),
and the World Bank.

On the other hand, as a credit provider, the
BRICS Bank will compete with other financial
entities which hold considerable influence in
 the region, such as the Brazilian National
Bank of Economic and Social Development
 (BNDES), CAF, China Development Bank and
 Exim Bank of China – the Chinese banks
with the greatest number of credits.

  If BRICS Bank loans are issued in yuans,
 the currency's internationalization will
gradually strengthen its position as a
 means of payment & reserve currency,
 to the detriment of other currencies.

Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, the five
 most dynamic emerging economies on the planet,
 make up the BRICS group, a powerful association
 which represents 43% of the world's population,
 30% of the earth’s surface, 18% of the world's
GDP and 35% of the world's currency reserves.

BRICS members’ industries produced over 50%
of global economic growth over the last decade.

 Goldman Sachs states that by 2035 the BRICS
 could become an economic bloc greater than
 G-7, composed of the major industrial powers.

Goldman Sachs also argues that Brazil, Russia,
India and China’s economic potential is such,
 that they could become the world’s dominant
4 economies --- by 2050.

 They constitute an enormous territory (39.7
million square kilometers), which gives them
 strategic continental dimensions and a huge
 quantity of natural resources.


US appetite for European market
 responsible for Ukrainian crisis - experts

The Ukrainian crisis broke out because of US
wishes to devour European markets by ousting
 its competitors --- Russia and China --- says the
President of Neokon consultants, Mikhail Khazin.

The European Union market is optimal for the US,
 and the US won't yield it to Russia or China, or the
EU's powerhouse, Germany, the economist told
the Free Thought intellectual club.

“It's no accident that the US proposal to the
EU makes Europe a free trade zone. Then,
the EU countries will be deindustrialized, as
production costs are higher in Europe, than
in the US,” Khazin said.

 “Over time, the European market, according
to Washington’s designs, should become a
market for US goods.”

The US “has revised its energy strategy and is
 going to export shale gas to Europe,” the expert
 added. “Since it is more expensive than Russian
 natural gas, the US seeks to limit or completely
 stop, Russian gas supplies to Europe,” he said.

 This, Khazin believes, is the reason for Kiev’s
 stubbornness in the gas conflict with Russia,
-- forcing Gazprom to cut supplies to Ukraine
 on June 16th, until Ukraine pays for already
supplied gas.

US shale gas plans also explain the interference
of certain US politicians, including Ambassador
 to Bulgaria Marcie Ries & Senator John McCain,
into talks on the South Stream pipeline's future,
 between Russia and the EU, he added.

“Washington’s global economic aim is to destroy
 and devour the European Union consumer market
 to harm Russia and China, as the latter is set to
 become world leader this year, and challenge
the US,” Khazin said.

The economist recalls ex Ukrainian President
 Viktor Yanukovych’s visit to Beijing, straight
 after his trip to Vilnius for the EU Association
 Agreement signing last November...

 Yanukovych had agreed with China on a deep-
water port construction in Crimea in advance.
The project would attract about $12 billion of
investment & about 2 million Chinese workers.

 This was Beijing’s plan on how to lay a new Silk
Road to Europe, and it has faced persistent US
 resistance, Khazin says.

“Washington does not want to see China taking
the EU sales market, or Russia’s strengthening
 position as energy supplier to Europe, via the
South Stream pipeline.

 Hence the US politicians’ eagerness in Kiev &
 their numerous visits to the Maidan at the time
 of protests by EU integration supporters.

 It's the US that deprived Yanukovych of the
 presidential post, to sweep into power pro-
American politicians,” the expert believes.

The US is keen to take a tight grip on Ukraine's
 energy sector, and the new government in Kiev
 is eager to help it do so. On Tuesday, Ukrainian
 Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced
 that the country’s gas transportation system
is being handed over to its US and EU partners.

 Moreover, US Vice-President Joe Biden’s son
is now a board director of Ukraine's private
oil and gas company, Burisma.

Professor Daisuke Kotegawa, former executive
Japan director at the IMF, shares Khazin’s view:

 “As a specialist in the settlement of major
 financial crises, I can say that the political
crisis in Ukraine is hugely influenced by
global financial instability & uncertainty
 about the US establishment patronizing
 Ukraine over its position in the world.”

Mikhail Delyagin, director of the Institute
 for Globalization Problems, says “the US
purposefully destabilized the situation in
 the Middle East during the Arab Spring”.

“This time, the US has provoked a political
 crisis in Ukraine. Russia could be its next
target. The chief US strategic goal in the
context of these destructive actions, is
to instill fear and drive global financial
speculators’ money into US securities,
to keep the US's national economy
 afloat,” the expert says.


Russia-Ukraine ties chillier over gas cutoff

Kiev wanted to pay 268.5 dollars per 1,000 cubic
 meters of gas -- the price it had when Yanukovych
 was in power. Then it wanted to pay at 326 dollars
for an "interim period", until a lasting deal was
finally reached.

Moscow offered a discounted price of 385 dollars.

EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger says
 Moscow declined Kiev's final offer, under which
 Kiev would pay 1 billion dollars immediately and
 then make monthly repayments to Gazprom.

 That proposal was for 385 dollars per 1,000
 cubic metres in winter, 300 dollars in summer.

Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller says now
that it will no longer be enough for Kiev to pay a
part of its debt, for supplies to resume. Ukraine
 must now pay off its entire 4.45 billion dollars in
 debt, & pay in advance for 1 month's deliveries,
 he says.

This appears almost impossible for Ukraine,
 with its economy hard hit by chronic unrest.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk
accuses Russia of deliberately blocking a
deal to cause Kiev supply problems next
winter, when temperatures will plunge,
and heating needs, increase.

 "It is yet another step against the Ukrainian
state and against Ukrainian independence,"
he says.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev claims
that part of the Ukrainian leadership is "losing
 adequacy," citing Yatsenyuk's refusal of Russia's
 earlier preferential gas price offer and "paranoid
 behaviour" by the acting foreign minister, Andrei
Deshchytsa, who made insulting remarks about
 Russian President Vladimir Putin, that weekend.

He has now been replaced, as are several
others, such as the Chief prosecutor.

Medvedev says Russia is still open to dialogue.

"If our colleagues in Ukraine start to hear (our)
 reasoning better (and) return to discuss the
 highly concessional, very preferential offers
 made by Russia, I think we will be ready to
 continue talks," he says. "But, of course,
 under the condition that the debt is settled
 in full."

Gazprom has filed a lawsuit at the Stockholm
 arbitration court, demanding that Ukraine pay
 off its gas debt. Naftogaz, in turn, says it has
also made its case at the same court, to
contest Gazprom's pricing.

The Ukrainian company says it is also seeking
 to recover about 6 billion dollars "overpaid" to
 Gazprom since 2010, by an "unfair" contract.

The gas cutoff will not affect Ukraine immediately
 as it has 12 billion cubic meters in storage, enough
 to meet both it and the EU's needs for the summer.

But analysts say it could disrupt Europe's long-term
 energy supplies, as EU consumers get about a third
 of their gas from Russia and around half, through
 pipelines that cross Ukraine.

Gazprom promises it will continue to supply gas to
 consumers in other parts of Europe at full volume,
 but warns the European Commission of potential
 interruptions in gas transit through Ukraine, and
 urges Ukraine to abide by all its obligations, to
ensure a smooth transit of gas to the EU.

Chances are that the Ukrainian government
 is acting irrationally, some analysts say.

Kiev has not paid for the gas it imports
from Russia for months, resulting in a
mounting multi-billion dollar debt.

Russia offered a $100 discount for gas to
a level Europeans pay. The offer included
a recalculation of the current debt, which
 would have revalued the gas supplied
since April with the discount applied, but
Kiev rejected this as not good enough.

“Ukraine was offered a very generous
discount and yet they still wanted more.
It really is quite incredible – the nerve
and chutzpah of Ukraine's government
 in all this. I don’t think any amount of
discount would really satisfy Ukraine.
They are spoiling for a fight here,”
 says journalist Neil Clark.

Instead of compromising and settling
the debt, Kiev seemed to be prepared
 to raise the stakes.

Over the past few months it has been
 pumping as much unpaid Russian gas
 into its underground gas storages as
 it can - and now says it has enough
 to last till autumn.

Kiev’s desire to dictate the terms to Russia
 may have an irrational basis underneath, says
international law expert Alexander Mercouris.

“It is difficult for the Ukrainians at this time
to negotiate with Russians about anything.
There are many people in Kiev who don’t
 like that,” he says.

“One of the fundamental problems with
the way in which Ukraine's authorities
 have been dealing with their multiple
 crises since taking power in February,
 is that they don’t seem to show very
much grasp of reality,” he adds.

There are also concerns that Kiev will
just begin siphoning off gas in transit
 from Russia to European consumers,
as happened during previous rounds
of gas stand-offs.

A more distant problem will arise in winter.
 Normally Ukraine would accumulate gas
 intended for Europe in summertime and
deliver it in winter, because that’s how
Ukraine's pipeline system is designed.

 With gas from storage used for Ukraine’s
 own consumption, there will simply not
 be enough for Europe, next winter.

“The Ukrainian government has been
intransigent and is putting the people
of Europe at risk. That’s why the EU
is actually cautiously supporting
Russia’s position at this time,”
political analyst Bill Dores said.

Ukraine has for years enjoyed a
politically motivated preferred
treatment by Russia in gas
price discounts, he added.

 Now there's a government in Kiev
hostile to Russia, Moscow has no
reason to support it with subsidies.

An escalating conflict will hurt all three
 parties involved. But the coup leaders
 were tempted to raise the stakes, says

“There is an expectation that once things
 are deteriorating in Ukraine, it could be
 blamed on the Russians,” he explains.

With Ukraine's economy already in peril,
& with painful austerity measures being
demanded by international creditors in
exchange for loans, plus political turmoil
in the eastern provinces, Kiev has loads
 of blame to apportion in the near future.


Emirates Airline Cancels
 70 Airbus Planes Order

The United Arab Emirates on Wed 11th June
cancelled their order for 70 long-haul A350
planes from European manufacturer Airbus.
The decision was taken following "on-going
 discussions with the airline in light of their
fleet requirement review", Airbus says.
Airbus adds that it is still very confident in
the A350 program and says there are almost
750 planes on their order books already.

"The program of test flights for the A350 is
 progressing well, scheduled for certification
 (by the Aviation Authorities) in the coming
months," says Airbus.

According to AFP, the cancellation of such
a big order seems to be a serious setback
for the manufacturer, based in Toulouse.
John Leahy, boss of Airbus, is to make a
statement later.
The Emirates is one of Airbus's biggest clients
 and placed their order for 70 A350s in 2007.
The first deliveries were scheduled for 2019.

In London, aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce says
 the cancellation reduces the value of its order
book by 2.6 billion pounds (3.2 billion euros,
$4.3 billion).


Letting in Vultures is not Negotiable,

             says Argentina's Cristina Fernandez               
 "Some things are not negotiable, like delivering our
 homeland to vultures for them to tear it to pieces",
 said Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, to an
 emotional crowd of young activists that gathered
 at the Casa Rosada to meet her.

Fernandez addressed activists of various
 organizations, and in her address to youth,
 she referred to the decision of over hundred
UK parliamentarians that signed a motion of
support for Argentina against Vulture Funds.

"This call attempts to stop vulture funds from
 making profits out of Argentina and forcing
the country into non-compliance with its
 payments," said Fernandez.

"What is wrong with some people that they
 cannot distinguish between the Government
 and the interests of the homeland? There is
 only one way of understanding the homeland:
to love it and defend it with our own lives, if
necessary," said Fernandez.

The president referred to a lawsuit that Argentina
 has brought to the US Supreme Court to appeal
 the ruling by a New York judge that favors groups of
 financiers and damages the exchange agreements
 signed by Argentina with 93 percent of its creditors.

According to Judge Thomas Griesa's ruling, until
 Argentina pays the Vulture Funds, it should not
 pay the creditors that joined the 2005 and 2010
 agreements, something that would force the
 country into non-compliance with debt payments.

The US Supreme Court is supposed to deliberate
 on June 12th on whether it will take the case,
 reject it, or discuss it with President Obama.

The IMF agrees that implementation of Judge
Griesa's ruling could damage business
the restructuring of debt payments in many

 countries around the world.

According to Telam news agency, the
106 legislators' motion for support calls
 on the UK government to promote a law
which will "stop the vulture funds from
 ignoring the restructuring of Argentine
and Greek debt."

Jubileo network states: "two of the creditors,
 NML Capital and Aurelius Capital Management,
 are suing Argentina in New York, demanding
 huge profits for debts it purchased at pennies
 on the dollar during the 2001 crisis.



As the G7 threaten Russia with sanctions
--- risking a patient Russia's gas cut off ---
the ECB drops interest rates to an historic
 record low, entering negative territory.

 The European Central Bank(ECB) lowers its
benchmark interest rate today, to - 0.10%,
as the continent battles deflation, after
many failed monetary policy attempts.

The European Central Bank also cuts its main
 refinancing rate to 0.15% from 0.25%, and the
 deposit rate from zero to -10%, the first time
the ECB has ever seen a negative rate.

The new interest rate applies to all EU
member states.



140 participants representing 22 countries
 attended a 62nd annual Bilderberg meeting,
in Copenhagen, Denmark.

As is usually the case with the summit,
this year’s Bilderberg – which took place
 from May 29th to June 1st – attracted
notables such as NATO Secretary General
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former director
 of the US National Security Agency, Keith
 Alexander, and the former US national
security advisor to the White House,
 Thomas E. Donilon.

 In addition to the guest attendees, the Bilderberg
 Steering Committee is a list of powerful financiers,
 including Peter D. Sutherland, Chair of Goldman
 Sachs International, as well as Peter Thiel, the
 president of Thiel Capital.

Bilderberg runs under “Chatham House Rules,”
 which stipulate that the identity or affiliation
 of a speaker may not be revealed by other
 participants, including by any media there.

 Though it may be intended to promote a
free exchange of ideas among the rich,
such rules feed what detractors say is an
 unnecessary cloud of secrecy, as well as
 a range of conspiracy theories, that say
 the summit is a shadowy gathering of
 architects of a “New World Order.”



Ukraine’s President-elect Petro Poroshenko
has asked the President of the European
 Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, and the
President of the European Council, Herman
 Van Rompuy, to postpone the signing of
 the economic section of the agreement on
 Ukraine’s association with the EU, for an
 indefinite period, because of the unstable
 situation in the country, sources in the
Kiev government say on Thursday.

The sources say Poroshenko is afraid
that after Ukraine signs the association
 agreement with the European Union,
 Russia might impose restrictions on
imports of Ukrainian goods, which will
 have a negative impact on the socio-
economic situation in Ukraine.

Earlier Thursday, Ukraine’s interim Foreign
 Minister, Andrii Deshchytsia, told media his
ministry planned to hold consultations with
the EU, on a possible signing of the second
part of the association agreement, before
June 27th.

 Initially, it was planned to sign the second part
 on June 27th, “but Petro Poroshenko said he
wanted this document to be signed earlier
than that,” Deshchytsia added: consultations
will focus on “how early this document could
be signed.”

Earlier, Poroshenko said he would sign the
 association agreement, as soon as he was
 sworn into office.

On March 21st, Ukraine and the EU signed
 the political section of the agreement. The
 document was signed by Ukraine’s interim
Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatshenyuk, the
President of the European Commission,
 Jose Manuel Barroso, and the President
 of the European Council, Herman Van
Rompuy, & leaders of the 28 EU nations.


Talks to resume on China's $10 billion
 investment plans for Crimea

Chinese investors will resume suspended talks in
 August on building a $3 billion, 25-meter deep-water
port near Yevpatoria in Crimea, the republic’s first
Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliyev says.

First moves in a project announced in December
 and sealed with a letter of intent, await Crimea's
 transfer to ruble transactions and securing stable
 water supplies recently seized by Ukraine,
Temirgaliyev says.

This will be the first move forward in Chinese
 plans to invest $10 billion in the peninsula's
 developments, which were announced before
 the fall of President Viktor Yanukovych.

These were, to develop Yevpatoria, upgrade
 the port in the city of Sevastopol and create
 an economic zone in Crimea for electronics
 and IT companies.

A $7 billion worth second stage is expected
 to build oil complexes, grain elevators and
 liquefaction plants, and to lease Crimean
agricultural land.

As Crimea’s status changed to become
 a region of the Russian Federation, China's
 interest broadened into prospective joint
projects with Russia, including a bridge or
 a tunnel across the Kerch Strait. This links
 Crimea's Kerch peninsula and the Taman
 peninsula of Russia's Krasnodar region.

Construction could require upwards of 100
 billion rubles ($2.9 billion) if rail tracks were
 laid along the bridge, according to Russian
 Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov.

Chinese companies are also keen to take part
 in thermal and alternative energy projects in
Crimea, though further investment schemes
have not yet been specified.



Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says
 Western sanctions against Moscow will galvanize
 it into using the ruble as a currency for global trade.

"Trading for rubles - this is a definite priority,"
 Medvedev says this weekend.

"This, in fact, should ultimately move the ruble
from the cohort of freely convertible currencies
 into the ranks of reserve currencies," he adds.

The Russian government is reportedly considering
 plans to oblige state-owned companies to receive
 payment for key exports in rubles, rather than in
 dollars, as at present.

"Of course, the more we sell, for example, our
 products, including oil, gas, machine-building,
 defense products for rubles, the more we will
 encourage such a quality for our currency,"
 Medvedev says.

He plays down Western sanctions, saying,
 "At present the effect of sanctions on the
Russian economy is absolutely minimal, if
 you can talk about any effect at all."

Russia warns of retaliatory measures
 if the West continues with sanctions
 over the crisis in Ukraine.


EU to discuss import bans on Russian

caviar, vodka and diamonds – report

Further EU sanctions against Russia may see a
ban on caviar, vodka, furs and diamond imports,
 Reuters reports, citing a two-page document
 setting out possible scenarios.

It will be discussed at a summit on May 27th,
when EU leaders are set to meet to discuss
 Ukraine's snap presidential elections.

 The paper outlines low-intensity, medium-
intensity and high-intensity sanctions. The
 latter would include bans on oil and gas.

Russia prepares classified document with
 retaliatory measures on Western sanctions

Russia has prepared a classified document
with measures to retaliate, if more Western
sanctions are used against Moscow over
 Ukraine, a senior Kremlin economic aide
 says on Friday.

There are tactics developed in response to
 the sanctions, Andrey Belousov tells Rossiya
 24 TV, at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum.

 Certain acts will provoke different reaction levels
– it depends on whether the sanctions are imposed
 against individuals or sectors, or they're systemic,
 he says.

 If any new sanctions are imposed against Russia,
 “we know exactly how to react,” the official says.



 China and Russia inked the long-awaited gas deal
 in Shanghai this Wednesday, ending decade-
long natural gas supply talks between the two.


Australia’s Woodside pulls out
 of massive Israel gas venture

Australian energy giant Woodside Petroleum
 has pulled out of the massive Leviathan gas
 joint venture off the coast of Israel — one of
 the largest deposits found in the world.

The company says it has terminated an early-
stage agreement with Leviathan partners,
led by US oil producer Noble Energy, to take
a 25% stake, worth an estimated US$2.5
billion, in the discovery.

Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman says
 that negotiations between the parties, which
started in 2012, failed to reach an acceptable
 outcome on development and supply.

“While Woodside’s commitment to growth
 is strong, even stronger is our commitment
 to making disciplined investment decisions.

“I would like to acknowledge and thank the
 Leviathan Joint Venture participants and
 the Israeli government for working with us.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
said the exports would bring in some US$60
 billion to state coffers over the next 20 years.

Woodside signed a non-binding memorandum
 of understanding in February, outlining its
intention to take up a stake in the project,
running all the downstream gas production
 operations, with Noble in charge of up-
stream processing.

The Leviathan field’s size is estimated at
18.9 trillion cubic feet (535 billion cms) of
natural gas, plus 34.1 million barrels of
condensate, and has been hailed as the
 largest gas deposit found in the world
 in a decade.



It will blow your mind!  Paste this in your browser now:




From November 2013 to January 2014, Belgium,
 with a GDP of $480 billion, bought $141.2 billion
of US Treasury bonds.

Somehow, Belgium came up with enough money
to allocate during a 3-month period, 29% of its
 annual GDP, to purchase US Treasury bonds.

Certainly Belgium did not have a budget surplus
 of $141.2 billion.  Was Belgium running a trade
 surplus during a 3-month period equal to 29 %
 of Belgium's GDP?

No, Belgium’s trade and current accounts are
 in deficit.

Did Belgium’s central bank print $141.2 billion
worth of euros in order to make the purchase?

No, Belgium is a member of the euro system.
Its central bank can't increase money supply.

So where did the $141.2 billion come from?

There is only one source.  The money came
from the US Federal Reserve, and the purchase
was laundered through Belgium in order to
hide the fact that actual Federal Reserve bond
purchases during November 2013 through to
January 2014, were $112 billion per month.



Economic sanctions against Russia, demanded
 by Washington, will hurt the economy of German
 eastern states first, says Herman Winkler, a
German European Parliament deputy from the
centre-right Christian Democratic Union.

“Sanctions will only damage ourselves and
 affect, first of all, the economy of eastern
Germany,” Winkler says on Monday.

US' calls for more rigorous sanctions against
 Moscow suggest that Washington is pursuing
 its own economic objectives, he states.

“After the fracking boom, the United States
is on its way to becoming the largest gas
exporter in the world,” Winkler says, “and
Russia is now an unwelcome competitor.”

“We should stop being the Americans' servants,”
 he says, adding that the Ukrainian crisis could
  be settled, only by co-operating with Moscow.

A policy of confrontation is “blind to history
and deaf to the other side,” Winkler says.


G20 determined to spur growth,
pushes US to ratify IMF reforms

Policymakers from G20 nations on Friday
 urge the US Congress to pass the long-
 delayed quota and governance reforms
 to the IMF,  "by the end of 2014".

Representing over 80% of the global GDP,
the G20 nations are Argentina, Australia,
Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France,
 Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan,
 Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South
Africa, Republic of Korea, Turkey, the
 US and the EU.

They say they are "deeply disappointed"
 with the long delay in IMF quota and
 governance reforms.

"The implementation of the 2010 reforms
 remains our highest priority, and we urge
 the US to ratify these reforms at the
 earliest opportunity," the G20 says.

"If the 2010 reforms are not ratified by year-end,
 we will call on the IMF to build on its existing
 work and develop options for next steps and
 we will work with the International Monetary
 and Financial Committee  to schedule a
 discussion of the options."
 The IMFC is the IMF's top decision-making body.

The reforms have been blocked by the US,
which has veto power over IMF decisions,
 due to party political squabbling.

IMF's Managing Director Christine Lagarde
 says the IMF is not giving up on pushing the
 quota reform, as it matters for the credibility
 of the institution.

"I very strongly hope that the resolve of
 the institution, the pressure brought to
bear by the members of this institution on
 all those who have not yet ratified will
 deliver fruit in the not too distant future,"
 she says.

The reform package includes a doubling
 of IMF quotas and a shift in quotas to
 dynamic emerging markets and under-
represented countries, and a proposed
amendment to reform the executive board
 to be more representative and all-elected.

If the reform package is implemented,
four large emerging economies, China,
 India, Russia and Brazil, will all become
 top 10 shareholders of the Washington-
based global lender.


BRICS countries - allies in opposing unipolar world

Cooperation within the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia,
 India, China and South Africa) is now the overriding
 central geopolitical format for Russia, the Chair of
 the Russian National Committee for BRICS Studies,
 State Duma deputy Vyacheslav Nikonov, says.

He has recently come back from Rio de Janeiro
 where he led the Russian delegation at the sixth
 BRICS academic forum.

The politician believes that “amid the present
 principal disagreements with the US and EU
 over Ukraine and because of G8 reformatting,
Russia will develop increasingly close ties with
 BRICS members and the Shanghai Cooperation
 Organization (SCO), as well as the Eurasian
 Economic Community, with the participation
 of several former Soviet republics and other
 interregional organizations”.

The main BRICS summit scheduled for July in
Rio de Janeiro will study 20 cooperation formats
 now being considered in ministries, institutions
 and think tanks throughout the member countries.

“The recent refusal by major settlement systems
 Visa and Mastercard to service cards for several
 Russian banks, puts Russia and the other BRICS
 countries face to face with the need to put into
 practice the idea of a joint Bank of Development
 and a Stabilization fund for mutual settlements
 in national currencies and to establish national
 settlement systems,” the expert adds.

Nikonov says “the Brazilians are now most
 concerned about economic growth issues,
social policy, environmental issues, and aid
 to developing countries”.

 The summit’s focus will be on information security
 amid the revelations by former CIA contractor
 Edward Snowden “that brought to light a bugging
 of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s phones”.

“BRICS is not a binding structure, it doesn't
 encroach upon anyone’s sovereignty. It's
nothing like the EU, whose headquarters in
 Brussels take away the most part of member
 countries’ sovereignty.

 "BRICS is not planning any supranational bodies
 to which imperative rights would be delegated.
 BRICS is the 21st century cooperation format
 and by no means a hierarchical organization,”
 the analyst believes.

“There is no place for a single centre of influence
 in the modern world. The idea of a multipolar
world was actively promoted in geopolitical
polemics in the 90s, when the world had just
 dropped the bipolar system & some hotheads
 declared it was time to have the only centre
 to decide in international affairs as the USA,”
 Nikonov says.

“BRICS countries have a number of trump cards
 up their sleeve,” the expert adds. “Brazil is the
 largest Latin American state with a highly
 developed industry and agriculture.

 "Russia is the world’s major supplier of
 hydrocarbons. China demonstrates brisk
 economic growth. India, huge intellectual
 resources. Furthermore, over 2.5 billion
 people live in China and India - almost a
 quarter of the global population."

 "South Africa is the most mature country on
the African continent, with enormous natural
 resources and a developed agricultural sector,
 whose produce suffices not only for the nation
 itself, but also makes the country one of the
 leading agricultural suppliers,” Nikonov says,
 about BRICS’ economic potential.

“Therefore, it is BRICS that is capable of offering
 the world a historical alternative and undertaking
 the building of a foundation for a new world order,”
 believes the politician.

 “BRICS’ key task now, is to assist a transition
 from US hegemony to a polycentric world order,
 where interference in countries’ internal affairs
 for the overthrow of unwanted regimes, is



Russia’s biggest billionaire has bought shares
in big Chinese internet retailer Alibaba, after
selling his stakes in US tech giants Apple and
 Facebook. The deal comes as the US and EU
 impose sanctions on Russia, that could turn
 from politics to business.

Usmanov, 60, a founder of Russia’s iron ore
Metalloinvest holding company, has a fortune
of $18.6 billion as of March 2014 and is betting
more on China, while selling US assets.

“Chinese companies account for 70 - 80%
 of our foreign internet investments portfolio,”
 Ivan Streshinskiy, head of Usmanov’s asset-
management company USM Advisors LLC,
 tells Bloomberg in an interview in Moscow.

In recent months Usmanov has sold the stake
 in Apple he bought for about $100 million last year,
Streshinskiy says. Before the Apple sale, Usmanov
 started a slow sale of the 10% stake in Facebook
 he bought in 2009, when the company was valued
 between $6 billion and $10 billion.

 Usmanov sold some shares in the Facebook
 IPO, that valued the company at $104 billion.

Alibaba, the world’s 2nd biggest internet company
 - after Google Inc. - is valued at about $200 billion.
The Chinese on-line retailer posted surging sales
 in the three months through to September, and
marked a fourth straight quarterly profit.

As Russia’s relations with the west sour over
 the Crimea referendum and the crisis in Ukraine,
Usmanov says his Metalloinvest holding will
 increase its presence in the Chinese market,
 in case Europe imposes sanctions on its exports.

“We are concerned with the possible sanctions
 against Russia, but do not see any dramatic
repercussions on our business,” the tycoon says.

 “China is unlikely to impose any sanctions. So we
will be trading in rubles, yuan, and Hong Kong or
Singapore dollars.”

China is one of Russia’s biggest trading partners,
 with bilateral trade estimated at a record $87.5
 billion in 2012.

Direct investment by Chinese companies into
 Russia is also increasing.  Between 2004 and
 2012, it grew by 40 times, to reach S4.9 billion
  says Tang Hua, an official with China's National
Development and Reform Commission.



In a leaked memo to clients, financial expert
David John Marotta calculates the actual
number of Americans out of work to be an
astronomic 37.2%, as opposed to the 6.7%
 claimed by the Federal Reserve.

“The unemployment rate only describes people
 who are currently working or looking for work,”
 he says.

“Unemployment in its truest definition, meaning
 the portion of people who do not have any job,
 is 37.2 percent.

This number obviously includes some people who
 are not or never plan to seek employment. But it
 does describe how many people are not able to,
do not want to or cannot find a way to work,”
 he and colleague Megan Russell reveal in their
client report, leaked to the Washington Examiner.

Contrary to expectations, a drop in the
unemployment rate, Marotta argues, is
 presently a sign that the unemployed are
simply dropping out of the job market.

“Officially-reported unemployment numbers
 decrease as time passes, as the unemployed
become discouraged enough to stop looking
for work,” say Marotta and Russel.
 “A decrease is not necessarily beneficial;
 an increase is clearly detrimental.”

They also criticise the so-called Misery Index,
 based on official unemployment and inflation.

 The Wall Street advisers say the Index is 14
 plus and not the 8 advertised by Washington,
 as it completely ignores that the US economy
 is being hugely subsidized by Q.I. schemes,
including monthly bond purchases by the
Federal Reserve.

“Today, the Misery Index would be 7.54, using
official numbers,” the analysts write. But, if the
true unemployment picture, including workers
 who've given up the job search, is placed with
 the historical method of calculating inflation,
  ‘the current misery index is closer to 14.7.”


Youth Unemployment Marks Opening
 of World Economic Forum

Persistent labour difficulties in the world,
especially high youth unemployment levels,
 started the discussions on the first day of
the World Economic Forum, held in Davos.

According to experts and executives attending
the meeting, high youth unemployment is the
 main obstacle to economic recovery in Europe.

That situation is one of the main problems in
 the continent where an entire generation with
 neither present nor future, will be wasted.

In addition to that is what experts describe
 as a rampant aging population, high energy
 costs and high debt levels.

Axel Weber, president of Germany's Central Bank
(Bundesbank), says that optimism about Europe's
recovery is not entirely justified, as a 1% average
 growth rate isn't enough to create jobs and
attract investment.

Financial markets have improved, but not
the real economy, he says.

Data from the International Labour Organization
shows that the youth sector is still one of the
 most affected, with over 74 million men and
women under 24 unemployed.

The 44th World Economic Forum, gathers
economic, political and global top figures
and is attended by 2,500 top people,
including heads of state and Government.

Specialists draw attention to many criticisms of
the meeting including "the lack of humility and
 unselfishness of the richest" who talk annually
 but do not generate concrete actions in a world
 of growing inequalities.



Nearly 1,500 political leaders, entrepreneurs and
academics will analyze new growth paths in Asia
 during the annual conference of the Boao Forum,
 its Secretary General Zhou Wenzhong announces.

The annual conferences of the forum, which began
 in 2002, are the perfect moment for Asians and other
 emerging economies to hold talks, assess the state
of the global economy and promote development
 and cooperation between the two parties.

The forum, held in the province-island of Hainan,
has the motto: "Asia's New Future: Identifying
New Growth Drivers", and it started on
April the 10th.

Referring to the sustainable development category,
Zhou underlines some issues such as climate change,
 society, the development of people, cyber security,
 the power of eastern wisdom, and business ethics in
the pharmaceutical industry, which will be debated.

Nearly 500 journalists are attending the forum,
 as well as 1,500 guests.



Standard & Poor’s (S&P) ratings agency
 has downgraded the Netherlands’ credit
 rating from AAA to AA+, citing growing
 concerns over its "performance".

The Netherlands has been following
"austerity" cuts for several years, and
now has inflated house prices, mass
unemployment, rising inequality and
 an ever-increasing national debt.

The Netherlands is the latest eurozone
 country to be downgraded, leaving only
 Germany, Luxembourg and Finland with
 AAA+ from all 3 main credit agencies;
 that is, S&P, Fitch and, Moody’s.



China’s central bank says that it no longer sees
any benefit at all in increasing its $3.66 trillion
foreign currency reserves, the world's largest.
China will cap its purchases of US dollars, in
 an effort to limit the depreciation of the yuan.

“It’s no longer in China’s favour to accumulate
 foreign-exchange reserves,” Bloomberg quotes
 Yi Gang, a deputy governor at the central bank.

Decreasing the influence of the dollar and
 other currencies is a step closer to reaching
 China’s 2015 goal to “float” its currency and,
says the People’s Bank of China, it will help
the everyday Chinese citizen.

Between July and September 2013, China
 increased its foreign currency holdings by
 $166 billion, making it the world’s highest,
 at $3.66 trillion. This is more than the GDP
 of Germany – Europe’s biggest economy,
 Bloomberg reports.

This cap will “basically” end the interference
 of foreign currency in the Chinese market,
and widen the yuan’s daily trading range.

The move also provides a buffer to China from
 future US Federal Reserve stimulus "tapering",
which is a sneaky way of exporting US deficit
 problems, and has already had severe ripple
 effects on emerging market currencies in
 Brazil and India.



The TRIPS agreement, which the US presented
as a "free trade" agreement, is currently facing
an update; TPP, the "Trans-Pacific Partnership."

Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights
 (TRIPS), lies at the heart of the World Trade Organization.
Its champion was then-CEO of Pfizer, Edmund Pratt.

 Mr Pratt wants to prohibit people in the third world
from using their own raw materials & pharmaceutical
knowledge in their own laboratories and plants, to
cure and treat their own people's diseases.

He wants to force them to buy from Pfizer or die
trying. Millions have died as a result of the success
of the TRIPS "free trade" agreement and the WTO.

 It concerns the monopolies and exclusive rights we
 know as copyrights, patents, trademarks, and so on.

As people in the US started shunning Detroit's cars
 in favor of Toyota, policymakers in the US realized
 that the country's age of industrial competitiveness
had effectively come to an end.

 They sought new ways to enrich the US by redefining
 "value,” "industry,” and "production" with contracts
 that made sure the US kept being paid by the world.

As TRIPS was negotiated, every interest in the US
 - Hollywood, the record industry, cars - all benefited.

 This new Wiki-leaked agreement also has little
 to do with free trade, but with the upholding of
exclusive rights and monopolies.

 Building on the previous TRIPS agreement, TPP,
the "Trans-Pacific Partnership," strengthens it,
despite the rest of the world's aspirations, seen
in this introductory paragraph...

"The objectives of this chapter are... to maintain
 a balance between the rights of intellectual property
 holders and the legitimate interests of users and the
 community in subject matter protected by intellectual
 property; to protect the ability of Parties to identify,
promote access to and preserve the public domain;
ensure that measures and procedures to enforce
 intellectual property rights do not themselves
 become barriers to legitimate trade."

The US position opposes all of this.  There "shall
only be" exclusive rights, typically held by the US.

The US even seeks to give Hollywood the right
to shut people off from the internet without due
process; yet this outrage is obscured in legal
terms such as "injunctive relief" or "liability

Copyright & patent monopolies, by definition,
 are the opposite of free trade and the rights
now being proposed by the US are monopoly
rights which will prevent free trade.

This is similar to the land rights and trading
monopolies forced by the British Empire, on
its unwilling subjects. And just as disgusting.



The Maltese House of Representatives announces
 now, that it will grant citizenship to people born
 outside the European Union -- for 650,000 euros.

Labour Party PM Joseph Muscat, states that
this will generate cash and attract important
 investment to the Mediterranean island.

Muscat asserts that the plan will generate
around 30 million euros in the first year, with
 an initial naturalization of 45 people, who
 will be able to work and obtain residence in
any of the EU's 28 member countries.

The above figure will increase to 200 or more
 individuals annually, say Henley and Partners
group, which will administer the project.

About 50 residents organized a demonstration
 outside government headquarters, while
 the vote for the measure was taking place.

Nationalist leader Simon Busuttil criticizes the
decision to sell national citizenship, saying
he fears that Malta will become a 'tax haven'.



The "biggest free market in the world" attracts
EU and US officials, despite the spy row... just
as the two face a massive bad debt implosion.

Slovenian PM Alenka Bratusek's government is
 now to face a vote of confidence, as it struggles
to avoid being the next eurozone state to take
 an international "bailout".

Slovenia, an economic star among EU newcomers
when it joined in 2004 and adopted the euro as its
 currency in 2007, was badly hit by the global crisis
 and fell back into recession in the third quarter of
 2012, amid lower export demand and budget cuts.

The coalition government is struggling to tackle
  7.9 billion euros of "bad loans" at mainly state
-owned banks.

Avoiding an international bailout will mean
 raising taxes - particularly on real estate -
spending cuts and privatization, says the
 centre-left government.

The EU warns that eleven other EU countries,
 including the United Kingdom, France, Italy,
 the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark,
 Finland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Malta, are all
"experiencing macroeconomic imbalances."

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a non-
partisan federal data providing agency, forecasts
 that US debt will grow to levels not seen since
World War II, when the US took on the massive
 cost of arming and sending 16 million service
 members to fight in Europe and the Pacific.



The UK is “by far the most important” player
in the global financial secrecy market. Its
web of jurisdictions around the world makes
 the UK the top router of global financial secrets.

John Christensen, director of Tax Justice Network
 states: “Our index reveals that Britain plays a key
 role in the global market for financial secrecy.”

This, despite David Cameron’s recent G20 drive
 to crack down on tax avoidance and to promote
 tax transparency.

“The City of London uses a web of satellite
secrecy jurisdictions based on UK crown
dependencies and overseas territories, to
channel huge illicit flows, which are feeding
London’s mad property boom,” Christensen says.

The findings by the non-aligned network of
 researchers and activists, were presented
to Queen Elizabeth II, before release.

“Britain, taken together with its Overseas
 Territories and Crown Dependencies, is by
 far the most important part of the global
offshore system of tax havens or secrecy
jurisdictions,” the letter read.

The note to the Queen also mentioned that
 PM David Cameron, is doing little to deliver
on his pledge to provide more transparency.

“Our findings show that these jurisdictions
 still fall woefully short of acceptable standards
of transparency, having made only modest
reforms since 2009, when the G20 led by your
government committed itself ‘to take action
 against non-cooperative jurisdictions, including
 tax havens,’” the message to the Queen read.

“The crown dependencies and overseas
territories have long been considered among
the worst offenders of world tax havens",
Salman Shaheen, editor for International
Tax Review magazine tells RT.

“What is surprising is that the UK government
is not doing very much about it. I mean, it has
introduced certain legislation to clean up its
own companies onshore, but it really needs to
 get its work on tax havens offshore in order.”

Of the 82 global financial jurisdictions ranked,
 10 are directly connected to UK, whose head
 of state is the British queen. They include the
Cayman Islands, Bermuda and the British
Virgin Islands. 

According to the financial secrecy watchdog,
up to US$32 trillion is sitting in offshore zones
 where it is either untaxed or slightly taxed.

“Rolling back the secrecy that shrouds up to
 $32 trillion in offshore financial assets remains
 one of the great challenges of the 21st century,”
 Christensen says in a statement .

The report believes that offshore zones have
cost African countries over $1 trillion since
 the 1970s, of which, $640 billion came from
 16 Commonwealth countries.

“These losses dwarf the external debts of
 $190 billion for the 33 countries, meaning
 that Africa is a major net creditor to the
world, contrary to what is widely
believed,” the letter said.

“The European Union’s decision to curb one
 important aspect of banking secrecy from
 2015 – masks waning momentum for the
other urgent changes elsewhere,” Markus
Meinzer, lead researcher for the Financial
 Secrecy Index says.

The three highest ranking countries are
 Switzerland, Luxembourg and Hong Kong. 

Switzerland, the “grandfather of the world’s
 tax havens”, accounts for less than 5% of
 the world's offshore financial services. 

Yet last year the country managed one quarter
of the world’s total assets (approx $2.8 trillion),
according to the Swiss Bankers’ Association. 

“Switzerland has also been playing the spoiler,
 striving to block or derail emerging international
transparency initiatives,” the watchdog says. 

Luxemburg was placed second on the index. 

“Outside what might traditionally be regarded
 as the financial sector, it also runs a lucrative
 line in hosting holding companies of transnational
 corporations, principally to help them avoid (and
 evade) tax.

 It's also strenuously seeking to build an
 industry based on Islamic finance, and in
 October 2012 achieved a boost when a
group of major Chinese banks said they
 were leaving the (very lightly regulated)
 London markets in favor of the even less
 regulated Luxembourg one. 

Hong Kong, though, is the “fastest growing
secrecy jurisdiction, or tax haven, today.” 

Moran Harari, researcher, Financial Secrecy Index:

“Without public disclosure of the owners of
 these assets, and the automatic exchange
 of information between jurisdictions to
provide information the law enforcement &
tax authorities need, it will be impossible
 to tackle some of the world’s most
pressing problems.” 



May 9th 2013, was the day credit ratings agency
 Moody’s downgraded the Co operative bank - the
 supposedly ‘ethical bank’ - debt rating to “junk”.
It said it was vulnerable to potential losses and
 warned that it might need “external support”
if it could not strengthen its balance sheet.

The bank said at the time it was “disappointed” by
Moody’s decision, which preceded the resignation
 of chief executive Barry Tootell and the collapse
of a bid to buy 631 Lloyds Banking Group branches.

Now US hedge funds - sometimes described as
“vulture funds” - Silver Point Capital and Aurelius
Capital Management, have significant stakes in
the bank — presumably intending to do to the
 Co operative Bank what they usually do with
 the distressed assets of developing economies.

Moody’s, ever helpful in these matters, now says
 that the Co-operative Bank will be forced to “take
 the axe” to costs, although the issues it faces are
 similar to those faced by most of the banking sector.

Some banks have had to be nationalised, all have
had to be recapitalised. So the environment for
banking has certainly worsened dramatically.

But the Co-operative Bank was proud that it was
 different, that the mutual sector had weathered the
 storm better than joint stock banks. It encouraged
 people with ethics to “switch their money.”
Now we find a crisis of governance at the group.
A review is being carried out by Sir Christopher
 Kelly, chair of the King’s Fund and former chair
of the committee for standards in public life.
His job is to “look at the management structure and
 culture in which those decisions were taken; lines
 of accountability which governed those decisions;
 and the processes which led to them” and “to
 identify lessons which can be learnt to strengthen
 the Co-operative Bank and the wider Co-operative
 Group & the co-operative business model generally.”

That report will be available at the group AGM in May.

There are nonetheless, a few things that are obvious,
says Nick Matthews, vice-chair of Co-operatives UK:

First, "we should have no confidence in the advice
 from group chair Len Wardle or ex-CEO Peter Marks
 about what to do next. We should have stopped
listening to them a long time ago," he stresses,
adding that "it is inconceivable to me that Wardle
could contemplate retaining his chairmanship
until May — he should have already gone."

Secondly, he says that "a co-operative bank with
 a minority member’s stake may be “ethical” in
 intent, but it is evidently not.. a co-operative, and
if it persists in using the name it should be asked
 to desist — just as the brand Co-operative Travel,
which the group sold to Thomas Cook, has to
disappear, after a certain period."
He adds that the current CEO of the group, Euan
Sutherland, "has handled the situation well,
despite the dreadful hand he has been dealt,"
and ends by hoping that "this amputation of the
 Co-op’s crippled banking arm stops the bleeding
 and protects the body of the Co-operative Group
 from any further liabilities."



After recent shutdowns of the US government,
 Ecuador has devised a contingency plan and
 now seeks alternative financing sources to
tackle possible future "economic crises".

We also work with the European Investment Bank,
China's Exim Bank and the Abu Dhab Development
 Fund, confirms Minister of Finance, Fausto Herrera,
as quoted by El Telegrafo newspaper.

Up to now, Ecuador's traditional financing sources
 have been the Andean Development Corporation,
 the Inter-American Development Bank, and the
 World Bank, the newspaper reports.

According to Herrera, during the 16 days of the
 US government shutdown over the debt ceiling,
 Ecuador had to use some liquidity provisions and
 speed up spending on projects already budgeted.

The US is Ecuador's main trade partner, so if
the US economy is affected, there could be
a direct impact on our income abroad,
warns economist Fidel Marquez.



China and the UK have agreed to continue building
 London into a major offshore market for yuan trading.

Both sides welcome the strong growth of London's
RMB markets, making London the most active RMB
 centre in the world outside China, according to the
 joint statement after the fifth China-UK Economic
 and Financial Dialogue held in Beijing.

"China recognizes London's major role in increasing
 the international use of the RMB, and both sides
agree to continued collaborating to support
London's offshore market," the statement says.

To boost London's market status, China will give
investors based in the city the right to buy 80 billion
 yuan worth of stocks, bonds and money market
instruments issued by financial institutions in China.

China allows foreign institutional buyers to trade
 yuan-denominated financial products through a
regime called RQFII, or Renminbi Qualified Foreign
 Institutional Investor.

To encourage foreign investors to hold the yuan,
 the RQFII now has a global quota of 350 billion yuan.

The extension of RQFII will deepen China's financial
 markets and strengthen RMB activity in the offshore
 market, the statement says.

"China has agreed to further develop capital inflow and
 outflow channels for the RMB, including for RMB trapped
 onshore, overseas direct investment and the development
 of Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor (QDII) quotas
 to support liquidity in the offshore market," it says.

Both sides agree to support further RMB bond issuances
 in the UK by Chinese as well as international firms, and
 develop London as an offshore RMB debt issuance centre.

Numerous cities are competing for China's permission
 to be allocated as centres for clearing yuan trading
offshore, to provide these lucrative financial services.

The talks were co-chaired by Chinese Vice Premier
Ma Kai
and the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer,
 George Osborne.

Where is the economic investment in Wales?
In a "dole queue" for unsustainable "grants"!


Iran to exclude dollar, euro from foreign transactions

Iranian Economy Minister Seyed Shamseddin Hosseini 
 announces that Tehran plans to exclude some Western
currencies, specifically the US dollar and euro, from its
foreign trade transactions, Fars news agency reports.

"According to the decision made by the cabinet
workgroup, the dollar and euro will be gradually
put aside from Iran's trade with other countries,"

Hosseini says today.

He states that Iran has already changed its
trade partners and redirected its trade
away from the UK and Germany, to
Middle-Eastern states.

In 2005, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was
the first to propose a switch in transactions
from the dollar to the euro as a counter-measure
to the US stance on Iran's civilian nuclear program.

The last two countries to announce a similar
decision - Iraq and Libya - were subsequently
invaded and torn to pieces by the US and EU.



Brazil may reject US fighter jet deal
over NSA spying scandal

Brazilian officials have expressed reluctance to purchasing
dozens of military planes from the US, after it was revealed
that the NSA not only closely monitored Brazilian energy
and military affairs, but also mined for commercial secrets.



Latin American countries refused to endorse the
recentmove by the IMF to release 1.7 billion euros
($2.29 billion) of rescue loans to Greece.

Paulo Nogueira Batista, who represents Brazil and
10 other Latin American countries on the IMF
executive board, reveals that the group refused
to vote in favor of the new aid package the IMF
executive board recently approved.

The new loan raised to 28.4 billion euros ($37.6
billion) the total amount of funds the IMF has so
far committed to Greece.
Why does Brazil’s executive director at the IMF
criticize the
decision? Because of well-founded
fears that Athens may be
unable to repay loans,
as the imposed "recovery program" fails:

"Recent developments in Greece confirm some
of our worst fears. Implementation has been
unsatisfactory in almost all areas. Growth
 and debt sustainability assumptions continue
to be over-optimistic."

Analysts say this stance by the Latin American
states highlights
increasing frustration among
emerging nations with current IMF
policy towards
debt-stricken European nations, as Europe and

 the US together, still hold the majority of voting
power at the IMF.

An IMF report published recently says Greece
will not be
able to repay the Fund if its eurozone
partners stop their support.

For Athens to receive more "debt relief" from
the eurozone, it
"must" make even more
austerity cuts demanded by its creditors.

According to forecasts published by the EU,
Athens "must" cut four billion euros more to
meet its 2016 fiscal targets.

However, the IMF report says there is “no
evidence” that Greece
can reach its target.

“Achieving the significant fiscal adjustment

 still ahead - in a socially acceptable manner - 
is unlikely to be
possible without much
deeper public sector reforms,” it notes.

Greece has cut its spending for the past
4 years, and this has already led to a
27% official unemployment rate.

Despite tough "reforms" and using up nearly
90% of its 240-billion-euro bailout since 2010,
Greece is further in debt, and is now
"excluded" from bond markets.



French giant carmaker Renault says its profits have
after US-engineered sanctions against
Tehran led to a halt in
its activities in Iran.

The auto group says that has resulted in a loss of 249
million euros from a profit of 519 million euros last year.

In February 2012, Europe’s second largest automaker,
 PSA Peugeot Citroën, also stopped its trade with Iran
 after the enforcement of US-led financial sanctions
 against the Islamic Republic.

Peugeot stopped exporting vehicles to Iran, which
for around 13% of the firm’s global
deliveries in 2011.

The French company posted a record 6.7 billion dollar
loss in
2012. Iran was the carmaker’s second-biggest
market in 2011,
in terms of trade volume.

The illegal US-engineered sanctions against the Islamic
 Republic have been imposed based on the unfounded
 accusation that Iran may be pursuing non-civilian
 objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Iran rejects the allegations, arguing that, as a committed
 signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of
 the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to
 use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.



The European commission says European companies
 will probably stop using the services of US Internet
 providers due to reports of US spying on the EU.

US providers of cloud services, which allow users to
 store and access data on remote servers, could suffer
 major business losses, if their customers fear the
 privacy of their data is under threat, Neelie Kroes, the
 commission’s vice-president who speaks on digital
 affairs, warns now.

"If businesses or governments think they might be
 spied on, they will have less reason to trust cloud,
 and it will be cloud providers who ultimately miss out.

 "Why would you pay someone else to hold your
 commercial or other secrets if you suspect or know
 they're being shared against your wishes?" Kroes says.

On June 29th, Der Spiegel reported that secret
 documents provided by former NSA contractor
 Edward Snowden showed that the US had spied on
EU offices in Washington, New York, and Brussels.

Members of the European Parliament are asking for
 “immediate clarification” from the US government
and warn of a “potential impact” on US-EU relations.

"It is often US providers that will miss out, because
they are often the leaders in cloud services. If
European cloud customers cannot trust the US
 government, then maybe they won't trust US
 cloud providers either. If I am right, there are
 multibillion-euro consequences for US companies.

 "If I were a US cloud provider, I would be quite
 frustrated with my government right now," she adds.



The Syrian government has weathered its worst
 economic crisis, thanks to the support of friendly
 countries, Syria's top economist says, but he
 adds that the economy still falls short of a true
 recovery, at least in the foreseeable future.

Iran, Russia and other friendly countries, have
 been supporting the Syrian government politically,
 militarily and economically, Qadri Jamil, the Syrian
 deputy prime minister for economic affairs and the
 minister of domestic trade and consumer protection,
 tells the Financial Times, noting that all transactions
 in Syria now use the Iranian rial, or Russian ruble,
 to get around the western sanctions.

The deputy prime minister says allies are supporting
 Syria with around 500 million US dollars per month for
 financial dealings including oil and open insurance lines,
 which will definitely support the war-torn country in its
 counter-attack against what he calls a "foreign conspiracy
 to drown the Syrian pound."

He adds that Syria has an unlimited credit line with Tehran
 to import oil and food, and that Damascus has replaced
using dollars and Euros with Iran and Russia's currencies.

He describes the economic situation as "very complicated
 and difficult, but it hasn't reached the point of no return."

Syria's oil production dipped from 380,000 barrels a day
 before the crisis to around 20,000 barrels, after repetitive
 attacks on oil and gas wells in the country.

His reassurance comes as Syrian people meet the
 expenses of the upcoming holy month of Ramadan,
 seeing a further projected fall in the cost of living,
 due to the Syrian pound's fall in value and the rise
 in consumer commodity prices.

Since mid June, the pound has sharply depreciated
 against the dollar and dropped from 170 pounds per
 dollar to around 205 pounds within two weeks, which
inflated the prices of all goods in Syria's markets.

Jamil accuses Saudi Arabia, the United States and the
UK, of attempts to undermine the Syrian currency.

"Riyadh, Washington and London manage a conspiracy
 to undermine the Syrian currency by flooding Lebanon
 and Jordan with Syrian pounds," he says.

He accuses his government's opponents of launching
 "a military campaign and a financial war against Syria
 through Western sanctions - ranging from a ban on
 Syrian oil to the prohibition of remittances through
 banks and credit cards."

Ammar Youssef, a local economist says that, without
 the intervention of the Central Bank of Syria, the pound
 would have been sold at 2,000 per dollar.

He adds that the pound will recover once the conflict
 in the country has drawn to an end, and the wheel of
 the Syrian economy will move again through new
 investments, which will eventually lead to a return
 of the dollar to lower than the pre-crisis price.

The Prime Minister, Wael al-Halqi, says the economy
 is balanced and adapting itself to the developments
 and complexities of the crisis, which has entered
 its third year, through a package of measures which
the government is taking in line with present variables.



 The UK was stripped of its top rating by Fitch
 after a downgrade by Moody’s in February.

Fitch not only cut its growth projection, but
 also forecast that UK debt will hit 101% of
gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015-2016.

“The fiscal space to absorb further adverse
 economic and financial shocks is no longer
 consistent with an AAA rating,” Fitch says.

 Moody’s has cut the UK’s top AAA ranking to AA1
now because of "rising debt" and slowing "growth".

The downgrade comes as another damaging
 blow to the UK Chancellor George Osborne,
 who is already under pressure from the IMF
 - to reverse his damaging austerity cuts.

The head of the IMF Christine Lagarde urges
 the Chancellor to ease his so-called deficit
 reduction strategy - as it is increasing debt,
and inhibiting any chance of a recovery.



When the emerging economies bailed out a
helpless US and EU economic mess, they
were promised a better IMF and more say...

Brazil’s Finance Minister Guido Mantega now
slams the US and EU for repeatedly delaying all
 reforms of their domination of shareholding and
 voting power in the International Monetary Fund.

Mantega accuses the two of stalling reforms,
to prevent any rebalancing, which could allow
the major emerging economies more say.

"Target dates have been missed, delays and
 procrastination have become routine," says Mantega.

He says the two approved reforms- rebalancing and
capital doubling and a planned, general quota review
- have been "held up" since 2011.

 The approved 2010 program has not been imposed
 since it needs the support of the US, and Congress
 keeps blocking ratification.

The other planned quota review, scheduled for
 completion in January 2014, has been postponed
 due to "resistance to change on the part of the
 overrepresented European countries," he states.

 "America is unable and Europe unwilling
 to follow through with agreed reforms.
 The institution's major shareholders
 are gambling, perhaps unwittingly,
 with the IMF's legitimacy and credibility."

The "postponements" are stopping emerging
economic powers like China, Russia, India
 and Brazil from obtaining a previously agreed
bigger role in IMF affairs through increased quotas.



As Germany and France move to close down
EEC countries hiding behind tax "havens",
and unsustainable debt, eg, Cyprus,
Luxemburg and Malta start to squirm...
and the UK's "City" starts to shiver.



After Cypriots withdrew their cash en masse
to avoid losing a percentage of their savings
as part of the EEC's "restructure" plan, Cyprus
turned to Russia but the talks collapsed.

Will New Zealand end up asking China for similar help?

New Zealand depositors face a Cyprus-style tax on
their bank accounts, as the government is planning
to impose a similar strategy on its banks. warns
the country's Green Party.

New Zealand is facing a similar bank failure to Cyprus,
and seems likely to adopt open bank resolution (OBR),
which will see small depositors lose part their savings,
in favour of a big bank bailout, Green Party co-leader
Russel Norman says. The country’s Finance Minister,
Bill English, supports the open bank resolution. 

"Bill English is proposing a Cyprus-style solution
for managing bank failure here in New Zealand,"

says Norman, adding that the Reserve Bank is in
the "final stages" of implementing an OBR system.

New Zealand's bank depositors will have their savings
cut by a certain percentage, to keep their bank afloat.

The Green Party however has major doubts, that OBR
tactics are appropriate here. Norman underlines that
few depositors can reasonably evaluate the reliability
of their bank. "Not even sophisticated investors like
Merrill Lynch saw the global financial crisis coming

Norman believes that the OBR policy is too radical,
and few OECD countries use it, preferring instead,
deposit insurance schemes. 

"A deposit insurance scheme is a much simpler,
well-tested alternative to open bank resolution.
It rewards safe banks with lower premiums and
limits the cost to taxpayers of a bank failure…
[They] protect people's deposits up to a maximum,
ranging from $100,000 to $250,000,"
he says.

Cyprus announced last week that it plans to impose a
10 per cent tax on bank accounts as part of a 10 billion
euro bailout by the European Union. The news caused
panic across the island as people rushed to cash
machines to withdraw their savings.



Switzerland is to assist international tax authorities
disclosing information on bank accounts held by
who avoid taxation at home.

Joint efforts by the EU, the US and a number of other
have led to Switzerland introducing new
banking laws on February the 1st.

The new regulation now allows foreign tax services to
send group
requests for bank account information of
their citizens. Banks,
nominal account holders, agents
or trust managers are
obliged to provide information.

These requests can take a number of forms.
A tax authority can
request data on a group
of people united by common criteria,

though it's still has to be seen how it will work
"fishing" requests will be strictly prohibited.



South Korea announces an increase in oil imports
from Iran, and accepts a credit line from China to
deal in China's currency, shutting out the dollar.

Iran has stopped all oil & gas exports to EU
countries in a 'preemptive sanction'.

With new US & EU sanctions on Iran’s oil and gas
industries about to take effect, Iran's National
Oil Ministry stopped all exports of oil and gas.

 While the export of crude oil & liquefied gas is
being increased to most other countries...
 export to the EU's 27 member states is banned.

 The Oil Ministry spokesperson says "despite
many requests from EU countries to buy oil
and gas from Iran, Iran will not sell any oil
or gas to those countries."

  Iran’s still holds 2nd place in OPEC's list of oil
producing countries, and a spokesperson says
"The Oil Ministry has planned different scenarios
to handle any oil sanctions by Western countries,
 and will implement them as and when necessary."



Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank has
withdrawn its entire
374-ton store of gold bullion
from the Bank of France in Paris, and
300 tons
of the 1,500 tons held by the New York
Federal Reserve.

The move follows an audit criticizing the Bundesbank
for mismanagement, stating that the gold had never
been “verified physically.

Germany has the world’s 2nd-largest bullion reserves
270,000 gold bars ($177.5 billion), second to the US.

From now on, the bank will keep small amounts of
gold abroad
for trading purposes. About 30% of
Germany’s gold reserves are
currently held at
facilities of the Frankfurt-based Bundesbank.

 Bundesbank board member Carl-Ludwig Thiele
says gold is
an important resource "to create
confidence in the currency and in the
economic power of our country."

Veteran gold dealer Jim Sinclair:

"This sends a message about storing gold near you
and taking delivery no matter who is holding it,

Sinclair tells the UK's Telegraph. "When France did
this years ago, it sent panic amongst the US's
financial leadership. History will look back on this
salvo as being the beginning of the end of the
US dollar as the reserve currency of choice."



President Obama abolishes the Jackson-Vanik amendment
giving Russia “permanent normal trade relations” status.

­“The Russian Federation has been found to be in full
compliance with the freedom of emigration requirement,”
Obama proclaims, adding that the articles of the 1974 law
are no longer applicable to Russia.

The US wants its companies to take greater advantage
of Russia’s growing market.

The decision allows US business to enjoy the benefits
of trade with Russia now it's a member of the World
Trade Organization. 

Russia will provide more access to its 140 million
consumers and US firms can benefit from lower
import tariffs, intellectual property protection
and greater legal transparency.

US economists estimate that US exports to Russia
could now double in five years, to $22 billion.


Eurozone finance ministers have agreed on
the formation of a banking union bringing
some European banks under its supervision.

"Piece by piece, brick by brick, the banking union
will be built on
this first fundamental step today,"
EU Commissioner Michel Barnier
says in Brussels.

Under the Single Supervisory Mechanism agreement,
banks with over 30 billion euros in assets will be
by the European Central Bank (ECB),
from March 2014.

The SSM serves as the first stage of the banking union
& the ECB will act as chief supervisor of eurozone banks.

German Finance Minister W Schaeuble:
"We have reached
the main points to
establish a European banking supervisor

that should take on its work in 2014."

French Finance Minister P Moscovici says
that the talks were "laborious, complicated,
but now we have an equilibrium."
The SSM will eventually allow eurozone rescue
funds to recapitalize struggling banks, including
those in Greece and Spain.

The deal also authorizes the ECB to close down
those EU banks that do not abide by the rules.
The agreement is possibly one of the most significant
transfers of authority from national governments to
regional authorities since the creation of the euro.


Avarice is a vice, the exaction
of usury is a misdemeanour,
and the love of money is detestable.

-  John Maynard Keynes

Poised on the brink of economic meltdown as we are,
governments all over the world are baying frantically
for growth.
But growth isn't the answer to our problems.

Way back in the 1700’s Adam Smith recognized a limit
to economic growth. He predicted that in the long run,
population growth would push wages down, and
natural resources would become increasingly scarce.

Consider a steady state economy - an economy of
stable or mildly fluctuating size, minimal chance of
the boom and bust cycle, less opportunity for
outright greed. The term can apply equally to
a national economy, a local, regional, or global
economy. To be sustainable, a steady state
economy must not exceed ecological limits,
and that is it’s most important attribute.

Our recent and unprecedented growth in economic
activity has significantly shifted the balance of
nature with potentially disastrous consequences
for the ecology of the planet, for our own well-being
- but particularly for that of the next generation.

It is a mistake to believe that more growth will
diminish our problems. In the long term more
growth would be a disaster, as continuous growth
is completely incompatible with sustainability.

A steady state economy does not imply a stationary
state of
human improvement. There would be as much
scope as ever
for all kinds of mental culture, and moral
and social progress;
as much room for improving the
Art of Living (& a bigger
likelihood of it being improved),
when minds cease to
be engrossed by the shallow art
of obtaining more money.

The human economy is embedded in nature, completely.
Without the natural world to draw upon, there is
nothing to make money from. But we've been perverse.
We have exploited nature to its very limits, maybe
beyond its ability to absorb our delinquency.

Economic processes are actually
biological, physical,
and chemical processes
. Humans don’t create anything,
they transform it into something else – plastics, cars,
toxic waste.

Economic growth cannot be relied upon to alleviate
poverty either.
On the contrary, economic growth
has polarized wealth
into the hands of the few.

If the pie isn’t getting
any bigger, we need to cut
and distribute the pieces in a fair way.

Poor people who have trouble meeting basic needs
tend not to
care about sustainability - how can they
when the priority is
finding the next meal.

At the other end of the scale, excessively rich

people tend to consume unsustainable quantities
of resources.
Fair distribution of wealth, therefore,
is a critical part of
sustainability and the steady
state economy.

60 years ago, John Maynard Keynes said

“The day is not far off when the economic problem
will take the back seat where it belongs, and the
arena of the heart and the head will be occupied
or reoccupied, by our real problems – the problems
of life and of human relations, of creation and
behaviour and religion.”

Economic collapse is extremely painful. But
environmental collapse
- the collapse of the
planet's support systems which sustain life on

earth as we know it - that is truly unbearable.

Governments have their heads stuck in the past.
They can only think of recreating what has been –
growth. But the future will be different. The
future needs the fairness and sustainability only
steady state economics can bring.

More here at http://steadystate.org and



Moody’s US based 'Investors Service' has
cut its credit ratings for nine Danish banks,
citing the impact of the ongoing eurozone
crisis on bank loan quality and on their
"fund-raising capacity".



Karl Marx said that the capitalist class would
"dig its own grave", and every move the bankers
make to strangle Iran and its friends... appears
to be spectacularly backfiring, as Iran responds.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI)
Mahmoud Bahmani, says Iran has designed
and implemented a new system for conducting
international financial transactions now.

Bahmani said that the new system, which
has already been activated, will replace

Worldwide Interbank Financial

On March 15th, SWIFT CEO, Lazaro Campos, said
a statement that the society had decided to
discontinue offering services to Iranian banks
which are subject to financial sanctions
imposed by the European Union.

On January 23rd, EU foreign ministers approved
new sanctions on Iran's financial and oil
sectors, which prevent member countries from
importing Iranian crude or dealing with its
central bank. SWIFT’s new action is meant to
fully enforce EU sanctions, as global financial
transactions, the "West" believed, were really
not "possible" without using SWIFT.



The OECD warns now that the European Union
may fall into a severe recession.

"Things have begun to deteriorate again (in the
eurozone) recently, so we cannot rule out the
development of a downside scenario which, if
ignited, could lead to serious repercussions
worldwide,” OECD’s Chief Economist Pier Carlo
Padoan says in his report.

The economist predicts that the eurozone economy
could contract by as much as 2% this year.

The report forecasts the eurozone economy will
shrink by 0.1 percent this year, and grow a
mere 0.9 percent in 2013.

Padoan calls on Europe and its Central Bank to
promote growth while reducing deficits in order
to prevent a recession.

Europe is expected to fall further behind other
countries, particularly the US, whose economy
is expected to grow... unless hampered by a
"fiscal cliff" - spending cuts plus tax hikes.

Padoan ends with this warning:

“There are other risks to the outlook…
early next year, if measures are not
taken or withdrawn, the US economy
will face a significant fiscal tightening
which may be so hard as to disrupt recovery."



China begins extending loans in yuan to BRICS
countries as a part of a move from the US dollar.

­The Chinese Development Bank is to sign a
'memorandum of understanding' with partners
in the BRICS group of developing countries
on increasing yuan-denominated loans, while
partners increase loans in their national
currencies, The Financial Times reports.

The move aims to increase trade between the five
nations and diversify from using the US dollar.

China is dropping the dollar in other ways, by
quietly selling its US holdings in exchange for
Canadian and other country's treasury bills.



Iran has refused to deliver a 500,000-barrel
shipment of oil to Greece in response to the
EU oil sanctions imposed against the country.



Germany urging Greece to exit eurozone

On Saturday 25th of February 2012,
the German 
interior minister started
publicly urging
Greece to exit the eurozone.



The African Union projects the establishment of
a continental free trade area by 2017, says a
closing document at the 18th summit of the A.U.

"The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) should
be operational by the indicative date of 2017,"
says the document.

The AU has a three-step plan...

The first step is to finalize the tripartite
agreement among East African Community (EAC),
the Common Market for Eastern and Southern
Africa (COMESA), and the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), by 2014.

The second is to urge other trade blocs to
follow the experience of the tripartite
agreement and reach parallel agreement
between 2012 and 2014.

The third step is to consolidate the tripartite
and other regional free trade areas into the
CFTA initiative between 2015 and 2016.

"Enhanced intra-African trade and deepened
market integration can contribute significantly
to sustainable economic growth, employment
generation, poverty reduction, inflow of foreign
direct investment, industrial development and
better integration of the continent into the
global economy," says the document.

Africa has seven major regional trade blocs,
including the Economic Community of West
African States (ECOWAS), the Economic
Community of Central African States (ECCAS),
the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) and the
Community of Sahel- Saharan States
(CEN-SAD), besides the above- mentioned
tripartite agreement blocs.



Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and his
Japanese counterpart Yoshihiko Noda have
reached an agreement to promote the direct
use of their currencies in bilateral trade,
limiting the use of the US dollar in Asia.

The announcement was made in a statement by
the Japanese government after the Asian
leaders met in China's capital Beijing.

Both sides also agreed that Japan will hold the
Chinese currency, yuan, in its foreign-exchange
reserves, now largely denominated in dollars.



The World Economic Forum (WEF) says Hong Kong
has become the world's most developed financial
market, overtaking the US & UK for the 1st time.



The most indebted country in the world, the US,
with control of corrupt credit rating agencies,
is saving the US Dollar at the expense of the
EU's population, as Standard and Poor reduce
Belgium's creditworthiness, in a move which
strikes at the heart of European unity...



The Bank of the South, a financial institution
serving various South American countries, is
to begin operating in the coming months, after
a process of legislative ratification by its
member countries... that took several years.

Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador,
Paraguay and Uruguay, all signed the bank´s
founding agreement in 2009. Its launch required
a simple majority of the signatory countries
whose capital is more than 66.3 percent of the
total agreed-upon amount.

The legislatures of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia,
Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay have now all
finally ratified the agreement.

With start-up capital of $20 billion, the bank
is a key part of the Union of South American
Nations bloc, UNASUR.

The new institution is designed to defend
economic sovereignty, and to end dependence
on international agencies, to protect its
members from periodic world financial crises,
and to promote development with the region's
own resources and investment.

Based in Caracas and with offices in La Paz and
Buenos Aires, bank member countries will have
equal representation on the board of directors,
in the decision making process and on approval
of funds and projects, unlike other institutions
in which the weight of members´ votes, is always
determined by their "contributions".

The rule of "one country, one vote" demonstrates
a strong commitment to integration, based on
solidarity & equality, say observers & experts.

The Bank of the South aims to be a pillar of the
region's financial architecture, much like the
regional currency developed by the Bolivarian
Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA).

In 2009, the countries of ALBA (Bolivia, Cuba,
Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela) signed an
agreement for the creation of the SUCRE;
(Unified System for Regional Compensation),
which is laying the basis for a single currency;
a further expression of the regional search for
new cooperative mechanisms - beyond the market.

That's the spirit - don't fight and hate your
enemies - build NEW good structures instead !



Chinese Deputy PM Wang Qishan, announces
Beijing is to provide 1 billion US dollars

in loans - on preferential terms - to the
member countries of CARICOM.

Full members of CARICOM are Antigua and Barbuda,
Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada,
Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis,
Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,
Suriname, Montserrat and Trinidad and Tobago.



The poor Irish took the ex-Disney executive
George Mitchel's advice, and are paying...

Moody's Investors Service downgraded Ireland's
foreign & local currency government bond ratings
from Baa3 to the junk status of Ba1, saying that
the country may need more bailouts from

"international organizations".

The rating agency says that Ireland is likely to
need further rounds of financing, before it can
return to the private market, as the current EU
and IMF program stops at the end of 2013.

Moody's acknowledges that Ireland has shown
a strong commitment to fiscal consolidation
and has delivered on its program objectives,
but stresses that "implementation risks"
remain significant, particularly in the light
of "continued weaknesses" in the Irish economy.

European "debt problems", caused by US policy,
are now spreading to most euro-zone countries.

Italian government bonds' yields are surging,
as investors drop them as the risk of a default
rises. Spanish government bond yields are also
seeing a sharp rise. The US is, apparently, saving
the dollar's pre-eminence, by strangling Europe.



Russia's financial reserves - $528 billion -
are the world's 3rd largest, after China &
Japan's, and Russian holdings of US Treasury
securities fell to $125.4 billion in April 2011
- from $176.3 billion in October 2010 -
new US Treasury Department data shows.

Arkady Dvorkovich, chief economic aide to the
Russian president, says: "The share of our
portfolio in US instruments has gone down
and will probably go down further."



The UN warns the world of a possible crisis of
confidence in, and even a "collapse" of, the US
dollar, if its value against other currencies
continues to decline.

In its mid-year review of the world economy,
the UN economic division says the falling value
of foreign dollar holdings, is endangering the
present global financial system.

On April 18th, 'Standard & Poor's' changed its
outlook on US government debt from "stable" to
"negative", and warned that the US could soon
lose its prized AAA rating.

At one time, it would have been unthinkable
for Standard & Poor's to do such a thing.

But today it is amazing that it has taken them
so long to do it, as US government finances are
falling apart - and fast.

When the credit rating of US government debt
declines, US interest rates will shoot up.

John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics:

"S&P is noting the US government's long-range
fiscal problems. Total federal debt & obligations
are about $75 trillion. That's 15 times the gross
domestic product (GDP) of the United States.

US government debt and obligations increase
at about $5 trillion a year, which is neither
sustainable nor containable. If the US was a
corporation, it would be bankrupt.

Now they've downgraded the US debt-rating, but
the US is still intent on "winning", without
realising that giving is better than conning.



48% of the US public believe the US economy is
heading for another great depression, as even
the big US banks are dropping US Treasury bills.

Meanwhile, as police forces and teachers are laid
off across the US, regulators shut down two more
small banks in Georgia and Florida, lifting to 47
the number of US bank failures in the year so far.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
on Friday seized McIntosh State Bank, based in
Jackson, Ga., with $339.9 million in assets and
$324.4 million in deposits, and First Commercial
Bank of Tampa Bay, in Tampa, Fla., with $98.6
million in assets and $92.6 million in deposits.

Hamilton State Bank, based in Hoschton, Ga.,
agreed to assume the assets and deposits of
McIntosh State Bank. Stonegate Bank based in
Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is assuming the assets
& deposits of First Commercial Bank, Tampa Bay.



US economic distress and mounting bad loans now
force the US to borrow SIX TIMES its GDP, to keep
waging its plundering wars on Iraq, Libya, etc.

The US Empire is melting before our eyes.



China has dropped 97% of its US Treasury bills,
decreasing its ownership of the short-term US
government securities, from $210.4 billion in
May 2009, to $5.69 billion in March 2011, the
most recent month reported by the US Treasury.

Treasury bills are securities that mature in one
year or less, that are sold by the US Treasury
Department to fund the nation's debt.

Until October, the Chinese were making up for
their decreasing holdings in Treasury bills,
by increasing their holdings of longer-term
US Treasury securities. Thus - until October -
China's hold over US debt continued to increase.



The selection of the next head of the IMF should
meet the changing realities of the global economy
and not be on the basis of nationality; especially
the tradition that requires a European chief,
the fund's five key emerging market economies'
executive directors say now.

"The convention that the selection of the
managing director is made, in practice,
on the basis of nationality, undermines
the legitimacy of the fund," say IMF
directors for China, Brazil, India,
South Africa and Russia, or BRICS
in a joint statement.

More and more people believe that emerging
markets and developing economies should have
a bigger say in international institutions.

Recent reports from the World Bank and the IMF
show that the world's economic structure has
been changing. Emerging markets and developing
countries are THE major engine of global growth.



China should reduce its excessive foreign
exchange reserves and further diversify its
holdings, Tang Shuangning, chair of the
China Everbright Group, says on Saturday.

The amount of foreign exchange reserves should be
restricted to 800 billion-1.3 trillion US dollars,
Tang tells a forum in Beijing, saying that the
current reserve amount is too high.

China's foreign exchange reserves increased by
197.4 billion US dollars in the first 3 months
of this year, to 3.04 trillion US dollars by
the end of March.

Tang's remarks echoe the stance of Zhou Xiaochuan,
governor of China's central bank, who said Monday
that China's foreign exchange reserves "exceed
our reasonable requirement" and that the Chinese
government should upgrade and diversify its
foreign exchange, and use the excessive reserves.

Xia Bin, a member of the monetary policy committee
of the central bank, says 1 trillion US dollars
would be sufficient. He adds that China should
invest its foreign exchange reserves more
strategically, using them to acquire resources
and technology needed for the real economy.

Tang also says China should further diversify its
foreign exchange holdings. He suggests five ways
to use the reserves, including replenishing state-
owned capital equipment in key industrial sectors,
purchasing strategic resources, expanding
overseas investment, issuing foreign bonds
and improving national welfare in areas such
as education and health.

However, these strategies treat symptoms but not
the root cause, he says, noting that the key is
to reform the entire mechanism of how reserves
are both generated and managed.



The Bank of Japan (BOJ) has injected 5 trillion
yen (USD 61 billion) to calm the country's upset
financial markets since the March 11th earthquake.

The injections come after the devastating tremor,
Japan's strongest on record, & the tsunami, just
a week last Friday, which collapsed its banks.

The move will decrease the value of the yen and
increase inflation, financial analysts say.



The World Trade Organization's appeal body has
largely reversed a previous panel ruling on
China-US trade & supports China in its complaint
against US anti-dumping measures imposed in four
areas of Chinese exports.

China filed its complaint to the WTO in December
2008, requesting that the Dispute Settlement Body
establish a panel to probe a US Commerce Dept
decision to impose anti-dumping duties on steel
pipes, tubing, sacks and tyres.

An appeal was brought in December after China
disagreed with part of the rulings by the panel.

A new report from the appeal body not only
China's claims in specific cases, but
says the US approach in forming anti-
duties, is inconsistent with WTO

It outlaws the US practice of labeling Chinese
state-owned enterprises as "public bodies" and
stops the US applying anti-dumping duties to
Chinese firms on 'Non-Market Economy' grounds.

The practice of "double remedies," - imposing
countervailing duties on the basis of anti-
dumping duties - repeatedly applied to China's
products, is also ruled as 'inconsistent'.

The appeal body's ruling will have a major influence
on China's exports, as SOME trading partners,
the US & EU in particular, frequently use anti-
dumping & countervailing duties, to block many
Chinese products from entering their markets.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce hails it as
a monumental victory in promoting fair trade.

China urges the US to immediately adjust its
measures on the four sets of Chinese exports,
& demands that the US mend its current practice
of unfairly overusing trade measures, & ensure
fairer competition for China in US markets.

The US has initiated more than 20 other cases
of anti-dumping and countervailing investigation,
using virtually the same basis and methodology.

The report is expected to be adopted within 30
days of being issued. Globalisation...
don't you just LOVE it !



Standard & Poor have dropped Japan's credit rating
as its debt is now 200% of its GDP. Following the
US, is certainly NOT paying off for Japan...



The German edition of Handelsblatt, in its list
of the top 10 world banks with the largest market
capitalization, shows Chinese banks replacing the
US's banks, and only one UK bank there at all!

Chinese banks haven't sustained major financial
losses, and have kept their reputations - due to
rules tightly enforced by government regulation.

In 2007, top of the list was the US's Citigroup.
Now it's only seventh, with both first and second
places taken by ICBC (Industrial and Commercial
Bank of China, 174.59 billion Euros) and China
Construction Bank (168.76 billion Euros).

In third place is HSBC (UK) - the sole European
bank in the top 10. Its market capitalization
is 138.20 billion euros. Experts say that its
strong presence in Asian markets has helped the
bank to survive the West's financial crisis.

Fourth and fifth are US banks Wells Fargo (123.15
billion) & JP Morgan Chase (122.01 billion euros).

In sixth place is the Bank of China. Its market
capitalization is now 106.57 billion euros.

7th is the American Citigroup (104.82 billion euros)
while another Chinese Bank, Agricultural Bank of
China, is eighth. Its market capitalization is
101.05 billion euros. Ninth is Bank of America
(USA) with a capitalization of €99.65 billion.
A young Brazilian super bank is tenth... Itau
Unibanco was only founded in 2008, but the
finance company is already the largest in Latin
America. Its market capitalization is €70,56 billion.



Three more US banks (2 in Georgia & 1 in Florida)
hit the skids, as news comes in that one hundred
US banks which have been rescued by the federal
government are facing the prospect of bankruptcy
again, a new US study finds.

98 unsteady banks received $4.2 billion from the
Treasury Department under the Troubled Asset
Relief Program (TARP), a recent analysis of
federal data by the Wall Street Journal reveals.

But according to the study, TARP was originally
created in the middle of the US financial crisis
to help only healthy banks!

Seven of the TARP recipients have already failed,
resulting in over $2.7 billion in lost TARP funds.
Most of the troubled TARP recipients are small,
plagued by unregulated lending programs...
from which, they might not recover.

The journal calculations demonstrate that 814
of the US's 7,760 banks and savings institutions
are "troubled" at the end of the third quarter;
up from 729 at the end of the second quarter.

But figures from the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation (FDIC) identify 860 US financial
institutions as "problematic". The banks are
not being publicly identified.

In October, the Government Accountability Office
said 78 banks on the FDIC's troubled-bank list
were TARP recipients, up from 47 at the end of 2009.

Dozens of TARP banks were "marginal institutions"
- financially weaker than other recipients -
and should have been scrutinised before receiving
taxpayer-funded infusions, the GAO says.



A new report says that the entire US deficit in
trade with China is accounted for by its ban
on high technology products to China... irony !



As Europe struggles to balance its books, the US
Treasury Department announces that the country's
federal budget deficit climbs for the 26th
consecutive month, to $150 billion+.

The $150.39 billion deficit is 25% higher,
the department announces.

Analysts' average forecast for the shortfall was
$134 billion, & many economists had said that
the debit would decline gradually over the
coming years, AFP reports.

But the US continues with its worsening economic
recession, ignoring the debt crisis, or passing
on its cost to the rest of the world.

Experts... that's the good ol' USA !!



The US dollar's status as the world's reserve
currency could be soon coming to an end.

China and Russia have decided to renounce the US
dollar and resort to using their own currencies
for all bilateral trade, including oil.

"Regarding trade, we have decided to use our own
currencies," China Daily quotes Russian Premier
Vladimir Putin as saying, at a joint news
conference with his Chinese counterpart, Wen
Jiabao, in St. Petersburg.

The two countries have used the dollar and other
Western currencies for bilateral trade until now.
But the yuan is now trading against the ruble in
the Chinese interbank market.

China says it will continue to allow more foreign
currencies to trade in their domestic interbank
foreign-exchange market over "the coming weeks".

Business Week reports that Moscow & Beijing
are calling for the US dollar's role in the
world's financial system to be "diluted".

These moves come days after China blasts a US
unilateral decision to inject hundreds of billions
of US dollars into the US banking system.

China's Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao
Washington is ignoring its responsibility to

support the world's emerging economies, which
are now the world economy's engine for growth.

"The US has not fully taken into consideration
the shock of excessive capital flows to the
financial stability of emerging markets."



As the EU and others are hypnotised into obeying
the US, and compromise their integrity by stopping
trade with Iran to the point of breaking the law,
they might be interested in the following figures!

According to figures published by the US Census
Bureau's foreign trade statistics, the US
imported $92.7 million worth of goods from Iran
from January to September 2010, compared to 45.1
million during the same period in 2009.

The figures show the US also exported $158.4
million worth of goods to Iran during the
first nine months of 2010.

So US trade doubles as EU trade halves. Nice one!



In 1985, the US trade deficit with China was
$6 million for the entire year. In 2010,
in the month of August alone, the US trade
deficit with China was over $28 billion.

In just 25 years, world trade has undergone a
complete revolution, leaving the US stunned.

All that stands between the US and default,
is time, and the AAA credit rating accorded
to the US & UK by bent US agencies... no
wonder the Chinese have set up their own
credit rating agency (which the US is now
refusing to recognise as "valid"... since
it exposes their USUK credit ratings as
absurdly biased,(& they don't control it!)

Now many Republicans are openly calling for
war with Iran... to "rescue" the US economy.
This means that the world's people need to
be extremely vigilant and that a strong media
devoted to peace is essential today. This is
why Rhondda Records exists... to represent a
point of view Maggie wanted to get rid of...
a view that puts people before profits & war.



As the world criticises US fiscal & monetary moves
to "print" more dollars, even the German finance
minister shoots the US money-pumping plan down.

"Saying now that we once again make an additional
600 billion dollars available will not solve any
problem." Schaeuble says, stressing that the now
huge economic problems of the United States...
"should not be tackled with more debt," and is at
odds with the consensus agreed at June's Group
of 20 summit, that cutting deficits, rather than
adding more, was one of the priorities among all
developed countries. The US is now rogue, he says.

Schaeuble says that the Fed's capital-injection
push will "create extra problems for the world"
and lead to "long-term damage".

One outcome of the Fed's new plan will be the
fast appreciation of the euro against dollar,
causing Europe to take the burden of US debt.



The drummed-up currency war, in which China is
the main target, is all about the US once again
promoting the redistribution of global wealth
... to its own advantage.

Inflation, for the US, will disolve its debts.
So it has started a world fiscal war, and that
lies behind its urging China to "revalue".

China and other emerging economies, however,
will be the victims of this well-designed
US "zero-sum" game. Their economic recovery
may be keeping the world's economy afloat,
as the West's bankruptcy is revealed, but it
has also led to international floating capital
flooding into emerging economies on a very much
larger scale, and at a faster speed, than it did
before the world's financial crisis.

From April 2009 to the end of June 2010, the
amount of hot international financial capital
that flowed into the top 20 emerging economies
was $575 billion;- over half, to emerging Asia.

This large-scale inflow of capital is pressuring
the recipients to appreciate their currencies and
is also the main reason for their inflation.

Nearly two-thirds of the 20 emerging economies
now suffer a negative interest rate, and are
under huge pressure to raise prices. Merrill
Lynch estimates that China has 3.2% inflation,
India 7.9%, Russia 6.1% and Brazil 5.%.

A higher yuan will especially help US exports,
push forward its economic restructuring and help
its economy recover faster... while leaving its
domestic demand slack. In addition, as China is
the largest holder of US national debt, a large
appreciation of the Chinese currency will cause
most dollar-denominated US debts to evaporate.

For 50 years, the Dollar Standard System has
helped the US dump its huge debts on the world,
and increased US national wealth, by monetizing
US national debt through devaluing the dollar.

Today only 48% of current international trade...
but 83.6% of international financial transactions
are priced by the dollar. 61.3% of the world's
foreign reserves are also dollar-denominated.

As the issuer of the world's leading currency,
the US is able to reduce its national debt by
issuing dollars, that is, through devaluation.
Between 2002-2006, around $3.58 trillion-worth
of US debts disappeared in this way.

China and other holders of US national debt
are now being forced into a financial war,
as the US tries again to depreciate the dollar.

To prevent the dollar from devaluing, many US
creditors, especially emerging economies, have
to continue purchasing the dollar, putting all
their assets at risk of further depreciation.

Ignoring the rise of their currencies against the
dollar will cause their exports to suffer heavily
and attract more international money, pushing up
property prices and fueling inflation.

China is trying now to avoid the experience of
Japan in the 1980s, when the forced appreciation
of the yen in its monetary war with the US dollar
plunged Japan's economy into a 10-year recession.

As a fast-growing emerging economy whose currency
is on the way to internationalization, China now
needs to be especially vigilant as the US twists
& turns in the wind, seeking advantage.



US banks closed at record pace in 2010.
According to the FDIC, this year there are
over 800 "problem banks" in the country.
They hold more than USD 400 billion in assets.

Leading US mortgagers are implicated in signing
people's property documents too quickly, without
the consent of the loan borrowers, to resell
them as the US housing market collapsed in 2008.

The allegations are prompting attorneys general
from all 50 US states, to conduct a joint
investigation into the repossession scandal.

Many US officials are already calling for
a nationwide moratorium on foreclosures.

But other "experts" are warning that such a
freeze will hurt the US's already bruised
real estate and financial sectors, as the
country continues to suffer rising unemployment.

The foreclosures crisis has now become systemic
and industry-wide across the US.

The Labour Department says that new unemployment
claims are also rising & they expect no recovery.



In the UK, the Labour party is proposing making
the banks pay more for capital reconstruction,
& a reduction in the severity of cuts on the poor.

BUT to be put into effect, this requires the LIB
dems to stand down and face new elections...
something that - after Clegg's betrayals - will
be potentially a melt-down for Lib Dem MPs...

So not only are the UK's working class incapable
of mass direct action, but their political room
to manoeuvre is tied up too!

So the UK population is stuffed. Therefore, so is
Wales, unless we act to create wealth ourselves.

So here's to a new Wales, with a new economy !



Every European government is applying austerity
cuts to tackle their budget deficits, and it's
all due to a “corrupt banking system” in Europe,
an economics expert says.

"European governments all say they have no alternative.
That is because they are completely controlled
by a corrupt banking system which always wants
to lend money at interest if it can," says Rodney
Shakespeare, professor of binary economics, London.

Recommending a way out of the present economic
mess, Shakespeare says that the people of Europe
could “demand that the European Bank provides
interest-free loans for public capital projects.”

“The people of Europe must demand that they start
to get interest-free loans from their national
banks for large public capital spending projects;
and, at the same time, that will cap the national
debt, because you can use the same mechanism to
actually get rid of the national debt," he adds.

Across Europe, working people are struggling to
show their frustration and anger, knowing it's
the bankers' fault, but unable to see a solution.

(As Wales loses its passport offices
to "cuts", without a murmur. Shame!!!)

Professor Shakespeare puts his finger on it:

"Stop Western banks living like bloodsuckers
by usury - banned by the early Christian church
- which forces our children into debt; for what?"

To help bankers in their love of money -
so there's your root of evil:-




Brazil's Sao Paulo Stock Exchange (Bovespa) is now
the 2nd largest stock exchange in market value
in the world, says its president, Edemir Pinto.

Bovespa reaches a market value of 30.4 billion
reais (17.7 billion US dollars) by closing time
on Thursday, second only to Hong Kong's Exchange.

According to Pinto, Bovespa's value registers
25% more than the total value of the New York,
London and Nasdaq stock exchanges added together.

The figures are achieved with huge help from
state-controlled oil and gas giant Petrobras,
whose latest global share offering increased
to 120 billion reais (70 billion US dollars),
according to Finance Minister Guido Mantega.

Petrobras offered 2.174 billion new common shares
and 1.585 billion preferred shares in the Sao
Paulo and New York Stock Exchanges.

Mantega says the offer's result is evidence
of the good state of the Brazilian economy:

"It is the largest share sale in the history of capitalism".



The US government may spark a trade war with
China if Congress approves the proposal on
China's currency issue, experts say now.

The extreme risk of passing the proposal and its
taking effect could lead to China appealing to
the World Trade Organization and even lead to
the WTO asking China to impose retaliatory tariffs
on US exports, suggests Ni Feng, deputy director
of the Institute of American Studies affiliated
to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

In a hearing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, two
US Democrat representatives alleged that China
has, for years, manipulated its currency to gain
a competitive advantage over US manufacturers.

Congress is also telling Treasury Secretary
Timothy Geithner to say what steps the Obama
administration is taking to pressure China
to revalue its currency, known as the yuan.

This move is purely political, says Chen Fengying,
director, the Institute of World Economic Studies,
which is affiliated with the China Institute of
Contemporary International Relations.

"Hope for the best and prepare for the worst,"
suggests Cao Honghui, a researcher for the
Chinese government in CASS.

Cao says China's currency rate is not the root
cause of the US trade deficit anyway, and is
not the key to solving massive US unemployment.

Many imported products from China don't have
direct competitors in the US, so the US importing
less of these products from China, means simply
buying more from OTHER countries, says Cao.

Take tyres, he suggests, as an example. The US
special protectionist tariff levied on China
didn't make the US public use fewer tyres, or
create more jobs in US industry. Instead, it
increased costs for US consumers...

In the first half of the year, US tyre imports
rose 21% from the same period last year, while
imports jumped 30% year on year. However, US
tyre imports from China decreased to 24% during
June 2010, compared to 45% in August 2009.

36 US farming and industrial groups are urging
Congress not to pass legislation threatening
China with duties if Beijing does not revalue.

"We strongly oppose legislation that would
allow the use of either the anti-dumping or
countervailing duty law to address currency
concerns for several years," say the group,
which includes the US-China Business Council,
the American Soybean Association & the American
Meat Institute, in their letter to US lawmakers.

China is not easily replaceable in manufacturing
worldwide, so the appreciation of the yuan will
harm the interests of US consumers, industries
and international enterprises, as well as the
developing and underdeveloped countries, says
Zuo Xiaolei, Chief economist, China Galaxy Securities.

A trade war kicked off by the US will harm mainly
the US, as China is the third largest export
target market of the US. As of July 2010, US
exports to China grew 36.2%, while imports from
China were 15 points less. The US is China's
second largest trade partner.

China is also the largest holder of US Treasury
debt, adding slightly to its holdings in July,
to a total of over 846.7 billion U.S. dollars,
according to the US Treasury Department.

A trade war cannot be won by the US... it will
only lead to catastrophe for the US' position.

But will these venal cynical politicians listen?

March 26 London anti cuts demo


Did you know that each time a local authority
closes a care home for the elderly, within 8
months, around half the residents are dead?
Campaigners liken the cuts and their effect to
euthanasia of the UK's elderly. What to do?

We can start by urging our MPs to sign EDM 2251:
EDM 2251: The contents

This House notes with deep concern the worsening
crisis for elderly care as growing numbers of
local authority & private care homes face closure

Acknowledges concerns that the loss of elderly
people's care homes causes fear, anxiety and,
in many cases, a higher mortality rate, when
vulnerable, elderly people are forced to
leave their homes

Further notes that the Southern Cross crisis
will increase the need for local authority care

And therefore calls on the government to hold a
public inquiry into the deaths following
closures of local authority care homes, and
impose a moratorium on the closure of local
authority care homes, until that inquiry
publishes its results, to ensure that
vulnerable, elderly people's lives are not
put at further risk.



Households across three more English areas
will be able to access superfast broadband
in the latest phase of a Government scheme
to connect rural homes and businesses.

The £50 million funding package for Devon and
Somerset (£30 million), Norfolk (£15 million)
and Wiltshire (£4 million) will aid the roll-
out of superfast broadband services unable to
be reached by the market alone.

Areas will also receive financial support from
their local authorities and private investors,
the Department for Culture, Media and Sport says.

So it's Broadband Heaven for England...
and crapola for Wales' broadband - the
slowest, worst Broadband in the UK !!!

The Lib Dems in Scotland might have received
a pummeling for Clegg and his betrayals, yet
in Scotland, their campaign centred on Scotland
becoming the "most connected country in Europe",
in order to massively boost their economy.

In Wales, which political party is now willing to
put into practice the scientists' recommendation
that Wales' topography requires the establishment
of free 'wireless' broadband?

It could connect the people of the Rhondda and the
world, and boost Wales' economic regeneration like no
other move.
Wireless technology is already supplying
free broadband to an entire island off New Zealand.

Come on; if New Zealand can do it - so can we !!!


In July 2013, thousands struck for the first time in
history, against this neo-liberal economic madness.



UK job centres have decided to refer benefits
claimants to charity-run food banks as the
needy are either to face starvation or to feed
themselves by begging or stealing.

Analysts assert that this is an unprecedented
move to refer hungry people to charities.

But increasing levels of food poverty, are being
made worse by soaring food prices & unemployment
rates, and leave few alternatives...

Under the plans, the UK government will send
those claimants whose benefits are delayed, or
whose crisis loan requests have been turned down,
to their local food bank. Every claimant can be
referred to the food banks no more than three
consecutive times. Then - nothing!

Claimants who are referred to the food banks are
to receive food that will suffice for 3 days.
They will receive basic food like tinned soup,
baked beans, and pasta.

The UK people's demand for emergency food has
been on the rise all over the country. The
number of people fed by the Coventry food bank,
increased by almost 700 between April and July.

Moreover, there will be a 40,000 increase in the
number of people in need of emergency food this
year from 61,000 in 2010. The number is predicted
to reach 500,000 by 2015. Meanwhile, statistics
have revealed that of the 2.4 million people who
have applied for crisis loans, only 1.7 million
were awarded the loan, leaving 700,000 without
any financial assistance.

The head of UK poverty policy at Oxfam, Helen
Longworth says, “It's shocking that more and
more people in the UK are being forced to go to
food banks to be able to eat ... In this day
and age, nobody should be forced to choose
between paying a bill or feeding their family.”



The UK government's austerity measures are
being used to hit the Scottish people severely,
and the SNP is having to consider public cuts.

As the UK government has planned to cut the
Scottish people's budget by £3bn, Scottish
Finance Secretary, John Swinney, says that
the possibility of job cuts threatens Scots,
further raising already high unemployment.

“Scotland has had to deal with deep cuts in
public spending, applied by successive UK
Governments,” says Swinney.

"Over the next three years, our budget will
shrink by £3.3 billion, or 11% below its 2010-11
level in real terms, while our capital budget
is being cut even more severely, with a 36%
reduction in real terms."

Swinney says that his government's policy is to
transfer resources from revenue to capital budgets.

He asserts that the issue of capital expenditure
is central to economic growth & economic recovery.

Referring to the budget cuts imposed on the
Scottish people by the UK government, he says:

“That is a malicious reduction in capital
expenditure and the Scottish government
will be doing everything in its power to
try to counter that.”

Yet the UK's Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
Danny Alexander, has the cheek to criticise
the Scottish government for reneging on its
pledges to “put more money into transport.”

Still, the Scottish government has announced
plans for establishing a single police force,
as well as a national fire and rescue service
in order to counter the effects of cuts.

Rise up, Scotland !



Unison says police forces up and down the UK
are making “massive” cutbacks as a result of the
20% budget cuts, and warns that this will cut
16,000 police staff and 1,800 police officers.

“There is no doubt that cuts on this scale will
see our streets become less safe. We are calling
on the government to think again,” Unison
general secretary Dave Prentis says.

“Police staff are dedicated public-service
workers - they do not want to go on strike,
but they have been left with little choice.”

Unison regional organiser Roger Young urges the
force to listen to its staff & talk to Unison
through ACAS, the conciliation service.



Nicola Harwin, chief executive of Women's Aid,
criticizes the new Tory/LibDem cuts to domestic
violence services for vulnerable women, and
the new means test requirements... designed to
make claiming any benefits much harder.

"Not only does this mean that fewer abused women
and children will be able to access local
services, but there are less staff to work with
those that do. In some areas there may be no
local services at all,” she says.



The UK's parliamentary expenses watchdog says he's
not going public with the names of those MPs under
investigation, despite saying previously he would.

The scrutineer of the Independent Parliamentary
Standards Authority (Ipsa), established to deal
with the expenses scandal, now says identifying
the suspects is “unfair”, despite his earlier
suggesting that MPs under investigation would
be named, and all hearings be held in public.

Luke March, who's overseeing the compliance of
Ipsa, says now that "details" will only be made
public after all the investigations end, because
an MP may be suspected, and later, cleared.

Based on the compliance officer's guidelines,
“particulars” of any probe into an MP's case
will now only be disclosed to the public, if
it enters the "substantive investigation" stage:
that is, when there is "reason to believe that
the MP may have been paid an amount under the
scheme that should not have been allowed".

Luke March says that although several substantive
cases are being investigated, he is changing the
guidelines to keep details of the cases secret.

"The reason why I am not (publishing) now, is
that we are doing all this for the first time."

"One of the things that makes me nervous, is the
lack of proportionality. Compared to the previous
world, some of the things we are looking at, are
relatively small. But the system doesn't make any
distinction between major problems & trivial mistakes."

March also defends his decision by saying that
"many" of the allegations against MPs could have
been based on mistakes in entering data by MPs,
or by Ipsa, but fails to explain whether recent
substantive investigations haven't already taken
that aspect into account.



Lord Justice Leveson, appointed by the UK Prime
Minister to judge the phone hacking inquiry,
was entertained by Rupert Murdoch's son-in-law,
at his in-home parties.

Leveson attended two parties at the London home
of Matthew Freud, the PR executive married to
the daughter of media mogul Murdoch.

MPs are questioning the shock news of Leveson
being linked with Murdoch's family, as well as
his social connections with News Corporation.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge:

“In his capacity as Chairman of the Sentencing
Council, and with the knowledge of the Lord
Chief Justice, Lord Justice Leveson attended two
large evening events at Mr Freud's London home:
these were on July 29th, 2010, and January 25th,
2011,” Lord Judge says in a statement.

Leveson's office claims that Prime Minister David
Cameron was aware of his attendance, but did not
express any opposition.

“Lord Justice Leveson wasn't involved in that meeting
and he has neither met nor spoken to anyone from
Freud Communications since January 2011.”

“There is, in any event, no continuing relationship.
Prior to his appointment to the inquiry, Lord
Justice Leveson ensured that these matters were
brought to the attention of the Prime Minister,”
his office adds.

Meanwhile, Labour MP Chris Bryant is expressing
his outrage over the news, saying that it is
really very difficult to see Lord Leveson as
an independent figure, because “in practice he
will have to bend over backwards to have a go at
Murdoch, or be accused of giving him an easy time."

“If this had been known from the start, it might
have been fine, but with every step, transparency
has come by dragging it out of them.”



The UK is to lose the “cornerstone” of its
justice system under Tory proposals to limit
the universal right to a free solicitor upon
arrest - based on means-testing detainees.

The Ministry of Justice (sic) is now tabling
proposals to force people earning above a
certain threshold or those with a certain level
of savings, to pay for being granted access to
a solicitor in police stations.

Legal experts, including the former Director of
Public Prosecutions (DPP) Lord Ken Macdonald QC,
raise their fears over the controversial plans:

"There are issues of principle here. When someone
is arrested they are in the power of the state,
subject to the mercies of the police officers
involved,” says Richard Miller, head of legal
aid policy at the Law Society.

"The purpose of having a solicitor acting for
them is to ensure their rights are respected,
that they are not physically abused, that their
confessions are not forged and they are not
detained for longer than legally allowed.”

Miller warns that the right to a solicitor has
been “a cornerstone of our justice system for
the last 25 years and the idea that it should
be changed is entirely wrong”.

The move is also attacked by Macdonald, who says
the right to representation at police stations
introduced in the 1984 Police and Criminal
Evidence Act, is “there for a good reason”.

"This is a critical part of the apparatus of
protection that we have… I think the government
should be very cautious about interfering in any
way with the absolute right to representation in
police stations. It's there for a very good reason.
When we didn't have it, we saw the consequences."

The introduction of the right to a solicitor in
1984 was a response to a string of abuses of
regulations against unrepresented defendants,
back in the 1970's and 1980's.

The government has set out the plans as part of
a bid to cut almost £350 million off the legal
aid budget, but officials say that the means-
testing requirement for a solicitor, is not
"currently" being considered.

But a Ministry of Justice spokesperson, however,
confirms that "the provision in the bill to
permit means-testing, ensures future flexibility
over the operation of the legal aid system...
should it be needed".

Justice Sec Kenneth Clarke justifies the decision
by saying England & Wales (sic) have "the most
expensive legal aid system in the world", a
claim challenged by Sound off for Justice, which
is a campaign run by the Law Society.

Critics of the proposals say the new proposals
will be MORE expensive to implement, than keeping
the right to universal representation.

"Often it is more expensive to administer means-
testing... Who's going to ask you what your
earnings are, or how much your mortgage is?

"We are talking about having to ask these
questions in stressful situations. The whole
thing will be very unwieldy," Macdonald says.



The UK's biggest union, Unison, is threatening
this Tory "coalition" government, with the most
persistent industrial action in almost a century,
to stop wage cuts posing as pension "reforms".

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, which
represents 1.4 million public sector workers,
says a campaign unseen since 1926, will disrupt
public services in different sectors and regions
- and on a daily basis.

"It will be the biggest since the general strike.
It won't be the miners' strike. We're going to win."

Prentis, who chairs the TUC public sector group,
says that the government's decision to freeze
public sector pay, has deepened workers' anger.

The Treasury's new pensions reform plan wasn't
even mentioned during talks with unions, and this
is drawing loud condemnation from other unions,
including Unite. Unite's assistant general sec.,
Gail Cartmail, says the move is “tantamount to
bombing the talks”.

Against this government's bad faith, Prentis
promises a tough response... if negotiations
fail to bear fruit.

"I strongly believe that one day of industrial
action won't change anyone's mind in government.
We want to move towards a settlement.

The purpose of industrial action isn't industrial
action; it's to get an agreement that's acceptable
and long-lasting. But we are prepared for rolling
action over an indefinite period,” he states.

Under the new government plans, public sector
workers will have to pay 3.2 percent in pension
contributions, while getting lower payments after
retirement, and will have to work six years more
to the age of 66, before they reach retirement.

Unions say the pensions policy is an additional
tax on public sector workers, while the rise in
contributions is a disguised pay cut implemented
to cut the deficit, rather than to fund pensions.

The unions say all this, coupled with forced
redundancies, pay freezes and controversial
plans - including those for the NHS - are
a disproportionate burden on public workers.

"You can't just look at what's happening around
pensions as a single issue. All our members
provide public services. You look at what this
coalition has decided to do to reduce the deficit
- and it's decided that most of the deficit
reduction programme will be at the expense of
our public services.

"The people we represent are facing redundancy,
a two-year pay freeze, while inflation is 5%
and gas prices are going up 20%, and they are
desperately worried about privatisation of the
services they have committed their working lives to."

Prentis is calling on the Labour party to help
his unions push to scrap these pension "reforms".

"We want our Labour party to be the voice of
opposition. We're worried that some of the
senior people in the party still have to make
statements as if they're in power, not opposition."

“If the Labour party STAYS quiet, that will be an
issue. This isn't a kneejerk reaction, this will
be a long programme of action - and we expect
the Labour party to support that."



A former Tory peer is in jail after being
found guilty of fraudulently claiming £14,000.

Lord Hanningfield, 70, joins four ex-MPs and a
fellow member of the Lords already convicted of
dishonestly obtaining thousands of pounds from
the taxpayer by falsely claiming for allowances.

Is your local MP a crook?

Then YOU are actually colluding in HIS crime,
unless YOU press for his arrest and trial.




Anti-NHS bill protesters say Tory plans will
break up the health service, and hand it
over to private healthcare companies. They
claim that to save the NHS, we all need to act,
since the Tories/Lib Dems are now playing
with its future.

Massive public objections have already made
Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg, delay the
Health & Social Care Bill. The protesters
say on their Facebook page that:

“we need to pile on the pressure to make sure the
Bill is dropped & to stop our NHS being destroyed.”

Keep Our NHS Public, Unite Health Sector National
Committee, Health Workers Network, and NHS Direct
Action, are all sponsoring protests.



The new work capability assessments, campaigners
say, is seeing thousands of people, often with
serious health conditions, denied all benefits.

Scores of organisations working with disabled
and vulnerable people, plus those opposed to
the government cuts, support more protests...

Linda Burnip, of Disabled People Against Cuts:

"We're delighted to have so much growing support
for our campaign from groups and networks from
as far afield as Glasgow, Truro and N Ireland.

"This shows how strongly disabled people feel
about these unfair and degrading assessments
and how angry they are that these assessments
are being forced on them by the Government."

Siobhan Endean, national officer of Unite:

"It is clear that the disabled will be hard hit
by these changes. Their lives will become worse
as a result. So much for the derided mantra...
that we are all in this together.

"The Government plans to make savings at the
expense of disabled people. More than 800,000
people will be adversely affected by these
proposals which will drive them further into
poverty. We would like ministers to radically
rethink their proposals and not target some of
the most disadvantaged in society."



PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka:

“We marched for the alternative, now
we have to strike for the alternative.”

NUT deputy general secretary, Kevin Courtney:
“We're in talks with the government about pensions,
but are under no illusions about their plans.”

The unions are organizing demonstrations in every
town across the UK and will "support all strikes".



The National Pensioners Convention (NPC)
held its biggest nationwide protest
- against government spending cuts -
in front of the pension offices.

An estimated 1.5 million protested at
the Tory plan to freeze pension credits
and make huge cuts in our vital services.

The protests were held in London, Southampton,
Walsall, Newcastle, Warrington... etc...

The 'coalition' government cut the fuel allowance
by £100 per household for the elderly in March,
and many councils are yet to cut a lot of their
transport subsidies for all pensioners in the UK.

Over 170,000 retired people are to lose almost
£45 per week from their housing benefits due to
the Tory's plan to cut their allowance by 20%.

Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary, says the
abandonment of the pensioners on behalf of
the government is "breathtaking."

One in every four pensioners lives below the
poverty line in the UK, while millions more
struggle to earn a bit more than £178 per week.

"We already have one of the least adequate state
pensions in the developed world and since coming
to power the government has made the situation
even worse by changing indexation from the retail
price index to the consumer price index,” she says.

"Our pension system is in a mess and these plans
won't do anything to solve that situation. The
answer lies in a universal state pension paid to
all existing and future pensioners set above the
poverty level of £178 a week," she adds.



The attack, "Odyssey Dawn", against the forces
of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, showed that in the
UK and West, budget 'problems', do not affect
the launching of military attacks.

While social expenditure is cut, and wages and
pensions frozen, citing "unavoidable" financial
difficulties, military operations just go ahead
with a simple calculation of the costs involved.

The largest debtor on the planet, the US, says
the cost of missiles fired in just one day, is
"approximately $100 million"; and that the
prolonged operation must have cost us all
"several billion".

In the UK, living under the shadow of one of the
most drastic budget cuts in the EU, it's estimated
that each missile costs around $700,000, while
one take-off by a Tornado fighter is $40,000.

"It’s an absurdity. There is a kind of taboo
when speaking of the cost of a conflict. The
priorities of the ruling class in many countries
are deplorable," Chris Nineham, spokesperson of
the Stop the War Coalition in London, states.

The UK's cuts of $130 billion are a part of the
legacy of massive financial deficits that is now
leading many EU governments to destroy various
pillars of the European inclusive social model,
because they are "financially unsustainable".

UK PM David Cameron, who led the operation
against Gaddafi on the diplomatic front, still
justifies cuts announced last year ($120 billion
over the next four years), by saying that
"our lifestyle is going to have to change."

"These cuts are presented as inevitable.
There is 'no money in the bank'. But it
would seem that there IS money... for an
intervention in Libya," Chris Nineham notes.

"It’s being said that the state is too big and
has to be downsized, but it would seem that
the state is big enough to militarily impose
its will in the Middle East, and too little
to save a public library from cuts."



The centre for the fight for a better life is,
as we Welsh say, a 'Calon Lan' - a pure heart.

That's why Rhondda Records says our main
enemy is deep
corruption in "high places"...
including lawyers.

A UK Crown court judge, Douglas Field, is
of clearing a paedophile suspect
of all charges
while “influenced by alcohol”.

The mother of the alleged rape victim has lodged
a complaint with the UK's judicial watchdog,
complaining that Field only examined one of the
charges the defendant faced, and did not allow
the jury to announce a verdict on 2 other charges.

Field reportedly got drunk at a leaving party in
an "extended lunch break" during the trial, and
returned to the court room ordering the jury to
acquit the 55-year old man accused of raping an
8-year-old, as they had not reached a consensus
over the verdict after five days of hearings.

Field then "forgot" that the man also faced two
other charges and did not allow the jury to give
their verdict on those alleged crimes.

The victim's mother says in her complaint, that
Field acted like “a person influenced by alcohol”
upon his return to the court, The Sun reports.

The complaint also says the judge had his “head
in hands, resting his elbows on the table” when
the hearing resumed after lunch break.

The defendant faced charges of raping a girl
aged under 13, along with provoking a child
into engaging in sexual activity.

The defendant was formally acquitted of the
remaining charges last November after the
Crown Prosecution Service ordered a retrial.

The Office for Judicial Complaints says the
complaint is "under investigation".

"A complaint has been received about His Honour
Judge Field in relation to a trial at Swindon crown
court in June 2010. This is being investigated.

It would be inappropriate to comment further
at this stage," an OJC spokesperson says.


A drunk Captain would lose his ship.
A bank robber would be put in prison.

We say corrupt MPs, bankers, and lawyers
must bow to Justice in the same way...


Another Labour MP, ex-Minister Elliot Morley,
pleaded guilty to criminal offences and
dishonesty in claiming over expenses.

Morley pleaded guilty to claiming about £30,000
in parliamentary expenses involving a house.

He was accused of making false documents over
mortgage costs between 2004 and 2007 and also
false claims on paying off a loan on property.

The former minister resigned as an MP at the last
election. He 'represented' Scunthorpe from 1987.

Morley is the fourth British lawmaker to face
the music over illegal expenses claims. However,
there are others, who still hide from Justice.

Do YOU know of a local MP who claimed
expenses on a house, who should face Justice?



The London protest march was one of the biggest
public demonstrations in Britain since 2003,
when antiwar rallies were held across the country
before the illegal invasion of Iraq.

Organizers say up to 500,000 people attended the
march, whose carnival-like atmosphere was briefly
marred by black-clad anarchists who smashed a few
shop windows, flung paint bombs & attacked luxury
icons, such as the Ritz Hotel.

The protesters gathered from all corners of the
UK, with a large contingent from the Rhondda &
Wales, to express their outrage at the whopping
£81 billion pounds in cutbacks that the government
insists are necessary to tame a budget deficit.

"It's our right to march, and to say we don't
accept any of this," said Corinne Drummond,
37, a nurse from East London who joined several
colleagues for the demonstration, which began
in the morning... and lasted for many hours.

The protesters included civil servants, Co-op
workers from Tonypandy, Treorchy and Ferndale,
environmentalists, prison officers, academics,
feminists and young parents with toddlers.

"Don't believe in the deficit," some placards
called, while other signs and T-shirts demanded
a "general strike now", while others exhorted
Britons to "make tea, not war."

In Hyde Park, the leader of the opposition Labour
Party mocked Cameron's vision of a "Big Society"
full of citizen volunteers who plug the holes
left by cuts in government spending.

"You wanted to create a Big Society. This is the
Big Society, the big society united against what
your government is doing to our country," Ed
Miliband said, addressing the protesters.

"We stand today not for the minority. We stand
today for the mainstream majority of Britain."

The Labour Party, which was kicked out by voters
in May after 13 years in power, acknowledges
that some cuts are unavoidable, to shrink a
deficit built up largely under its watch.

But it says the scale and pace of the austerity
plan put forward by the Tory-led government will
strangle Britain's fledgling economic recovery,
and hurt the most vulnerable parts of society.

Effects of the belt-tightening will begin to be
felt more acutely next month, when libraries
start closing down, youth programs disappear,
social workers are laid off and far fewer buses
ply the streets in a 'cut to shreds' UK.

Analysts say the cuts will change the fabric of
UK society in a way not seen since Thatcher...

"It's changing the whole ethos of everything,"
says nurse Rikke Albert, 37, on the march.
"That's not what I signed up for when I did
my training."



In a statement, Warwickshire Police Federation
and West Midlands Unison voice their strong
opposition to the "coalition government" cuts.

Federation chair Simon Payne refuses to rule out
strike action, saying that his organization is
"considering all future options to ensure that
our members are protected."

"The perfect storm is now taking place within
the service," he adds.

Meanwhile, Unison regional organizer Charlie
Sarell says that his members in the police sector
no longer have confidence in the government.

"The bond of trust between them and those we
represent has been broken," he says.

"Warwickshire Police have had a massive cut to
its budget which will mean fewer police officers
and PCSOs on the streets and huge redundancies
among my members,” he states.

"My members will be attending the demonstration
in London.. in support of all public services."

Earlier, the chair of the Police Federation Paul
McKeever said that the police are growing more
opposed, questioning the speed and breadth of
the cuts, while at the same time, increasingly
feeling sympathy with people from other
walks of life.



A number of British elderly care hospitals
are "shamefully inadequate” and need radical
changes, Wales' older people's commissioner says.

Some patients at elderly care hospitals are being
so humiliated and degraded, that Ruth Marks, the
commissioner, is calling for "fundamental change"
in discharge times and patient privacy.

A public consultation run by Dame Deirdre Hine,
a former chief medical officer for Wales, shows
a "lack of timely response to continence needs"
in hospitals throughout Wales.

"Too many older people are still not being
discharged in an effective and timely manner
and this needs urgent attention,” the
consultation report states.

The report shows that elderly people now expect
less respect, while in hospitals.

“Attitudes and practices that assault the dignity
and self esteem of older people at a time when
they are most anxious and vulnerable, must be
stopped,” Hine says.

The report recommends a caring culture change,
which could work by empowering ward managers,
and by "prioritising continence care".

Marks says, "Fundamental change is needed to
prevent what is sometimes shamefully inadequate
care and treatment. Poor practice must never be
tolerated. The attitudes, behavior & sensitivity
of staff on the wards are crucial.

“We need strong, positive leadership at all
levels and a system which builds on dignity and
respect as the cornerstone of high quality care.

There are examples of effective leadership and
good practice, and it is vital these are built
on... and become the norm.”


LIB DEMS 'ConDem-ned'

National sec of 'Right to Work', Chris Bambery:

"..working people cannot, and will not, accept
these ConDem attacks on our services, jobs and
standards of living."

"If they can topple a dictator in Egypt, we can
topple this ConDem government,” he adds.



Swansea tax office staff are protesting against
“drastic” frontline services job cuts, by cutting
their own work every week, union leaders say.

According to union leaders, Swansea tax office
is going to be open for just three days a week.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) say people
contact the tax office online, instead of
going to the office. However, it says changes
to the tax office regime aren't yet confirmed.

The Public & Commercial Services Union suggests
that many people prefer 'face to face' advice.

Steve Donoghue, West Wales PCS spokesperson:

"Enquiry centre users often travel miles to visit
the office. We're worried that when they get here
... they'll find it closed.

“We're also concerned that, with opening times
cut, customers may have to wait some time
for an appointment. Many of these people rely
on tax credits or are pensioners, and can't
afford to wait or spend more to get here.”

Donoghue says over 300 HMRC positions have
cut in west Wales since 2003, and that
staff are
now facing very heavy workloads.

HMRC spokesperson: "Fewer customers are using
our face to face service at inquiry centres, as
our customers increasingly use our telephone and
online services. However, we are very much aware
that there are customers who need face to face
support to pay what they owe, and claim what is
due, and we will continue to offer an inquiry
centre service to meet that need."



Tony Benn: "We're here to build a coalition of
resistance to the cuts. The welfare state
means pensions and public services, and the
National Health service, and these are the very
things this government is trying to destroy."

"History shows us that when people are determined
to take a stance they DO influence public opinion.
Whenever the cuts are discussed in pubs or clubs
... people must know our view."



UK students opposing UK cuts might look to
the struggles of those in other US colonies(!)

The University of Puerto Rico’s Río Piedras
campus was occupied by police and put
under a
curfew. The first semester ended
with strikes
and student demonstrations
against increases
in tuition fees.

Shock troops are facing the students with
brute force.

Without explanation, agents are arresting students
and treating them like criminals, when their only
crime is defending their right to further education.

The Student Representation Committee (CRE), a
coalition resisting the increase in tuition fees
to $800 at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR),
says that approximately 10,000 students will
to abandon their education.

According to some, the students’ conflict has
become a fight over the educational future
of Puerto Rico, a US colony.

A number of social organizations condemn
the acts of torture and sexual aggression
police and the shock force unit.

"It is unacceptable that an administration
which presumes to defend law and order,
should allow the torture of young people
with arms handcuffed behind their backs,
and the humiliation of detaining students in
front of everybody, & flaunting their impunity,"
a release from these organizations states.

They demand an immediate response from Fortuño
and José Figueroa Sancha, chief of police, and
an investigation... to charge perpetrators.

Ana R. Guadalupe, UPR rector, has banned student
demonstrations or gatherings on campus, but the
conflict does not appear close to a resolution.

The university authorities pretend dialogue,
but really they're trying to wear down, divide
and de-legitimize the student mobilizations,
and proceed with plans to increase the cost of
university tuition - in the face of unanimous
opposition from students and professors.

The conflict isn't confined to high tuition fees.

The Fortuño-PNP administration acts are intended
to inflict damage on the University by countering
its prospects for growth and social inclusion,
either through privatization or a dissolution.

The current administration of the US colony, is
violently opposed to the spirit of participation,
inclusion and social commitment in the country,
which is flourishing as genuine autonomy grows.

Sounds like Wales!



The UK government had to defer the controversial
plan to sell off 258,000 hectares of England's
public woodlands to the private sector.

Their proposals to sell 15% of publicly owned
forests, triggered HUGE public protests.

The Sec of State for Environment, Food and Rural
Affairs, Caroline Spelman, was forced to say that
"until a new review", the forests won't be sold.

“In light of the Government commitment to
increase protection for access and public
benefit in our woodlands, the criteria for
these sales will be reviewed, so that protection
is significantly strengthened, following the
inadequate measures that were applied to sales
under the previous administration,” she says.

What? A LABOUR government privatising?
That couldn't happen - could it?

Ministers had expected to provide the Environment
Department's budget with £100 million, through
selling 15% of all state-owned woodlands.

Labour's shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh:

"This partial U-turn will not be enough to silence
the protests. This Government has not scrapped
its plans to sell off public woodlands" she adds.

Creagh urges people "to send a very clear message
to this Conservative-led Government" by joining
the 'This Land Is Our Land' campaign.


Wales is unique, in that the Forestry Commission
is legally part of the Welsh Assembly Government.

So why worry about any Tory plans to sell off
"parts" of Forestry Commission land to private
developers? We're safe in Wales, aren't we?

A YouGov survey shows 84% of the UK public against
any plans to sell forests to the private sector.
Only 2% agreed with it.

In the Forest of Dean, 'Hands Off Our Forest',
gathered on January 3rd, to protest against the
forest's probable sale to private business.

Labour's shadow minister for environment, Mary
Creagh, calls the Tory-led government's plans
an "act of environmental vandalism," and "a
loggers' charter. Private companies will cherry-
pick sites for commercial development, and
voluntary groups will be left to look after
ancient woodlands without a budget. The true
value of England's forests will never be
reflected in the price the Tory-led government
gets from selling them," Labour's minister says.

Opponents of a public forests' sale are also
worried about the loss of 850 jobs related to
the Forestry Commission and England's woodlands.


Wales just follows, as England raises fees.

The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
has declared that only six universities are
needed in Wales by March 2013; 2 per region.

The director of the Teachers and Lecturers
Association in Wales, Philip Dixon, says
that the universities are likely to set
the highest tuition fees.

“The race to the top of the fees league by Oxford
and Cambridge is not surprising - but all the
other institutions will find themselves between
a rock and a hard place”, says Dixon.

If the Wales' Assembly had more power, it could
start to build the kind of society it's been trying
to coax down English throats for over 100 years.

As fast as the Welsh create co-operative institutions
like the NHS, the Co-operative movement, the
Institute, and so on, the faster the
"home counties"
try to abolish them!

Isn't it time we stopped
trying to play
a losing game, as the UK sinks
Thatcherism plus, and focus our
on building a shining
example in our real home?

WALES can give our youngsters a better life NOW !



In yet another example of scandal in the
UK, another MP has admitted being guilty
of fiddling his
parliamentary expenses.

Devine, who held the Livingston seat, submitted
false invoices for cleaning and printing work,
totalling £8,385 pounds.

He was found guilty by jury at Southwark Crown
Court, of two charges of false accounting, but
iwas cleared of one count relating to cleaning
work, of £360 pounds.

The former backbencher, of West Main Street,
Bathgate, West Lothian, was the first MP to
stand trial in the wake of the expenses scandal.

Peter Wright QC, the prosecutor, described the
case against Devine as "very straightforward".

The former MP made the fraudulent claims "with
a view to gain for himself, or with an intent
to cause loss to another - the public purse".

A guide known as the 'Green Book' lists
the fundamental principles MPs should
adhere to when making expenses
claims, Wright told the court.

"These are based on concepts of selflessness,
integrity, objectivity, accountability,
openness, honesty and leadership," he said.

"We say these are qualities of which Devine
demonstrated a woeful inadequacy." Speaking of
the Green Book, he added: "We say it's wholly
unambiguous. It couldn't be clearer."

Simon Clements, head of the Crown Prosecution
Service special crime division:

"Jim Devine submitted invoices for services that
he had neither paid for nor received. In doing
so, he took advantage of the trust that had been
placed in him by virtue of the public office he held.

"Submitting a false invoice is plainly dishonest,
regardless of why it has been done or who has
done it. We say there is no excuse for such
conduct and, with today's conviction, it is
clear the jury agreed", added Clements.

The divorced MP divided his life between Scotland
and Westminster, buying a one bedroom flat in
Elephant and Castle, south east London, to make
parliamentary life easier.

Another former Labour MP, Eric Illsley,
was sentenced to a year in prison, for
dishonestly claiming expenses.

Illsley pleaded guilty to £14,000 of expenses
fraud  over second home claims made from
2005 to 2008. He was the second former
MP to be jailed for expenses offences.

Former Labour colleague David Chaytor, is
an 18-month jail term, after
pleading guilty to
making bogus claims.

Disgraced Eric Illsley quit as an MP, just weeks
after being convicted of fiddling his expenses.

Treasury sources confirm that Illsley has been
"granted the ceremonial post of Crown Steward
and Bailiff of the three Chiltern Hundreds of
Stoke, Desborough and Burnham" - the only and
"traditional" way of resigning from Parliament.

EX-LABOUR MP Illsley was sentenced, after
admitting dishonestly claiming £14,000

in "expenses". Some MPs are known to
trade on
the almost impossibility of
getting rid of them.

Do you know of an MP near you, who smarms
up to local groups (that's known as being: "a
constituency MP"), while corrupt, and
will refuse
to let go of the gravy train - by

If you do, it is your duty to report them to the
police, or Crown Prosecution Service... or know
that you are contributing to the sort of corrupt
behaviour that brings dishonour to your party or
community. Wales deserves better than this.

Please don't collude in crime.


LABOUR's Lord Taylor of Warwick was convicted
making false claims of £11,277 in allowances,
as part of the investigations into expenses.

Southwark crown court gave Taylor a guilty
ruling, despite his earlier denial of six charges
regarding expenses fraud from 2006 to 2007.

Taylor's charges relate to registering a false
accommodation in Oxford as his residence, and
claiming travel and overnight subsistence costs
while his true residence was in Ealing.

At the court session, Taylor claimed that, as
there have been no checks on the addresses
peers have designated as their residence, the
practice is now “widespread” in the Lords.

The prosecution says Taylor knowingly misreported
his expenses, despite arguments by his defence
that the expenses system is “unclear, ill-defined
and, most crucially, treated by MANY... as a
remuneration in lieu of salary”.

The seven-day trial ended with the jury finding
Taylor guilty on all six charges, with a majority
decision of 11 to 1.

Perhaps YOU know of another criminal near you?



Wales' driving test centres are to be closed
- as are Scotland's and all England's -
and examiners are to be located in a variety
of private firms, such as supermarkets, says
the Driving Standards Agency.

The DSA, apparently, has studied the plan to axe
test centres and transfer them to private firms.

The plan also affects motorcycle testing facilities.

Angus SNP MP Mike Weir:

“Those whom it will impact have had no chance to
make their views known. They are being faced with
a diktat from an uncaring government agency.”

According to the Public and Commercial Services
union, the DSA is to cut costs. It also says
that the idea of driving tests to be conducted
by other private firms "has been discussed".

General Secretary Mark Serwotka:

"These new documents shed more light on the
being hatched behind closed doors by
managers and ministers. Worryingly,
it is the
latest evidence of the creeping
privatisation of
the agency's work,
which puts ideology before road safety."



Critics slam the deaths of hundreds of elderly
at UK care homes due to dehydration as
“scandalous” and “absolutely shocking”.

According to figures by the Office for National
Statistics, 667 residents at care homes have
died of thirst and 157 of malnutrition over
the past five years.

Figures also show 1,928 more died of superbugs
Clostridium difficile and MRSA.

Analysts fear the number of reported deaths is
only the tip of the iceberg, as it does not
include patients who pass away in hospitals.

"The fact that people are dying from these sorts
of causes is absolutely shocking in the 21st
century," says Neil Duncan-Jordan of the
National Pensioners Convention.

The statistics were compiled based on information
from care home resident deaths in England and
Wales between 2005 and 2009.

The results of the survey by the Office for
National Statistics are especially alarming
as they reveal the number of elderly dying
from dehydration has doubled since 1997 and
those linked to superbugs grew seven-fold.

"What it [the survey] shows is that a significan
number of older people in our care homes are
getting substandard, third-rate attention.

Yet the cost of staying in a care home is huge….
And yet for that, no one helps you eat your meals,
no one ensures you are properly turned in bed,
and no one makes sure you have had enough to
drink," Duncan-Jordan tells the Daily Mail.

This comes as Care Services Minister Paul Burstow
blames the shortcoming on the former Labour
administration, saying "Labour let people down
by failing to reform the way we pay for care".

"They kicked it into the long grass for nearly 13
years and failed to deliver a settlement” Burstow
adds, promising to reform the social care law
and funding in the current parliament."

One cup of tea a day saves time and money.
It also kills, as - on medication - many
elderly find their kidneys collapse.



Lecturers' union leader Sally Hunt accuses the
government of being "at war with young people".


Len McCluskey pledges to keep working with student
protesters, to fight this government's austerity
measures and build a broader anti-cuts campaign.



100,000 UK jobs go IN SIX WEEKS!!!

The Tories "achieve" this through "cost cutting"
... in the Health Service. Wake up! Wake up!!!

Build a new economy now in Wales, as the UK follows
the US into a nightmare world of unemployment.



Met Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson
says he does not rule out banning all future
protests across the country.

"It is one of the tactics we will look at
and something we will keep under review,
and if we think it is the right thing to do
then we will do it," says Sir Paul Stephenson.

The head of the National Union of Students (NUS)
dismisses the police chief's idea as in clear
opposition to civil freedoms:

"Peaceful protest is an integral part of our
heritage and it is the responsibility of the
police to help facilitate that", says the
NUS president.

On the suggestion that water cannons
could be used to control crowds in the future,
Sir Paul says the force ruled that option out
three years ago, but that officers were taking
advice from colleagues in N Ireland about its
efficacy in London, if protests continue.



Unison is meeting with other unions, including
the GMB and Unite, about the possibility of a
consolidated one-day strike across Scotland.

“Our Scottish council passed a resolution to
the effect that, with other public sector
trade unions, we should be considering
industrial action in opposition to the cuts.”
says a spokesperson for Unison.

"The debate reflected the growing anger amongst
our members at the impact of austerity measures."

The call for a strike comes as the UK government
pushes ahead with plans to make the deepest cuts
to public spending in decades. As a result, the
Scottish Government will - this year - suffer a
£1.3 billion cut to its budget.



In the UK students - until recently - have
organised nearly on their own, yet 11O
organisations including trade unions, are
with Austria's students, as they march in
all their major cities, to demand that
cuts stop.

The lesson from the Austrians - UNITY !
(don't let enemies divide you)
Good for you, Austria!!!



Women are to be twice as badly hurt by the cuts
says a House of Commons report, as news breaks
that women's unemployment has hit over 1 million.



The NCAFC says on its website


that they hope more students will register for
future protests, as more savage cuts are due
be announced.



Why are cuts, cuts and more cuts happening
while wages have halved in the last thirty years?

Could it be because working people have stopped
trying? Remember:- quitters never win, and winners
... NEVER QUIT !!!

Those who see working people as less important
than their ambition, will grind you into dust,
& stamp on your collective heads, if you let them!!!



Huge numbers of people have now marched to
Westminster to demand that the UK's "Coalition"
government stop their plans to cut the UK state,
forcing a million more out of work.

Nearly a million have joined the marches, amidst
warnings that the Comprehensive Spending Review
will lead to job losses, pay cuts & huge reductions
in public services..... and will make the whole UK
a much "nastier" place to live in.

These cuts are NOT the only option...

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber says the
Government's cuts programme is a POLITICAL
choice, not an economic necessity, that will
make the whole of the UK "a more unequal,
more squalid and nastier country".

He asks people to have more confidence:

"The UK is a hard working country that CAN
generate the tax that CAN fill the deficit gap,
that CAN create the jobs that a lost generation
of young people need, & that CAN meet the challenges
that we face as a society - from moving to a low-
carbon economy, to eliminating child poverty.

"The Government is announcing unprecedented cuts
in public spending - deeper than any of us can
remember. They will bite deep into our social
fabric - and hit some of the poorest and most
vulnerable members of our society.

"They want us to believe that they have no choice
& that this is economic necessity. Yet economic
experts across the spectrum warn us that the cuts
are too deep & too rapid. The warnings come from
the White House, the US Treasury department,
Nobel prize winners like Paul Krugman and Joseph
Stiglitz, key members of the Bank of England
monetary policy committee, the chief economics
commentator on the Financial Times, and yes,
even the Mayor of London.

"At worst the cuts will plunge us back into
recession, and at best they will condemn us
to lost years of high unemployment and growth
so weak, that the deficit may well stay high."

The mass demonstrations have brought together
a broad coalition of union members, community
leaders, campaign groups & users of public services.

Please use your power!



Wales introduced the UK's NHS to the world,
and - ever since - unscrupulous politicians
and managers have cut away at its strength.

The NHS has now forced elderly people and whole
groups of patients to PAY for medical care, the
new chair of the 'Common's health committee says.

The elderly, dementia patients, stroke victims,
and those with Parkinson's disease, are today
included in a long list of those patients who
now have to pay for their medical treatment.

Stephen Dorrell, who was health secretary towards
the end of John Major's time as prime minister,
says that, despite the growing aged population,
the number of places for them has fallen by
nearly 80% in the UK over the past 20 years.

He says this has pushed people into social care
systems where they are charged for treatment.
Dorrell believes the NHS has turned its back
on whole groups of patients.

"People are being charged for care that they
would have got free from the NHS 20 or 30 years ago.

"Unfortunately, it has been ignored because both
politically and financially it is tricky for
politicians to face up to it. But because it has
not been done in a planned way there is great
unfairness in the system. We see examples of cost
shunting & bureaucracy that cause individuals problems.”

Age UK policy adviser Stephen Lowe backs Dorrell,
& says he's right to call attention to the issue.
He says the NHS has "unilaterally retreated" from
its responsibilities.

Ruth Sutherland, interim chief executive of the
Alzheimer's Society, says: "There are hundreds
of thousands of people missing out on valuable
financial help because they don't 'tick the
right boxes'."



A major change tabled by Health Secretary Lansley
proposes that the NHS hand over distribution of
80% of its services (worth £80 billion), to GPs.

Lansley's plan, which also increases the private
sector's involvement in providing NHS services
is triggering outrage among unions & health staff
who say the coalition is “rushing it through”.

This comes as a YouGov poll, commissioned by
public services union Unison, shows only 27%
of the UK's public support a stronger private
sector role in the NHS, & 50% oppose it.

The survey also shows Lib Dem voters with 56%
against it & 30% who approve. This is while
Tories are backing it by 46%, to 32% against.

Says Unison general sec. Dave Prentis;

"The fact is there is very little support for
this Bill from anywhere. Many GPs are opposed
to it, as are patients, NHS staff, clinicians,
charities, think tanks, MPs and unions. The
Government's vanity project is undemocratic,
unaffordable and unnecessary,” he adds.

Prentis warns that this “titanic reorganization”
of the NHS threatens to “sink” the whole system,
calling on the government to announce the Bill
“DOA - dead on arrival”.

Britain's biggest union, Unite, which has
presented the Commons with “new and forensic
analysis”, says MPs will have little time to
grasp the whole idea of the reforms, due to
the “enormity” of the proposals.

China's rapeseed blossoms this Spring.

Western China has embraced "green-mode
- with painful changes
from which, Wales could well learn.

Eastern China has seen fast growth and
urban mess.
The West, a mining and
agricultural area, has not.

Xi'an Chan-ba Ecological District, is a model
reclaiming old mining areas.

It took six hard years, but now Xi'an is showing
the world how best to change, by turning a
polluted rubbish landfill site, into an all
environment-friendly development.

As China's economic focus moves from east to
it's using the lessons learned during 30
or more years of rapid industrial development.

The green way for China's west, is to combine
green industrialization & green urbanization.

The western region's strategy is to adopt
effective energy-saving and environmental
protection technologies... AND to extend
its industry through science and products
unique to China's West, together with strong
vertical growth in agriculture and all its
ancilliary economic & professional spin-offs.

In undertaking this industrial revolution, the
western region will keep a sharp eye out - to
avoid all polluting non-sustainable industries.



Spring is beekeeping and honey-processing
in Yunnan province, in China.

Waves of bees flit across vast fields of flowers.

Local beekeepers and many from other places,
such as Sichuan and Fujian provinces - set up
their base
in tents among the rapeseed farms.

The 430,000 hectares of rapeseed blooms in
attract myriads of bees, which
produce 15 -
20 million tons of honey a year.

Local people
now look to brand their county
as a honey
production base & increase sales
to outside markets.

Luoping Tianyuanmiyu Bee Industry Co Chair,
Zhu Hongkun,
founded his enterprise in 2009.

It mainly
produces honey, propolis and
propolis powder.

His company works with 270 plus beekeepers,
who each earn 80,000 yuan a year on average.

Some earn 200,000 yuan annually, Zhu says.

Who says beauty endowed by nature isn't worth a fortune?

The whole of the uplands of south Wales could
be as
beautiful & productive, if used wisely!

Scottish scientists

Squares of colour are seen on a tiny piece of
Metaflex material as it is held up for the
camera in a laboratory at St Andrews University.

A team of scientists led by Dr Andrea Di Falco
have created the Metaflex material which could
be used to make fabrics that manipulate visible
light to shield objects from view.

Now the Scots have a REAL Assembly, with REAL
powers, Scottish universities are reaching out
to developing countries like China with student
training and swaps, while Wales is still far too
heavily dependent on MoD funded research...



The Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, says
the UK government’s scaremongering tactics
against Scotland, aimed at forcing it to with-
draw a bid for independence, have failed.

Scotland is holding a referendum on independence
in September, which could result in a break-up from
the UK, after over 300 years of political union.

Salmond says Sunday that UK government tactics
to scare Scotland into voting 'no', have all failed.

His remarks come after an unnamed UK minister
says threats to deprive an independent Scotland
of the British currency, the
pound sterling, would
not be implemented.

The Scottish leader says the minister’s comments
published by the Guardian are “a very important
demolition of the no campaign” & indicates “that
all this bluff & bluster about not sharing sterling,
is a campaign tactic.”

“They have based their arguments on whatever they
can say or do in this campaign to try and intimidate
the people of Scotland out of voting for independence
and their bluff is being called,” says Salmond.

The Scottish leader also promises that he would not
allow the UK to keep its nuclear weapons at Faslane
nuclear base in Scotland, in return for retaining
monetary union.

The unnamed British minister had said that London
might try to negotiate with Scotland on keeping the
nuclear arsenal at the Faslane base... in exchange
for Scotland continuing with the UK currency.

A poll released on March 20th shows that support
for Scotland to leave the UK, now stands at 40%,
the highest since August last year.

retirement China style


As the Tory/coalition threatens a "bonfire of the Quangos",
perhaps Wales should take note. Now extracting all our
mineral wealth has been stopped (apart from sand
and rock) we find ourselves "in" the 1st World
of the UK, but with a 3rd World economy, only just
kept going by quangos which promise much... but
deliver little... and rely on weak public support.

We could WAKE UP & understand that we either
do something, or stay as begging bowl cases.

China's premier points the way forward for Wales:

"Industrial restructuring is the key... only by
developing energy-efficient, indigenous innovative
and high value added products can our companies
and economy, achieve sustainable development."



An ongoing online survey on qq.com, a popular
Chinese news portal, finds that 91% of its
over 800,000 respondents are against raising
the current official Chinese retirement age.

As of 9pm Tuesday, 745,123 of those surveyed
say they oppose raising the retirement age,
while only 72,456 support it.

Chinese scholars and the public have been debating
whether to raise the retirement age for the past
few years, but the issue rose to prominence last
Friday, following remarks from an official.

Wang Xiaochu, the official vice minister of the
Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security,
said at a press conference that the government
was "studying the matter"...

The retirement age in China is generally set
at 60 for men and 50-55 for women.

Wow! Bet you didn't know that !!!

unemployment in Wales



A new UN General Assembly report warns
"vast areas" of cultivated land are lost each
year, and that this could lead to unrest.

 The report says up to 30 million hectares,
 an area the size of Italy, is lost each year
to environmental degradation, industry &
 urbanization - the growth of cities - and all
because of speculative building and greed.

 The UN special rapporteur Olivier De Schutter,
 gives the example of eastern Africa, where
amount of cultivated land has declined
by half ---
in just one generation! "

As rural populations grow and competition
large industrial units increases, plots
by smallholders are shrinking
year after year,"
says De Schutter.

 "Farmers are often relegated to soils that
are arid,
hilly or without irrigation."

 The UN officer also mentions India as another
where the average landholding fell
from 2.6 hectares
in 1960 to 1.4 hectares in
2000. A cut of nearly half
in 40 years!

He says 500 million small farmers suffer
from hunger, partly because their right to
is being violated.

The expert warns of the devastating
as foreign investors
compete for larger and larger areas of
world's land for "their" agriculture.

 Rhondda Records says Wales could rebuild
its new
economy by basing it on a fresh
approach to high-value
added products,
using science and agriculture... such as

 the Altzeim project in Gwent.

 What have we got to lose?



 Wales's assembly members say a generation
of Welsh
young people is being “failed” by the
education system
and a lack of employment.

A cross party committee of AMs says 68,000
aged 16-24 are not receiving
education, employment or
training:-  the
worst numbers failing across all the UK.

The enterprise and learning committee also
says in
its report that recent measures to deal
with these
problems are “patchy” and lack a
“clear path”.

 The report calls for a single Welsh Assembly body to
co-ordinate, oversee, and take on the responsibility.

“It is deeply
worrying that so many of our
young people are still
being failed by the
system” the report says.

 The committee calls for the appointment of a
to see to the needs of those lacking
employment or training (collectively
known as Neets)
& coordinate efforts to help.

It also says a “lead agency” should be set up
make sure that any decided changes are
implemented efficiently.

The report also finds the chance of being
of the "Neets", is 50% higher among
disabled people,
compared to those with
no disabilities.

"The causes of young people being Neet are
and there are no easy answers to
addressing the issue”,
says Committee chair,
Gareth Jones AM.

 “More effective action on the ground, and
collaboration between different
agencies, is vital
to ensure a continuum
of support for these
young people" he adds.

 Rick Libbey from the youth charity Prince's
"thousands of young people across
Wales, don't have
the skills, confidence and
qualifications to break out of
unemployment and poverty”.

 He calls for a joint effort by charities,
and employers to settle the
problem, which is being
worsened by the
recession, as Neets now have to
with graduates fresh out of university" in

a slowing jobs market.

Rhondda Records says what Wales needs,
is an economy !

 For hundreds of years, our strategy has
 "gone missing" & our native genius ignored.

 Our economy has been "given" by London,
 through a "regional" policy which brought
subsidised factory work and little else...

To create a new economy requires
new solutions.

It requires solutions unique to Wales, and NOT
franchisable ideas so beloved of "funders"...

Let the Assembly encourage a more dynamic way, 
that "re-members" Wales' special attributes...

We have ALL the water, land and plants
-  can't we use our native assets
more creatively and dynamically?

 Aren't hydraulics and hydroponics,
for example,
easy enough to use
and understand?

Help the Boilerhouse Project !!!

Help Wales to bloom!!!

Robbie the pit pony hauling coal at Christmas 1998

Pit Pony "Gremlin" hauling coal for Christmas winter 1998. 

We have some collection dates and need some help
if you can spare a couple of hours please reply
with details.

Cardiff City Centre Queen Street etc.
bucket collection + Sponsor a Pony
able to wander working from clip boards. 

Thursday 28th November until 8pm

Cardiff City Centre Sat 14th Dec
xmas theme, playing carols, xmas hats etc.

+ Sponsor a Pony able to wander working from clip boards.

The Ponies at Fforest Uchaf         

We are a tiny Welsh registered Charity No1002933
and small group of volunteers who 
help all the Needy Horses & Ponies
we can with our meagre resources.  

  We offer a Sponsor /Adopt a Pony scheme.                  

 You can sponsor a Pony at 

Thank you for reading this.                  

To find out more email:                    

Or email your support/enquiries to                       

Ffaldau farm


Assembly Economic Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones
is seen here, visiting Ffaldau farm with Sera
Evans-Fear, Leanne Wood, Vic Doyle, and some
volunteers. Vic welcomes all to visit the farm,
and chat about a "new" green Wales... as THIS
farm... is focussing on Permaculture.

Rafter Sass-Ferguson 1 December 20:42
The first ever systematic, multi-site analysis of permaculture farming! Thanks to your support, the research will happen! All donations now support the inclusion of more farms in the research - and paint a better picture of what's happening on the ground.

The research is in the US, but the precedent is global. Lend your support and spread the word! http://rkthb.co/11800
http://www.facebook.com/l/fAQGduFIjAQG_eDR-jFbK0lm2Ilg29PabiVdtNUEOWwI7Qg/rkthb.co/11800 Changing the Face of Farming
UPDATE: We hit our mark, but we're not done! It's now possible to begin field research, thanks to th...

Sea power for Wales beats war!


SCIENTISTS who have begun evaluating the power
of the seas for the first time, believe that the Welsh
coastline has the energy to supply 4 million homes.

No risk or pollution.
No bombing Arabs for THEIR oil or gas.


What stands in its way? You guess!

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