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We wished you Peace,
(Heddwch) in 2016...

perhaps, now  it's time to WAKE UP!

Diego Maradona in Cuba to
Take Part in Fidel Castro Tribute

Argentina''s former soccer star, Diego Armando
 Maradona, is in Havana, to participate in the
tribute to Fidel Castro, historical leader of
 the Cuban Revolution.

'I am coming here to be with my second father,
with the legend going away from us, but he is
leaving such a clear legacy, that we cannot
betray it. Those who think Cuba is getting
weaker because the greatest is now gone,
are making a complete mistake,' he noted.

'Cuba must get stronger,' said the former
world soccer star --- who also said that
 'Fidel is still inside our heart, he is ours.'

Maradona, who lives in the United Arab
 Emirates, as sports ambassador of this
Arab country, talked about his relations
 with the historical leader of the Cuban
Revolution, and commented that, at a
 hard time in his own life, the Cuban
 revolutionary fighter opened up the
doors of socialist Cuba, for him.

'He advised me on what I could do...  to
 recover from drugs use,' Maradona said.

Maradona highlighted Fidel Castro's leadership,
not only in Cuba, but also at world level, saying
 Fidel was 'a true leader.'

He took the chance to send a very sincere
greeting to the whole Cuban people, to tell
them --- his heart is with the Cuban people.

'I am a Cuban soldier, before I am a soldier of
President Macri. My heart, and all of my body
 and blood, I would give for the Cuban national
 flag, for Cuba, for Fidel, and for Che Guevara,'
 he stated.

Fidel Castro's ashes, after he died on November 25,
 at the age of 90, are being transferred from Havana
 to Santiago de Cuba, east of Cuba, to where the
 ashes will arrive, on Saturday.

___________________________________


"With the full consent of the Cuban leadership,
on May 11th of this year, our country has not
only resumed work in
Lourdes electronic
centre, but also placed the latest mobile
strategic nuclear missiles "Oak" on the
island. They didn't want to do it the
amicable way, now let them deal
with this," Putin says.


The US & UK are trying to destroy Syria
& lying about their war aims & crimes !
It was the UK elite who began it: a vile
crime against humanity.
(go to our Peace Page: scroll down to
'Latest News' for confirmation
and
further details.
)

_______________________________


The news most see is massaged by an elite which
NEEDS death and destruction (the BBC's Deputy
Head, for example, is the ex head of BAE, the
UK's near monopoly arms exporting company).

Wales is in a unique position to
stop the US, UK, Germany and
France's immoral arms industry
by breaking their moral strength...

but our activist movement leaders
in Wales too often are based in the
cities, and play at truly opposing,
yet do not commit with passion,
or show courageous solidarity.

We need a strong committed Peace Movement
in Wales, which is not afraid to challenge the
Guardian-reading middle-class "leaders" ---
who keep backing the elite's wars in the
name of a fake "humanitarianism".

Please contact me here rayjoseph05@aol.com
and we can hold a meeting to found a valleys
led Peace Movement, that walks the walk.


Ozzyozzspawn Rhondda Hotel Porth Dec 2

Sex Pistols Experience Rhondda Hotel Dec 16



Labour's Ten Pledges


Genuinely, I am baffled as to what's

hard-left about Corbyn's #10Pledges

- If wanting this makes me hard-left

then count me in.


____________________________________________


It isn’t that John McDonnell WON’T intervene if

Hilary Benn is deselected as an MP – he CAN’T


It’s bizarre to have to point this out – especially in
response to reports by newspaper journalists who
should know this --- but John McDonnell has NOT
refused to intervene over Hilary Benn’s future as
a Labour MP.

The Shadow Chancellor simply has no power to do
so. As he made perfectly clear in his Radio 5 Live
interview, Parliamentary candidates are chosen
by Constituency Labour Parties.

So Rajeev Syal’s article in The Grauniad, for example,
is misleading. I’d like to say I hope that this is not
deliberate, but it still reflects on the [lack of]
professionalism of the author, says Mike Sivier.

It doesn’t matter whether close allies of Jeremy
Corbyn stay angry with Mr Benn after he sided
with the Conservative Government over the air
strikes and Syria, or any involvement of his in
the attempted ‘Chicken Coup’ over the summer.

If it is true that supporters of Mr Corbyn have been
elected as officers in Mr Benn’s constituency party,
Leeds Central, then they can propose any action
they see fit – within party rules.

That includes deselection of an incumbent MP, so he
may not stand as a candidate in a future election (it
would not affect his position as an MP in the current
Parliament).

And it is important to clarify that, if anyone has
“taken over” positions in Leeds Central CLP,
they would have done so by democratic means.

I question why Rajeev Syal mentions that Patrick
Hall, a vice-chair of Leeds Central CLP, who has
spoken against Mr Benn, is a national executive
member of the Labour Representation
Committee,
described as “a radical
grouping” chaired by
McDonnell.

What’s the implication?

Mr McDonnell will not influence any decision on
Mr Benn’s future in any way. If Leeds Central CLP
deselects Mr Benn, it will be because Leeds
Central Labour members wish it.

That’s democracy.

Source: John McDonnell won’t intervene if Hilary
Benn faces deselection fight | Politics | The Guardian

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget
to share it. Politics is about everybody – so
let’s
try to get everybody involved!


________________________________________



UK's Labour leader attacks May

in party policy conference

Xinhua - Jeremy Corbyn, the politician at the centre
of a civil war within the main opposition Labour
Party, spoke on Saturday of how the party had
become too complacent about runaway
levels of inequality in Britain.

In a keynote speech at a Labour Party national policy
conference in Leicestershire, Corbyn, twice elected
to lead Labour --- despite most of the party's MPs
disowning him --- referred to how people's faith
in politics had been rocked, by a failure to
deliver change.

He said telling people their continued prosperity
depended on remaining in the European Union
"simply didn't resonate widely enough when so
many people didn't feel they were sharing in
that prosperity in the first place."

"Did the nearly one million people on zero hours
contracts, or the six million paid less than the
living wage, feel they needed to vote in to be
better off? Or did they just simply not trust
politicians and business people who have
let them down," he said.

"We've seen a similar phenomenon in the US,
since last week's presidential election, as we
saw after Brexit: an appalling rise in hate
crime: saying anything to win a vote,
has consequences on the ground,"
the Labour leader added.

Attacking PM Theresa May's government, Corbyn
said many people are fearful of the future under
the Conservatives.

He said the Conservatives under May are "taking
Britain backwards and failing to meet people's
needs and aspirations."

"When it comes to Brexit, we respect the decision of
the British people. But we will hold the government
to account over its shambolic approach, put jobs
and living standards first, & oppose any attempt
to water down workers' rights or environmental
protection," said Corbyn.

Corbyn said it was down to Labour to restore hope,
and give people the chance to take back real control.

Meanwhile, a group of politicians from the ruling
Conservative Party, on Saturday, called on PM
Theresa May to abandon the upcoming Brexit
appeal due to be heard next month, in the
UK's
Supreme Court.


Sir Oliver Letwin, former head of the government's
Brexit preparations, and two former law officers
said the case shouldn't go to the Supreme Court.

They have called instead on May's government to
bring a bill to parliament to start the Brexit process
-- as quickly as possible. A government spokesman
responded, by saying that the government would
robustly defend its position at the appeal against
the ruling saying May could not trigger Brexit,
without parliamentary approval.


_____________________________________


Corbyn coup 2.0 has just been fixed,
and guess who’s leading the charge?

by Carlyn Harvey
 
The group Labour First's keynote speaker
is none other than Labour Deputy Leader
Tom Watson.


A party within a party

Luke Akehurst is the Secretary of Labour First,
a group which “exists to ensure that the voices
of moderate party members are heard”. He is a
 fervent critic of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

He advises members on Constituency
Labour Party meetings. He urges CLPs
 with more than 500 members to opt for
“a traditional delegate-based General
Committee structure” for meetings.
 Rather than ‘all-member meetings’.

The meetings must discover and choose
"moderate" delegates for conference,
to ensure 'Progress' policies there.

Essentially, following the failed Labour
coup this summer, Akehurst plans to
 ensure the system is set up, so that
Corbyn & his 300,000+ supposedly
 ‘hard left’ supporters – can’t
 get anything done.

Watson’s appearance at their events is not
 surprising. The Deputy Leader infamously
 tried to explain away the immense support
 for Corbyn as a result of “Trotsky entryists”
twisting the arms of voters. He also made
 false claims about the Corbyn-supporting
 group, Momentum.

The Telegraph went so far as to label Watson
a “skilled political assassin” for his moves
against previous Labour leaders. Blair’s
 demise, for example, has been
 attributed to his efforts.

So seemingly, the Corbyn coup 2.0 is on its way.
But the plot of 2.0 is more nuanced than the last
 attempt at an all-out overthrow. In a recent
article for LabourList, Akehurst noted that
 “politics is a marathon not a sprint”.

And now, the long game of his ‘moderate’
cause is absolutely clear.

Get Involved!

source - The Canary

Vox Political adds:

Forewarned is forearmed. Labour Party members
 who support democracy, now know what's being
 planned --- and can act against it.

A good pre-emptive strike would be to call a vote
 that confirms your CLP will continue to have all-
member meetings, ensuring that any ‘delegate-
only’ vote, can't take place for several months.
A debate on this topic should help flush out
 the ‘moderates’ in local party structures, too.

Those of us who support the rule of the majority
 should also consider our own nominations for
 delegates to the party conference next year
--- starting now. These people need to start
 building support across branches, to ensure
 Labour First is foiled when it really counts.

________________________________


Labour’s power struggle can only end --
 if grassroots members lay down the law

It seems clear that the Labour Party’s right-wing
has turned its back on democracy and is now
doing everything within its power to hinder
Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

That is no way to behave, in a party of government.
Labour can't oppose the Conservative government
if its once-favoured few are determined to throw a
 spanner in the works every five minutes.

They need to be shown that this behaviour
 will not be tolerated.

This Writer's already shown the way - my CLP has
passed a motion calling for the National Executive
Committee to nullify the decision to introduce 15
rule changes at once, because Paddy Lillis
prevented conference delegates from
 voting in the proper manner.

The vote may be voided because what followed
 was the will of Mr Lillis – not conference.

Further, similar, motions are on the way
from other constituencies, I understand.

Now, we have information that conference was
 misled about the package of rule changes in 3
important ways – further invalidating the vote.

All those involved need to face party disciplinary
 procedures. They should be removed from
positions of responsibility, as they clearly
cannot be trusted to fill them in a
 responsible way.

It's for the members to ensure that this happens,
through the National Executive Committee.

If you’re a Labour party member (if not, join!),
then it’s essential that you move a resolution
in time for your next monthly CLP meeting,
demanding the annulment of this completely
illegal power-grab, which cannot be allowed
 to stand, and the immediate removal of the 2
extra ‘crowbarred’ members, from the NEC.

New evidence has emerged that confirms not only
 the desperate lengths to which the plotters were
 prepared to go in order to nullify a huge democratic
 landslide, but that they acted in an unprecedentedly
illegal manner. A new Left Futures article reveals that
it wasn’t only at the Conference that the rules were
ignored and broken, but also that:

contrary to what was claimed at the Conference, the
CAC (conference arrangements committee) had not
been sent a package of rules by the NEC, but a list of
individual rule changes to be voted on by delegates

that a staff member misled the CAC by advising
 them that it was a package deal

that there is no precedent whatever for rules being
 forced through as a ‘take it or leave it’ package at an
 annual Conference – which means that delegates
were lied to from the platform when it was claimed
this was standard practice

It’s clearer than ever that the right-wingers of the
 Labour party have no intention of ‘unity’ or ‘pulling
together’ and that the words are regarded merely
 as convenient cover for their continued attempts
 to control the party by undemocratic means.
Expulsion is the only real remedy.

Source: We told you so – new evidence confirms NEC
 power-grab rule package illegal | The SKWAWKBOX
Blog

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to share it. Politics is about everybody – so let’s
try to get everybody involved!


___________________________________


Que sera, SERA? Is this the Labour right’s
 latest bid to stifle Jeremy Corbyn?

The enemy within Labour is still very much alive, it
seems, despite all the false pledges for unity we’ve
 heard since the end of September.

The latest scheme, if you can believe it, involves
infiltration of Constituency Labour Parties via
third-
party organisations, like in the example
suggested by the Skwawkbox blog, SERA
 (Socialist Environment and Resources
Association, now styling itself SERA
Labour Environment Campaign).

The idea, it seems, is to pack this organisation,
which is affiliated to Labour, with people who
oppose Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, policies
 and followers – and embed representatives
 of it into each CLP in order to obtain an
 automatic seat on the CLP executive.

This would give them influence over, for example,
 selection of council & Parliamentary candidates.

Labour is an umbrella organisation with many
 different unions and socialist societies (like
 SERA) affiliated to it. It is possible to be
delegated to a CLP from local branches
of these affiliated organisations.

SERA is already packed with members of Progress,
the representative organisation for Labour’s hard
 right-wingers.

So instead of harmless, uncontentious
 environmentalist members, it seems
SERA may be a front for the right-wing,
pro-austerity, anti-Socialist Progress
 party-within-a-party.

Skwawkbox has this to say:

    ‘Forewarned is fore-armed’, as the saying goes.
With a huge majority among Labour’s grassroots
membership supporting Jeremy Corbyn, Progress’
successful use of SERA as a ‘trojan horse’ to
 access the levers of local power and selection
depends on those members remaining ignorant
of the plan. If they can pose as harmless,
uncontentious environmentalist members
looking for influence for wholly benign
purposes, there is little to prevent SERA
 CLP affiliates from winning approval for
attempts to gain permanent places on
 CLP executives.

    But if those same members are aware that SERA
 is becoming/has become a front for the right-wing,
pro-austerity Progress ‘party within a party’, those
 attempts can be fought and defeated.

    So two things are key: inform and combat. Share
 this information so that people are ‘forewarned
and fore-armed’; and if/when SERA initiates
moves to gain influence over local Labour
 groups and committees, prevent them.

[Source: Next big threat from #Labour right –
 the Trojan Horse you’ve never heard of |
The SKWAWKBOX Blog]

An additional article adds:

    To counter this, it is important that Corbyn
 supporters in the party also do this. Go along
to your local union branch and get yourself
delegated to your constituency party. Some
CLPs have regular delegate-based General
Committees that run the CLP and select the
MP. Others have ‘all member meetings’ that
are open to any member, with just one
delegate-based AGM per year.

But that AGM is vital to electing CLP officers
and ONLY DELEGATES from Branch (ward)
Labour Parties and affiliated unions and
Socialist Societies can vote or select the MP.

    If your union is NOT affiliated to Labour (mainly
 white collar unions like NUT), the traditional
route for getting delegated to your CLP is
via one of the Labour-affiliated Socialist
Societies, such as SERA.

Join one of them and get delegated to your CLP from
 the local branch. For example, members of the NUT
 cannot get delegated to their CLP because this union
 is not affiliated to Labour. NUT members traditionally
 get around this problem by getting delegated to their
 CLP via the Labour affiliated society the Socialist
Education Association which IS affiliated to Labour.

    To find out if your union is affiliated to Labour
 see here:

    http://www.labour.org.uk/pages/trade-union-
and-labour-party-liaison-organisation-tulo


    A full list of Labour-affiliated Socialist Societies
 is here:

    http://www.labour.org.uk/pages/
affiliated-organisations


    Practical steps that supporters of Labour as
a genuine alternative to the toxic right-wing
consensus can take to neutralise another
Progress attempt to commandeer the party
away from the burgeoning democratic
movement.

[Source: Important: more info on Labour right SERA
 threat and what to do about it | The SKWAWKBOX
Blog]

This may be a false alarm.

But if you are a left-leaning member of Labour,
can you afford to ignore it?

As the Skwawkbox says, forewarned is fore-armed.

If you are a Labour member, please share this
 with your colleagues.

(source - Vox Political)


____________________________________


Angela Eagle’s smear campaign against Labour
members is about to blow up in her face
by James Wright
(source The Canary)
 
Angela Eagle MP’s apparent smear campaign against
her own Constituency Labour Party (CLP) members
was reinvigorated recently across the mainstream
media. An internal party report has backed her
claims that she was subject to homophobic
abuse by Wallasey CLP.

But a number of Eagle’s CLP members aren’t
having it. They are taking action in the form
of a crowdfunded campaign to sue the ex-
 Labour leadership hopeful for defamation.

 Numerous Wallasey CLP members are truly
outraged at Eagle’s claims, which they say
 amount to allegations of hate crimes, along
with the implication that local officers may
 have facilitated such ‘abuse’.

One local party member told SKWAWKBOX:

Angela appears to have forgotten that Parliamentary
 privilege (protection from legal action for MPs under
certain circumstances for things said during
 parliamentary proceedings) does not extend to party
 hearings or things said outside official proceedings
 at Westminster. She's therefore liable for defamation
 of character if she makes untrue accusations and is
 not simply free to make things up for whatever
purposes she has in mind. We’ve been slurred as
a group, but also as individuals, as the expulsion
and other sanctions threatened by Angela
 against members, clearly show.

A number of Wallasey CLP members are presently
taking legal advice with the aim to sue the Labour
 Disputes Panel and Eagle personally. The planned
 crowdfunded campaign was inspired by the five
 Labour members who took legal action against
the
party for arbitrary, mass disenfranchisement
of
130,000 members, in the leadership election.

The report

Trumpeted in the mainstream media, the internal
 report supports all of Eagle’s claims of abuse. But,
 like her original allegations, it offers no evidence.

Back in mid-July, Eagle faced a no-confidence vote
 from her CLP that was expected to be carried by a
 landslide. A meeting the week before, had set the
 tone, as her CLP passed “a motion of support for
 Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party.. with
 an overwhelming majority”. But just before the no-
confidence vote was undertaken, the Wallasey MP
 claimed she had received homophobic abuse
from
members. As a result, CLP meetings were
suspended, meaning the vote couldn't take place.

The report calls for the suspension of Wallasey CLP
 to continue. Yet it gives no evidence for allegations
 of any homophobic abuse, other than claims some
 unnamed members have “truthfully” confirmed it.

But the chair of Wallasey CLP said that Eagle wasn’t
even present at the meeting in question, and denied
 that any such abuse took place. Shocked at the
 allegations, the chair’s daughter (who is gay)
 penned an article in the New Statesman ---
stating
categorically that no “complaint of
homophobia”
was “raised in her absence”.

The brick

The report also deals with a separate allegation
 made by Eagle. She suggested that a brick was
 thrown through her constituency office window
 as part of a string of incidents carried out in J
eremy Corbyn’s name, in response to her
leadership challenge against him.
 
Again, the report offers no evidence that a brick
 was directed at Eagle, or that it was politically
 motivated. But it concludes that accusations
she has been lying are “categorically untrue”
 and says it is “highly likely” it was politically
 motivated. On the contrary, video shows the
 broken window was on a communal stairwell.

 And while the Companies House register
 shows that 5 businesses operate out of
 the same address as Eagle’s office, the
 Labour report says it’s only the party
and
the building’s landlord there.
But, again, no
evidence to prove
this assertion is offered.


Furthermore, there was no political messaging
or any indication it was a Corbyn supporter.

Eagle’s record on the truth

If Eagle is twisting the truth when it comes to these
 allegations, it wouldn’t be the first time she appears
 to have fabricated abuse. In mid-July, she claimed
a
hotel had cancelled a Labour meeting because it
had
received threats. But a statement by the hotel
later, revealed that it was cancelled only because
the company was unaware of the “nature” of
the meeting.

More recently, she suggested Jeremy Corbyn
 was supporting her allegations against her
CLP members. In reality, as the fine blog
SKWAWKBOX shows, he opposes them.

Eagle’s record on the truth is quite rocky. She
 needed virtually no evidence to vote for the
Iraq war, and now she appears to need none
 to demonise her own party members.

Fortunately, grassroots members are
taking
action. Let’s hope the crowd-
funded
campaign is up and running
soon.


More excellent coverage on this here:

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/

Headlined:

"If this is really the report on Labour’s
 investigation of Wallasey CLP, it is
 twaddle."

___________________________________


Machine Grinds Socialists
by Charley Allan

General secretary Iain McNicol still refuses to
 reveal how many people were unfairly robbed
of their right to vote, on top of the 130,000-
odd members disenfranchised just for join-
ing after the retroactive January freeze date.

In August, the party admitted that 1% of the
 eligible membership had already been purged
 -- and that this number was likely to rise, but
some estimates put the final count at 5 or
even 10% --- democratic decimation.

Shadow minister for diverse communities,
 Dawn Butler told McNicol  weeks ago that
 she was “increasingly concerned over
reports that black and minority ethnic
members of the Labour Party are being
 purged for dubious reasons,” demand-
ing a breakdown of the numbers.

So far, she’s had no response -- and neither has
 new national executive member Claudia Webbe,
 who has called for a “detailed inquiry into the
 Labour Party’s handling of suspensions,
expulsions, special measures, etc and
the perception that the rules applied
are not consistent, fair, proportional
 or reasonable.”

Webbe warns McNicol of the “growing resentment
 of what some regard as mistreatment and abuse,”
 adding:-  long-standing members “feel particular-
ly hurt, isolated and confused by the exclusion”
and “fear the party has turned its back on them.”

This is certainly true from what I’ve seen online.

Facebook groups are full of furious purgees
wondering what to do, frustrated by the
stone-walling they’ve received from the
party bureaucracy and lack of public
support from the leadership.

Bravely taking the initiative is Glynis Millward,
 a civil servant suspended in September, for
alleged “involvement in activity in breach
of Labour’s rules regarding recruitment.”

Millward denies any such thing and in the absence
 of credible evidence is suing McNicol in Nottingham
County Court for lost membership fees & “tangible
 recognition of the distress caused at being unable
 to vote in the leadership election.”

The distress in question, goes far beyond
 disenfranchisement, though. In her official
 report, Shami Chakrabarti describes the
“inevitable shame and opprobrium” that
comes with suspension — and purged
members are further punished by being
 firmly locked out of any local party
democracy for the foreseeable future.

Labour Against the Witch Hunts, which was
set up over the summer by a wide spectrum
 of anti-purge party activists, and has now
morphed into the Campaign for Natural
Justice, points out that Chakrabarti calls
 for a “moratorium on the retrospective
trawling of members’ social media
accounts and past comments”
the method by which most
 evidence was gathered.

That’s how they caught me — and I’ve just
received details of the four tweets I sent
 that led to my suspension.

As suspected, my dig at lawsuit-losing ex-donor
 Michael Foster for confusing his apartheid-Israel
 analogies was top of the list - though it’s unclear
 whether my offence was criticising a prominent
 party member or using the hashtag
#AntizionismIsNot­Antisemitic.

The second tweet involved writing the
 retrospectively proscribed word “zio” 
-- not as an insult, but as part of an
academic discussion with a fellow
 Jew about examples of false anti-
semitic accusations.

Although I disagree with Chakrabarti’s claim
 that this word is “a term of abuse, pure and
 simple,” it's clearly quite rude - as I pointed
 out in my tweet — and unhelpfully lumps
 left- and right-wing zionists together.

Third was a Red Labour retweet, pointing out
 that “Chilcot revealed Hilary Benn is at fault
for the post-war failures in Iraq” — in other
words simply reporting the news, although
perhaps the #ChickenCoup hashtag got
 under someone’s skin.

And finally, my favourite: “Confused by #LabourCoup?
 Wonder why Blairite hooligans would rather smash
 up @UKLabour than let @jeremycorbyn win?” with
 a meme of Tony Blair’s famous quote about not
wanting “to win on an old-fashioned leftist
platform.”

So there we have it. Take the piss out of Blair and
 his henchmen — “hooligans” referred to trouble
at the Euro 2016 tournament — quote Chilcot or
 even begin to discuss anti-semitism? You’re out.

And thousands more have been suspended for far
less. We just want justice, whether through the
 party’s procedures or, if need be, through the
 courts.

In its latest letter, Labour let the cat out of the bag
by referencing evidence used “to revoke your
voting rights” — no mention of my suspension.

The purge was dreamed up as a desperate dirty
 trick to steal the leadership election, but the
 consequences of culling up to 10 per cent
of the party -- the most militant 10th in all
 likelihood -- will be felt for a long time.

Local Labour parties will be left to deal with
 the fallout -- the national executive is said
to be sending out lists now.

Whatever happens next, we must make peace
within the party, but it just won’t be possible,
 without justice for the purged.

    Chat to Charley on Twitter, @charleyallan.

________________________________


Fightback against undemocratic
 Labour Party changes starts here

This Writer’s local Labour Party branch had its first
 get-together after the embargo on meetings was
 lifted, and it was incendiary.

I won’t tell you the exact number of people attending,
 but it was more than usually attend meetings of the
 Constituency Labour Party.

Why so many?

They were angry – and with good reason.

Over the course of a long summer, they have been
 dismayed to see their democratic rights as members
 eroded, or removed altogether, by the self-interested
 actions of privileged members of Labour’s National
 Executive Committee, and enacted by the party
secretary. They want payback – and who can
 blame them?

So the meeting agreed to send 2 motions to the
 Constituency Labour Party, to be ratified there
before going on to the appropriate authorities.

The first “notes with alarm the imposition of
new rules of conduct by the National Executive
Committee which were said to be intended to
prevent abusive behaviour between members,
but seem to have been used as a tool to
purge people from the party prior to the
leadership election, by suspension or
expulsion. There seems to have been
no rigid standard, and the NEC ‘panels’
 enforcing the new rules seem to have
relied on their own arbitrary prejudices.

“This means that people have been purged for things
 they have said on social media in the distant past
 that do not relate to their political lives in any way.
Some have been purged over previous support for
 policies put forward by other parties – but why
should they be barred from Labour just because
 they have come here from another political
organisation? Others have been purged for
reasons that can only be described as ridiculous
– such as the person who expressed her support
for a particular rock band in a forceful way. All of
the letters notifying members that they are no
longer members, had Iain McNicol’s name
 attached to them.

“As general secretary, Mr McNicol has a legal
responsibility for the Labour Party and must
ensure that everything done by the party is
legal. He has not ensured that the processing
of complaints against members has achieved
an acceptable standard and – because this
directly relates to the leadership ballot –
this means he has not ensured that the
processing of ballots to members
has been carried out properly.

“We therefore call for a vote of ‘no confidence’
in Mr McNicol and demand his removal from
the post of general secretary of the Labour
Party.”

The second calls on the NEC
“to nullify the recent
 vote at party conference on a package of 15 rule
 changes, including the addition of Welsh Labour
and Scottish Labour representatives to the NEC,
on the grounds that Mr Paddy Lillis, who was
chairing the conference at the time of the
vote, prevented members from voting on
the changes in the proper manner.

“On Sunday, September 25, Mr Lillis refused calls
 by members for a proper debate and ballot on
each individual NEC rule change and called
 a vote by a simple show of hands on the
Conference Arrangements Committee’s
report, that said the NEC’s proposals
would be packaged as one ‘take it or
 leave it’ bundle.

"Forcing the vote to be by show of hands only,
 meant there was no proper oversight. Although
 the numbers of hands for and against were
 clearly closely-matched, Mr Lillis called out
“overwhelmingly carried” and moved on,
 ignoring demands that he abide by the
rules and carry out a card vote that
would be properly monitored and
counted.

 "If a single delegate requests a card vote, then
 it must take place, so this was a clear breach
of the voting rules.

“The following day, delegates against asked for
 ‘reference back’ – a proper debate and vote –
on the ‘pre-pack’ of the rule changes, and
again, Mr Lillis refused.

“On Tuesday, September 27, the vote on the
 packaged rules was scheduled to take place.
 Once again, many delegates stood to denounce
 the pre-pack as anti-democratic and demanded
 both a proper debate and vote on each change
 and that each decision should be made by card
 vote. Mr Lillis and the CAC chair dismissed
 demands that the rules of the Labour Party
 be followed, insisting on only a show of hands
 – even when a member of the NEC itself,
Christine Shawcross, spoke to remind him
 that the party rules state, unequivocally,
that if a delegate requests a card vote,
 a card vote must take place.

“The show of hands was again hard to judge, but
Mr Lillis simply said it was clearly carried. The vote
 then took place in the early afternoon. Because
the Unite union had a number of rule changes it
wanted included in the bundle, delegates from
the UK’s largest union were instructed to abstain,
meaning that the eventual vote (which was always
going to be by card) was won by a significant
majority that does not reflect conference’s
feeling on the individual rule changes or
 the manner in which they were presented.

“The decision to allow the rule changes cannot be
 allowed to stand as Labour Party voting rules were
 broken on at least two occasions.  As they stand,
 these rule changes are unenforceable and no party
 unit is obliged to abide by any decisions made under
them. According to party rules, the NEC is authorised
 to adjudicate in disputes that arise at any level of
 the party and, according to party rules, the NEC must
 find that the vote on the new rules was carried out
improperly and should be rendered null and void.

 "We call on the NEC to do so, at its earliest
 opportunity.

“Note: As this matter concerns the rule change which
 allows representatives of Welsh Labour and Scottish
 Labour to sit on the NEC, it is clear that they have
a conflict of interest and may not vote on it.”


Undoubtedly members of other Labour party
branches and constituency organisations
 across the UK, would like to consider
submitting their own motions
or supporting these.

Join the Vox Political Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Vox-Political-331758126847793/


__________________________________________


How to select or reselect your MP (Lol)

New edition by Dave Osland. £4 from left-wing
bookshops, or Five Leaves Bookshop, Notts.

Post free to mail order customers via
0115 8373097 or via PayPal on
 bookshop@fiveleaves.co.uk

____________________________


Another Labour MP tries to subvert party
democracy to stop herself being deselected

It will be very hard for Louise Ellman to make
her complaint against her own Constituency
 Labour Party stick.

Sure, Angela Eagle was successful in having her
 Wallasey Constituency Labour Party suspended
over allegations of intimidation & homophobic
 language.

But look at the reaction: It was very quickly revealed
that there was no weight to the allegations, and she
 had done it, to prevent the CLP holding a meeting
at which she was to be deselected, meaning she
 would no longer be eligible to stand for election
 as the constituency’s MP in the future.

In short, Ms Eagle betrayed Labour Party democracy
 for the sake of her career, and it is impossible to
view Ms Ellman’s action in any other way.

She alleges anti-Semitism by Momentum members;
and this is now a fixture of the narrative against
the Corbyn-supporting organisation in the Labour
Party. None of the claims have yet been proven
 true (for example Vicky Kirby, suspended from
 the party twice, over (justified) anti-Semitism
claims, was not a member of Momentum).

Ms Ellman herself wouldn’t be Jewish, by any
 chance? I don’t know this, so let’s look it up…
Yes she is, according to Wikipedia, anyway.

The allegation refers to a CLP meeting in April. Why
 has she waited so long to make her demand? It
seems it can only be because of the claim last
week, that Momentum activists want to
deselect her.

So, again, we have a sitting MP – who, incidentally,
 opposes Jeremy Corbyn – acting in the interests
 of her own career, rather than that of the political
party she claims to represent.

Her claim that Momentum was trying to “take over
party structures” is risible. As Momentum consists
 of Labour Party members, its structures are also
their structures. Therefore there is no need for
 them to attempt any kind of takeover.

If she means Momentum members were taking over
 officer positions in her CLP – it is their democratic
right to stand for these positions, if they choose
to do so, and Ms Ellman has no right to try to
prevent that.

So now it seems she's trying to undermine local
 democracy in, not one, but two distinct ways.
What a charmer she turned out to be.

I don’t believe a word of her claims
 and, possibly, neither should you.

Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman has called for
 her own constituency party to be suspended, so an
investigation can be launched into allegations of
“entryism” and anti-Semitism.

A complaint was made to party bosses --- after a
Riverside Labour party meeting in April at which
 anti-Semitic remarks were allegedly made.

And last week an internal party investigation claimed
 far-left activists from Momentum had been trying to
take control of the Riverside party to deselect local
MP Ms Ellman.

The allegations have been strongly denied by
Momentum, the left-wing group borne out of
Jeremy Corbyn’s successful campaign for
the party leadership last year.

Ms Ellman:- “I was appalled to read of the extent of
 Momentum activity within Liverpool Riverside CLP.
There is clearly evidence of an organised attempt
by this group to take over Labour Party structures.”


_______________________________________



LABOUR SPIES BLIND TO VILE
ANTI-CORBYN ONLINE ABUSE
by Luke James
Star Parliamentary Reporter

Abuse and threats aimed at Jeremy Corbyn have
 been deliberately “ignored” by Labour officials.

Officials overseeing the party’s “purge” have been
 presented with evidence of members who barracked
 the Labour leader online with terms banned by the
 party.

But they have been accused of prioritising a witch-
hunt against Mr Corbyn’s supporters amid a red
scare over far-left infiltration.

“People who would refer to Owen Smith as a
 Blairite were purged,” a source says.

“Anyone who said they had previously supported
 or voted for the Green Party was purged.

“But anyone who calls Jeremy Corbyn a c**t
or any other foul word — they are fine.”

Labour says all evidence of abuse passed to it
has been reviewed by the national executive

 committee and action has been taken where
culprits can be identified.

The source works at one of two offices where a
small team of staff trawl through social media
 posts of Labour members and supporters.

They revealed that a 250-page file containing
 screenshots of online abuse aimed at Mr
Corbyn, compiled by members of the public
 was received by the office, but promptly
shelved.


The document seen by the Star includes repeated
 calls for the Labour leader to be shot and hanged.

Mr Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell
are compared with cancer and aids, while count-
less racist remarks are aimed at shadow health
 secretary Diane Abbott.

Over half of the comments were made by people
 identified as Labour members, according to the
 source.

One Twitter user even posts a photo of his Labour
 membership card with a message saying: “id
rather slit my throat than vote for Scum like
 Corbyn (sic).”

One user called John Ferrett, who identifies him-
self as a Labour councillor, labels Mr Corbyn a
 “traitor.”

Other abusive posts were made by users with
an Owen Smith leadership campaign banner
on their photo.

High-profile opponents of Mr Corbyn’s leadership
 are also named in the document.

It shows John McTernan, former political director
 to Tony Blair, calling Mr Corbyn a “traitor” on
Twitter last month.

Former Blair spin doctor Alastair Campbell asks one
 Labour supporter: “Have you always been a twat or
 just since Corbyn?”

Serving Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop brands the
journalist Owen Jones an “idiot”, & Momentum
 organiser James Schneider, an “entryist.”

The Star revealed in July how anyone found using
 terms such as “traitor,” “scum” or “scab” would
 be banned from voting in the leadership election.

The source said the document was flagged up to
 managers, but then: “It was put to one side and
 ignored … 250 of pages of abuse has just been
 ignored.

“They say they will try to do the Jeremy Corbyn
abuse after the Owen Smith abuse.”

A total of 3,107 people, mostly new members and
 supporters, have been stripped of their votes for
 using the terms or previously expressing support
 for another party, Labour have confirmed.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has accused
 officials of operating a “rigged purge” that has
 targeted the left of the party.

The source claimed that the majority of staff
 members tasked with searching out and
 reviewing reports of abuse “were quite
 vocal Owen Smith supporters.”

But a Labour spokesperson said: “The Labour
Party has a robust validation process for all
votes in this year’s leadership contest --- to
 ensure every vote cast is eligible according
 to the Party’s rules and agreed procedures.

“The speculation that huge numbers of
applicants have been denied a vote
 has been wildly exaggerated.

“Less than 0.5 per cent of the total electorate
in this contest have been deemed ineligible
to vote in this validation process.”

lukejames@peoples-press.com

______________________________________________________


Now Labour employees are demanding
a place on the
NEC – despite already
having representation there


This is getting silly.

After Labour’s National Executive Committee
decided that the party’s Welsh and Scottish
organisations deserved a place each at its
meetings, employees have demanded a
say as well.

They say Labour would be hypocritical to deny
 worker representation after the Tories have
promised to put ordinary employees in
company boardrooms.

But Labour’s NEC already has worker representation.
The committee has 12 union members, who speak
 for eight unions including Unite and the GMB,
 which represent Labour employees.

This seems to be nothing more than an 11th-hour
attempt to stir up more hostility against Jeremy
Corbyn, using specious reasoning, as usual.

If these people really want to fend off a possible
 purge of party staffers (for what reason? Have
they
been acting against the party’s interests?)
then it
has backfired badly – like all the other
attacks
on Mr Corbyn.


Instead of innocent victims, they come across as
 no better than the other liars and manipulators
we’ve seen over the last three months.

Not only that, they have undermined the bids
to put
Welsh Labour and Scottish Labour
representatives
on the NEC.


How, you ask?

It seems clear: these people are trying to stack
 the NEC with people who oppose Mr Corbyn.
That’s
not a good enough reason to have them.


Labour staff are so worried about being sacked
they've demanded their own places on the party’s
 ruling body, the National Executive Committee.

They say it would be hypocritical of the party
 to refuse them after it said employees should
sit on company boards.

A submission asking for places for staff on the
 committee, and seen by the BBC, said: “It is
disappointing that while the Tory prime minister
 has promised worker representation on company
 boards that Labour Party workers are currently
unrepresented on their own executive.”

Refusing the places would be “deeply
 hypocritical”, the submission said.

It demands 2 new seats on the NEC, for Labour
 staff who are trade union members, in addition
to
the position already reserved for the party’s

general secretary.

Labour’s staff are represented by
 the GMB and Unite unions.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been asked
 for reassurances that a clear out of staff, will
 not take place.

A staff member said:
 
“We have years of experience and expertise,
 and they belittle us at every opportunity.”

(originally in Vox Political)

___________________________________________


Labour elite hate mass membership
so much,
they hand an entire city
 
to the Tories!
by James Wright
 
Labour elites have handed the Tories more power
on a major city council --- after 3 councillors were
 suspended over an anti-Corbyn conspiracy theory
 that Bristol Labour is in the “grip of the hard-left”.

Labour in Bristol

All three of the suspended councillors have been
 vocal supporters of Jeremy Corbyn. This will add
to the claim that Labour was executing a “rigged
 purge” of Corbyn voters in the leadership contest.

In 2016, the party won a slim majority of 37 out of 70
 seats in Bristol. But after suspending 2 councillors
 this week, and another earlier in the month, Labour
is now
left with 34 – one short of a majority.


So Labour has gifted the Conservatives,
who came second, more power in the city.

Long-standing campaign officer for Bristol
West,
Andy Burkitt, was also suspended.

Anti-Corbyn smears

The latest suspensions come after Channel 4
 aired an undercover documentary showing a
national organiser of Momentum claiming
that a
pro-Corbyn campaign group was
“running”
Bristol Labour.

Shadow Defence Secretary Clive Lewis has dismissed
 claims from the media, and Corbyn’s opponents, that
 Momentum is a “rabble” of hard-left entryists. The
 MP for Norwich South deemed them “red under
the
bed scare stories” designed to damage the
 Labour leader.

Hard-left infiltration in Bristol?

Back in Bristol, a Labour Party spokeswoman
 said that there were rules preventing her from
 commenting on individual membership issues
 and that it was up to the person suspended
to reveal why.

But The Canary spoke to one of the suspended
 councillors, Mike Langley of Brislington East,
 who said he had not yet been given a reason
for his suspension.

The working class, life-long trade unionist said
 he suspected it's because of “rumours” that
 the Bristol Labour Party is in the “grip of the
hard left”, which he said is entirely untrue.

The other two suspended councillors, Harriet
Bradley and Hibaq Jama, were not available
 for comment at the time of writing.

But recently, Jama, of Lawrence Hill, expressed
 support for Corbyn at a rally. She had previously
 criticised Bristol West MP Thangam Debbonaire
 over suggestions that male refugees should
be taught ''integration lessons'' in equality.

Meanwhile, Bradley of Brislington West has
spoken
out in favour of the incumbent on
social media.
She also reportedly backed
calls for
democratic elections to choose
Labour candidates
for the next general
election.

This is called
‘deselection’ by Corbyn’s
opponents.


Langley was one of 403 Labour councillors to
 sign a letter backing Corbyn, which suggested:

...that those MPs who have embarked on this
 indulgent course of action will reflect on their
behaviour & turn their
fire on the real enemy
--- the Tory Party.


If Momentum isn’t ‘hard-left’,
why is it portrayed as such?

The suspensions of Langley, Jama and campaign
 officer, Burkitt, came straight after the release of
The Battle for the Labour Party, the Channel 4
 documentary that even Corbyn’s opponents
 described as a “weak” hatchet job.

The TV documentary claimed that Momentum
is
using Bristol as a “blueprint” to “flood” the
party with its members.

Momentum is an open and democratic group
 with transparent funding. But Owen Smith
 condemned the organisation, saying:

"There is nothing comradely about setting up a
party within a party. Still less in trying to use
our movement as a host body, seeking to
 occupy it, hollow it out, until it’s outlived
 its usefulness, when you throw it aside
 like a dead husk."

The ex-leadership challenger has never made any
 remarks about Saving Labour, which coordinates
 attacks on Corbyn and keeps its funding secret.
The organisation on the Labour rightwing could
 equally be described as “a party within a party”.

Politicians & pundits smear Momentum because
 it represents a shift of power from themselves
 (individuals and leaders) --- to ordinary people.

I
t appears that some politicians fear the movement
coalescing under Corbyn so much -- that they are
 willing to hand the Tories more power, in order to
 discipline their own councillors, for supporting it.

You wonder which side the Labour Party's
elite, are truly on. Please g
et Involved!


Rhondda Records exists to express the Rhondda's
vision --- when it was confident, powerful, caring,
and socialist.

A Rhondda very aware
of the media's poisonous
tricks -- how they con working class people into
attacking each other, or racial groups, or, often,
even their best allies and friends... instead of
seeing their real enemies:--- an elite who hate
the very idea that working people can think,
create, or achieve a fairer society.

Thatcher said her proudest achievement was
Blair and New Labour - who parachuted in
careerists and expenses fiddlers - to stop
local Labour members having a say, and
who made genuine socialist MPs leave
the Labour party in disgust and many
members and voters to despair...
and the young to stop voting.

Jeremy Corbyn is being attacked because
he's trying to reverse all that New Labour
corruption --- that's why membership is
flooding in all over the UK - watch this
video in Kilburn, London: don't believe
the dripping poison of the media and
the corrupt MPs -- and understand
Jeremy's role !

______________________________________


John McDonnell revisits his childhood home





Labour & Jeremy Corbyn Could Win The Next
General Election,
Because Of Housing Crisis.
Millions feel a ‘sense of unfairness’

Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey:

“Even David Cameron’s inner
circle now admit
that the Conservative failure on
housing is a
huge liability for their party,
with the public.


”The Tories are right to be worried. Their 6 years
 of failure has seen the housing crisis get worse
on
all fronts directly as a result of Conservative

policy decisions.

“Homelessness has doubled, investment in afford-
able homes to rent and buy has been slashed, &
 the number of young home-owners is in freefall.

“Things can be different. Labour will invest in
thousands of new affordable homes to rent &
 buy, and fix the mess left by Tory Ministers.”

During his leadership campaign, Corbyn unveiled
a radical plan to build a million new homes in five
 years, with at least half a million council homes,
 through a public investment strategy.

He also pledged: “We will end insecurity for
 private renters by introducing rent controls,
secure tenancies and a charter of private
 tenants’ rights, and increase access to
affordable home ownership”

Corbyn has repeatedly made housing a priority
 at Prime Minister’s Question time. In September
he attacked Theresa May, for suggesting that
housebuilding was higher under the Tories
 than Labour.

He also countered her claim that the Tories had
 delivered on a promise to “one-to-one replace”
 council houses that would be sold under Right
to Buy. Corbyn said they had only replaced
 one in five.

On Thursday, Shelter revealed a spike in the
 number of children facing homelessness
this Christmas.

__________________________________


Jackie Walker’s crowdfunded action
means Labour’s
general secretary is
facing TWO legal cases against him

by Mike Sivier.

It’s turning into a bad autumn for Labour Party
general secretary Iain McNicol.

First he incurred litigation by party member Glynis
Millward, on grounds that he excluded her from
the Labour Party leadership election for no reason.

Mr McNicol’s name was on a letter of suspension
 she received --- for taking part in “recruitment”
practices prohibited by the party. Except, of
course, Ms Millward has never done so.

Part of her case is that Mr McNicol breached Data
 Protection law by combining publicly-held social
 media information with privately-held Labour
Party data, in order to reach his conclusion.

Then he was forced, as party treasurer, to pay a
£20,000 fine after the Electoral Commission found
major irregularities in Labour’s declaration of its
 spending on the 2015 general election – including
 the cost of that monumental embarrassment, the
 ‘Ed Stone’.

Now Jackie Walker is crowdfunding a legal case
 against Mr McNicol, again over a breach of Data
 Protection law.

Ms Walker, a lifelong anti-racist campaigner and
 socialist, was suspended from the Labour Party
 in May amidst allegations of anti-Semitism. She
was reinstated but has been suspended again
after apparently being “set up” at a training
event organised by the Jewish Labour
Movement during the party’s national
conference in September.

She writes: “I was suspended from the Labour Party
in May of this year, amidst what appears to have been
 a breach of Data Protection law, by Iain McNicol, as
 General Secretary of the Labour Party.

“This is my campaign to raise money in order to
bring legal proceedings against Iain McNicol for
 this serious breach of data – briefing a major
community media publication or other parties
before informing me of my suspension from
the party. This is not acceptable in his
position as General Secretary of the
Labour Party.

“As General Secretary, Iain McNicol is
 directly responsible for the damage
 caused to me, my family and friends.

“I was suspended for the alleged (subsequently
cleared) charge of antisemitism. As a Jewish
person, whose partner is Jewish, this was
heart-breaking.

“Since May I have continued to be targeted by
 the media, in print, online and in other places.

“Currently I am suspended for questions asked at
 a training session on ‘Confronting Antisemitism
& Engaging Jewish Voters’ at this year’s Labour
Conference, after being unethically filmed by a
 Jewish Labour Movement campaigns officer
who is also a Labour councillor. It seems this
training was not a ‘safe space for all Jews’
by any means.

“As soon as the first article was released before
my notification had even arrived, trolls circled
for
the kill, posting spooky blacked up faces
(and
worse) to my Facebook account. The
community
& national newspapers led the
attacks,
querying my Jewish identity (a
racist move
in itself), my work as an
anti-racist activist
and my political
commitment.


“When my suspension was lifted things got worse.
Indignation at my alleged breach reached the heights
 of irony, when Nigel Farage, anxious not to miss out
on the fun being had by among others, the Spectator,
a number of Labour MPs and officers of the Party...
 dedicated an article in Breitbart and a good dose
 of righteous indignation on national TV,
to
publicly calling me out as a racist.

“The widespread hate campaign against me led
to public abuse, strangers shouting ‘racist’ as I
walked to the tube. With the murderous racist
political discourse now taking the place of
debate, I became conscious I was
recognisable on the street.

“My story is just one of many where Labour members
have found themselves in a similar position. While
 this may not be the only case where a breach has
 occurred, as I was abroad at the time, it may well
be the most provable.

“We invite anybody who has a personal interest
in this case, or the wider public, to contribute.”

Solicitor Martin Howe, representing Ms Walker,
added: “Jackie Walker has faced a barrage of
 hurtful, threatening & nasty abuse since the
 private details of her investigation by the
Labour Party over alleged anti-Semitism
was
leaked to the press before she even
knew
of her suspension by the Party.

“This apparent breach of her private data has
had a devastating impact on her public and
private well-being and has led directly to her
being pre-judged & unfairly cast as a racist
-- before she was given any opportunity to
tell
her side of the story.

“Data Protection laws are there to protect all
of us and any breach is a very serious matter.”

Anybody wishing to support Ms Walker financially
can do so, by visiting the Walker v McNicol page
on the CrowdJustice website.

Ms Walker is hoping to raise £10,000. At the time
 of writing she has already raised £7,260, with
28 days to go.

If you would like to contribute to her fund,
details are on the web page.

Source: CrowdJustice –
Crowdfund public interest law

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget
 to share it. Politics is about everybody – so
let’s
try to get everybody involved!


______________________________________


Neil Clarke in Sputnik
says -- "KEEP LEFT"

They may have lost the leadership vote --- but
the Labour right have been working behind the
scenes to keep their control of party machinery.

Changes to Labour's internal rules were passed by
 the conference - tipping the balance on the party's
NEC against the Labour leader.

We've learnt too how Labour "centrists" had been
 working for months to make sure that "decision-
making delegates" at the conference were not
 Corbyn supporters.

 Instead of trying to placate those hell-bent on
 destroying him, Corbyn could be better off
rewarding those who have shown him
great loyalty.

 He could fight to ensure that good, decent
 democratic socialists, purged by Labour's
 Compliance Unit, are reinstated.

 He could support the return to the party fold...
of
his old friend and fellow anti-war campaigner
George Galloway, who was harshly and unfairly
 expelled from the party, in 2003, on account of
his outspoken opposition to the illegal Iraq war.

Galloway is a superb orator, has a huge
following on social media and could be
a tremendous asset to Labour.

At the same time, Corbyn could go on the offensive
 against his enemies, and support the deselection of
those Labour MPs who arrogantly refuse to respect
the views of party members.

If Corbyn stays radical and commits unequivocally to
a clean break with a phoney elite-friendly consensus
on economic & foreign policy, and keeps his promise
to give more power to members, he has a fighting
chance of becoming the next Prime Minister.

If he banks to the right though, and decides to "play
 it safe" in order to appease the Bitterites, then he'll
 definitely lose, & a historic opportunity to reshape
 British politics for the benefit of the 99%, will have
 been squandered.

 Follow Neil Clark on Twitter @NeilClark66

You can read the (much longer)
full article on Corbyn here:

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/20160928/
1045798508/uk-corbyn-labour-success.html

___________________________________


The Labour Party Purge
And The Cost To Its Unity
(first appeared in the Star)

All sides of Labour’s civil war need to compromise
 after Corbyn’s win, but purged members have the
 right to demand justice, writes Charley Allan.

Every Labour member should celebrate Jeremy
Corbyn’s crushing victory, no matter which way
they voted.

By increasing his mandate to 62%, as YouGov
 predicted perfectly, Corbyn has put to bed the
 debate about who should lead the party into
 the next general election  --- making him
“politically bomb-proof,” according to
the BBC.

Any other result would’ve been a disaster. Despite
 promising to unify Labour, a win for Owen “who?”
Smith only offered an escalation of its damaging
civil war.

The draconian purge of Corbynistas, in which
 thousands of members - including me  - were
 disenfranchised on trumped-up abuse and
disloyalty charges, would’ve robbed a Smith
leadership of any legitimacy before it began.

And even a narrow Corbyn win would only
 have encouraged his enemies to step up
 their sniping and sabotage.

Instead, the great survivor is stronger than ever,
leading many “centre-left” Labour MPs to wonder
why they went to war in the first place.

Indeed, why launch a poisonous and pointless
challenge at a time of national political crisis,
a week after their colleague had been gunned
 down in the street by an alleged far-right
terrorist?

The referendum result gave Blairites the perfect
 pretext for their long-planned coup, coincident-
ally letting the Tories completely off the hook.

By blaming Brexit on Corbyn instead of Boris Johnson
 or David Cameron, they did incalculable damage to
the Labour brand - all part of their master plan to
prevent it becoming a mass movement.

And the centre-left was soon swept up in the whole
 sordid affair, “seduced by sinister forces” to quote
 Unite leader Len McCluskey.

By co-ordinating their resignations for maximum
 effect, the shadow cabinet thought they could
 humiliate Corbyn into throwing in the towel.

When that didn’t work, the party machine tried
to stitch-up the leadership election, but first it
 banned all local meetings - democratic martial
law depriving the rank and file any say in what
was about to happen.

General secretary Iain McNicol did his best
to bully the party’s ruling body into denying
 Corbyn the right to automatically defend
 his title.

Helped by a whole heap of legal advice, Corbyn
defeated this dirty trick at a crunch meeting, but
 McNicol still managed to impose a six-month
membership retrospective freeze date -
unprecedented in party history -
 after Jez had left the room.

And it was McNicol who later led the appeal against
the High Court decision to give new members back
 their vote.

Re-disenfranchising them wasn’t enough - McNicol
wanted to see the five brave members behind the
crowd-funded case made bankrupt by paying the
 party’s legal fees.

Fortunately, almost £100,000 flooded in from
 supporters within a few hours of the court
ruling, easily covering the costs.

Like last year, McNicol has used the party’s
 compliance unit to stop as many Corbynistas
 from voting as possible, trawling their social
 media for Green retweets and words like
 “traitor.”

But this summer’s contest has seen the purge
 taken to a whole new level, with massive
numbers of members - we don’t know how
many yet - suspended and even expelled
 from the party for the flimsiest of reasons.

And at the bottom of every purge letter is
McNicol’s signature. As boss, the buck
 stops with him.

My own letter is similar to countless others
 I’ve read on Twitter.

McNicol warns me that members “must conduct
themselves in a calm and polite manner and be
 respectful to each other at all times” - a bit rich
given the public abuse Corbyn has suffered
from his own MPs.

It’s especially insulting for him to personally suspend
 me straight away - without any hearing until after the
 election - because of “the urgency to protect the
 party’s reputation.”

Judging from the number of suspended members
who say they’ll never come back to Labour after
their mistreatment, it’s McNicol and his fellow
witch-hunters who have really brought the
party into disrepute.

And this is the same man who claimed 4 years ago:
“As long as I am general secretary, a fixing culture
 will not be tolerated,” adding that he’d ensure “the
 party understands its role in internal elections and
 administrates them fairly, never interfering in them.”

Corbyn says he wants to “wipe the slate clean” in the
 interests of party unity - and his supporters would be
 wise to forgive their fellow “Labour family” members
 for foolishly following the coup plotters.

But what about those of us who have been thrown
out for simply supporting Corbyn - will we have our
slates wiped clean, too?

The centrists must also compromise, which means
an end to indulging the right wing’s obsession with
 regime change.

Corbyn has won fair and square, twice, and his critics
 need to start showing him some serious respect.

The party machine can’t carry on undermining
Corbyn by “working to rule” - but there should
be no retribution or redundancies, even at
 compliance. Staff were only obeying
McNicol’s orders.

Instead, additional roles should be created
throughout the organisation, filled by a new
 generation loyal to a leader whose primary
job is changing the culture of despair.

But an apology won’t be enough for members
who saw their votes cynically stolen by McNicol.

We want justice - and as the popular Corbyn-themed
 meme points out: “You come at the king, you best
not miss.”

Or to put it another way, it’s time to cut off the head
 of the snake.

When members can quote the Red Flag again, with-
out fear of reprisals, the public might finally believe
Labour has truly changed.

Until then, people are right to wonder just how much
the party bureaucracy really cares about democracy.

Most members will never trust McNicol again, in
any case, making him quite unfit for purpose.

And if the left must learn to turn the other cheek,
its “loyal opposition” within Labour should stop
 propping up this lame duck. That’s just the price
they have to pay for unity - and for us all to put
the purge behind us.

Chat to Charley on Twitter: @charleyallan

__________________________________________


The latest twist in the Labour
 ‘purge’ is truly astonishing
by Steve Topple

Original article in The Canary, here:
http://www.thecanary.co/2016/09/21/latest
-twist-labour-purge-truly-astonishing-images/

In an extraordinary twist to the ongoing Labour Party
‘purge’, one member is taking drastic action. She’s
summoning the party to court over her suspension,
 in a move which could set a legal precedent for
thousands of expelled members. What’s more,
this member knows her stuff; she’s a legal
advocate for a large public body.

Labour in the dock, again

The party member, whose identity The Canary is
 protecting but will call ‘Jane’, made the move
 after she was suspended on 9th September.
The reason initially given was the blanket,
nondescript “breach of recruitment rules”
many members have been accused of.

She immediately issued a “Subject Access Request”
(SAR). This is a legal mechanism everyone is entitled
 to use, which forces a company to release all the
 information it holds on you.

Jane believes that her suspension may be due to a
Facebook page she was involved in. As The Canary
 reported in July, a Just Giving page, which had been
 set up to financially support people who were having
 to re-register as Labour supporters, was shut down.
She donated, and believes this may be the reason
 for her suspension.

On 11 September, Jane sent Labour’s National
Executive Committee (NEC) an email. She also
 rang Labour’s legal department, and was told
that someone would call back. But no one
ever did. Jane then formally told Labour’s
 legal department of her intention to
 take them to court:

In an odd twist, Jane was repeatedly told that she
 would still have a vote in the leadership contest.

But the vote never arrived.

Labour has still taken her membership money and
has not said how it got her anonymous Facebook
 details. Speaking to The Canary, she said:

    I’ve been a full Labour member for about 16
months. The ‘evidence’ against me consists of…
an extract from a Facebook conversation. When
 it gets to court, I intend pointing out that Principles
One & Four of the Data Protection Act [DPA] have
 been breached. This renders them liable to a fine
 from the Information Commissioner’s Office.
I will also be requesting tangible recognition
(compensation) for distress & inconvenience
 caused by not being able to vote, when I
was told by them (twice) that I could.

Principle One of the DPA relates to using information
 about a person fairly and lawfully. Principle Four is
 about keeping personal information accurate and
up-to-date. What Jane is saying is that Labour has
 breached its “contract” with her, as she never did
give permission for the party to use her details...
 other than to contact her. Furthermore, it made
 no effort to check the information it had was
actually hers, before suspending her.

If Jane is successful in her case, this could,
in theory, set a legal precedent. That would
mean that hundreds, if not thousands, of
other suspended members could take
legal action.

Carry On Purging

Meanwhile, the apparent anti-Corbyn ‘purge’ has
continued, in Labour. Countless members have
 got in touch with The Canary to tell their stories.

One bizarre tale is of a member who had the same
names as a Canadian citizen (living in Canada).
They were suspended because their Canadian
counterpart sent a tweet to one ‘John Tory’.
Tory is the Mayor of Toronto --- and the
Canadian tweeter was congratulating
him on his recycling tariff.

 But Labour banned the UK member, stating he'd
shown support for another party. Obviously,
 a Labour “bot” had seized on the word
“Tory” mistakenly.

Another member had his application rejected for the
 same reason as Jane. He had joined the party as a
registered supporter, got his membership card,
 went to a local meeting, voted in the leadership
 election, and then had his membership rejected.

 The reason was that he had tweeted support for the
 idea of lending people £25 to join as a registered
supporter. But Labour rejected his membership after
 nine weeks, which appears to break the party’s own
 rules (which state that provisional membership lasts
 eight weeks and people can only be rejected during
 this time).

Corbyn, of course, has now won. But what this
 process has shown is the Labour Party’s dis-
regard for its members. Labour elites should
rightly be proud that the party is now the
largest in Europe. But instead, they’ve
seemed hell-bent on allowing only
the purest of the pure (by their
standards) to be members.

Where membership numbers and members’
morale, stands after this year’s conference,
is still to be seen. But if Jane is successful,
the Labour Party could have a long few
months of court cases ahead of them.

Note: Please remember that all comments
 made on social media, are done at your
own risk.


Get Involved!

– If you feel you’ve been ‘purged’,
take this online survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/857YMDK


or this one:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc0du5YuhPZ8ahI
oxC_b6pvBprm
GA4XFdG-0r2dOVYyc4UNFg/viewform?c=0&w=1


– Request all your own data that
the Labour Party holds on you:

http://www.labour.org.uk/pages/privacy


– Sign the petition in support of
Jeremy Corbyn, if you agree:

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/a-vote-
of-confidence-in-jeremy-corbyn-after-brexit


_______________________________________



Labour purge numbers
simply don’t add up
by Charley Allan
(first appeared in The Star)

I'm still trapped in “purge-atory” — neither banned
 from voting in the Labour leadership election, nor
 given a ballot paper, allegedly because of admin.
 error.

And I’m not alone. Although Labour has rubbished
 online claims of up to 100,000 missing ballots, it
 refuses to reveal the real number.

Why not? It knows exactly how many people are
in my position - we’ve been calling, emailing and
filling out forms enough, asking what’s happened
 to our votes.

Why weren’t our details given to Electoral Reform
 Services, which is running the election, in the first
 place?

How many names were originally sent to the
 company? How many members have asked
for
their ballots to be reissued? How many
have
actually received reissued ballots?

A panel report presented to Labour’s national
executive committee (NEC),  didn’t answer
any of these questions -- but
claimed that
3,107 “rule-breakers” have so
far been
purged.


Its numbers don’t really add up but the party
refuses to discuss them directly — instead
referring me to the Press Association’s
summary which gives the same total.

The reports claimed that the NEC was
still
considering another 1,616 cases.

I never had a chance to ask Labour my other
 questions, such as why hasn’t the full purge
list -- with names and reasons -- been given
 to Jeremy Corbyn or the NEC, as requested?

And who selectively leaked the most “extreme”
 cases of social-media rudeness --- much of
which,
hardly qualifies as abuse?

How can the party retrospectively proscribe words
 such as “traitor” when Corbyn opponents including
 former Blair official John McTernan and Portsmouth
 councillor John Ferrett, have called their leader the
 same, on Twitter, without losing their right to vote?

Why didn’t the NEC follow Shami Chakrabarti’s
 advice --- to “uphold the strongest principles of
natural justice” by giving purged members full
 reasons for their disenfranchisement --- plus
the right to a speedy appeal?

What’s the logic behind expelling members for
year-old retweets in support of another party’s
policy, while letting a Labour lord get away
with giving millions to the Lib Dems?

Does the published purge figure include members
 who have cast a ballot -- only to see it taken away
 for unspecified “comments made on social media”
 -- as experienced by Isle of Wight pensioner and
 life-long Labour voter, Jacqui Bartram?

How did the six-month retrospective membership
 freeze date, discourage “entryists” — as claimed
 in court — when the door was wide open to
 anyone who could afford £25 for a vote?

And on the subject of entryism, when will Ashfield
 MP Gloria de Piero be sanctioned, for encouraging
 Sun readers to sign up to the anti-Corbyn struggle?

Meanwhile, some good news. Michael Foster,
the party donor who called Corbynistas “nazi
stormtroopers,” was finally suspended for
abuse; though he’s comically complaining

 that “the rule of law is being ignored” -
while
two high-profile members have
had their
votes returned.

Ronnie Draper, general secretary of the BFAWU
 bakers’ union, and Harrow councillor, Pamela
 Fitzpatrick, both had their suspensions lifted
--- without any appeal hearing. And some

 Scottish Labour members were saved by
the grace of their own general secretary,

 who didn’t take kindly to London’s heavy-
handed approach to an “autonomous” party.

But what about members without as much
clout? Draper advises them to write directly
 to general secretary, Iain McNicol, and the
 party’s Compliance Unit — the beefed-up
band of “witch-hunters” who are still
advertising for more staff.

McNicol staked all his political capital on
this corridor coup --- and the left’s clean

sweep in recent NEC delegate elections,
means his position is more precarious
since the party conference ended.

His most recent show of contempt for
members... involved giving the green
 light to conference’s official brochure,
 which featured three photos of deputy
 leader Tom Watson but none of Corbyn.

This pathetic picture-purge, sparked the
inspired #JezSelfie hashtag, which soon
started trending on social media.

 Unity is now THE game in town... for true
Labour:
let the rest go purge
themselves.

You can chat to Charley
on Twitter: @charleyallan

_______________________________


IF - YOU THINK you HAVE
BEEN UNFAIRLY BARRED:


“Any member who is suspended & intends
to appeal the decision should throw in a
 ‘Subject Access Request in accordance
with the Data Protection Act’ --- for ALL
 data that the Labour Party hold on them.

The Labour Party are Data Controllers and
 therefore have to, by law, provide you with
 all material/information they hold on you.”

If anyone is in contact with anyone who
was barred from voting --- please can
you pass this info on:

The Labour leadership election was under the
jurisdiction of the electoral reform services.

If you were unfairly deprived of your vote you
can call them on 0208 365 8909 and lodge
 your complaint, and inform them of your
Data Protection request.

https://www.electoralreform.co.uk

The notification letters barring new members
did not give a clear reason, or information on
how to appeal, so Vox Political suggests that
 anyone in this situation, could also contact
 Liz Davies here: http://www.whycantivote.com

She is a barrister --- who can
advise members on what to do.


________________________________


 Corbyn pledges to ban fracking as
part of Labour's new green agenda


 To read Jeremy
Corbyn’s environmental
and energy manifesto
statement in full,
please go to our One Union Page.


____________________________________


Saving Labour? The secretive battle
 to oust Jeremy Corbyn – BBC News

Reg Race is a 'co-ordinator' of the group
 campaigning against Jeremy Corbyn.

At least, that's what a report ‘Saving Labour’
by the BBC’s Ross Hawkins, has concluded.

Reg Race is said to be co-ordinating a project
 to collect information on Labour members who
are willing to attack Jeremy & his supporters...
 but that doesn't mean he is the one behind it,
as no such information is available.

Meanwhile, the organisation has been collecting
 data on people sympathetic to its cause – which
 may be used for ''other purposes'' after the
 leadership election, we are told.

If these people admitted who they were and
 what they're doing, perhaps their behaviour
 might be more acceptable – but they won’t.

Supporting MPs, donors, and trade unionists,
 are all staying anonymous for the time being.

One wonders how these people would react if
 it was revealed that there was a secretive co-
ordinating hub of Corbyn supporters, working
 to spread their influence across the UK.

Reg claimed Saving Labour recruited
 over 120,000 registered supporters &
affiliated union members to vote anti
 Mr Corbyn, using online advertising.

The group, he says, has amassed details of
60,000 people on its own database, in just
 two months. There are plenty of numbers,
but virtually no names.

In his first broadcast interview, he told Radio
 4’s Today programme, he has the support of
 trade unionists - but will not say which ones.

 Nor will he name MPs or donors; those will
be published by the Electoral Commission,
 in the fullness of time, he says.

Why the secrecy?

“There’s a group of us and lots of us don’t want
to be out there in terms of the media, because
they are in relatively vulnerable positions,”
he says.

“Data's absolutely crucial in these races,” says Tom
 Flynn, Saving Labour’s full-time digital campaigner.
 “This was set up as a way of trying to get good data
on those Labour people who would like a change
of leadership.”

That data – contact details of sympathisers
who have a vote in Labour contests, could
 have an interesting future.

A Saving Labour supporter, Graham Jones MP
 suggests it may even play a part in trying to
 get rid of Unite’s general secretary, Len
McCluskey.

The data, the money, and the intent of those
 trying to wrestle back control of the Labour
Party from Mr Corbyn, will not expire, now
the
win for Jeremy has been declared.

They failed this year, but they will try again.

It will have to provide a list of its supporters
 & funders to the electoral commission, now
the leadership election is over, and
must
provide its first 3 monthly accounts

 and audits.

For a company that is supposedly all about
“savinglabour” it is trying very hard to hide
who is behind it.

 Momentum, by the way, had to have its
books audited early after a complaint

 "was raised".

Reply bladeofgrassuk on
 September 3, 2016 at 2:49 pm

This is a survey that they have sent out to all
 their supporters. They are hoping to set up
local anti-deselection groups nationwide.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/53G2PLD

The goal of the groups will be to protect MPs
parachuted into “safe” Labour seats, from
being democratically removed from office
 for their role in the right-wing coup.

It is worth mentioning that these groups
 have managed to avoid appointing a Data
Controller under the Data Protection Act,
 and so are not subject to the DPA of 1998.

Reg Race? Could this be the same one?

‘Reg Race, the former Labour MP and close ally of
 socialist firebrands Tony Benn & Ken Livingstone,
 has been paid millions of pounds of taxpayers’
 money as a result of regulations brought in by
New Labour ministers. The union man-turned-
consultant has also become a substantial
Labour Party donor and is one of the biggest
 backers of Alan Johnson’s bid for the party’s
 deputy leadership.

Mr Race’s company, Quality Health, is one of
a select band of “approved contractors” that
health trusts must hire to conduct patient
 and staff surveys.’

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1554774/
Ex-Labour-radical-now-makes-killing-on-NHS.html

(Report in original by clever Vox Political)


____________________________



IF NATO MEMBER ATTACKED 
--- IT DOES NOT MEAN WAR

Jeremy Corbyn was torn to pieces over not
wanting to go to war if a NATO member was
attacked (by Russia, the question implied).

There seems to be a mistaken idea that
preferring negotiations and a peaceful
approach to international relations, to
a kneejerk war which could so easily
 go nuclear - leading to the end of life
on this planet - can be compared to
Chamberlain's appeasement
before
World War 2.

Yet the NATO treaty itself, is not,
as some Tories have tried to
make out, a simple case of
rushing to war, if one of
NATO's states are hit.

Article 5 of the Washington Treaty envisions
 the support of other NATO members, in the
case of external aggression, it's true, but...

 The response measures are left at the discretion
 of member states --- it can be a mere diplomatic
note of support - without providing any real aid.

__________________________



    Labour Pledge We Will Bring Back
 Student Grants And The £30 EMA

Labour will reverse the abolition of student grants
 and the education maintenance allowance (EMA),
 if it wins the next general election, the shadow
 education secretary, Angela Rayner, stated.

The Tories replaced maintenance grants for poor
 university students in England with repayable &
often crippling loans, and the EMA, a £30-a-week
 cash payment helped 16 to 18-year-olds to stay
in education --- but was cut by the Tory/LibDem
coalition government.

Now Labour vows to reinstate the policies, which
 will support over a million students, & says they
 will be paid for, by increasing corporation tax by
 less than 1.5 per cent.

Ms Rayner: “While the Tories continue to burden
 our young people with debt, the Labour Party is
 committed to investing in our young people.

“It is only by investing in education, that we can
 ensure that all our young people, whatever their
 background, are able to succeed in whatever
they aspire to.”

________________________________



A DREAM COME TRUE


Support for Jeremy Corbyn from Tyrone O’Sullivan,
a fourth-generation south Wales miner, who led a
workers’ buy-out of Tower Colliery, to save it
 from closure.

"I’ve been close to Jeremy since the miners’ strike.
 Knowing the man, knowing his abilities and his
education, it was a dream come true for me when
 he became leader. His ideas and values are more
 necessary, here in south Wales, than probably
 anywhere else in the country. He wants
victory
for Labour, but only under
our terms -
for a change."

O’Sullivan, a lifelong Labour member, says 
Jeremy is the only true socialist, Labour
have had as leader, ''for
20 or 30 years''.


**************************************

CHILCOT REPORT: SOME MAIN POINTS:

1)  "Military action was not a last resort".

2) UK government "undermined the
authority"
of the UN security council.


3) Weapons of Mass Destruction presented
 "with a certainty that was not justified".

4) UK forces were "ill-prepared".

5a) "The government failed to
achieve its stated objectives."


5b) Post-war planning: Blair "should
 have known what might happen".

6) Chilcot says Blair also "overlooked the
 threat the invasion would pose to Britain."

____________________________________

Blair to Face Law

The former prime minister has been put on notice
 by families of dead servicemen, that he will face
 legal action, for his part in the illegal Iraq war.

They are being crowd-funded now, and
have raised so much money, that Blair
is
probably heading for a big fall...


Shadow Commons leader Paul Flynn:
the Iraq Inquiry's findings are an "utter
 condemnation" of his terrible decision
 --- and his prosecution should now be
given "serious consideration".

Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond:
"I would like to see Blair investigated by
the
International Criminal Court (ICC),
for
the crime of a war of aggression,
and
face parliamentary action to
stop
him holding public office
ever again."

A former British ambassador to the UN:
 "The UK was pushed into entering
this
military action, too early."

Stop the War Coalition Convener Ms German:
“This is an incredibly damning report for Tony Blair.
It will not call for legal sanctions, but it says that
Blair is culpable for the war, in many ways.

“He needs to be driven out of public life. He is
still part of the Labour Party. We need to make
 sure that truth & justice prevails. There must
 be legal action against Blair, & he should no
 longer be considered fit for any office.”

CND general secretary Kate Hudson:
 “The report shows that Tony Blair had
no respect for cabinet procedure, no
respect for Parliament, & no respect
for international law.

“Chilcot reveals the evidence that must now be
 used to bring Tony Blair to justice. This is our
 demand. Only when justice is served, can we
prevent disasters like the Iraq war from ever
happening again.”

 Iraqi journalist Juma al-Quraishi:
"Everyone who took part in the war against Iraq
should be condemned, either Britain, or others."

Baghdad resident Ali al-Saraji:
"Ex-UK prime minister, Tony Blair, destroyed
 our country. From 2003, to now, our country
has been the scene of destruction, killing,
massacres, explosions and sectarianism."

A defiant Blair refuses to accept accusations
 from service families that he was wrong and
reckless, and he insists that he would make
 the decision again, 'come what may'.

 Families of some of the 179 military personnel
 killed in Iraq, say the former PM is "a terrorist".

 Jeremy Corbyn has offered an apology,
 on Labour's behalf, for the "stain on
our party and our country".

_______________________________


PONCY LABOUR MPS PROBLEM?

A huge drop in working-class Labour MPs,
caused a massive drop in support among
 voters with similar backgrounds, reveals
 research seeking to explain why support
has dwindled in the party’s heartlands.

The study says past leaders like Kinnock
 and Blair made a concerted effort to pick
 “more and more middle-class candidates
to run for office, during the 80s and 90s,
 as part of an effort to rebrand” -- which
had initial successes at the ballot box.

But this “conscious electoral strategy”
stored up problems, as working-class
 voters who initially, just didn’t vote in
response, now seek an alternative.

The solution? Trust each constituency to put
forward its own candidates, and don't impose
 ‘party-approved’ choices who can't do the job.


International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2016


Today, December the 3rd,
is the United Nations'

International Day of Persons
with Disabilities (IDPD), 2016
 
How you can commemorate it
 today in your local community:

Observance of the Day provides opportunities
 for collaborative and inclusive events by all
stakeholders - Governments, the UN system,
civil society, and organizations of persons
with disabilities - to focus on the inclusion
 of those with disabilities in society and
their development, as beneficiaries...
 and as agents of change.

Organize: Hold forums, public discussions and
 information campaigns supporting the themes
 of IDPD 2016, to discuss and share ways of
including and empowering persons of all
abilities to develop & be fully included
 in their local communities.

Celebrate: Plan and organize performances
everywhere to celebrate contributions made
 by those with disabilities as agents of change
 in the communities in which they live. Celebrate
 those with disabilities by creating opportunities
to help realize their potential: through music,
sport, academia, or interpersonal skills.

Take Action: A major focus today, is practical
 action to realize the objectives of the Day, for
persons with disabilities & their communities.
 Highlight best practices --- and think of good
recommendations for your local politicians
businesses, academic institutions, cultural
 centres and others. Work to ensure that
 your activity leaves a legacy and
brings about lasting change.


"Let us work together for the full and equal
 participation of persons with disabilities,
 in an inclusive & sustainable world that
embraces humanity in all its diversity."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


http://www.un.org/en/events/disabilitiesday/
 


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.

_______________________________________


Third Of Domestic Abuse
Starts During Pregnancy
by Lamiat Sabin

Up to 60% of women who experience domestic
 violence, are abused by their partners while
pregnant, a midwives’ union says -- as a new
campaign is launched to combat the problem.

Nearly a third (30 per cent) of abuse cases
are triggered by pregnancy, and existing
violent behaviour escalates, when the
victim is expecting a baby, according
to statistics provided by the Royal
College of Midwives (RCM).

The report shows that this is due to a partner’s
 inability to cope with their jealousy and anger,
towards an unborn child.

Domestic violence has overtaken gestational
diabetes and pre-eclampsia as the main cause
of foetal death, as pregnant women are more
likely to be hit on the abdomen by a partner
or ex.

The risk of severe violence appears to be
greatest after a child is born, the report adds.

The data used in the Domestic Violence and
Pregnancy report, published in the International
 Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, were
drawn from victim admissions to A&E.

It is likely that the prevalence of violence against
women and their unborn and newborn children is
 under-reported --- since many expectant and new
 mothers find it difficult to seek help, the RCM said.

Midwives play a crucial role in identifying abuse,
by being alert to unexplained injuries and causes
of damage to a baby, RCM policy adviser Janet
 Fyle says.

The RCM joined government, domestic abuse
 charity SafeLives and other organisations, in
launching 16 Days of Action Against Domestic
 Violence Campaign, which runs to December 3.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow
 minister for women and equalities, Sarah Champion,
made a joint statement to mark the United Nations
International Day for the Elimination of Violence
 against Women and Girls.

They said: “We must support the incredible work of
women’s organisations who provide essential, life-
saving services to survivors.

“It is unacceptable that these specialist
 organisations who support women and
girls have seen resources decimated
 in the name of austerity.”

A Labour government would introduce statutory,
 age-appropriate school lessons to teach children
about healthy relationships and friendships, and
also how to identify abuse.

Mr Corbyn and Ms Champion condemned the
“unacceptable” government cuts to women’s
aid charities and vowed that Labour would
 increase funding.

Earlier this month, ministers launched a temporary
£20 million pot of funding for refuges and domestic
 violence support services, which have to bid for
a share of the money.

(source Morning Star)

___________________________________


More need, less money: older people
are missing out on the care they need
by Ignacio Amigo
 
There are currently 1.2 million older people in the UK
 living with some basic need unmet. That’s 48% more
than six years ago. Basic needs include things such
 as getting out of bed, washing, or going to the toilet.

Those are the shocking findings of a new analysis
 by Age UK, a charity dedicated to the elderly.

The numbers

Of those 1.2 million older people, about 40% do get
 some kind of support, but the support is insufficient.
This often means that carers are only available at
particular times of the day. The rest – almost
700,000 people – don’t get any help at all.

Age UK also highlights the dramatic situation of the
 291,400 older people that have three or more needs
 unmet. Of those, more than 20% fall into the group
 that receives no help whatsoever.

Carolyn Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, has
 asked the government to pledge giving social care
 priority in the forthcoming Autumn Statement,
which will be published on 23 November.

Funding cuts

The numbers shown by Age UK should come as no
 surprise, after years of budget cuts. A recent BBC
 analysis showed that spending on care for people
 over 65 has dropped by 20% since 2004. Over the
 same period, the proportion of people over 65 in
the UK has increased another 20% [PDF, page 4].
This means that there is now less money
to treat more people.

In fact, in the last few years, there has been a great
 reduction in the number of older people receiving
 care from the state. While in 2009 there were more
 than 1.1 million people receiving care funded by
 local authorities, that number fell to 853,615
 by 2013/2014 [PDF, page 16].

Ruth Thorlby, Deputy Director of Policy at the
 Nuffield Trust, sums up the situation perfectly:

The number of older people needing care is
 increasing and yet we are continuing to put
 less money in. Unmet need is rising, many
providers are threatening to pull out of
contracts, the wellbeing of carers is
deteriorating, access to care is get-
ting
worse. A Government that wants
to
create ‘a country which works for
everyone’ --- should not tolerate the
oldest, most vulnerable, falling in
to a social care system, riddled
with holes.”

Poor people are being hit harder

The lack of care funding is not affecting everyone
 equally. A recent report by The King’s Fund warns
us, that a change in the care providers’ business
strategy is taking place. Due to the reduction of
 fees paid by local authorities, as well as other
 increasing pressures, many care providers are
 concentrating on people who can pay for their
own care. This is creating a ‘two-tier’ system:
one for people with higher income, and one for
 those who rely on local authority-arranged care.

The report puts it boldly [PDF, page 5]:

Access to care depends increasingly on what people
can afford – and where they live – rather than on
what they need. This favours the relatively well
off and well informed --- at the expense of the
poorest --- who are reliant on an increasingly
 threadbare local authority safety net – especially
if they live in areas where local authorities have
been least able to sustain spending levels – and
who are at a higher risk of declining quality and
 provider failure.

The reports concludes [PDF, page 82] that long-term
 policies, along with a mechanism to secure cross-
party consensus, on some shared principles, are
 urgently needed. Policy-makers should take note.

source The Canary

__________________________________


Shadow employment minister demands
 action as child poverty hits 3.9 million

From her website:

Shadow Employment Minister, Margaret Greenwood
MP, called on the Government to take urgent action
to tackle child poverty after figures released by the
End Child Poverty campaign revealed that in some
 parts of the UK, nearly half of children are living
in poverty.

“3.9 million children in the UK are living in
poverty and that includes 18,000 children
 in the Wirral. Children in the UK are now
 twice as likely to be poor --- as our
pensioners,” said Ms Greenwood.

“In every part of the country, there are children
who are growing up in poverty and having to
 do without.

“That means going without all sorts of things,
including food. Some will be wearing shoes
that don’t fit, clothes that aren’t warm
enough, and going to bed hungry.
This is wholly unacceptable, and
the government needs to take
urgent action.

“Millions of families are struggling to meet basic
 household bills as a result of low pay, insecure
work and the lack of affordable housing. On top
of that, food prices are expected to rise in the
 coming year.

“Cuts to Universal Credit are going to hit the
poorest families hard. A single parent family
 would have to work an extra 2 months each
year, to make up the money they will lose
 as a result of these cuts. Clearly that is
 impossible.

“Where a family has to move to cheaper
accommodation, children may also have
to move schools, causing disruption to
their friendship groups and their
education.

“Family tensions caused by money worries
are easily transmitted to children --- even
though that would be the last thing that
 parents would want.

“The Prime Minister said on coming to power
that her Government would be on the side
of families just struggling to get by.

“I am calling on the Government to live up to
 its rhetoric by reversing cuts to Universal
Credit in the Autumn Statement.”

You can find more information
 on the Child Poverty campaign at

www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/

The Trussell Trust reports that food bank use
 has increased again this year. Food parcels
 were given to 519,000 in the 6 months
to the end of September, which
 included 188,000 children.

source - Vox Political


____________________________________


WALES TO SUFFER AS TORIES
 CUT RAIL ELECTRIFICATION

Rail Minister Paul Maynard’s decision to 'defer'
electrification of the Great Western rail line
from London to Wales, is a blatant failure to
 honour a general election manifesto pledge.

His assertion that new rolling stock can “bring
 in the benefits expected by passengers” with-
out “costly & disruptive electrification
works” is a pathetic joke.

The new trains were originally intended to run
on electric alone, but have been ''amended''
to provide a diesel back-up, which Maynard
now says is ''the way ahead'' for GWR.

This breaks government commitments to reduce
 global warming emissions and makes a mockery
 of the disruption that many areas have already
suffered, through their preparatory work for
electrification.

Ministers still set greater store on the austerity
 agenda of cuts, than on public investment for
economic growth and prosperity.

GWR was to deliver customer improvements
by 2019, but has now kicked completion of
 the electrification project, originally meant
 for 2018, to a faraway 2024.

If such projects are postponed, costs rise.
The price of GWR electrification was £874
million in 2013 -- and is now estimated at
£2.8 billion!

Upgraded, efficient, safe, environmentally
 sound, affordable rail networks, are not
an optional extra in a modern economy.

In Europe, massive public investment
in rail has delivered for passengers.

Margaret Thatcher’s preference for private
 cars, followed by John Major’s decision to
fragment and privatise British Rail, leaves
the UK and Wales decades behind...

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald
 demands that the government reverse this
 decision and keep its election promises.

Some hope!

______________________________________


Tory austerity cuts ‘systematically’
violated rights of disabled Britons – UN

The United Nations accuses the Conservative
 government, of violating the human rights of
disabled people by cutting welfare provision.

A report by the UN Committee on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities criticizes the reforms
 brought in by the former Work and Pensions
Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

The committee says the cuts and caps to welfare
 introduced under the guise of austerity, “gravely
 or systematically” violate disabled people's rights.

UN committee members visited the UK in
 Oct. 2015 on a fact-finding mission. Their
 report was based on over 200 interviews
 and around 3,000 pages of evidence.

The committee says Britain should establish
 a watchdog to assess the impact of policy
 changes on disabled people’s lives.

It also criticizes the distorted representation
 of disabled people in the UK.

“Persons with disabilities have been regularly
 portrayed negatively as being dependent or
making a living out of benefits, committing
 fraud as benefit claimants, being lazy and
 putting a burden on taxpayers, who pay
‘money for nothing,’” the report says.

The government is also attacked for its cuts
 to housing benefits, that cause high levels
 of stress and depression, the report says.

Ministers had not factored disabled people’s needs
 into reforms, while programs to encourage them to
find work had “no visible impact,” with many now
driven into debt or forced to use food banks.

Disabled People Against Cuts (Dpac) founder Linda
 Burnip told the Guardian it “came as no surprise
 to anyone who's followed the stripping away of
disabled people’s rights over the last six years.”

“The United Nations has found today that there is
 reliable evidence showing the Tory Government
is responsible for grave violations of the rights of
 disabled people, under its failing austerity plan,”
Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary
 Debbie Abrahams says.

“The UN report confirms that, despite Theresa
 May’s warm words, the Government is failing
sick and disabled people.

“Labour will transform our social security system
 to ensure that, like our NHS, it is there for us all
in our time of need.”

The government said in a statement: “As a strong
 parliamentary democracy, where the voices and
 opinions of disabled people are represented and
 listened to, the UK is a place where disabled
 people's rights are respected, promoted
and upheld.”

________________________________________


The Benefits Cap Has Now Come Into Force.
Desperate People Are About To Become
More Desperate Still
by Charlotte Hughes

The new benefits cap has now come into force.
Myself, other activists and politicians had tried
desperately to warn the public about this, but
 it seemed to fall on deaf ears in many cases.

I suppose it’s easier to run away from reality, to try
 to carry on as normal and ignore the fact that this
 is happening.
 
The enormity of the situation
 has now hit people very hard.

As a community activist, I started to receive emails
 from worried people in the early hours of yesterday
 morning and this continued throughout the day.

Questions such as: “How will I manage?” “I’m
scared I’m going to lose my home,” “We can’t
 afford to eat and pay the rent, what shall we do?”

Make no mistake, this is going to be devastating
 and these are the questions that thousands and
 thousands of people were asking themselves
 yesterday, and they will continue to do so.

The government stated that it has implemented the
 benefit cap because it wants to make unemployed
 and sick people think more about the cost of things.
 It wants them to be more in line with people who
are working.

Theresa May was quoted as saying that
 this will provide “good value for money.”

I say that making the poorest suffer is never
good value for money. You quite simply can’t
 put a price on a person’s life.
 It’s unconscionable to do so.

How will the new benefit cap affect people?
 Basically, unemployed and people claiming
 employment and support allowance who are
 not in the support group are expected to pay
 the shortfall in their rent. Deciding between
eating, keeping warm or paying the rent is
an impossible choice to make.

There’s a massive misunderstanding among
 the media and society that claimants receive
 all the money that they are entitled to in their
 hands. They don’t.

Most of their money goes to pay their landlord
 their rent. With social housing being in very
short supply, more and more people are forced
 to go to the private rented sector and many
are already paying a top-up rent.

Having to pay a now impossible amount will
see tenants being evicted, having to rely on
 homeless shelters which are already full or
being housed in B&Bs which are usually in
 a state of disrepair.

If a tenant falls behind with their rent and gets
 evicted, the local authorities will see them as
making themselves intentionally homeless and
 therefore have no statutory duty to house them.
Whether single, a couple, or with children —
 the situation is dire.

The pressure that will be put on foodbanks will be
 unprecedented. They find it hard enough to cope
 already, so how will they be able to cope with
more and more people coming to them?

They rely on donations, many probably made by
the very same people that are now being hit by
 the benefit cap now. In effect, the amount of
 people able to donate will drop as well.

This will also have a direct effect upon the NHS
and related services. More and more people
will become ill and admitted to hospital with
 malnutrition-related diseases. And now
 winter is here, people will suffer from
more cold-related illnesses too.

It has been estimated that as many as 88,000
 families will be affected, including a quarter of
 a million children — which is the equivalent of
350 primary schools all being faced with
 homelessness by the new benefit cap.

It’s horrific. It can never be seen as good value
 for money. It’s inhumane and we need to start
raising our voices more.

source - The Morning Star


__________________________________________



How did we – the British people – ever
come to accept such laws as reasonable?

An elderly couple who have been by each
other’s side for 70 years are being ‘forced
apart’ by social services – as they ‘don’t
meet the criteria’ to live together.

Jessie and Ray Lorrison, of South Shields in
 South Tyneside, have spent nearly every day
of their lives together since they first met in
1946 – but have now been told they must
live
separate lives.

Ray, 95, is living at Westoe Grange Care Home
 in the town, while his heartbroken wife Jessie,
88, is in hospital after being told she ‘does
not
meet the criteria’ to join her husband.

A South Tyneside Council spokesperson said: "The
 Council is not able to comment on individual cases,
however any decision on care and support for an
individual is based on their own needs and is
made in line with the Care Act."

Another statement is that this is
NOT an unusual case. Social
Services do this to almost
ALL frail couples as they
enter
hospice care.


Despicable, obscenely cruel,
gob-smackingly vile... that's
the UK's Social Services!


________________________________



As Labour gets fined over election expenses
Tory election fraud scandal is being ignored
by Steve Topple  source: The Canary

It was revealed on Tuesday 25 October that
the Labour Party had been fined over
undeclared election expenses.

The Electoral Commission fined the party £20,000
 for not submitting numerous expenses from the
2015 general election, including the infamous
 ‘Ed Stone’. But it begs the question — just
what is happening with the so-called
 Tory election fraud scandal?

Hitting brick walls

The Commission found that the Labour Party had
not declared £123,748 of expenses in last year’s
 election campaign. These included an 8ft stone
tablet which had Labour’s key pledges carved
into it – the missing costs being £7,614. A
further 33 receipts were missing from the
campaign, plus 49 for transport costs.

The party’s General Secretary, Iain McNicol,
committed two offences under the Political
Parties, Elections and Referendums Act in
relation to the missing payments and the
 missing invoices. The
£20,000 fine is the
highest in the Electoral Commission’s
history.

And while the commission said Labour
had co-operated throughout the inquiry,
it criticised the party for not giving the
requested information in a “reasonable
 time frame”.

But while Labour has been held to account over
what could be considered fraudulent expenses,
the Conservative Party’s alleged election fraud
appears to have been kicked into the long grass.

Unprecedented fraud?

As The Canary previously revealed, the Electoral
 Commission and police have been investigating
allegations that tens of thousands of pounds
that should have been declared as expenses
locally, were in fact, paid for nationally.

These expenses fell into 2 main areas: the use
 of hotels for campaign staff, and the so-called
Tory “Battle Bus” – which ferried activists up
and down the country. If they should have
been declared locally, this would mean that
the Tories had breached spending limits in
at least 29 constituencies. That, in turn,
may well put the legitimacy of the 2015
general election result into question.

In June, 18 police forces across the UK had been
 given, or were seeking an extension to, the time
limit for the investigations related to election
expenses. David Cameron’s Conservative
government was the first government in
UK history to face police investigations
into alleged electoral fraud.

One such example was in South Thanet, where
Craig Mackinlay is the Conservative MP. The
 party is accused of spending around £20,000
 on Mackinlay’s 2015 campaign which was
not only not declared as national or local
spending --- but was not declared at all.

In June, Mackinlay attempted in court to block
a police investigation into the matter. But the
 judge threw the case out, ----- saying that the
 alleged fraud was on an “unprecedented s
cale” and the police investigation was of
“very significant public interest”.

Tory pork pies?

David Cameron, when he was still Prime Minister,
went on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show to defend
Mackinlay’s court action. Marr asked:

Did you authorise the payment of a very expensive QC
to go to Kent Police, and try to stop them extending
their investigation? Because that looks like a
cover-up.

In an attempt to deflect from his own apparent
involvement in the “cover-up”, Cameron said:

This is all being handled, I think quite properly, by
 the party Chairman, and I’m very happy that what
we did was right and we can answer all the
questions that we’re being [asked].

Since then, the investigations appear to have gone
 quiet. As The Guardian reported on 29 July, police
 forces are applying for a year’s investigation
 extension, but no conclusions have been
drawn yet.

The judgement over the Labour Party’s transport
costs now shines some light into the severity of
the allegations about the Tories. The Electoral
Commission said it didn’t suspect an offence
had been committed regarding Labour busing
 activists up and down the country. The fact
that the Commission has not yet dismissed
 the same allegations against Conservatives
 could well mean there is a case to answer.


________________________________



Crash the campaign bus:
The Blairites’ plan B


With the botched coup simply bolstering Corbyn’s
 position as leader, Labour rightwingers look ready
to commit an ultimate betrayal, says Charley Allan.

The term “Blairite” is often misapplied, leaving
some centre-left Corbyn-sceptic MPs unfairly
 tarred by Tony’s toxic brush.

Within Labour, it’s normally meant and taken as
 an insult, which is why the “B-word” has been
 banned along with “traitor” — using either
online can see you summarily suspended.

But there are some politicians who still wear
 this particular label with pride.

Step forward Baron Peter Mandelson, New Labour
architect and by far the best spin-doctor Blair
ever had.

Mandelson has long opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s
 leadership — he even tried to pull the plug on last
 year’s contest by putting pressure on all the other
 candidates to resign en masse at the last minute.

He still insists that “unelectable” Corbyn can’t be
 allowed to lead the party, but his latest solution
 is sure to send shivers down centre-left spines.

At a Royal Television Society conference, the
political “prince of darkness”, was asked
about the possibility of a snap election.

“Bring it on,” he replied. “I get up every day
 and pray that will be the case.”

And the reason for such enthusiasm? “So we can
deal with the awful situation in the Labour Party
 earlier than 2020.”

Just to be clear, “awful situation” is code for
 “Corbyn’s leadership” — as is “deal with” for
“bring to a brutal end.”

Mandelson is openly calling for a speedy general
 election loss to dislodge Corbyn as leader — and
 it’s not the first time the Labour right has been
 caught committing such a betrayal.

Back in August, Tory MP Andrew Bridgen told the
 Sunday Times: “I’ve had very senior Labour MPs
 come to me and they've begged me to push for
 an early general election to finish Corbyn off.”

He said they’d told him: “Put us out of our misery
 — it would be a mercy killing.”

And according to the Telegraph, the MPs “warned
 the only way to rid the party of Mr Corbyn would
 be if Labour is ‘wiped out’ at a general election
 -- proving his unpopularity with the public.”

Make no mistake, Blairites really are praying for
 Labour to lose a snap general election, just so
 they can topple their twice-elected leader.

It’s the abuse of the power to ban that has
 caused such bad blood in recent months.
It must be tackled head on before Labour
can move on.

Will there now be thousands of disciplinary hearings,
 costing who knows how much of our precious party
 resources?

Maybe we’ll see a mass amnesty in the spirit
 of clean slates — though that runs the risk
of laying bare the right’s dirty tricks.

However this is resolved, we still have to deal
with the “detrimental effect” and “inevitable
 shame” of our suspensions, which is why
 there needs to be a full investigation into
 what happened and who is to blame.

At the very least, seeing the back of general
 secretary Iain McNicol — who purged us all
 personally using powers given to him by
the NEC — would help draw a line under
the whole debacle.

It makes no sense for the centre-left to keep
 supporting the same people who led them up
 the garden path this summer, unnecessarily
turned their own members against them, and
 now threaten to “destroy the village in order
to save it.”

Let’s pray they wake up, before it’s too late.

Chat to Charley on Twitter: @charleyallan

___________________________________


Tory Boundary Short-Changers
   
The Conservatives are hardly even bothering
 to pretend that they are cutting the size of
 Parliament to make the distribution of
seats fairer.

The vanishing constituencies are almost all
 Labour ones, with Wales — where over a
quarter of seats are to be eliminated —

London, the N-East & N-West England
all taking significant casualties.

By contrast most Tory areas get off lightly,
 with the true-blue Isle of Wight even due
to nab an extra seat --- despite having
 too few people to merit it.

This could be defeated --- with
a UNITED LABOUR PARTY !!!

But unfortunately, there are "entryist"  MPs who, for
decades, have been groomed by CIA cold war relic
organisations -- like the Atlantic Council -- and are
now trying to misdirect the Labour Party towards
cuts, a militarised police, and a US war agenda...

- and their anti-Corbyn coup is hobbling Labour.

‘How Can I Deselect My Labour MP?’ A Short Guide
to Reselection and Democratic Accountability
by Eric Sim, excellent free advice here:

http://novaramedia.com/2016/07/13/how-can-i-
deselect-my-labour-mp-a-short-guide-to-
reselection-and-democratic-accountability/


CHRIS BRYANT - SUPPORT THE MEMBERS'
LEADERSHIP CHOICE & POLICIES - OR GO!

Chris Bryant, the Rhondda's dodgy MP,
was on TV -- as soon as the PLP coup
started -- telling us that Jeremy MUST
go, because it was the ONLY way to
act in the Labour Party's interest...


Chris Bryant's voting record:
from TheyWorkForYou.com

On Tuition Fees:

On 27 Jan 2004:
Chris Bryant voted in favour of university tuition
fees increasing from £1,125 per year, to up to
£3,000 per year.

On 31 Mar 2004:
Chris Bryant voted to allow university tuition fees
 to increase from £1,125 per year, to up to £3,000
 per year.

On 31 Mar 2004:
Chris Bryant voted for the introduction of variable
university tuition fees (top-up fees) of up to £3,000
per year in place of the previous fixed fee of £1,250
per year.

On 31 Mar 2004:
Chris Bryant voted to allow university tuition fees
to increase from £1,125 per year to up to £3,000
per year, and to make other changes to higher
education funding and regulation arrangements.

On 14 Sep 2004:
Chris Bryant voted against: the immediate abolition
 of all tuition fees, the re-introduction of maintenance
grants of up to £2,000 for students from low-income
homes, and changes to the country's higher
education system.

On 14 Sep 2004:
Chris Bryant voted to reject the Liberal
Democrat policy of abolition of tuition fees.

On 25 May 2016:
Chris Bryant was absent for a vote on Queen's
Speech - Forcing Schools to Become Academies
- Further Rises in University Tuition Fees


On Human Rights:

Consistently voted for introducing ID cards

Almost always voted for requiring the mass
retention of information about communications

Generally voted for mass surveillance of
people’s communications and activities


On the Environment:

Generally voted against greater regulation
 of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract
 shale gas


On Special Interests:

Almost always voted against limits
 on success fees paid to lawyers in
no-win no fee cases

Generally voted against a
statutory register of lobbyists


On War or Peace:

Generally voted for use of UK military
 forces in combat operations overseas

Consistently voted for the Iraq war

Consistently voted against an
 investigation into the Iraq war

Generally voted for replacing Trident
 with a new nuclear weapons system

On 2 Dec 2015:
Voted to support UK airstrikes in Syria
[without UN authorisation]

On 2 Dec 2015:
Voted to support UK airstrikes in Syria
[without UN authorisation]


On Independence:

Generally voted for more EU integration

____________________________
   

Chris Bryant Labour MP
From Wikipedia

(aka 1962-1986: Mr Christopher John Bryant
1986-1991: The Reverend Christopher John
Bryant, 1991-2001: Mr Christopher John
Bryant, 2001-: Mr Christopher John
Bryant MP.)

Born in Cardiff, to a Scottish mother & a Welsh
 father, Bryant grew up in Cardiff, Wales (where
 his father worked for 5 years), and Cheltenham.

He was educated at Cheltenham College, an
independent school for boys in the spa town
of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, where he
was captain of the school swimming team,
and Mansfield College at the University of
Oxford, where he graduated in 1983, with
 a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in English.
 This was later promoted to a Master of
Arts degree (MA (Oxon)), as per tradition.

After completing his first degree, Bryant began
 training to be a priest in the Church of England
at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, in Oxfordshire.
There, he obtained a degree in theology.

Although a member of the Conservative
 Party, and an elected office-holder in the
 Oxford University Conservative Association,
he joined the Labour Party in 1986, after
leaving Oxford.

He was ordained deacon in 1986 and priest in
1987. He served as a Curate at the Church of
 All Saints, High Wycombe, from 1986 to 1989;
then as a Youth Chaplain in Peterborough,
as well as travelling in Latin America.

In 1991 Bryant left the ordained ministry, after
deciding that being gay and being a priest,
were incompatible. Statements made by
 Richard Harries, then Bishop of Oxford,
 also influenced his decision.

After leaving the priesthood in 1991, Bryant
worked as the election agent to the Holborn
 and St Pancras Constituency Labour Party,
 where he helped Frank Dobson hold his seat
 in the 1992 general election.

From 1993, he was Local Government officer
for the Labour Party; he lived in Hackney and
 was elected to Hackney Borough Council in
1993, serving until 1998. He became Chair of
the Christian Socialist Movement.

 He is both a member of the Labour Friends
 of Israel and Labour Friends of Palestine &
 the Middle East. From 1994 to 1996 he was
 London manager of the leader-grooming
 "charity", Common Purpose.

 He was Labour candidate for Wycombe, in the
 1997 general election (he lost by 2,370 votes),
and Head of European Affairs for the BBC,
from 1998.

His selection for the very safe Labour seat of
Rhondda, South Wales in 2000, shocked many
 people given Bryant's background – gay, an ex-
Anglican vicar, and someone who was a Tory,
while studying at Oxford, and a member now,
of the Henry Jackson Society 'think tank' ---
 described by The Guardian newspaper as
 'neoconservative'. It is pro-US, pro-NATO
and pro-military intervention, as well as
being fundamentally anti-socialist.

 Fifty-two people applied for the candidature
and a local councillor was hot favourite to
 win, before Bryant was parachuted in.

In 2004, a photograph of Mr Bryant in his
 underpants, which he had posted to a gay
 dating website, was published in 'papers.

When an interviewer suggested he was
 a 'disgrace to the Rhondda', he replied:
"They can't get rid of me."


His pay, allowances and some expenses:

The basic annual salary for an MP, from
April 1st, 2016 is £74,962.  MPs also get
 expenses: to cover the costs of running
 an office, employing staff, having some-
where to live in London, plus, in their
constituency and travelling between
 Parliament and their constituency.


His MP's expenses story:

Chris Bryant changed second home
 twice to claim £20,000: the deputy
leader of the House of Commons,
 "flipped" his second home twice,
 in 2 years, allowing him to claim
 almost £20,000 for renovations
 and fees.

Chris Bryant, MP for the Rhondda, split over
 £92,000 of expenses between 3 properties
 in Wales and London --- within five years.

In 2004, he attempted to claim £58,000 to
 overhaul his second home in Wales, after
allegedly complaining that properties in
his constituency were "terrace or mine
 owners' houses".

Mr Bryant, a former Church of England clergyman,
wanted the money for a new bathroom & kitchen,
 and to demolish his conservatory. He'd bought the
 detached house for £97,500, under a year earlier.

 He submitted a claim to the Commons fees office for
 £58,493.26 --- almost 3 times the annual maximum.
 He noted that the claim exceeded his allowance.

His alleged justification was disclosed... in
 correspondence between Commons officials.
 By email, an official wrote: "He had problems
finding a suitable property because in the
Rhondda there is a choice mainly of terraced
 property or mine owners' houses." When
approached by the Daily Telegraph,
Mr Bryant said: "I have never said
 or thought anything of the sort".

 In all, he successfully claimed over £13,000
 for renovations, repairs & appliances, in 2004.
Along with other bills, his annual claim was
 £20,902.

In April 2005, he flipped his expenses to his flat in
 west London, which he bought for £400,000 in April
 2002. He also claimed £630 a month for mortgage
 interest, along with other bills. After claiming over
 £3,600 over 3 months, he sold the flat in July 2005
 for £477,000.

Mr Bryant used his profits to buy a more expensive
 flat in west London, which was valued at £670,000.
 He immediately flipped his second home expenses
 there, claiming almost £6,400 in stamp duty, legal
fees and mortgage fees, incurred in the purchase.

He then began claiming interest of £1,000 a month
on the mortgage. He also claimed a further £6,000
 a year for the flat's service charge and ground rent.

In all, he claimed £92, 415 in second
home expenses, from 2004 to 2009.

Mr Bryant said at the time: "I moved flat in
 London, so as to be closer to Parliament."

Research by Channel 4 News in 2015 found that
at least 46 MPs had this kind of system in place
– a move one Labour backbencher described as
“a new fiddle”. Channel 4 reported then:

“Our investigation found that many of the MPs
 bought their London properties with the help of
the taxpayer, when a previous expenses system
 allowed them to claim back mortgage payments.
But when those claims were banned, following
 the expenses scandal, they switched to letting
out their properties, in some cases for up to
 £3,000 a month. They then started claiming
 expenses for rent and hotels in the capital.”

Among those identified was Chris Bryant, shadow
leader of the House of Commons. He had already
 bought a penthouse in London back in 2005 and
 claimed around £1,000 a month in mortgage
claims under the old system.

But after the expenses scandal, he started renting
the property out. It’s since been advertised by estate
 agents as having a private lift and a porter, with rent
 at about £3,000 a month. Meanwhile, Bryant moved
 into a new flat;- claiming his own rent on expenses.


______________________________________



UK police will soon start bagging
 people’s heads during arrests

Metropolitan Police officers will soon be able
to use specially designed bags, known as
spithoods, to cover suspects’ heads...
during
arrests and in police stations.

The mesh bags are used to restrain suspects
and protect the police from those who might
try to bite or spit at them. The Met insists the
 hoods prevent exposure to diseases and
 serious infection.

In a pilot scheme starting in October, 32 custody
 units, will receive material and training, on how
to
use “spit guards.” Their application on any
 suspect will be recorded under “use of force.”

Spit hoods aren't to be used on the streets initially,
so as not to incense the public, but details on their
 use after the pilot scheme expires, have not been
 provided.

The measure has been controversial with human
 rights groups, which say the use of spit hoods
is “an alarming development" and
"cruel and
degrading.”


The device may breach suspects’ rights, with some
 police chiefs suggesting the hoods resemble the
 trappings adopted at Guantanamo Bay. Even the
 Met was once opposed to them.

“A spit hood is a primitive, cruel and degrading tool
 that inspires fear and anguish,” says Liberty's
 director, Martha Spurrier.

“We have seen many cases where the police use
 them unnecessarily and without justification,
 including on children and disabled people.

“Police have the power to use force against citizens
when they have to – using handcuffs, arm restraints,
leg restraints, pepper spray, batons. The suggestion
 that officers need to be able to cover people’s faces
 and heads is as far-fetched as it is frightening. Spit
 hoods belong in horror stories, not on the streets of
 a civilized society. We urge the Metropolitan police
 to think again.”


____________________________________



TORY PARTY MEMBERS DISAPPEARING!


Tory party membership, is now
 below 100,000 for the first time.
The Tory Party is disappearing.

It'll be weird, having thousands
of Young Corbynites canvassing
 - and all the Tory party have is a
few imported American nut-jobs.

How will that play in the marginals?

Remember - there are still 19 police forces
 investigating 32 Tory MPs for election fraud.

Police investigate ‘hidden payments’
to Northampton South MP’s fund

VoxPolitico - This story seems to be separate from
 the wider issue of alleged election fraud by many
 Conservative candidates. [ed. See articles below]

Apparently the donations come from
 1st Land Ltd, a firm at the centre of
an inquiry into the disappearance
of millions of pounds of
taxpayers’ money.

    Hidden payments - totalling £30,000 - to a Tory MP’s
   general election campaign are being investigated...
by the police.

Auntie BBC has already established that the money
for David Mackintosh’s Northampton South fighting
fund, in 3 (three) £10,000 donations, was disguised

 -- in terms of who made them.

The Electoral Commission passed
 their file on the case to the police.

    Mr Mackintosh, ex-leader of Northampton
    council, welcomed the investigation and
“will co-operate fully with police”.

    “I'd no reason to believe that the donations
     --- were from anyone other than the named
donors,” he said.

_________________________________


Labour promises to rescue
communities and industry
by Peter Lazenby

Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell unveils
 plans to pump billions of pounds of investment in
to the UK’s regions, to boost industry and create
 hundreds of thousands of jobs.

He pledges radical changes, including giving
workers the right to sit on company boards
 and funding for co-operative enterprises -
proposals similar to the Bullock Report -
commissioned by Wilson’s government.

Mr McDonnell says a Labour government will
 create a publicly controlled investment bank
 - and similar banks for Britain’s regions - with
access to £500 billion, to boost industrial
development and jobs.

McDonnell says his investment plans will help
 those communities “left behind”, by Osborne’s
 austerity campaign, which hit the UK’s worst-
off areas (like Wales valleys) the hardest.

“Today, I want to announce a major new
 commitment, from Labour, to the British
people, a policy that will form the lynch-
pin of everything else we do, to rescue
Britain’s communities from decay and
 to rebuild Britain’s industries after
 years of neglect,” he said.

“George Osborne leaves behind a legacy
of
failure. We’ve got public services cut
to the
bone and in some cases, beyond.

“We’ve got a million people using foodbanks
 -- in the sixth-richest economy in the world.
And investment has fallen, dragging
 down productivity.

“Our economy has become far too
dependent on low-paid, insecure
work, as a result.

“Worse yet, spending cuts have hit the places
 least able to cope with them, the hardest. The
 UK has the worst regional inequalities of any
 current member of the European Union.

“Our country needs a programme
 of economic transformation.

“That must start with addressing the funding
 imbalance, and delivering the investment
 needed, to kick-start high-quality growth.”

Mr McDonnell pledges: “On coming to power,
Labour will set up a National Investment Bank
 and a network of regional banks, whose aim
is to help mobilise £500bn into the economy
--- and transform Britain.

“A national investment bank, managed
 independently of government ---- can
 raise the financing needed to deliver
 infrastructure on this scale.”

He says the plans will create 100,000
 well-paid jobs in the north-east alone.

_______________________________


 43 year old former soldier dies in
Wales --- after police Taser him

A former soldier who served in Iraq & Afghanistan
 has died after being tasered by police in Llanelli.
The man had reportedly been suffering from
post-traumatic stress disorder.

The victim, identified as 43-year-old Spencer Beynon,
 was tasered after officers were called by a woman
who was “concerned” about the welfare and
behaviour of the man, who appeared injured
and was acting erratically.

Beynon was a former member of the Royal
Welsh Regiment and had served in the
Army for 15 years.

The UN has already told the UK to ban police
Taser use on children – but what about other
vulnerable people?

The Independent Police Complaints Commission
 (IPCC) has launched an inquiry into the incident.

Local councilor Robert Davies says Beynon
 was “a nice guy” who “always had time to
 say hello, very pleasant.”

"I think he found it hard coming out of the Army.
So many of our soldiers who serve the country,
 are forgotten about."

Nia Griffith, Labour MP for Llanelli, & Lee Waters,
 Labour Welsh Assembly member for Llanelli, say
in a joint statement:

"We are both extremely concerned about reports
of the police Taser shooting incident in Llanelli,
and would like to extend our deepest sympathy
to the family and friends of the man who died."

According to government statistics, police in
 England and Wales used Tasers more than
10,000 times in 2014 – a 2 percent increase
 over the previous year. From 2013 to 2014,
Taser use rose by 3 percent.

UK police used stun guns on 407 minors,
 --- despite the United Nations warning.


_____________________________



Housing Associations: Friend Or Foe?

A fascinating article for many [formerly known
as] RCT Homes tenants, in the Rhondda --- and
 throughout Rhondda-Cynon-Taf:

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-3207-
Housing-associations-Friend-or-foe#.VzzAUyuyXsM


_____________________________


More Tory election fraud allegations:
MPs failed to declare online ad costs

Two more Tory MPs face fresh allegations of fraud
 for failing to declare the cost of running negative
 campaign ads online, as police forces across the
UK, continue to probe the election spending
 of Conservative candidates.

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd and Amber Valley
 MP Nigel Mills apparently used local versions of
 national online advertisements designed by ad
firm M&C Saatchi, but failed to declare the ads
 in their election spending returns, the Daily
Mirror reports.

The Tories paid the ad agency, which has
worked with the party for 35 years, £395,575
 (US$580,000) for advertising costs in the run
 up to the 2015 election.

A ‘wrecking ball’ video ad created by Saatchi,
--- and declared by the party under “national
spending” --- was altered slightly and used
 by both Rudd and Mills on their YouTube
channels for local campaigns.

Rudd posted a version of the same ad on her
YouTube page, on March 29, 2015, with the
 slogan changed from “Recovering Economy:
Don’t Let Labour Wreck It” to “Unemployment
 down by 1,921 in Hastings & Rye since 2010.”

The ad does not appear in Rudd’s campaign
 election spending return.

Mills, already being investigated by Derbyshire
 Police --- for failing to declare the cost of the
'battlebus’ filled with party activists --- also
 ran a local version of the ad, on his You
Tube page, but didn't report paying for it.

Mills is one of 28 Conservative candidates
under investigation for having written off
as national spending the cost of transport
and hotel rooms, for hundreds of activists
bused in to rally more support in highly
contested parliamentary constituencies:
allegedly breaking legal spending limits.

An Electoral Commission spokesman says:

 “Our guidance explains that candidates
 need to make an honest & responsible
assessment, as to whether expenses
were for their election, or whether it
was for promoting the national party.

“If used in a constituency, and only
promoting the national party and
national policies, then that should
count as national party spend.

 If the cost promotes both the local
candidate & national policies, then a
 portion of the cost should be allocated
 to the candidate’s spending limit, & a
portion towards the party’s national
spending limit.”

Neither MP responded to the Daily
Mirror’s request for a comment.


_______________________



Exposed & Investigated:
 UK Tory Election Fraud

Seven police forces in the UK are looking
into claims the Conservative party failed
to report large sums of money it spent
during its election campaign in 2015.

Apparently, according to Channel 4,
 which investigated alleged election
 fraud, the UK's ruling party failed to
report up to $288,000, spent on MPs
 and local candidates in 33 elections
 --- which should have been declared
 in the party's local spending.

Some of the undeclared expenses
 included hotel bills, plus the cost
of transporting activists in highly
contested areas of the UK, to aid
 the Tory campaign.

 Under electoral law, breaching
 spending limits is a criminal
 offence. 

In a statement, the Conservative party
 blames the omission of the hotel costs
 of people bussed in to help campaign
--- on an "administrative error."

Following the exposure by Channel 4,
investigations have been launched by
seven different forces, including the
Greater Manchester Police, Devon
and Cornwall, Northamptonshire,
Cheshire, Staffordshire, West
Yorkshire and Gloucestershire.

Two police forces, West Yorkshire and
 Greater Manchester, say that they are
seeking to extend their one-year time
limit into the investigation into these
improper electoral expenses.

It's expected that other forces
 will now follow suit. Come on,
Wales' police!

Meanwhile, accusations are emerging
 that this alleged fraud, carried out by
 the UK's ruling party, has been ignored
 by some of the UK's mainstream media.


___________________________


Fostered UK children often
denied mental health treatment

UK Children in care often have no access
to mental health services, a report says.

UK lawmakers have found that children in care
 are often denied access to any mental health
 services because of their 'unstable' placement.

The House of Commons education committee says
 in a report that a “significant number” of child and
adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), fail to
provide support for young people -- for not meeting
diagnostic thresholds, or for moving placements,
'too often'.

The report also says that the current methods
of assessing the mental health and wellbeing
 of children and young people who enter care
 often do not "identify those in need of
specialist care and support.”

Around half children in care, have a diagnosable
 mental health disorder, while one in 10 kids out
of care, has such a health condition.

The report is based on evidence from a group
 of service users and experts involved in the
social care system, that says initial health
 assessments on children who enter care
 are "highly variable and often poor."

A 16-year-old girl in foster care told the
committee that she had waited for over
 two and a half years to access services
--- as she moved 13 times in that period.

The committee was told that CAMHS are
often not willing to begin treatment for
children who move placement.

This, as official guidance says that “looked-
after children should never be refused a
service, including for mental health, on
 the grounds of their placement."

Neil Carmichael, education committee chair,
says local authorities are responsible for the
welfare of children in care, noting, “in spite
of this duty, it is clear that many looked-
after children in England are not getting
 the mental health support they need.”

"We recommend children in care be given
 priority access to mental health assessments
 & never refused care based on their placement
 or severity of their condition,” Carmichael adds.

A government spokesperson further stresses
 that children in care often have traumatic
 experiences --- and need to receive the
 necessary support.

"That's why we're putting a record £1.4bn
 into children and young people's mental
health, and investing in better links
between these services & schools,”
he adds.


______________________________



UK women given tents and sleeping bags
instead of homes when released from prison

Women released from UK prisons, are being
 issued with tents and sleeping bags because
 of "accommodation shortages" reports state.

A report carried out last November shows
103 prisoners were discharged from HMP
Bronzefield, Surrey in 2015 with nowhere
to live.

The figures appear to echo further analysis
 that female prisoners are in an increasingly
 precarious position when they are released.

The number of women leaving jail with a
secure place to go, fell to around 88% in
2015, down from 95% the previous year.

The report found that Bronzefield performed
 well overall, but said “the prison had issued
 tents to 2 women who were released with-
out anywhere to go to - and the chaplaincy
often gave out sleeping bags.”

Prison director Charlotte Pattison-Rideout said
 the private jail works with local authorities to
house those released --- but that the shortfall
 “affects the whole of the prison estate.”

In a statement on the revelations, Labour’s
Shadow Prisons Minister Jo Stevens lauded
 the progress which had been made, but said
 it's “absolutely staggering that women seem
 to have been released from prison ------ with
nothing more than a tent or a sleeping bag.

“This is astonishing and a far cry from the safe
 and secure accommodation needed, to assist
them in the rehabilitation process,” she added.

A 2013 report by the Howard League for Penal
 Reform, warned that homelessness is a key
 driver in re-offending among former prisoners.

It also found the uneven spread of housing
meant that “to be accommodated, women
 were removed from their original home
communities.”


____________________________________



Former foreign secretary urged Britain's
departure from EU to "protect our NHS"
 
Brexit will protect the NHS from interference
by the "dysfunctional European Union", the
former Labour foreign secretary said.

Lord Owen said that successive governments
 have accepted an EU market in health, which
has now become entrenched in the NHS.

The peer, who campaigned as health minister to
 remain in the European Economic Community
in the '75 referendum, launched Vote Leave's
'Save our NHS' campaign.

"The EU/Eurozone from 1992, in marked contrast
to the old European Community of 1975, creeps
 into every nook and cranny of our life.

Before the vote, he pointed out:
"It is now becoming entrenched in the NHS,
and this June we have a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity --- to get it out."

"Now is the time to take back control from the
EU and protect our NHS for future generations.

"We are agreed in Vote Leave that whatever our
political views on the present marketisation of
the NHS, decisions on the NHS should, for the
 future, be for the UK Parliament and devolved
administrations to take.

"It should not be a decision for the European
Commission, or the European Parliament."

He argued that leaving will mean that our
NHS would be free from
any competition-,
or-market-led involvement
brought in by
the European Commissioners
.

"Thereafter, UK legislation will govern the
 NHS in future and, as a consequence, we
can take back control & protect the NHS
from the EU."


____________________________________



English Junior doctors struck
 over contract row

Junior doctors across England began a
48-hour strike in a long-running dispute
with
the UK government, over working
conditions.


The walkout, was the 4th industrial action
by junior doctors to date against proposed
 amendments to their contract --- which will
see a "change" in pay and working hours.

5,000 procedures & operations in the state-run
 National Health Service (NHS) in England, were
"postponed" due to the work stoppage.

The UK’s Department of Health says that
 approximately 25,000 operations, have
now been cancelled, since January.

"Doctors have a very real concern ---- that the
 imposed terms will stretch existing resources
 too thinly - and threaten the quality of patient
care," says Katherine Murphy, chief executive
of the Patient Association advocacy group.


_______________________________


UK's top cop tells banks not to refund cyber-crime
 victims, even as online defenses declared useless

Banks shouldn't compensate customers who are
 victims of cyber-crime because it “rewards” them
 for sloppy internet security, the UK’s highest-
ranking police officer says.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-
Howe, says banks should refuse to reimburse people
 who fail to update anti-virus software and tighten
their passwords.

His remarks come days after internet security firm
 Webroot warns that traditional computer defenses
are “useless” in the face of modern cyber-attacks.

Hogan-Howe compares refunding bank customers
who are victims of cyber-crime to rewarding “bad
 behaviour.”

“If you're continually rewarded for bad behaviour,
 you will probably continue to do it ---- but, if the
obverse is true, you might consider changing
 behaviour," he tells the Times.

“The system is not incentivizing you to protect
 yourself,” Hogan-Howe says.

"If someone said to you: 'If you've not updated
 your software, I will give you half back', you
 would do it."

Hogan-Howe’s comments are criticized as
 “misjudged” by Richard Lloyd, executive
 director of consumer group, Which?.

"The priority should be for banks to better
 protect their customers, rather than trying
 to shift blame on to the victims of fraud,”
 he says.

Cyber-crime is the fastest growing economic
 crime in the UK, says a report published last
 month by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
which measured a 20% rise, since 2014.

Internet security firm Webroot describes 2015
 as a “record year for cyber-crime”, in a recent
 report, which labels traditional computer
defenses as “useless.”

More malware, malicious IPs, websites and
 mobile phone apps were discovered in 2015
 than in any previous year, Webroot Chief
Technology Officer, Hal Lonas, says.

“The continued onslaught of hacks, breaches,
and social engineering scams, targeting
 individuals, businesses, and government
 agencies alike, has caused many in the
security field to ask if it’s truly possible
 to defend against a persistent attacker,”
 he adds.

“We conclude that we can only succeed
by being more innovative than our
criminal opponents.”

Lonas says the vast majority of malware
and potentially unwanted applications
(PUAs), have become polymorphic, with
 97% of malware morphing, to become
 unique to an endpoint device.

“By changing attributes to evade detection,
 polymorphic threats pose a major problem
 for traditional, signature-based security
approaches, which often fail to discover
singular variants,” he says.

Lonas believes organizations & corporations
need to invest in next-generation security, to
 protect themselves and 'their' customers.


_____________________________________



UN tells UK to ban police
 Taser use on children – report

The United Nations will tell the UK to ban police
 Taser use on minors, after figures reveal a 38%
 increase in the use of stun guns on under-18s
 over the last year.

The UN will confront the UK in Switzerland later
 this year, over violations of the UN Convention
of the Rights of the Child, which the UK signed
 in 1990, the Independent on Sunday reports.

In 2008, the last time the UK was admonished for
 allowing Taser use on children, the UN called on
 ministers to “put an end to the use of all harmful
 devices on children.”

However, since that first hearing, police use of
 Tasers has been steadily on the rise.

Tasers, which were first introduced in England
& Wales in 2003, as part of a 12-month trial for
 firearms officers, send 50,000 volts through a
 "target", overwhelming the nervous system.

 Police use of the powerful stun guns jumped
 from 6, 238 incidents in 2010 to 9,196 in 2014.

Carla Garnelas, co-director of the Children's
 Rights Alliance for England, calls for an out-
right ban on the use of Tasers on children.

“The use of Taser on children, is a breach
of their human rights,” she tells the
Independent on Sunday.

“UN bodies have repeatedly called for the
UK government to ban their use on children,
highlighting the serious risk of physical and
psychological harm they pose, yet the use
 of Tasers on children continues. We want
 to see a ban on Taser use on children.”

A Home Office source tells the Independent:

“Tasers provide police with an important
 tactical option when facing potentially
physically violent situations, and this
 government is committed to giving
officers the necessary tools to do
 their job.

 
All officers trained in the use of Taser must
 consider the vulnerability of the individual,
and factors such as age and stature, form
 part of this assessment.



_____________________________



UK Press seen as most right-wing in Europe

Media bias against Corbyn

UK campaign Media Reform Coalition (MRC) says
 media ownership, relates closely to media bias.

 MRC warns of the media outlets’ monopolization
 of debate in the UK, & a risk of undue influence
 on politicians.

It says that Jeremy Corbyn has been exposed to a
 high degree of right-wing media bias, since being
voted in as leader of the Labour Party. Right-wing
 bias was apparent in most coverage of his first
week in power, states the campaign group.

A report conducted by MRC, a revised version
 of which was published in early January, finds
 that large sections of the UK press appeared
to deliberately undermine the newly elected
leader, straight after his landslide victory.

The study examined 8 national daily papers
 and their Sunday sister papers,  spanning
 494 news, comment and editorial pieces.

 It found that 60% of the stories were framed
 in a negative manner, while 13% were seen
 as positive and 27% were seen as neutral.

In the Murdoch-controlled Sun and the Sun
on Sunday, 32 out of 36 news stories were
 hostile to Corbyn, while 50 out of 52 in the
 Daily Mail & the Mail on Sunday, also gave
negative coverage.

Given that these right-wing tabloids have the
 largest & second largest share of circulation
in the UK, their agenda-setting influence is
 noteworthy, says the MRC.

The group’s report also finds that 100% of the
 editorials in the Sun, Mail & Express, framed
 Corbyn’s first week as Labour leader, in a
negative light.

'Risk of undue political influence'

The study’s release follows remarks by the
Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, urging
 Labour to commit itself to reforming the UK
 media landscape --- and to examining how
to break up the existing concentrations of
media ownership.

MRC Chair Dr Justin Schlosberg welcomed
 McDonnel’s comments at the time.

“In a democracy, newspapers have every right
to take a partisan line, but what concerns us
are the skewed ownership structures under-
lying this kind of political intervention.”

“The risk of undue influence on elected politicians
 is high, and it is hard to see how democracy can
 flourish when the mass channels of debate are
 monopolized in this way.”

“Let’s not forget that Jeremy Corbyn was elected
 leader of this country’s main opposition party by
 250,000 people, which is 100,000 more than the
 number of people who elected David Cameron
as leader of the Conservatives. It is surely a
problem for all of us, when the newspaper
owners are actively seeking to undermine
a democratic mandate of that scale.”


____________________________


Tory MP Geoffrey Cox says Sorry
--- 'Forgot' £400,000 Of Income
 
The millionaire Tory MP was told to apologise
 for failing to declare £400,000 of income – by
 blaming it on his being too busy setting up
 his law firm in Dubai and Mauritius.

Geoffrey Cox, a practising barrister and the
 highest earning MP in Parliament, stunned
 colleagues, by suggesting that he had not
noticed the money going into his account
 ----- as his clerk was ill.

Standards watchdog Kathryn Hudson published
 a scathing report on Mr Cox’s failure to register
 his full earnings, stating that he had committed
 "a serious breach" of Parliament's Code of
Conduct.

But the Commons Standards Committee – that
 Mr Cox used to sit on and was forced to resign
 from – decided only to ask him to apologise.

No further sanction is to be applied.


___________________________________



LONDON - THE WORLD CAPITAL OF FRAUD

 City fraudsters stole from Nepalese soldiers
through £50m Ponzi scheme

White-collar criminals operating in the City of London
 used a Ponzi scheme to pilfer £2.4 million from 450
 Nepalese citizens --- including many retired Gurkha
 soldiers who invested their life savings in the scam.

The fraudulent funds, which were managed by City
 firm CWM FX, attracted £50 million (US$73 million)
 from unsuspecting investors promised a
monthly
5% return. The foreign exchange trade platform
 the financial firm used, was licensed by the
financial regulator of Cyprus, allowing it to
operate in the UK under EU regulations.

CWM acted as the online forex trading partner of
 Chelsea Football Club while the scam was active,
 giving the firm a veneer of respectability. It also
 offered a range of foreign exchange services
and employed a small group of traders.

Police probe investigators say computer records
 suggest the firm made the majority of its income
 from the scam. Police report they have enough
 evidence uncovered, to present to prosecutors.

City of London police are calling for the Nepalese
 victims who invested in the scam to come forward.

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Manley says it's
 vital that the voices of the victims targeted by
 the scam, are heard.

“My concern now is that the voices of the majority
 of victims will not be heard in the judicial process
-- if they do not come forward very soon,” he tells
 the Financial Times.

“They are also missing out on receiving the
financial advice and psychological support
that is available to them, at what will be a
very difficult time.”


_________________________________



JEREMY LOOKING FORWARD...
 
“We’ve beaten the government back on tax
 credits, which has helped 3 million people
 not have £1,200 taken off them in April.
 
“We’ve beaten them back on police cuts &
 we’ve beaten them back on Saudi Arabia”
 (The government was forced to shelve a
contract to provide prison services to
the
Saudi regime, after Corbyn raised
it in
his conference speech).
 
“We also had a very good result in the Oldham
 by-election. The activity level of local parties
 is huge --- and it’s completely contrary to
everything the media are saying.”
 
There was no period in the last parliament
where Labour had the government so
 consistently on the back foot.
 
“We’ve increased membership to nearly 400,000
 -- we have the biggest, most active membership
ever in my lifetime.”
 
He’s proud as “our campaign for the leadership
 did bring a lot of people into politics who have
 never been involved before,” and says he was
knocking on doors with new members,
that
morning.

 
On reports of Tory politicians bullying staff:
 “The Tories should learn from the CWU,
 [postal workers’ union] who have a hot-
line for reporting bullying & harassment.”
 
Jeremy has worked closely with the CWU,
championing its People’s Post campaign,
 “which is about protecting the universal
 service obligation on the Royal Mail and
 stopping them from introducing a two-
tier workforce.”
 
He’s announced his commitment to take
Royal Mail back into public ownership.

“I want to see public control because
postal services are fundamental to
our communities.
 
“Postal delivery workers are actually
part of the community, and they do
 a lot of good work beyond
delivering letters.
 
“Workers are very nervous of what’s coming
with further privatisation of the Royal Mail ---
after
shares were sold well below their value.
It’s an absolute rip-off.”
 
But wouldn’t renationalising Royal Mail
fall foul
of EU competition law?

“I’m quite prepared to challenge EU
competition law & EU directives
on
public ownership and state funding.

 
“Other governments in Europe challenge it.
It’s kind of weird that the British government
 doesn’t.
 
“Germany, & particularly Italy, have intervened
 to take parts of their steel industry into public
 ownership --- and we should be prepared to
intervene where necessary.
 
“We’ve already lost a lot of steel capacity in Britain.
 If we’re going to have a manufacturing base, we’ve
 got to have a steel industry.”
 
The Tories' treatment of the coal industry - 
he spoke the day after the “tragic” closure
 of Kellingley colliery - suggests it doesn't
share his concern for the UK economy.
 
What about countries like Greece, where
 the EU has actively prevented a left-wing
 government from fulfilling any of its
 electoral pledges?
 
“I wouldn't join the eurozone or the European
 Central Bank. I voted against Maastricht [in
1992] because it was a Europe based on
free-market economics rather than on
social
security and workers’ rights.”
 
“Yes, the Central Bank has treated [Greece]
 disgracefully. I had a very useful meeting
 with the prime minister of Portugal on
 Thursday, and he has invited me and
John McDonnell to go there & hold
meetings in support of their
programme of anti-austerity.
 
“We’re building an anti-austerity
 coalition across Europe.”


_____________________________



NO FOOL LIKE A CORBYN CRITIC

Rochdale's MP, Danczuk, has been a prominent
campaigner against child sexual exploitation,
and played a role in exposing the late Sir
Cyril Smith, as a pedophile.

The MP is also a vocal critic of Labour's leader
 Jeremy Corbyn. He recently told Sky News he
 would “probably give Jeremy a 'D', if I had to
 score him.”

He also served as a Labour Party whip, but is
 now suspended, after allegedly having a text
 conversation with a 17 year old, Ms Houlihan,
during which, he said he was “horny”... and
 then asked her if she wanted “spanking.”

Houlihan told the Sun she feels
 duped by the MP.

“When I first got in touch, I never expected
 the messages to get so graphic. At the time
I played along with it, but now I feel like he
duped me. I was keen for a career in politics
 - and he is a very high-profile MP - and I
was in awe of him,” she says.

_______________________________


Majority of tased people by UK police - mentally ill

A new report indicates that over two-thirds of the
people tasered by UK police, from 2010 to 2014,
 were mentally ill.

Police stun gun use increased over the period,
 from 6,238 incidents in 2010 to 9,196 last year,
and there has been a corresponding rise in the
 number of cases involving mentally ill people,
 from 2,737 in 2010 to 4,200 in 2014, the news-
paper The Independent reports, citing Home
Office figures.

The latest statistics were released in response
 to a Freedom of Information request made by
the website The Justice Gap.

It reveals that in 67% of cases where tasers
 were discharged, they were fired at people
 identified by officers, as mentally ill.

In cases where weapons were drawn, aimed,
 but not fired, are included, mentally ill people
 were the target in only 45% of 'incidents'.

______________________________


US guards with guns ---- at UK airports

The UK plans to allow armed US guards
to 'help provide security' at its airports,
 the UK's media report.       

The Daily Mail 'paper reports that 
“US border guards” will have the
  power to
search holidaymakers.   

It adds that the plan is still being discussed
 by Washington and London, adding that the
 US Department of Homeland Security aims
 to introduce this, at airports world-wide...
 including in Heathrow and Manchester.

The measure is meant to reduce the risk
of IS terrorists flying to the US, the Daily
 Mail adds.

Guards from Customs & Border Protection
 would carry out immigration and customs
 checks, before passengers board.

They would be given diplomatic immunity
- so they could not be prosecuted for any
crime committed in the UK, the Mail adds.

Other reports on Sunday say that the UK's
 armed police could also get greater legal
 protection if shooting suspected criminals.

This comes, because David Cameron ordered
 a review of current laws after mass shootings
 in Paris last month, the Sunday Times reports.

Unlike most forces around the world, the UK's
 police are not routinely armed, and currently
 just over 2,000 of London's 31,000 officers,
 are able to carry guns, says the AFP.

The Sunday Times cites a senior government
 source, stating that Cameron is prepared to
 change the law, to give the armed officers
greater protection against prosecution.

"Terrorist incidents both at home and abroad
 have shown very clearly the life-and-death
 decisions police officers have to make in
 split-second circumstances," the source
 says, according to the newspaper.


_________________________



Jeremy Corbyn 'publicly-run Royal Mail'
vow
on National Postal Workers Day

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he wanted
 a publicly-run Royal Mail --- when he met staff
on one of the busiest postal days of the year.

Talking to
Communication Workers Union members  
in London, he pledged to support its campaign, to
preserve the UK's universal service
of deliveries,
to its twenty-nine million homes and businesses.


The union fears there will be an attack on Royal
Mail workers' terms and conditions --- under a
review next year, by the industry's regulator.

Mr Corbyn told workers gathered in a carpark
at the huge Mount Pleasant site -- that he will
 organise 2016's Opposition Day debate in the
Commons, to support the CWU's campaign.

"I want to see a publicly-run Royal Mail ---
with protection for workers & the service,"
 he said and, "Labour will be doing our very
best to support & protect your conditions."

Mr Corbyn called on Conservative MPs to
 support the campaign, warning: services
 to rural areas will be among those under
 threat by any changes such as increased
 competition, with other companies taking
over the so-called "final mile" deliveries
to houses.

General secretary Dave Ward:

"The CWU is campaigning hard to protect
the terms and conditions of our members,
at the same time as preserving the service
 that we provide to the public & businesses.

"Royal Mail may have been sold off on the
 cheap, but the service is and always will
be, the people's post."


______________________________



UK police investigating MPs expenses claims

The UK police say the expenses claims of 2 UK
 lawmakers are being investigated over possible
 criminal offences.

The case has reminded the public of the memory
 of the 2009 scandal, which damaged UK citizens’
trust in elected politicians.

London's Metropolitan Police say they are
investigating 2 complaints referred to them
 in March by the Independent Parliamentary
 Standards Authority (IPSA). This body has
 been set up, to oversee the expenses and
 business costs of Members of Parliament.

"I have felt it necessary, for the first time
during my term of office, to refer requests
 for investigation received from IPSA to the
 police," says the IPSA's Peter Davis, in an
 annual report.

The names of the politicians have not yet
been disclosed.

Police say a third IPSA referral resulted in a
lawmaker's employee receiving a caution,
 in April, for fraud by false representation.


________________________________



METRO “FUTURE OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT”
IN SOUTH WALES

The proposed Metro transport scheme for South East
 Wales, represents "the future of public transport" in
 the region, according to first minister Carwyn Jones.

The project aims to increase the speed & frequency
 of public transport across South Wales, through a
combination of heavy rail, light rail and bus rapid
transit, plus other infrastructure improvements,
 and integrated ticketing.

The rail part of the Metro, part of the All-Wales
 rail franchise, would be run and managed by a
not-for-dividend company being set up by the
 Welsh Government to operate a rail franchise
 on its behalf, after 2018.

First minister Carwyn Jones has launched a
 campaign to raise public awareness of the
Metro project, ahead of consultations
 early next year, and he states:

"The Metro project represents the future of public
 transport in South East Wales, which will provide
 faster journey times and more frequent services,
 covering a greater area. It is an ambitious project
 linking people and jobs across South Wales in a
fast, efficient and environmentally positive way.

"The Metro is far more than just a transport project.
It will be a catalyst for transforming the economic
 and social prospects of South East Wales and the
 country as a whole."

________________________________


Tories Back Off on Tax Credit cut

Controversial cuts to tax credits won't go ahead,
Chancellor George Osborne announced, in his
Autumn Statement. He said the benefit system
is
“being phased out anyway” to make
room
for a Tory Universal Credit payment.

Conservative MPs welcomed the decision.
Many in Osborne’s own party rebelled and
voted against the cuts.

Labour MPs are crediting staunch opposition by
their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, for the U-turn, with
 many claiming the move as a victory for Labour.

Green MP Caroline Lucas tweets: “Scrapping
changes to tax credits v welcome - now must
 overturn rest of cruel welfare policies, & get
a real living wage.”


_________________________



UK Government Splashes Out ---
$18 Bln on 138 F-35 Fighter Jets

As pensioners face more hard times ahead
-- under the UK's New Austerity Plan to cut
 public spending -- the UK government is
set to unveil plans to buy 138 stealth
 fighter jets, for £12bln [$18 bln].

The UK government is planning to spend £12bln
 [$18 bln] on 138 F-35 fighter jets --- as part of a
 'new defense' strategy.

Chancellor George Osborne tells the state run
BBC that, as a result of the government's new
 Strategic Defense & Security Review, by 2023
 the UK will have 24 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
 aircraft, and two new aircraft carriers.

In the summer, the chancellor pledged to
push UK defense spending above inflation
 --- to meet the NATO target of 2% of GDP
each year on defense, up to 2020.

"By 2023, we will be able to have these jets
 -- some of the most powerful in the world --
the F35, on the decks of these carriers, &
Britain, second only to the United States,
will be able to project power abroad in
order to defend ourselves at home,"
says Osborne.

The UK press reported on Sunday that
- over a longer period of time - the UK's
 Royal Air Force will order 138 of the
 F-35 fighter jets.

The UK is also expected to purchase
 new reconnaissance planes, reversing
an earlier decision in 2010 to scrap the
 latest generation of Nimrod maritime
surveillance aircraft.

The announcement of "extra investment"
 in surveillance planes, comes as the UK's
 armed forces are being aided by French,
Canadian and US patrol aircraft, in their
fruitless search for a Russian submarine
'reportedly' in its waters, 10 days ago.

NOTE WELL ----- Google F-35
-- and see what a turkey it is.

___________________________________


1,500 of UK's care homes to close by 2020:-
back to 1970's geriatric wards for UK elderly?

A new report says about 1,500 of UK care homes
 will close by 2020 because of the financial crisis.

The report released by the think tank ResPublica
 says the National Health Service (NHS) will be left
 with an annual bill of $4.55 billion after 37,000 care
 home beds disappear over the next five years.

The report also finds that elderly patients are likely
to be left with no choice but to stay in hospitals,
where they would take up one in four beds.

Media reports say the UK is already facing
 a hospital bed shortage.

According to a report by the Organization
for Economic Co-operation & Development
(OECD), it is the second worst in Europe.

The report adds that the number of people
 aged over 85 in the UK, is set to rise by
 nearly 2 million in the next 20 years.

Meanwhile, the care sector will have a
 shortfall in funding of £1.1 billion by the
 2020/21 financial year, with £382 million
linked costs associated with introducing
 the national 'living wage'.

 ____________________________________


Anti-austerity bloc brings down
Portugal's government


 Portugal’s pro-austerity government is forced to resign
 by a leftist anti-austerity block, despite being sworn in
 only two weeks before.

Proposals to continue austerity policies were blocked
 in parliament -- backed by mass public anger -- forcing
 the government to dissolve.

Moderate Socialists worked with the Communist
 Party & radical Left Bloc - to form a majority that
has voted down any fresh austerity proposals.

After the October 4th general election, the anti-
austerity leftist majority was openly prevented
 from forming a government, by the president,
who cited ‘the national interest’.

Portugal took a €78 billion 'bailout' in 2011 and
 since then, has spiraled into an austerity dead-
end, fueling mass social unrest and emigration.

Sweeping cuts and increased taxes led to huge
 street protests and strikes. Unemployment hit
 17.7%, in 2013.

Anti-austerity supporters are celebrating
the fall of the right-wing administration.

The attempt to sideline anti-austerity politics
is sending shock waves through Europe, but
is being largely ignored in Brussels --- where
 protecting shaky austerity plans from any
democratic upheaval, seems paramount.

While the socialist party has argued it will
 respect the policies of the Eurozone... the
PS will now be working with two parties
 that want to repeal pro-market reforms.

 In fact, Portugal's communist party has
 openly campaigned to leave the Euro.

If Labour Party MPs ALL vote against
austerity cuts -- with the socialists in
the Scottish Nationalist Party and in
Plaid Cymru -- the UK's government
 too, will fall.


_____________________________________



POST OFFICE BANK APPROVED

As the US, UK, Netherlands & others in the
West, 'privatise' their citizens' Post Ofices...

 Russia’s government approves the creation
of a huge new bank, based on the country’s
 postal service:-  a move that will eventually
form an institution with more retail outlets
than all other Russian banks combined.

 The new entity, called Post Bank, is a joint
 venture between Russian Post, and one of
Russia’s largest lenders, the state-owned
 VTB Bank.

Post Bank is being established, in part, to
 provide banking services across Russia’s
far-flung, near-empty regions, and to help
 Russia's pensioners.

 VTB will fuse one of its subsidiaries, Leto Bank,
 into the new institution. The partners say that
the new institution will begin giving out loans
 as early as January 2016, with a pilot project
 to be launched in Moscow this Autumn.

Over the next 3 years, the bank will open outlets
 in no less than 15,000 Russian Post offices. After
 the initial rollout the bank should start operating
 in all 42,000 offices of the national operator.

Once it is completed, Post Bank will have more
 retail locations than all the other Russian banks
 combined, says Russian banking portal Banki.ru.


_________________________________________



UN probes UK's disabled rights violations

The UN is to send a delegation to the UK
as part of an inquiry into the “grave and
systematic violations” of the rights of
disabled people --- allegedly taking
place under London’s austerity
measures.

 A visit of the UN Committee Rights of Persons
with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is taking place at
the request of the campaign group, 'Disabled
People Against Cuts' using a legal mechanism
 known as the Optional Protocol. The request
was made at the start of 2012. Britain is the
first country to face a high-level inquiry by
 the UN committee.

“This is the first time any country has been
investigated by the UN using the Optional
 Protocol so it will be, if nothing else, a very
 historic event,” Linda Burnip, co-founder of
 Disabled People Against Cuts says, adding
that the process is “long and arduous,”
with strict rules for proof of any claims.

News of the investigation was leaked
back in September. UN inquiries are
usually "confidential", but UNCRPD
confirmed it would be visiting the
UK, after the revelation.

“The inquiry follows a string of scandals
involving disabled people in the UK,
including a rise in hate crimes, which
have been overlooked by police and
 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS),”
 former director of prosecutions, Lord
 Kenneth MacDonald, says.

Disabled people have been affected
by cuts, nine times more than most
other citizens, according to a report
by the Centre for Welfare Reform,
 in 2013.


__________________________


A “massive shot in the arm” for
people resisting austerity...
 
Jeremy Corbyn has the biggest mandate in
 UK political history. Mr Blair won with 57%
 of the vote when he was elected leader in
'94, but Mr Corbyn beat that, with 59.5%.

And now, for a second time, with 62%!

The left candidate won a majority of more
 than 170,000 over second-placed Andy
Burnham, who polled 19%.

Yvette Cooper, viewed as the right’s best
 hope of beating Mr Corbyn, was third with
17%, & Blairite Liz Kendall won just 4.5%.

Moments after being named Labour leader,
Mr Corbyn said: “The fightback of our
party... now gathers pace.”

“We go forward now as a movement and a party,
bigger than we’ve ever been, stronger than we’ve
 ever been, and more determined than we’ve ever
 been.”

“Our party is going to become more inclusive,
more democratic, and we’re going to shape
 the future of everyone in this country.”

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey:

“Voters can now look at Labour and see,
 unquestionably, that it stands for fairness,
 justice, peace, and strong communities.”

“It is the party of hope, ready to take on
a government hell-bent on making life
worse for ordinary people.”

Transport union RMT - unaffiliated to Labour
  - said the result's a “massive shot in the arm”
 for people resisting austerity and attacks on
 trade unions.

The Islington North MP won huge majorities
 among affiliated and registered supporters,
but was also most popular among full party
 members. Of 245,520 party members voting,
121,751 of them voted for Mr Corbyn.

John McDonnell MP, chair of the Corbyn
campaign, says it's “the greatest victory
for the left that we’ve seen in decades,”
then adds: “I just wish, I just wish Tony
Benn had been here to see it.


“Because all through those dark years
 when the left were isolated and there
 was no discussion of socialism, and
 people were giving up on the Labour
Party, it was people like Tony Benn
 & Jeremy who kept the flame alive.”

A Tory insisted Mr Corbyn’s victory's a
“serious risk to our nation’s security,

 our economy’s security, and your
family’s
security.”

(think he meant to say
"my family's
security.")


_________________________________



White supremacist jailed for life
 over Lee Rigby revenge attack

Zack Davies, a far-right white supremacist who
used a machete and hammer to attack an Asian
 doctor in a Welsh supermarket, has been jailed
 for life.

______________________________


‘Ill UK children used in tests with tainted blood’

Report says the NHS used sick kids as guinea
pigs in the 1970s.

A Sunday Express report says sick children
 were used as guinea pigs - as the NHS said
chimps were 'too expensive' for such tests.

Hemophiliac children were injected with
 “extraordinarily hazardous” blood products
 to see how infectious the products were,
despite health authorities knowing for
 years, that they were potentially fatal.

Over 2,000 people died from blood
products tainted with viruses...
including hepatitis C and HIV,
in the 70s and 80s, the report
 adds. Many more are, today,
as a result, terminally ill.

It says some clinics urged by officials
to inject patients with the blood were
overruled, if they raised objections,
 the report adds.

The revelation is contained in a dossier
of evidence obtained by campaigners
fighting for a full, fair settlement, for
 the victims of the worst treatment
 scandal in NHS history.

The Express says government health
 advisers ignored over a decade of
warnings.

Anna O’Leary, journalist and political
commentator, says the NHS was aware
 of what it was doing - and did not really
 care about their patients.

“There is a complete policy of silence
around what goes on.  Nurses are not
allowed to blow the whistle on doctors.”

As early as 1975, they were told that the
 blood from the US would lead to 50 - 90%
of recipients developing hepatitis, with
 half of the cases proving fatal.

The report points to a letter to a UK
 health official in the '70s, where the
authority was warned of the danger
of using US-pooled plasma from
high-risk, paid “skid row” donors.

The plasma, referred to as Factor VIII,
was “extraordinarily hazardous,” but
 was thought to be a miracle treatment
 for hemophilia, in which the blood fails
 to clot properly.

But demand by far outdid supply and most
 of it was imported from America, where, in
 contrast to European practice, companies
 paid donors for blood -- an incentive which
 drew drug users, prostitutes and alcoholics.

Despite officials being warned about the
potential risk in 1975 and again in 1976,
 this was not passed on to its users, and
more than 7,500 patients were infected.

By the late 70s, experts finally accepted
 the link between Factor VIII and hepatitis.

But government advisers still pushed the
'treatment'.

A public health warning was eventually
 issued in 1981 -- but did not ban use of
the US product.

Instead, Factor VIII was heat-treated,
 in the hope of destroying the viruses.


____________________________



UK MPs plotted coup against Corbyn
--- before he won the leadership race.

As MP's were seeking nominations to enter
Labour's leadership race, all commentators
 in the UK, said it was impossible for veteran
 far left politician, Jeremy Corbyn, to get the
 needed signatures. When he did, it started
 a political earthquake for the Labour party.

Jeremy Corbyn went from an unlikely
candidate to front runner.

Jeremy Corbyn enjoys huge grassroots
support, but not with some Labour MPs,
who were said to be planning
a coup
against him, "if" he
won the Labour
leadership race !


One unnamed Labour MP told media
several days before that first vote:

 "We cannot just allow a party, a credible
party of government, to be hijacked in a
 Summer of madness. There would be no
problem in getting names. We could do
this, before Christmas."

Another unnamed Labour MP said that his
victory would cause "deep unhappiness"

 among the current shadow cabinet - and
that most would refuse to work with him.


Experts say this indicates the main
 current problem for labour. Politicians
to the right of the party were battered
at the general election, but where the
grassroots
say they want to return
Labour
firmly to the left of politics,
the
elite in the party are unhappy.


__________________________________



UK TORY/LIBERAL SPY LAW 'UNLAWFUL'

The UK's High Court ruled that emergency
 data retention and surveillance legislation
 the coalition government introduced was
"unlawful".

The law was just the latest government &
 intelligence legislation deemed as illegal.

The Data Retention and Investigatory
 Powers Act, DRIPA also had to be
overturned because judges ruled
it as 'inconsistent with
existing EU laws'.

The ruling was seen as a victory for the
Labour MP Tom Watson & Conservative
MP David Davis, who brought the claim.

  They argued that the law violated article
 8 of the EU human rights act -- by letting
police and intelligence services, spy on
 citizens without any proper safeguards.

The government had to replace that law,
by the end of March, in 2016.

_______________________________


‘UK royal household could face child abuse inquiry’

A report says the UK's royal family may be
 investigated as part of a pedophilia inquiry. 

Justice Lowell Goddard, New Zealand judge
 and Chair of the ‘Independent Inquiry into
 Child Sexual Abuse,’ did not, at first, name
 the royal family, in a list of institutions to
face its probe of historical crimes.

However, a later
inquiry statement
 confirms that the monarchy will be
“within the scope” of the inquiry,
RT reports.

The probe may take up to five years and cost
£100 million, as the authorities will reportedly
 investigate every level of UK society, including
 local authorities, police, the Crown Prosecution
 Service (CPS), the National Health Service, the
 media, and the armed forces.

“There is no limit on the types of institutions that
 fall within the terms of reference. The monarchy
 is an institution, and it runs a number of other
 institutions, all of which are potentially within
 the scope of the inquiry,” the judge in the case
 is quoted as saying.

The royal household has come under scrutiny
 in recent years, following several allegations
 of child sexual abuse.

Prince Andrew came under the media spotlight
 in January after being accused of having forced
 sexual relations with a US' teenager, who was
 underage at the time.

He was named in court papers related to an
ongoing civil case, by Virginia Roberts, 30,
against convicted billionaire pedophile
Jeffrey Epstein, in the US.

Several UK government figures who were
 prominent in the 1980s, have since faced
allegations of sexual impropriety.


_______________________



Poor care for UK dementia patients

A new study in the UK slams its social and
health services for leaving 75% of dementia
 patients at the mercy of friends and family,
for care.

The survey by the Alzheimer's Society spoke to
over a thousand family doctors & found they're
 not keen on referring people with suspected
 dementia, if they think support services are
not in place.

The Alzheimer’s Society chief executive, Jeremy
 Hughes: “Our survey gives a stark view from the
 doctor’s surgery, of people with dementia left
 struggling in the aftermath of a diagnosis. They
 can need a lot of help to live well with dementia.
 Families & friends are a vital source of support,
 but they mustn’t be relied on to do everything.
As dementia takes hold, people with dementia
 and their carers, look to statutory services to
give them the backup they desperately need
 to cope.”

The number of people suffering with the illness
 is currently 850,000, but that's expected to rise
 to over a million by the year 2021, and double,
 to two million, by the year 2051.

Now the NHS is being criticized, with over half
of the doctors in the latest survey thinking the
 NHS has failed to do enough to help care for
 people suffering with the debilitating illness.

Cuts to local authority funding, means many
 suffering in the country, are not getting the
care they need.

Deputy Chair of the British Medical Association's
 General Practitioners’ (GP) committee, Richard
 Vautrey: “GPs are increasingly frustrated that,
 due to excessive cuts to local authority funding,
 some of the most vulnerable people in society
 are not receiving the level of care & support
they deserve. The increasing emphasis on
diagnosing dementia, hasn't been met
with proper services for patients
once they are diagnosed.”

The Alzheimer's Society is now calling for all those
 diagnosed with dementia to have someone advise
 them on their illness & for a single point of contact
 to help carers.


_____________________________



‘Child abuse in UK massively covered up’

A rights campaigner in the UK says child abuse
is massively covered up in the country.

“We believe that -- in the UK at the moment -- a
 massive cover-up in every area involving child
abuse, goes, pretty much, right to the top,”
says Chris Wittwer, a campaigner with the
'UK and Ireland Database'.

Wittwer: “Several lords and MPs have been
put in the frame for abusing children --- no
arrests have been made.”

The campaigner refers to “massive pedophile rings”
 and thousands of child abuse cases in the country
 over the past years, adding, “For the last 10 years
 I’ve been naming and shaming the pedophiles on
 my website in the UK, for child abuse.”

His remarks follow a report by the Inspectorate
 of Constabulary --- which took a sample of 600
inquiries, and found that over a third of abused
 children were not looked at, to a good enough
 standard.

Dru Sharpling, who headed the inspection says:

 "We found limited evidence that the police listened
 to children, and poor attitudes towards vulnerable
 children persisted in some teams. We also found
 that investigations were often inadequate, with
 insufficient action taken to disrupt & apprehend
 some perpetrators."

The figures were much worse when it came to
investigating online abuse, where it found that
--- in a national sample --- 124 cases were not
investigated properly.

The police’s national spokesperson on child
 protection, Chief Constable Simon Bailey:

 “The scale of child sexual abuse is staggering.
 By the end of 2015, we anticipate that police
will be investigating 70,000+ cases of child
 sexual abuse, an increase of 88% from 2012.

 “We have got to fundamentally change our
approach to policing, so that our absolute
focus is on working proactively with other
agencies, to protect the public from harm
committed on or offline.”

The report criticizes police forces for target
driven policing, which many feel, means the
 protection of children is not being put first.
Also, the report suggests there needs to be
an overhaul of the way police deal with all
cases of child sexual abuse.


____________________________



Heart attack survivor fighting for his life
has benefits axed

A 58-year-old man, who's been seeking work
 for over a year, had his benefits axed when a
 major cardiac arrest left him unfit to attend a
 Jobcentre appointment.

Officials stopped David Duncan’s jobseeker’s
 allowance (JSA) --- after he suffered a severe
heart attack which landed him in
emergency
surgery.


Despite having had two stents inserted and
 life-threatening blockages removed from his
arteries, Duncan received little sympathy
 from Jobcentre staff.

“I suffered a major heart attack – but
apparently that isn’t a good enough reason
 for missing an appointment at the Jobcentre
 in Dunfermline,” he told the Daily Record.

Duncan went public with his grievance, as
 the Conservative Party announced plans
to
push ahead with savage welfare cuts.

Casting aside the quarter of a million
campaigners who poured into London

recently demanding an end to austerity,
Chancellor Osborne and Work & Pensions
 Secretary Duncan-Smith, vow to slash a
further £12 billion from welfare spending.

Members of “Economists Against Austerity”
 say deep spending cuts are a choice, not
 a necessity. Downing Street is misleading
 voters about a need for austerity because
 the government can borrow capital at
historically low rates, the bloc says.

“The effects of austerity cannot be over-
stated,” Jo Michell, lecturer in economics
 at the University of the West of England
 (UWE), says to RT news.

“Despite claims that we're all in it together,
 the burden of austerity has been dispro-
portionately placed on the shoulders of the
 least well off & the most insecure,” he says.

He condemns the demonization of benefits
 claimants and says the last government’s
 “attacks” on the disabled were
 “inexcusable.”

Duncan, from Dunfermline in Fife, Scotland,
has been seeking a job since he was made
 redundant from his position in a local bank.

He had never missed a bi-monthly Jobcentre
 appointment until suffering a heart attack in
 his home on Saturday June 13th.

Duncan, a bachelor, was rushed to Edinburgh
 Royal Infirmary, where medics immediately
 performed emergency surgery.

The 58-year-old contacted Jobcentre staff
early the following Monday, to notify them
 of his circumstances.

He was told his benefits would be axed --
 because he was unable to attend his next
 appointment. This decision was influenced
 by his not completing a mandatory entry in
his diary, to show he was looking for work,
the
Jobcentre said.

Duncan was unable to fill in his diary on
Sunday as intended, owing to his medical
emergency, but his pleas fell on deaf ears.
He was told he would have to switch from
JSA to employment and support allowance
 if he was unfit to work for over 13 weeks.

Still recovering from his surgery, Duncan
was forced to spend over an hour on the
telephone as Jobcentre staff altered his
claimant status.

Other claimants who have had benefits
 sanctioned because they failed to show
 up to appointments, include: a man who
 was hit by a car and rushed to hospital, a
 homeless youth with reading difficulties,
 a man who was attending a job interview,
 and a man who visited his dying mother,
 in hospital.

Disability rights campaigners in the UK
 have repeatedly warned that cuts made
 since 2010 have ruined the welfare state
 and severely hurt the most vulnerable
 members of society.

This month, over 58,000 people signed a
petition demanding the release of figures
detailing the number of disabled people
 who have died within 6 weeks of having
 their benefits cut. The government has
 sought to block their publication.


_______________________________________



Promises, promises...

The London People’s Assembly’s End Austerity Now
 demonstration started in the City before heading to
 Parliament Square, as Glasgow’s rally took place in
 George Square.

Singer Charlotte Church led London’s anti-cuts
chorus, alongside Labour leadership candidate
 Jeremy Corbyn, & Unite leader Len McCluskey.

Organisers say the post-election protests were
the biggest since a TUC demonstration in 2011
saw 500,000 people take to the streets.

More than 250 coaches were booked to bring
 people from across the UK, for the rallies.

Resistance to Tory cuts won’t end.

People’s Assembly national secretary,
Sam Fairbairn:

“Each day we’ll have a different themed protest
 depending on what they’re going to discuss at
the conference,” Mr Fairbairn explains. “That’s
going to sustain the momentum
.”

Official figures show that the Tory Chancellor  is set to
 borrow three times more than he planned, in the year.

He's on course to borrow £75 billion instead of £20bn,
 according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady says it
 shows the Tories have been forced to “bail out
 his failed economic plan.”

But she warns: “Rather than learning from his
 mistakes, the Chancellor is about to embark
upon a fresh round of savage cuts.”

Green MP, Caroline Lucas, called on MPs
from all
parties --- to oppose his plans:

“It’s time for all of us who oppose the government’s
self-defeating austerity programme to work together.

“So my challenge here today to all MPs who call
 themselves progressive, and especially to those
in the Labour Party, is this: Vote against further
 austerity, protect our public services, and defy
your leadership --- by voting down the savage
 welfare cap.”


___________________________


Pope Considers Youth Unemployment
                 a Social Plague               
 
 Pope Francis says youth unemployment is a
social plague and the symptom of a serious
breakdown in contemporary societies.

Meeting with members of the Italian federation
 Knights of Labour, the Pope says he feels that
 the phenomenon is affecting young people by
depriving them of an essential component for
personal fulfillment.

But it also has negative consequences for the
 business community, he adds, as they lose the
 opportunity to receive input from a renewed
work force.

According to the Bishop of Rome, 'the world of
work should be prepared and waiting for young
people willing to participate and emerge'.

But what happens in reality is that young
 people often receive the message that
they are not needed, he warns.

Francisco stresses the value of work to involve
 people and charge them with responsibilities,
 stimulating entrepreneurial capacity, creativity
and commitment.

According to the Pontiff, this has positive effects
 on future generations, as it leads society to look
 forward, and to offer opportunities, which means
hope for the future.

_____________________________


Experts concerned about growing steroid use

Health experts are warning against the long
term side effects of using anabolic steroids.


The number of men using anabolic steroids in
 the UK, is reaching staggering proportions.

According to the Crime Survey for England and
 Wales, nearly 60,000 people a year, take them.
However those working with steroid users say
 the numbers are significantly higher. Professor
Julian Baker from the University of the West of
 Scotland is an expert in steroid use and thinks
the number of steroid users is underestimated.

“There are needle exchanges in Cardiff and
Glasgow which say they’ve seen a 600%
increase for steroid users over 10 years.
 The real figure is definitely in the
hundreds of thousands,” he says.


 “The vast majority of people we see use
steroids for image reasons. It’s mainly to
show your muscles going out. It’s linked
 to images of lean physiques with big arms.
That’s the kind of look the young lads like.
 It used to be much more limited; only the
 really big, muscular guys went anywhere
near steroids. Now it can be anybody who
goes to a gym and speaks to people. The
network of supply and demand is very
advanced,” says Graham Beeny, who
works for a
Manchester steroid clinic.

The effects of steroid use can be quite negative.
The HIV infection rate amongst steroid users has
 now reached 1.5% -- that's just as high as those
 that use heroin.

Other side effects include roid rage which leads
to extremely aggressive behaviour in those that
take the drug. Another big concern is the age
 of steroid users in the UK.

Reports suggest some children as young as
 13 years old, are using the dangerous drug.


_____________________________


Nicola Sturgeon says the SNP is taking an anti-
austerity message to the heart of Westminster.

The SNP leader again rules out any deal with
the Conservatives and offers, instead, to still
beat the Tories, by forming a united coalition
 government of all parties who oppose cuts:

 Scottish Nationalists, Irish socialists from
Northern Ireland, the Green party MP, and
 the Labour party and Plaid Cymru's MPs.

_________________________________


UK Protesters Occupied Parliament
Square, Calling for Proper Politics

As election campaigning by the 'main' political
 parties in the UK reached fever pitch -- over on
 Parliament Square, the "festival of democracy"
 ran for several days. Their message was clear:

"Reform of party funding, so that members of
parliament act in the interests of those who
elect them rather than the one percent who
bankroll them."

"Major democratic reform of the media — to
 break the stranglehold of vested interests.

"A fundamental overhaul of lobbying & the
 way powerful economic interests inhabit
the
corridors of power within government.

"Proportional representation so everyone's
 vote counts.

"MPs should not have conflicts of interests
 from either paid employment or corporate
 shareholdings.

"And a citizen-led constitutional convention
 for real democracy."

5 years ago, in the 2010 general election, only
 44% of people aged between 18 and 24 voted.
76% of people aged over 65 did.

 Occupy Democracy activist George Barda says:

"Democracy means more than putting a cross
 on a ballot paper every 5 years. History shows
 us that the extension of our democratic rights
 has not been led by politicians, but has been
 forced onto the agenda by the actions of
mass movements such as the Chartists and
 the Suffragettes. We are asking people to
 join us and help build such a movement."

This is a movement supported by comedian
to political commentator and anti-capitalist
 Russell Brand, who has shown students at
the London School of Economics a private
showing of his latest film "The Emperor's
New Clothes", about the growing gap
between the rich and the poor. 

Russell Brand's YouTube channel, The
Trews, has over a million subscribers.

____________________________


'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.

Labour's Andy Burnham, says the contract shows
     “chunks”
of the health service are being sold off.
The Dept of
Health, claims it doesn't 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.

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
and
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."

"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
 definition."

Davis says another Conservative government
 is going to "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 company involved in the
 recent deal, lost one
hospital contract,
  as
it emerged that their surgeons had
performed “rushed”
operations, and
patients had serious
complications.

They are now 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 Public & 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 bid for deal
 with Saudi prison service...

was defeated by Jeremy Corbyn's
new Labour party in united action.

________________________________


CO-OP STORES IGNORED AS

UK FOOD STANDARDS DROP

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're 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:

 “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 Demonstrated Against Cuts          

 4 people were arrested as thousands of students
 marched 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.

_________________________


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

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

Children across the UK are being failed by four-fifths
 of schools which are “beyond their life cycle,” and
 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
 
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,”
 & an alternative to “greed and selfishness.”

People's Assembly spokesperson:

 “It is essential for the welfare of millions of people
 that we stop austerity cuts, before they do 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
they'd
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.


______________________________________



1,000 NHS PATIENTS die EVERY MONTH
from ACUTE KIDNEY FAILURE - KILLED
by DEHYDRATION and POOR CARE.

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.


___________________________________________



BRECON BISHOP BASHES BEDROOM TAX

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, reduces housing benefit for those with
"spare" rooms. It's widely unpopular
because
millions already struggle with poverty.


______________________________________________


SOLICITORS UNITE WITH PROBATION OFFICERS

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
sentences,”
says Nicola Hill, president of the LCCSA.

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

_____________________________________________


CUTTING THE OLD

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 2010, despite significant increases
in the number of people aged 65 or over in the UK.

___________________________


MENTAL HEALTH LOCK-UP

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.


___________________________________________


UK IS NOT A DEMOCRACY AT ALL
 
PM David Cameron reneged on his pledge
--------- to let voters recall disgraced MPs.

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, & 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 then accused the PM
 of blocking the bill from inclusion in the
final Queen's Speech of the Parliament.

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 tweeted.

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

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

____________________________


BEDROOM TAX REFUNDS OVER COCK-UP

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.

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

________________________________


UK ROTTING FROM BENT MPs

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.


____________________________


THE STINK OF HYPOCRACY

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.


______________________________________


CRIME, DAMN CRIME, AND CRIME STATISTICS

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
cannot trust our constabularies'
leadership
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 or 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.”

________________________


LOW PAY UK NOT OK !
 
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.

______________________________


NHS "DOWN TO THE BONE"

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 by 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
 frontline staffing levels are “down to the bone.”

“With rising demand for healthcare services,
workforce shortages will have significant
implications for staffing levels & 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.

Labour's shadow health secretary:

 “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,
presented a report on November 13th, in which
 he calls for radical changes to the way the NHS
 provides urgent and emergency care, aimed at
tackling an “inexorable climb” in A&E attendances.

___________________________________


BEATING UP THE WRONG GUY

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, & 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 !!!



____________________________________________



ABUSE OF ELDERLY RISE "DISTURBING"

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 of 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% 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.

_________________________________________



PRESENT CUTS NASTIER THAN UNDER THATCHER

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.


______________________



A MEDICAL EPISODE IN ENGLAND


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."


________________________________________



ORGANISED WORKERS LEAD FIGHT TO SAVE NHS


Pro-NHS campaign Health Emergency chair Geoff Martin:

 "This is a welcome move & the message has to be
rammed down this government's throat -- that the
 dismantling of the NHS, through the twin attack of
cuts & 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, & 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 SAYS 'WE ARE MOVING LABOUR TO ACT'


Unison general secretary Dave Prentis warns Labour
that his union will keep criticising the Labour party...
until it offers credible alternatives to austerity.

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


"We want a Labour Party that has policies that
resonate
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
 any future Labour government.
 
Mr Prentis says Unison is ready to lead a wave of
 anti-austerity actions, including demonstrations
 in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

"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 austerity
with "common sense"
politics for the people.


 In the face of the government's "organised mugging,"
 journalist, Owen Jones, vows 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."

Fellow comedian & disabled activist Francesca
Martinez adds that the assembly represents a
"common sense"
politics approach, compared
 to the Tory government's "radical" agenda.

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

Unite director of policy Steve Turner says the UK will
 lose 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
 say has "failed the people it's 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."

__________________________


SHOCK GROWTH IN TASERS

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 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 reveals that half of
those Tasered last year were black. Also, the total
number of people Tasered between 2008 and 2011
with emotional and mental health problems, rose
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 years old.

There are concerns in the Met that the Taser might
"become a compliance tool," the Guardian quotes
deputy chief constable, Simon Chesterman, telling
the assembly.

Chesterman says 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 issuance
of Tasers and says it might negatively impact policing
methods in the UK, as Tasar 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 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 & 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
has 
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
says
health funding is following these people, further
cutting
funding the services for disadvantaged
communities in Wales.

Mr Rathfelder says that "the fundamental issue is not
about 
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.

_______________________

KICKING THE POOR

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...

__________________________________________


TORIES TO PRIVATISE OFFENDERS' SUPERVISION

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 says.
"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
even
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
too
risky, and give greater reason to devolve custodial
powers.

"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.


____________________________________


FIRST WOMAN IN CHARGE OF TUC:
'TORIES DETERMINED TO BE NASTY'

The TUC's first female general secretary,
Francis O'Grady, attacks the Tories for
their "vicious spiral" of spending cuts
hitting low-paid workers & jobseekers.


She says the coalition reduced living standards
 for some of the poorest people in the UK, via
welfare & benefits cuts, & failed to offer any
vision for the economy, or hope for the future.


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

"We were told 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
income,
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 political
parties, employers and
indeed unions."

"My strong belief is that when we look back
at the period
from the 1980s to the 2008
crash, historians will see these times
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."



________________________________________________



KINGDOM OF UNEQUALLED PRIVILEGE

Official figures show that the United Kingdom of England,
Scotland, Northern Ireland & 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, using Gross Value Added (GVA) measures.

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.


_____________________________________


LEFT GOVERNMENTS GIVE SECURITY
(Right "gives" racism, immigrant
scapegoating and gangs)


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

The president opens another integrated centre
in Ambati, capital of
Chimborazo province, &
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 &
are essential for bringing police closer to their
communities, plus supplying more 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 pending social investment there.


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

will save thousands of lives.

Quito & 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.



________________________________________


MAKING THE MULTINATIONALS PAY UP ON TAX !!!

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 yet cuts vital
services like refuges, creches & 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 won't
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 & 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, & many walk miles
to get food handouts -- as they can’t afford bus fares.

"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. [7]


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

_______________________________


AN ENTIRE GENERATION LEFT TO ROT


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
Express
reports. 


At least half of the 1 million jobless youth have
been searching for work for at least six months.


The TUC, representing 6 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 have barely
begun,”
says TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber.



_______________________________________



SAVE ALL THE CHILDREN

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, that's “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 and
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're
launching a UK appeal. We need to help poor
families survive the recession,” he states.

_________________________________________________


RAISE RETIREMENT AGE EVEN HIGHER SAYS IMF

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 ''spin out of control'' if the average
lifespan in the UK, increases by only 3 years more
than estimated. It says 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.

and the Labour Party's rightwing
eat this guff up, and WANT this!!!



***********************************************


IT'S NOT WHO VOTES THAT COUNTS -
BUT WHO COUNTS THE VOTES !


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

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 tax-
payer dollars, undermine voter confidence,
and fuel partisan disputes over the
integrity of our elections.”


**********************************************

FED UP WITH THE BANKS?
MOVE YOUR MONEY TO AN ETHICAL BANK!
GO HERE NOW:

http://moveyourmoney.org.uk/

*************************************************


BULLY FOR BULLYING BULLIES


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 &
procedures for employees that are followed through by
management. This can prevent potentially dangerous
outcomes, such as, poor workplace morale, lost
productivity, litigation, & 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 !


************************************************


DIE YOUNGER IN WALES THAN IN RWANDA

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.)

The
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.


*************************************************



UK PRIVATISED SCROOGES

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 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."



***********************************************


AND WHERE IS WALES' BLOSSOMING...?

Imagine the Rhondda using wind and sun energy
to create new rate and rent free business units,
  that encourage new enterprising companies,
which pay well and market under a "brand"
with a superb reputation for quality.

Everything to help hitting the ground running,
with hot-desking, science, and agriculture, to
  to employ our youth.



*************************************************

Russian scientists and Scottish ones



Russian/Scottish scientists hail long-range
secure quantum communication system.

A group of scientists from ITMO University
 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, has developed
a new
approach to constructing quantum
communication
systems for secure data
exchange.


 The experimental device based on the results of the
 research is capable of transmitting single-photon
 quantum signals across distances of 250 klmtrs
 or more, which is on par with its cutting edge
analogues, the ITMO press-service says.

"Now researchers are on a mission -- to create
 a fully-fledged quantum cryptographic system,
that will generate & distribute quantum keys
 and transmit useful data simultaneously",
 ITMO says.

Information security is becoming more and more
 of a critical issue not only for large companies,
banks and defense enterprises but even for
small businesses and individual users.

But the data encryption algorithms we currently
 use for protecting our data are imperfect - in the
 long-term, their logic can be cracked. Regardless
 of how complex and intricate the algorithm is,
 getting around it, is just a matter of time.

Unlike algorithm-based encryption, systems
 that protect information by making use of
 fundamental laws of quantum physics, can
make data transmission totally immune to
 hacker attacks, in the future.

Information in a quantum channel is carried
by single photons that change irreversibly
 if an eavesdropper tries to intercept them.
The legitimate users will instantly know
 about any kind of intervention.


Researchers at the Quantum Information Centre
 of the International Institute of Photonics and
 Optical Information Technology at ITMO Uni.,
Russia, along with their colleagues from the
Heriot-Watt University, in Edinburgh, have
 devised a new way to generate and
 distribute, quantum bits.

This makes it possible to share quantum signals
--- via optical fibres --- 250 kilometers in distance.

"To transmit quantum signals, we use the so-
called side frequencies," says Artur Gleim,
head of the Quantum Information Centre at
 ITMO University,

 "This unique approach gives us a number
 of advantages, such as a considerable
simplification of the device architecture
 and the large pass-through capacity of
the quantum channel. In terms of bit rate
 and operating distance our system is
comparable to absolute champions in
the field of quantum communications."

According to Robert Collins, research associate
 at the Institute of Photonics & Quantum Sciences
 at Heriot-Watt University and one of the authors
of the study, this may become a pivotal point for
 the whole field of quantum communication and
 cryptography:

 "Down the track, this new approach can enable
 smooth coexistence of numerous data streams
 with different wavelengths in one single optical
 cable. On top of it, these quantum streams can
 be fed into the already existing fibre optic lines
 --- along with conventional communications."

The research paper is published
in the Optics Express journal.


Scottish universities are to be
congratulated for their strong
& growing links with Chinese
and Russian universities....

What a shame, that Wales is
lying low --- with academics
too scared to break from US
military research.



events in Rhondda


ROGER WATERS TO MUSICIANS:- "BOYCOTT ISRAEL"

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,
especially 
the right of self-determination.


____________________



AT THE FACTORY

Tickets from

www.wegottickets.com/thefactory

www.ticketweb.co.uk

browse venues in Wales

www.ticketlineuk.com

02920 230130

Cash tickets from:

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

For more details visit

www.factoryporth.com
www.facebook.com/TheFactoryVenue
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
www.rct-arts.co.uk 


 
*************************************************

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.

COMEDY IN THE LAUGHTER LOUNGE

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.

www.rct-arts.co.uk





conserving life on earth


MAN
by Steve Cutts



Dear Ray

The Bee Cause

Dear Ray Poet,

Did you know that it’s been three years since bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides were restricted across Europe? This is brilliant news and it couldn’t have happened without hundreds of thousands of people like you speaking out.

But sadly it’s only a partial ban, and doesn’t cover some of our most important crops such as wheat. So our bees are still facing the threat of toxic neonicotinoids (neonics) in our fields every day.

Demand a complete ban.

The scientific evidence against neonics is piling up. Just three months ago, an independent study spanning 17 years showed that exposure to neonic treated oilseed rape crops can be linked to the decline of wild bee species across the English countryside.

Shockingly, this year we also learnt that neonics can poison the wider countryside. Wildflowers surrounding some crops have also been found to have high levels of neonics in them, meaning there’s no safe place for our bees to go.

Back a permanent ban on bee-harming pesticides.

It gets even worse - our government has the power to temporarily lift the ban at any time and Brexit could mean the restrictions are scrapped altogether. We must make sure the UK government backs a ban on these toxic pesticides on all crops, permanently.

But there is some good news - bees are getting lots of support from people like you and me. And we’re not alone. Did you know that 81% of the public are in favour of maintaining the current EU ban on bee-harming pesticides?

I’m hopeful that I can write to you again next year to let you know that neonics are a thing of the past.

Together we’ve got the power to reverse bee decline.

Best wishes,
Emi and the Bee Cause team

P.S Ask your friends and family to sign the petition too via the share buttons below.
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North Dakota Pipeline:
Activists vow to stand ground

The protesters fighting to block the Dakota Access
 Pipeline vow to stand their ground despite growing
 calls for them to leave and threats of prosecution
from law enforcement.

Since late summer, protesters have stood beside
 members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North
 Dakota who believe the $3.7 billion pipeline project,
which would move 470,000 barrels of crude oil a
day across four states, would affect its drinking
 water supply and place communities at risk of
contamination downstream from oil spills.

Standing Rock Sioux Chair Dave Archambault
says the protest will go on despite protesters
 having been ordered to vacate the area
where they are camping by December 5.

"We're in for the long haul," says Chase Iron
 Eyes, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux.

The US Army Corps of Engineers has warned
 that activists who refuse to leave could face
 arrest. But, after the statement's release,
officials
backtracked, saying they've no
plans to forcibly remove those who stay.

Now, a week before the deadline, North Dakota
 Gov. Jack Dalrymple has ordered protesters
to
clear out immediately, citing reasons other

than trespassing:--  harsh winter conditions.

In a statement, he said the protesters' temporary
dwellings have yet to be inspected and approved,
and failure to do so, poses serious public safety
 concerns. He added that first responders would
 no longer provide emergency services to those
who remain.

Morton County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman
Maxine Herr said the authorities will "passively"
enforce the governor's order for protesters to

vacate. Earlier, she had said law enforcement
would immediately start blocking people &
supplies from entering the protest campsite.

She later amended that statement to say that
 anyone who enters the area does so at their
 own risk and will be subjected to penalties.

There will be no road block, but anyone entering
 the area will be told that they are trespassing,
 and penalized.

Iron Eyes says it's just like the wild west:

"You've a government agency trying to declare
 us as trespassers on our own treaty land and
 threatening to penalize us, criminally charge
 us and possibly forcibly round us up, if we
don't return to the reservation."

The pipeline was originally in an area that did
 not cross Native American reservations. The
 current proposed route, however, would take
 it through four states, stretching 1,172 miles
to connect areas with oil in North Dakota to
southern Illinois.

It will cut through the Sioux Tribe's reservation,
 and the tribe says it could potentially destroy
sacred lands and prevent access to clean
drinking water.

Over the months of protest, the tribe has been
joined by multiple groups and activists. They
maintain that they have been peaceful, but at
 times, violence has erupted.

Morton County Sheriff's Office said protesters
 set fires, as officers tried to disperse people
 with tear gas, rubber bullets and cold water
 sprayed from fire engine hoses.

Archambault says the accusations against
 the protesters are false, and that it's the
police who are being violent.

"They are the ones who bring the aggression,"
 he said. "They're the ones who are using
weapons."

He says the letter from the Army Corps
will only make things worse.

"By sending out a letter saying you have until
December 5," he says, " It just escalates and
causes more concern for everyone's safety."

____________________________________


Scientists Turn Sewage into Crude Oil

Prensa Latina - US scientists have developed a
 technique that can turn sewage into biocrude
oil.. in a matter of minutes, the Pacific North-
west National Laboratory (PNNL) announces.

The technique is called hydrothermal liquefaction,
and mimics the geological conditions required to
 create crude oil. What takes Nature millions of
years to do, can now be achieved in a few
 minutes, PNNL says.

By using hydrothermal liquefaction, human waste
can be turned into simpler chemical compounds.
The material is pressurized to 1,200 Kg per sq.
 inch, and then goes into a reactor system,
operating at about 350 degrees Celsius.

In a few minutes a material similar to petroleum
 is created, but with a small amount of water &
oxygen mixed in. This biocrude can be refined
 using normal petroleum refining techniques.


___________________________________


Cuba Only Country in the World to
Achieve Sustainable Development

Cuba has been declared, this week, the only
country in the world to achieve sustainable
 development, according to a report which
the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) publishes
every two years.

The WWF document, presented in Beijing, China,
noted that, if things continue as they are now,
 humanity will need to use natural resources &
energy, equivalent to two Earths --- by 2050.

This is a vicious circle, as poor countries produce
 much lower per capita damage, to nature, but as
they develop (and China and India are following
this trend) the rate rises to unsustainable levels
for the planet.

And, within this panorama, Cuba stands out
for its favorable indicators, and although the
text clarifies that this does not mean that the
 tiny Caribbean nation is perfect; it's the only
country that complies with those conditions.

The WWF has played a key role in fostering
 an international environmental movement, 
combining growth and development -- and
Cuba's currently the most evident example.

On several occasions, the UN Development
Program (UNDP) has recognized that Cuba
is a benchmark for the continent regarding
the integration of policies and actions for
 sustainable development.

UNDP's deputy resident representative in
Cuba, Claudio Tomasi, told Prensa Latina
that the country's development scheme
combines its economic approach, with
 a social and environmental component
 through comprehensive programs, that
save effort & funds; with higher results.


__________________________________


Historic deal reached on a New
 Marine Sanctuary in Antarctica!

24 countries and the EU, agree to create
 the world’s largest marine reserve in the
Antarctic Ocean by the frozen continent.

A deal to make Ross Sea, in Antarctica,
the world’s first large-scale marine park
in international waters, was reached on
Friday, Oct. 28th, in Hobart, Australia.

The agreement comes after years of diplomatic
wrangling and high-level talks between the US
 and Russia --- which have rejected the idea in
 the past.

The new marine reserve is located south of New
 Zealand, in a vast pristine area, which is cold &
 largely untouched by humans. The reserve will
cover 1.55 million square kilometers.

Some 1.12 million square kilometers of the reserve
 will be a no-fishing zone. The Ross Sea one of the
world's most ecologically important oceans.

Decisions on Antarctica need unanimous support
 among a 25-member commission, involving the
US, Russia, China, Japan, Australia, New
 Zealand and the EU, a hurdle which had
 left past efforts unsuccessful.

This week, in a rare show of unity, the 24
 countries and the European Union,
 agreed on the deal !

“To get them all to align - especially in the
context of divergent economic interests -
 is quite a challenge,” said Evan Bloom, a
director at the US State Department and
 leader of the US delegation at the event.

“This decision is very important not just for
the Antarctic --- but for efforts to promote
world marine conservation,” Bloom said.

In a statement, US Secretary of State John Kerry
 said it “will safeguard one of the last unspoiled
 ocean wilderness areas on the planet -- home
 to unparalleled marine biodiversity & thriving
 communities of penguins, seals, whales,
 seabirds, and fish.”

Scientists & activists have described the
 agreement, as a historic milestone in the
 global efforts to protect marine diversity.
The sanctuary will cover more than 12%
 of the Southern Ocean.

The Southern Ocean around Antarctica is one
 of the most diverse, fragile, & poorly studied
ocean ecosystems on Earth.

The Antarctic Ross Sea is home to over 10,000
 species -- including most of earth’s penguins,
whales, seabirds, giant squid, and Antarctic
tooth fish -- and is one of the world’s most
ecologically-important marine areas, and
the healthiest remaining marine
ecosystem on the planet.

___________________________________


Globally averaged concentration of CO2
 reaches alarming level in 2015: WMO

Globally averaged concentration of carbon dioxide
 (CO2)in the atmosphere reached the symbolic
milestone of 400 parts per million for the first
time in 2015 and surged again to new records
in 2016 on the back of the powerful El Nino
event, according to a report released by the
World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
on October 24th.

WMO released its annual "Greenhouse Gas
Bulletin" ahead of the United Nations climate
change negotiations in Marrakech, Morocco,
to be held from November 7 to 18, providing
a scientific base for decision-making.

The report said CO2 levels had previously reached
the 400 ppm barrier for certain months of the year
 & in certain locations but never before on a global
average basis, for the entire year. Monitoring
systems predict that CO2 concentrations will
stay above 400 ppm for the whole of 2016 and
not dip below that level for many generations.

The growth spurt in CO2 was fueled by the El Nino
event, which started in 2015 & had a strong impact
well into 2016. This triggered droughts in tropical
regions and reduced the capacity of "sinks" like
 forests, vegetation & the oceans, to absorb CO2.

These sinks currently absorb about half of CO2
emissions but there is a risk that they may
become saturated, which would increase
 the fraction of emitted carbon dioxide
 staying in the atmosphere, states
 the report.

"The year 2015 ushered in a new era of optimism
 and climate action with the Paris climate change
 agreement. But it also makes history as marking
 a new era of climate change reality, with record
high greenhouse gas concentrations,"said WMO
Secretary-General Petteri Taalas."The El Nino
event's disappeared. Climate change has not."

The report highlighted there was a 37% increase in
 radiative forcing; the warming effect on our climate
- because of long-lived greenhouse gases, such as
carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide (N2O)
- from industrial, agricultural and domestic
activities, between 1990 and 2015.

In 2015, globally averaged CO2 levels
were 144% of pre-industrial levels.

In 2015, global annual average
CO2 concentrations, reached
400.0 ppm.


______________________________________


People of Earth: We Survived the
 Hottest September Ever, Again!

Last month was the hottest in recorded history,
 according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for
Space
Studies (GISS).

 "September 2016 was the warmest September in
136 years of modern record-keeping," the GISS
said on Tuesday. According to meteorological
 records, 11 of the past 12 consecutive months
since October 2015 have hit a new record, with
 the exception of June 2016, which previously
 was considered the hottest June on record
but turned out to be "the 3rd warmest June
 behind 2015 and 1998 --- after additional
 temperature readings from Antarctica."

 GISS director Gavin Schmidt explained that
monthly rankings are sensitive to updates &
 though newsworthy, are not as important as
 long-term trends. "Monthly rankings, which
 vary by only a few hundredths of a degree,
 are inherently fragile," he said. "We stress
 that the long-term trends are the most
important, for understanding ongoing
 changes that are affecting our planet."

September 2016's temperature, was 0.004
degrees Celsius warmer than the previous
 warmest September of 2014:  0.91 degrees
 Celsius warmer than mean temperatures
 for the month from 1951-1980, according
to
the GISS statement.

 Climate scientists have shown how global warming
 is human-caused, due to greenhouse gases emitted
 in various ways, including via carbon dioxide, the
 byproduct of internal combustion engines that
 burn fossil fuels.

 Other emissions contributing to greenhouse
 effects include gases used in refrigerators,
methane, nitrous oxide from fertilizers, and
chlorofluorocarbons, which are currently
 banned in much of the world.

Deforestation is an important factor in climate
change as well. Water vapor works as a feed-
back mechanism to the greenhouse effect,
 according to NASA.

 
While much of humanity attempts to mitigate
the effects of climate change by limiting its
emission levels, some scientists suggest
 that it is too late to stop global warming.

 James Hansen, a US climatologist & former
 NASA scientist, claims it's highly likely that
  the goals of the Paris agreement emissions
 accords limiting average temperature rises
--- will not be achieved.


_____________________________________



Experts push for strong measures
to save Ozone Layer

They made the call during the opening technical
session of the 28th Meeting of Parties to the
Montreal Protocol (MOP28), in Rwanda's
capital, Kigali.

The Montreal Protocol treaty is a global agreement
 that protects the ozone layer, by phasing out the
 production of substances responsible for ozone
 depletion and climate change.

It was first signed on September 16, 1987, and is
widely considered to be one of the most-effective
multilateral environment treaties ever negotiated.
It's the only treaty in the United Nations system
to which every country is a signatory.

The UN Environment Program, says that
 HFC emissions are growing at about 7%
 per year. If the current mix of HFCs is
unchanged, increasing demand may
 result in HFC emissions of up to 8.8
gigatons of CO2 equivalent a year,
 by 2050.

_______________________________



‘By 2050 half the forms of life we know
will be gone’ – conservation biologist

Humanity should start saving nature and switch to
 80% renewables by 2030, otherwise the Earth will
 keep losing species, and within 33 years around
 800,000 forms of life will be gone, conservation
 biologist Reese Halter, underlines.

Humans have changed the Earth so much that
 some scientists think we have entered a new
 geological age.

According to a report in the Science Magazine, the
 Earth is now in the anthropocene epoch. Millions of
 years from now our impact on Earth will be found in
rocks - just like we see fossils of plants and animals
 which lived years ago - except this time, scientists
of the future, will find radioactive elements from
 nuclear bombs, and fossilized plastic.

Reese Halter: "First of all, imagine you’re back on
 the football field. Each year in America - America
 alone - we throw away the equivalent of one foot-
ball field, 100 miles deep. That is the first thing.
The second thing is, we’ve entered the age of
climate instability. That means, from burning
 subsidized climate-altering fossil fuels, our
 food security is in jeopardy.

"The third thing that is striking, is we’re losing
species a thousand times faster than in the last
65 million years. At this rate within 33 years, by
 mid-century, that means 800,000 forms of life,
or half of everything we know, will be gone.
 The only way we can reverse this, is to do
things: save nature now, our life support
system, and we do this, by switching to
 80% renewables, by 2030.

 "It is a WWIII mentality. In America we have the
 technology; we have the blueprint. We lack the
 political will just right now. But in the next short
 while we will, because it is a matter of survival."

"As I said, we’re taking 160% more than mother
 Earth can sustain, with 7.4 billion people. The
 way to do it --- is to pull it back to 90%. If we
were a big bathtub, the ring would read:
 toxicity, toxicity, toxicity.

 "We’ve got to peel that back -- because
 what we do to the Earth, we do to
 ourselves."

Taken from RT interview

_______________________________


ENJOYING THE HEATWAVE?

Global Warning as Rapid Temperature Rise
 Steers Humanity Toward Catastrophe

 Global warming, rising at an unprecedented pace, is
 threatening the Earth, and humanity’s place upon it
with disaster, according to Gavin Schmidt, director
of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Beginning in October 2015, each month has set a new
heat record --- and July has been the warmest month
 since global temperature observation began in 1880.

The speed of rising temperatures is much higher than
in the last millennium, according to data obtained by
 the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
 (NOAA), demonstrating that warming rates over the
 past 100 years are about 10 times faster than the
 century that preceded it.

"In the last 30 years we've really moved into
 exceptional territory. It's unprecedented in 1,000
 years. There's no period that has the trend seen
in the 20th century, in terms of the inclination (of
temperatures)," Schmidt told the Guardian.

For the next 100 years the prognosis isn't
good...  According to NASA, the pace of
increasing temperatures will be at least
20 times faster than the historical average.

Last year, the international community agreed
 to a 1.5 degree Celsius limit at a landmark Paris
 climate accord. As Schmidt pointed out, keeping
 temperatures within this limit will require rapid
& significant cuts in carbon dioxide emissions,
 a global economic shift that --- given current
 attitudes & habits, is arguably an impossible
 goal. But, according to climate scientists,
exceeding the temperature limit set at
 the Paris talks will bring dire outcomes.

Sea level increases as a result of melting polar ice,
 drought, and other severe weather conditions, will
lead to catastrophe for island nations & developing
countries. Finding a way to shift the dependence of
the developed world away from fossil fuels is of the
utmost importance, according to climate experts.


__________________________________________



New Study Shows Controversial Pesticide
 Linked to Massive Bee Die-Off

A new study published this week shows that
 pesticides called neonicotinoids, or neonics,
are probably linked to the decline of wild bee
 populations.

Published in the Nature Communications journal,
the study examines the wild bee population relative
 to the use of the controversial neonicotinoids in the
 18-year span of 1994-2011. Researchers discovered
 that extinction rates for bees, parallel the use of the
 pesticide on plants -- and this is found throughout
the country.

One of the co-authors, Dr. Nick Isaac:

"The negative effects reported previously, do
 scale up to long-term, large-scale multi-species
impacts that are harmful. Neonicotinoids are
 harmful -- we can be very confident about that
 -- and our mean correlation is three times more
negative for foragers, than for non-foragers."

The 34 species analyzed in the study, saw a 10%
 population drop across the board, with 5 of the
 species seeing a decrease of 20% or more, and
 the most-impacted group seeing a 30% drop.
 Researchers say this indicates that half of
 the population decline could be attributed
to the use of neonics.

"Historically, if you just have oilseed rape, many
 bees tend to benefit from that because it is this
 enormous foraging resource all over the country
-side," said Dr. Ben Woodcock, lead author of
the study. "But this correlation study suggests
that once it’s treated with neonicotinoids up to
85%, then they are starting to be exposed and
 it's starting to have these detrimental impacts
 on them." 

"Our results suggest that sub-lethal effects of
 neonicotinoids could scale up to cause losses
of bee biodiversity. Restrictions on the use of
neonicotinoids may cut population declines."

Friends of the Earth (FOE) environmental group
have launched a petition calling on the Ace and
True Value hardware companies to stop carrying
 the pesticides, as consumers grow ever more
 conscious of their devastating impact.

FOE said, "If these garden retailers don't act fast,
 they'll lose customers. A new poll shows that 66
 percent of Americans prefer to shop at Lowe's
and Home Depot, because they've committed
to stop selling bee-killing pesticides."

In a separate study, the group found that toxic
 chemical use is declining in the US, with 23%
 of plants in the nation testing positive for the
 chemicals, a decline from 50% two years ago.
FOE credits the drop in numbers, to hardware
 stores stopping selling products that contain
 harmful pesticides, including neonicotinoids.

"It's nice to see the use of long-term data to look
 at trends in pesticide impacts over a longer time
 scale." said Dara Stanley, plant ecology lecturer
 at the National University of Ireland Galway...

 "That is something that has been missing in the
 debate on bees and pesticides so far, and there
 have been many calls to look at the effects
 over time."

_________________________________________


The BIG lie about Jeremy Corbyn is that there
is NO economic plan - there is --- it's GREEN

Below are just 8 0f the 10 pledges:

ENERGY PLEDGES

1) My over-arching commitment will be for
 Britain to take the lead in developing the
clean Energy Economy of the future.

2) As leader I would establish an Energy
Commission to draft a fundamental
shift in UK energy thinking.

3) The Commission will be tasked to produce
 a route-map into tomorrow’s ‘smart energy’
systems that will:

• Deliver more, but consume less

• Use clean energy before dirty

• Put energy saving before
 more consumption

• Use smart technologies to run localised
 storage, balancing & distribution mechanisms,
 
• Shift the costs of grid access and grid
balancing from clean energy across to dirty

• Be open, democratic, sustainable and
accountable (in ways that today’s market
 is not).

4) The Commission to be charged with bringing
 new partners into energy policy making. These
 will include:-  local authorities, communities,
energy co-operatives, & ‘smart’ technology
 companies, that are already working on
tomorrow’s ‘virtual’ power systems and
 new energy thinking.

5) As leader I will conduct a root & branch
 review of energy market subsidies;
moving away from the notion of everlasting
 hand-outs; instead, using public support as
 ‘transition funding’ that transforms Britain’s
 energy infrastructure.

6) I will expect the energy industry, not the
public, to meet the costs of their own clean-up.

7) I will look to re-define the roles of Ofgem,
 the National Grid and the Competition and
Markets Authority, to promote a genuinely
 open, competitive and sustainable energy
 market; one in which there are more players
and clean energy choices than we have today.

8) I will examine ways to allow communities
 to be owners of local energy systems, with
 the right (as in other parts of Europe) to have
 first use of energy they generate themselves.

Go here --- for the complete plan:

http://unionsforenergydemocracy.org/wp-content/uploads
/2015/09/Jeremy-Corbyn-Environment-plan-Aug-2015.pdf


_______________________________


 EU approves imports of genetically
 modified Monsanto soybeans

The European Commission has approved the
import & processing of Monsanto’s Roundup
 Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, after debates over
 glyphosate herbicide’s safety, delayed the
 introduction of the genetically modified
 soybean variety, for months.

“Today the Commission authorized three GMOs for
 food/feed uses (soybean MON 87708 x MON 89788,
 soybean MON 87705 x MON 89788 & soybean FG 72)
--- all of which have gone through a comprehensive
 authorization procedure, including a favorable
 scientific assessment by EFSA,” the European
 Commission statement reads.

Following the Commission’s approval Monsanto’s
 GMO soybeans are now authorized for use in the
 feed of animals and in human food --- but not for
 planting in the EU. The authorization is now valid
 for 10 years but the EU warns that “any products
 produced from these GMOs will be subject to the
 EU’s strict labeling and traceability rules.”

Although Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans are
 tolerant to glyphosate and dicamba herbicides,
 the use of dicamba herbicide over the Roundup
 Ready 2 Xtend soybeans remains in a late stage
 of the Environmental Protection Agency review
 and is not currently approved by the EPA.

Dicamba was first approved in 1967 & has been
 linked to high rates of cancer & birth defects in
 the families of food growers say the government
 and other scientific studies. Consumer, health,
 environmental, and farmer advocates, have
all fiercely opposed the new Xtend system,
over health and environmental concerns.

Europe is the second largest soybean customer as
 it relies on soybeans to meet demand for meat and
 dairy products. The entire bloc produces less than
1 million tons of soya a year, yet imports around
 35 million tons, according to the World Wide
Fund for Nature.

_____________________________________


France has banned plastic bags?

While some countries like France have opted
for a ban, others like Ireland and the UK have
 introduced plastic bag charges in an effort
to minimize their use.

It is estimated that 100 billion plastic grocery
bags are used across Europe per year, with 8
 billion ending up as litter.

Environmental Danger

Depending on the type of plastic, these bags
have been estimated to take between 100 &
 500 years to decompose in the environment,
where they pose a great risk to wildlife.

According to a study published in the peer-
reviewed journal, PLUS ONE, in December
2014, there are a minimum of 5.25 trillion
 pieces of plastic in the world's oceans.

Because plastic takes so long to decompose,
 much longer than an animal does, one piece
can kill several living creatures.

In Sept 2015 Australian scientists estimated
that as many as nine in ten seabirds have
plastic in their gut, & that increasing rates
 of ingestion mean that this figure will reach
 99 percent of all species by 2050 --- unless
 there is more effective waste management.

Health Risk: Scientists warn that people
are ingesting plastic by eating ocean fish.


___________________________________________



Reduce, Reuse, Recycle:
India to Build Roads of Plastic

The government of Maharashtra state in India
 has decided to kill two birds with one stone.
Plastic waste now will be used with asphalt
 to improve roads’ durability and reduce soil
pollution at the same time.

Plastic bags & pouches, bin linings, household
 goods, bottles and bottle caps in Maharashtra,
 get a second chance to serve a good purpose
 as the state government plans to use plastic
 waste along with asphalt, to build roads.

Delhi's Central Road Research Institute studies
revealed, that plastic waste added to asphalt
makes road building cheaper & better quality.

Added in small doses, 5-10% of the weight of
the asphalt (3-6 kg of plastic for every 100 kg
 of tar), it helps to improve stability, strength,
 fatigue life and other desirable properties of
 the road material.

"Such roads will have higher resistance to
 deformation and water induced damage,
increase their durability & strength, and
ultimately, dispose of plastic waste in a
 larger amount to save pollution," say the
 recommendations of the institute to the
Maharashtra government, adding:- "The
 use of waste plastic thus contributes to
the construction of green roads."

As a survey conducted by the Central
 Pollution Control Board in 2015 says:
the plastic waste generated in 60 of
India's cities, is estimated at over
 15,300 tons a day and over 6,100
 tons remain uncollected,
 as litter.

____________________________________


World's biodiversity drops
below "safe" levels: study


Xinhua - Changes in land use have caused global
 biodiversity to fall below what's considered to be
"safe" levels & threatens efforts toward long-term
 sustainable development, a new study reveals.


The study, published in the US journal Science,
studied 2.38 million records of 39,100+ species

 at 18,600 sites ---- to estimate how biodiversity
in
every square kilometre of land has changed

---- since humans modified the habitat.

For 58.1% of the world's land surface, where
 71.4% of the human population live, the level
 of biodiversity loss is substantial enough to
 question the ability of these ecosystems to
support human societies, it found.

The loss due to changes in land use puts levels
 of biodiversity, beyond the recently proposed
 planetary boundaries: an international frame-
work that defines a safe operating space for
 humanity.

"This is the first time we've quantified the effect
 of habitat loss on biodiversity, globally, in such
 detail and we've found that across most of the
 world, biodiversity loss is no longer within the
safe limit suggested by ecologists," the lead
researcher, Tim Newbold, from University
 College, London, says, in a statement.

"We know biodiversity loss affects ecosystem
 functioning, but how it does this, isn't entirely
clear. What we do know, is that in many parts
of the world, we are approaching a situation
 where human intervention might be needed
 to sustain ecosystem functioning," he says.

The study found that grasslands, savannas
 and shrublands were most affected by bio-
diversity loss, followed closely by many of
 the world's forests and woodlands.

It suggests the ability of biodiversity in
 these areas to support key ecosystem
functions, such as the growth of living
 organisms and nutrient cycling, has
 become increasingly uncertain.

The researchers also found that biodiversity
 hotspots - those that have seen habitat loss
 in the past, but have a lot of species only
 found in that area - are now threatened...
 & show high levels of biodiversity decline.

Some high biodiversity areas, eg Amazonia
- that haven't seen land use change - have
higher levels of biodiversity ---- and more
 scope for proactive conservation.

"The greatest changes have happened in the
 places where most people live, which might
affect physical & psychological well-being.

To address this, we would have to preserve
 the remaining areas of natural vegetation &
 restore human-used land," adds Dr Newbold.



________________________________________



Expansion of Transgenic Seeds
   Stopped in Guatemala    

Prensa Latina - Indigenous communities, ancestral
authorities and social organizations celebrate today
 in Guatemala, the suspension by the Constitutional
Court (CC) of the agreement giving a green light to
 the expansion of genetically modified seeds.

This victory, which
had much to do with the work
 of the Winaq deputy, Amilcar Pop, is seen by wide
 sectors, as an important step in defending the
natural resources and autochthonous seeds
 of the indigenous peoples of this country.

The CC of Guatemala notified, on June 17th,
the provisional suspension of Decree 6-2014
Protocol of Nagoya (Japan, 2010), dealing
 with Access to genetic resources and the
equitable distribution of the benefits
 arising from its use.

This treaty is questioned by civil organizations
 and the ancestral authorities --- because of the
procedure used in its approval, in Guatemala's
Congress --- as a matter of national urgency.

Also, the treaty did not gain the two thirds of
 the vote required by the Political Constitution
 (1985) and the organic law of the legislative
 power:-  despite which, it was implemented.

The Nagoya Protocol, legitimised after 6 years
 of negotiations within the context of the 10th
 Conference of the Parts of the agreement on
Biologic Diversity, pretends to promote new
 biotechnology for food production & genetic
 modification, as a benefit for natives and
 creoles.

This ruling -- by Guatemala's CC -- forces
the National Council of Protected Areas
to now suspend all actions oriented to
compliance, on Guatemalan territory.



________________________



One Third of 'Dead Zones' in World’s Oceans
 Around United States - Kerry

Roughly a third of all 'dead zones' in the
 world’s oceans, are in or around the US,
Secretary of State, John Kerry, reveals.

Sputnik - One third of the 400 "dead zones"
 in the world’s oceans depleted of oxygen,
 are in or around the US, Kerry informs a
classroom discussion in Silver Spring,
 Maryland.

"We have 166 dead zones in the United
States. The largest dead zone of all is
 about 5,000 square miles down in the
 Gulf of Mexico, where the Mississippi
 River comes out," Kerry said on Wed-
nesday in remarks published by the
 US Department of State.

"There are now over 400 dead zones on a
 global basis and they’ve gone up every
single decade, for the last decades.
What does that tell you? It tells you
 that we’re not solving the problem;
it’s getting worse, not better,"
 Kerry explained.

Which sea is the most heavily polluted in
 Europe? The North sea ---- around the UK.


________________________________



 TTIP risks to health & environment, US pressure on
 EU revealed in secret docs leaked by Greenpeace

The controversial trade deal between the EU and the
US could affect public health, human rights, internet
privacy & the environment, badly, Greenpeace says,
 citing leaked negotiation print. The US is pressuring
 the EU over the deal, the text appears to show.

The 248 pages of classified negotiation papers on
 The Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership
 (TTIP) were released by Greenpeace Netherlands
 on Monday, May 2nd.

“This treaty is threatening to have far-reaching
 implications for the environment and the lives
of over 800 million citizens in the EU and US,”
a Greenpeace statement says.

The TTIP is “about a huge transfer of power from
 people to big business,” according to the group.

Greenpeace says the papers’ authenticity is
confirmed by an investigative research team
 consisting of Rechercheverbund NDR, WDR
und Süddeutsche Zeitung, media outlets.

The US is blocking European car exports
into the US, to force the EU to buy more
 environmentally risky US farm produce,
Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported, after
 analyzing the documents.

The deal will result in abandoning long-
standing environmental protections,
Greenpeace says, adding:

“The US demand for a ‘risk based’ approach
aiming to manage hazardous substances -
rather than avoid them - finds its way into
 various chapters. This approach under-
mines the ability of regulators to take
preventive measures, for example,
 regarding controversial substances
 like hormone disrupting chemicals,”
 the statement reads.

Greenpeace has been worried that the
negotiation papers do not mention the
General Exceptions rules, that would
allow nations to regulate trade --- “to
 protect human, animal and plant life
or health" or for "the conservation
of exhaustible natural resources."

“The omission of this regulation, suggests
 both sides are creating a regime that puts
profit ahead of human, animal & plant life
and health,” Greenpeace says.

“Whether you care about environmental
issues, animal welfare, labour rights, or
 internet privacy, you should be concerned
 about what is in these leaked documents.
 They underline the strong objections civil
 society and millions of people around the
 world, have voiced.”

Cecilia Malmstrom, a European Commissioner
 for Trade, blogs, saying the documents “reflect
 each side’s negotiating position, nothing else.”

“It is only normal that both parties in a negotiation
 want to achieve as many of their own objectives
as possible. That does not mean that the other
side gives in to those demands. That does not
 mean that the parties will meet halfway,” she
adds.

EU chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero also
dismisses Greenpeace’s report: “We have made
crystal clear that we would not agree on any-
thing that implies changes of our regulatory
 regime on GMOs.”

While the Transatlantic Trade and Investment
 Partnership (TTIP) between the US and Europe
 is set to create the world's largest free trade
 zone, many Europeans worry the agreement
will elevate corporate interest, above any
national interest. TTIP opponents say
that cheaper goods and services -----
 will only hurt the EU & help the US.

Europeans argue that international
corporations will be given power at
 the expensive of small/medium-sized
 businesses. Secrecy around the
negotiations has also produced
fierce criticism.

Just a day before Obama's visit to
Germany, thousands of anti-TTIP
 protesters hit Hanover's streets.

According to a new survey by pollsters
 YouGov -- on behalf of the Bertelsmann
 Foundation -- only 17% of Germans say
that TTIP is a good thing --- down from
 55%, two years ago; & in the US, only
18% of people now support the deal,
compared to 53%, in 2014.


_____________________________________



Plant-based motor oil introduced in Iran

The fresh brand was reportedly synthesized
 with the use of environmentally friendly
extracts from plants.

The new class of bio-based oil is said to improve
engine performance and increase motor age,
plus making  it run cleaner.

It will, additionally, reduce sedimentation in the
 motor, which causes gradual engine power loss.

Officials, who attended the unveiling ceremony,
 hail the company’s latest effort as a step toward
to a healthy environment, Iranian reports say.

Studies show bio-based oils cause a reduction
of at least 80% in greenhouse gas emissions --
 compared to similar petrol-based synthetic oils.

A US report in 2013 said 40%+ of the pollution
 in US waterways ---- came from used motor oil.


__________________________________



 BRICS bank approves first loans, $811mn
 investment in renewable energy projects

The BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) has
 approved its first package of loans worth some
 $811 million. The four projects in Brazil, China,
South Africa and India, are all in the renewal
energy development sphere.

The decision to approve the first loans, which
 are to be handed out in tranches, was passed
 by the NDB, at the board of governors on the
 sidelines of the International Monetary Fund
 (IMF) and the World Bank spring meetings in
 Washington DC, RIA reports.

The NDB decided to provide $300 million to Brazil,
 $81 million to China, $250 million to India & $180
 million to South Africa. The bank estimates that
 renewable energy field projects with a combined
 capacity of 2.37MW, can help reduce the amount
 of harmful emissions by 4 million tons annually.

“There are many more new projects in the pipeline
 including projects from Russia. They're at various
 stages of consideration or appraisal,” the NDB
 spokesperson says.

The ministers also discussed creating a credit
rating agency of their own, to tackle western
 dominance in this sphere.

“Deliberations were held on the efficacy
 of establishing a New Development Bank
 Institute and BRICS rating agency,” the
Indian media releases said:

“It was decided that a technical working
 group, will examine the issues in detail.”

The New Development Bank created by Brazil,
 Russia, India, China and South Africa, started
 its operations in July, 2015, with an initial
 authorized capital of $100 billion.

The goals of the bank --- with its headquarters
 in Shanghai, is to fund infrastructure projects
 in the emerging economies, for sustainable
 development.


________________________________



Whey To Go! UK Homes
 to Be Powered By Cheese

Protein from cheese residue, like the stuff used in
 energy supplements ---- will be used to power the
UK's gas grid and a creamery factory in the north
of England. The plant in Cumbria will be the first
in Europe to turn cheese waste into bio-methane.

Clearfleau, the firm behind the project, is
 to use bio-methane gas to power 40% of all
homes in the local area; the remaining gas
 will go back to power the creamery itself.

Lake District Biogas will run the First Milk
 Aspatria plant for 20 years and will be the
 first Anaerobic Digestion (AD) dairy plant
 in Europe to put bio-methane in the gas
grid ----- generated by cheese.


________________________________



TTIP TOXIC

The very core of both Obama’s ‘trade’ deal with
 Europe, TTIP, and his ‘trade’ deal with Asia, TPP,
is to sign away legislators’ power to protect the
electorate -- from harmful additives, toxic water
and foods and air, unsafe cars, and to preserve
the environment for themselves and future
 generations – and more.

At its core, it transfers national sovereignty
 to a worldwide dictatorship of international
 corporations (via three-person corporate-
accountable panels of ‘arbitrators’, whose
rulings are non-appealable and are not
 required to adhere to any nation’s laws
(– it’s shocking, but true).


______________________________



China proposes $50 trillion
global renewable energy network

The company running China’s power grid is proposing
 a $50 trillion global electricity network --- to tackle
 pollution and climate change. If it goes ahead, the
 network would use advanced renewable solar
& wind technology, and be operating by 2050.

Beijing’s network will be the world’s biggest
 infrastructure project, if given the green light.
 
The State Grid has signed a memorandum
 of understanding, already, with Russia's
 energy grid Rosseti, Korea’s Electric
Power and SoftBank Group of Japan.

According to State Grid’s Chair, Liu Zhenya,
 the planet is facing "three major challenges",
 which are:-  energy scarcity, environmental
pollution and climate change.

Liu adds that smart grids, ultra-high voltage (UHV)
grids and clean energy are the only way to a green
low carbon, economical, efficient and open energy
system, with sustainable supplies.

Liu adds that the global network, could boost the
share of clean energy to 80% of world consumption
--- displacing fossil fuels as the main energy source.

"China is already the biggest country in the world
for wind, solar power generation & also UHV grids.
 And it has scale, so we can learn many things from
 China's success. Also, by interconnecting, we can
 help each other on supply and demand," SoftBank
 CEO, Masayoshi Son, tells the Global Times.

"It's a brilliant plan. It might encounter difficulties
 during construction --- but it is possible,"  Xue
 Jiancong, spokesperson for China Merchants
 New Energy Group, a leading renewable
 energy company, tells NBC News.

The major barriers for the project “are institutional,
 not technical,” the former US energy official David
 Sandalow, tells the Wall Street Journal. “It is an
open question, whether national governments
 will be open to such a revolutionary idea,”
he adds.


__________________________



Saudi Arabia to set up $2 trillion
 mega-fund for post oil era

The world’s largest crude exporter, Saudi Arabia,
plans to create a huge sovereign wealth fund for
 the country’s most prized assets, to prepare for
 the post oil era, says the Deputy Crown Prince,
 Mohammed bin Salman, as cited by Bloomberg.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) will eventually
 control over $2 trillion, & help the kingdom shift
 away from oil, which has seen falling prices
 strain Saudi Arabia's finances.

The Prince says that the wealth fund already
 holds stakes in companies, such as, Saudi
Basic Industries (the world’s second-biggest
 chemicals manufacturer) --- and in National
 Commercial Bank (S. Arabia’s largest lender).

“Undoubtedly, it will be the largest fund on
 Earth,” says the prince. “This will happen
as soon as Aramco goes public.”

As part of the new strategy, Riyadh plans to
 sell shares of state-owned energy company
 Saudi Aramco ----- and transform it into an
industrial conglomerate. The sale of the
company is planned for 2018, or even a
 year earlier.

“IPOing Aramco & transferring its shares to PIF,
 will technically make investment the source of
Saudi government revenue, not oil,” the prince
 says, in an interview at the royal compound
 in Riyadh, on Thursday. “What is left now
 is to diversify investments. So within 20
years, we will be an economy or state
that doesn’t depend mainly on oil.”

According to the fund’s sec. general,
 Yasir Alrumayyan, PIF is expected
to raise the proportion of foreign
 investments to 50% by 2020...
from the current 5%.

The kingdom is highly dependent on oil revenues,
& is suffering a record high budget deficit, which
 is expected to reach $87 billion, this year. The
 crude oil price crisis has had an impact on the
 economy, as oil sales account for almost 80%
 of the country’s revenue. Saudi Arabia’s
 foreign reserves fell to $640 billion last
 year, from $737 billion in 2014.

In January Riyadh outlined an ambitious
 economic development plan -- aimed at
dramatically reducing dependence on
 crude prices. The authorities intend to
restructure the economy by investing
more in other sectors, particularly in
healthcare, tourism and IT.

The government has also announced plans
to liberalize the market in order to attract
foreign investors.

“It is clear Saudi Arabia needs to reform, diversify,
 and re-energize its economy, but this will involve
 more than just increasing investment in non-oil
 industries,” a professor of security studies at
Georgetown University in Washington, Paul
Sullivan tells Bloomberg. “One cannot order
 economic reforms like a ten course dinner.”


______________________________________



TEPCO Starts to Freeze Soil
                at Fukushima Nuclear Plant               
 
 Prensa Latina - Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)
 started work on Thursday to freeze soil around
the disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear
power plant, in an operation to slow the pace
 of increase in radioactive water there.

The measure is expected to reduce the amount
 of groundwater flowing into the facilities every
day to about 50 tons, from 100+ tons, currently.

TEPCO required a Nuclear Regulation Authority
permit that took two years, since the directors
feared environmental damage.

To freeze the soil, special coolant under 30
degrees centigrade, is circulated through
pipes driven into the ground around the 4
reactors at the plant -- which was heavily
 damaged in the March 2011 earthquake
 and tsunami.

TEPCO experts explain that the Nuclear
Regulation Authority has approved the
operational start of frozen soil shields
 -- on condition that the work is done
in stages and results will start
showing in 45 days.


______________________________



We’re #1! Carbon dioxide is at its
 highest rate -- in 66 million years

After February’s most abnormally warm month
 on record, a new study in National Geoscience
 shows humans are releasing carbon dioxide at
a rate 10 times faster than at any time in the
 past 66 million years.

Carbon dioxide is necessary for the Earth, but the
 study by Richard Zeebe of the University of Hawaii
 at Manoa, Andy Ridgwell of the University of Bristol,
 and James C. Zachos of the University of California
 Santa Cruz, explains that “The Palaeocene–Eocene
 Thermal Maximum (PETM), is known, at present, to
have had the highest carbon release rates of the
past 66 million years.”

The PETM refers to a period 56 million years ago,
 when ''something'' caused the concentration of
atmospheric carbon dioxide, to spike at levels
 higher than today’s.

This caused Earth to warm, its oceans to acidify,
 & a mass extinction of animal and plant species.

 This is important, because the PETM took place
 over a long period of time.

Zeebe's team gathered their information on
 the PETM by examining a deep core of ocean
 sediment from the New Jersey coast... which
 was used to analyze ratios between isotopes
 of carbon & oxygen, and could consequently
 determine how atmospheric carbon dioxide
 levels have influenced temperatures.

Scott Wing, a paleobiologist and curator at
 the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
 in Washington, told Mashable:

 “If the rate of PETM carbon addition was a
 tenth of our rate, then the future will likely
 be much more extreme than the PETM, in
 many ways.”

Mashable reports that the PETM is believed
 to have lasted more than 4,000 years, with
 a maximum emission rate of 1.1 billion tons
 a year. Today, emission rates are estimated
 to be closer to 10 billion tons per year.

So what does this mean for planet Earth?
 Well, it’s hard to say, because the PETM
occurred very slowly, and there is no
analogue to be drawn between today’s
 high carbon dioxide emission rates,
and those of the PETM.

“... Unfortunately, because we’re doing it
 so fast, our conclusion is that the rate
of acidification will be much more
 severe in the future, and also that
the effects on the calcifiers are
likely to be more severe than
what we see during PETM,”
 Zeebe told Mashable.


________________________________



Tory inaction on emissions ‘insults people
 dying from air pollution,’ say green lawyers

Green campaigners are suing the government for
 failing to meet EU air pollution limits in UK cities.

Environmental law group ClientEarth issued a fresh
 legal challenge on March 18th, after accusing the
 Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
 (Defra), of delaying stricter pollution laws.

The government is legally required to meet EU
 targets on the toxic gas NO2, which is thought
 to kill about 25,000 people in the UK each year.

ClientEarth have asked the High Court to now
urgently review Defra’s plans to tackle the gas
- which is emitted from vehicles, and industry.

A lawyer for the group says the court could force
 the government to rewrite its policies to counter
 pollution.

“The plan they came up with [in Dec 2015],
was just not good enough. It was a plan for
a plan... These are classic delaying tactics.
Meanwhile, thousands of people are dying,”
ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews says.

“Government has been delaying for years.
This challenge will force a full legal
examination of Defra’s plans.”

ClientEarth’s case concerns 15 cities &
regions across the UK, including London,
Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow.

Scottish and Welsh ministers, the Mayor of
London, and the Department for Transport,
will also be served with papers.

The group claimed victory last April, when the
 UK Supreme Court, ruled the government had
failed to meet EU pollution limits.

Alan Andrews, a lawyer from ClientEarth, says
 the government plans, were an insult to those
 dying from air pollution.

“As the government can’t be trusted to deal with
 toxic air pollution, we are now asking the court
 to intervene, and make sure it is taking action,”
 he says.

“It is a disgrace that we have had to take further
 legal action, to force the government to protect
 our health.

“The government’s plans were an insult to those
 being made sick and dying from air pollution and
 failed to consider strong measures ----- to get the
 worst-polluting diesel vehicles out of our towns
 and city centres."

In January, London exceeded its EU air pollution
 limits for the entire year in just 8 days, according
 to London Air Quality Network.

High levels of toxic gas are emitted from diesel
 exhaust fumes. A new study says that exposure
 to the fumes, can significantly impact people
 with asthma.

Researchers at Imperial College, London, have
found that both during and after a 2-hour walk
 along the city’s busy Oxford Street, volunteers
 experienced increased asthmatic symptoms
 including reduced lung capacity and
inflammation in the lungs.


_____________________________________


‘Climate Emergency’: Scientists Stunned
 by February Temperature Records

Experts warn that we may be nearing a tipping
 point that could trigger a massive, apocalyptic
 temperature increase.

This weekend NASA released data showing
 that February 2016 was not only the hottest
February in recorded history, but soared so
 far past all previous records, as to cause
scientists to describe it as "an ominous
 milestone in our march towards an
 ever-warmer planet."

The average global surface temperature for
February was 1.35°C warmer than the average
for the month, as measured from 1951 to 1980.

 The previous record, 1.14°C above the 1951-1980
 baseline, was set one month earlier, in Jan. 2016.

According to meteorologists Bob Henson & Dr.
Jeff Masters, founder of the popular Weather
 Underground meteorological website, NASA's
 report is a "bombshell."

The meteorologists worry that Earth may
 have passed a critical tipping point, with
"February 2016 soaring past all rivals, as
 the warmest seasonally adjusted month
 in 100 + years, of global record-keeping."

Stefan Rahmstorf, of Potsdam Institute
 of Climate Impact Research, Germany,
 describes the development by using
 cataclysmic terminology.

"We are in a state of climate emergency now,"
 says Rahmstorf, adding, "the new figures are
 quite stunning --- and what we are seeing, is
completely unprecedented."

Generally, scientists caution against highlighting
 a one or two month temperature spike, particularly
 in an El Niño climate cycle, as Earth is experiencing
 this year. However, the climate data reported, is so
 extraordinary, many scientists believe it warrants
 serious alarm.

Temperatures reported in February 2016 exceed
 even the "super" El Niño of Feb. 1998 -- by 0.47°C.

Climatologists believe this string of monthly
 temperature records will continue, with record
 readings in the months and years to come, due
 to an increased concentration of carbon in the
global atmosphere, that, in turn, will drive
 higher longer-term temperatures.

What many scientists fear, beyond a gradual rise
 in temperatures, is reaching a tipping point, a full-
scale melting of the polar ice caps --- which would
 release methane, a powerful greenhouse gas with
 roughly 80 times the impact on world temperature
 as carbon dioxide.

If the ice caps melt, scientists speculate that it
could trigger a rapid, potentially apocalyptic
 temperature hike.


____________________________________


Pope Francis Calls to Address
                 One of the Greatest Crises               
 
 Prensa Latina - "We can no longer remain silent
before one of the greatest environmental crises
 in world history", pope Francis said on Monday,
15th of February, during a mass held in Chiapas,
Mexico, before indigenous communities.

Francis criticized the irresponsible use
 and abuse of natural resources.

"We grew up thinking we were the world's
 owners and were authorized to plunder it,
he emphasized.

The Pope presided over the mass in the
main indigenous languages of Chiapas:
Tzeltal, Tzotzil and Chol. The liturgy
included readings, prayers and
hymns in those languages.

Francis said indigenous communities have
 much to teach mankind, as they know how
to relate harmoniously with nature.

He denounced how, in a systematic and
organized way, indigenous peoples have
 been misunderstood and excluded from
 society, over the course of history.

"Some have considered your values,
culture and traditions to be inferior",
 he emphasised. "Others, intoxicated
 by power, money and market trends,
have stolen your lands, or have
contaminated them."


_________________________________



UK closes its oldest nuclear reactor
after 45 yrs of operation

The UK closed its oldest nuclear reactor, Wylfa
1,
after nearly 45 years of operation, Reuters
reports, citing operator Magnox.


“Wylfa Nuclear Power Station closed down,
 marking the conclusion of Magnox reactor
generation in the UK,” the company says.

The 490-megawatt nuclear reactor in Wales
 was scheduled to shut in September 2014,
but operations were extended.

Wylfa 1 started operating in 1971 next
to its twin Wylfa 2 reactor, which was
permanently shut down in April 2012.


______________________________


 ‘Cut antibiotics use in livestock to avert
superbug catastrophe’ – UK health review

Urgent cuts must be made in the use of antibiotics
 in livestock farming, as misuse of the drugs, risks
 sparking a global public health crisis, a UK-
government commissioned review says.

World governments need to reach internationally
 agreed targets, to reduce the use of antibiotics --
if medicine is to retain its effectiveness in killing
 bacteria.

The review, led by former Goldman Sachs chief
 economist Jim O’Neill, suggests countries follow
the lead set by Denmark and the Netherlands.

Denmark uses an average of less than 50mg of
 antibiotics a year per kilogram of livestock – a
 figure O’Neill says “may be a good starting
point for such a target.”

“Denmark has shown that a very productive farming
 industry can be sustained alongside relatively low
 levels of antibiotic use,” the review says.

In many countries the majority of antibiotics are
 used in livestock, not in humans, the study finds.

In the United States for example, over 70%
of medically important antibiotics are used
 on animals, while humans use 30%.

“This creates a big resistance risk for everyone,”
 O’Neill says. “It’s time for policy makers to act
 on this.”

Infectious disease expert and Wellcome Trust
director, Jeremy Farrar, says urgent action is
 needed, to combat a future crisis.

“We can now be certain that the health of live-
stock animals, and how we care for them, is
 inextricably linked to our own health and the
 effectiveness of medicines we rely on every
 day,” he says in a statement.

“We need international governments, policy
makers and the agricultural industry to coor-
dinate their actions, and set tangible targets
for the reduction, & better use of, antibiotics
 in animals.”

The review’s recommendations come amid
 global alarm over the discovery in China of
a gene dubbed MCR-1, that makes bacteria
 resistant to even the strongest antibiotic.

Professor Timothy Walsh of the University of
Cardiff’s Institute of Infection & Immunity told
 the BBC last month, that the world is on the
cusp of the “post-antibiotic era.”

“All the key players are now in place to make
 the post-antibiotic world a reality,” he said.

“If MCR-1 becomes global, which is a case of
when not if, & the gene aligns itself with other
 antibiotic resistance genes, which is inevitable,
then we will have very likely reached the start
of the post-antibiotic era.

“At that point if a patient is seriously ill, say
with E. coli, then there is virtually nothing
you can do,” he adds.


______________________________


 
Putin wants Russia to become
world's biggest exporter of Non-GMO food

Russia could become the world's largest supplier of
 ecologically clean & high-quality organic food, said
 President Vladimir Putin on thursday. He also called
 on the country to become completely self-sufficient
 in food production by 2020.

"We are not only able to feed ourselves, taking into
 account our lands, water resources. Russia is able
 to become the largest world supplier of healthy,
 ecologically clean and high-quality food --- which
 the Western producers have long lost: especially
 given the fact that demand for such products in
 the world market, is steadily growing," said
Putin, addressing the Russian Parliament.

According to the President, Russia is now an
 exporter, not an importer, of food.

"10 years ago, we imported almost half of our food
 from abroad and were dependent on imports. Now
 Russia is among the exporters. Last year, Russian
 exports of agricultural products totalled almost
$20 billion - a quarter more than the revenue from
 the sale of arms, or one-third of the revenue from
gas exports," he said.

Putin said all this makes Russia fully capable
of supplying the domestic market with home-
grown food by 2020.

In September, the Kremlin decided against
producing food products with genetically
modified organisms (GMOs).

Russia imposed an embargo on the supply
of products from the EU & US, in response
 to Western sanctions. When Turkey shot
 down a Russian Su-24 bomber, Russia's
 authorities banned fruit, vegetables, &
poultry from Turkey, as from Jan. 1st.


________________________________



Botswana Sells UK Company Right
to Drill for Shale Gas in National Park

Sputnik — Botswana's government has recently sold
 the rights to the UK owned Karoo Energy company,
 to frack for shale gas in the Kgalagadi transfrontier
park, the Guardian newspaper reports.

The Kgalagadi park is among Africa's largest
 conservation areas.

___________________________________


Record radiation at Fukushima power plant
could kill person in under 1 hour – reports

Deadly radiation levels of up to 9.4 Sieverts per hour
 have been recorded at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear
 power plant --- enough to kill a person in less than an
 hour, if directly exposed, Japan's local media report.

The mortal radiation reading was taken in a small
 room, using a remote-controlled robot, where a
 pipe leads to the containment vessel of No. 2
reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power
plant, JIJI Press reports, citing Tokyo Electri
c Power Co (TEPCO).

The reading of 9.4 sieverts (Sv) per hour was
taken during the September 4-25 checks.

According to the operator, the highest levels
of contamination were measured on the floor.
TEPCO did not offer any further details. The
company is about to start a decontamination
 process, it hopes to complete by December.

Immediate radiation exposure around the
Fukushima nuclear power plant after the
 deadly incident reached 400 millisieverts
(mSv) per hour in places.

 One millisievert is a thousandth of a sievert,
therefore the new 9.4 Sv reading is 23.5
times higher than the radiation level
recorded in March, 2011.

Just to compare, the typical average dose
 for a person is about 0.0036 Sv. per year.

Combined career exposure limits for NASA's
 male astronauts --- by the time they are 55
years old --- is 4.00 Sv.

Early last week, a government commissioned
study, said that nearly 40% of those involved
 in the emergency assistance operation at
 Fukushima's plant in March 2011, suffered
 from radiation exposure, exceeding the
yearly public norm.

A magnitude 9 earthquake triggered a tsunami
that struck Fukushima on March 11, 2011. The
 disaster caused a triple meltdown at the plant,
 where so far almost 45,000 workers have been
 involved in a clean-up & decommissioning effort
that is expected to cost billions of dollars and
take about 40 years.


_____________________________________________


Fukushima – a Hushed Up Catastrophe

“Its against international law to dump radioactivity
 into the sea, but that is precisely what is happening
 on a daily basis,” says Dr. Keith Baverstock, former
regional adviser for Radiation and Public Health,
World Health Organization (“WHO”), speaker at the
 Citizen-Scientist International Symposium on
 Radiation Protection, in October, 2015.

As intimated by Dr. Baverstock, inexplicably,
 Fukushima is immune to international law,
standards, and conventions, and nobody
cares enough to do anything about it.

Japan’s PM Abe (61), a graduate in political
science from Seikei University, is reopening
nuclear power plants as quickly as possible.

 Dr. Baverstock, “I’m really appalled at the way
 the international system has failed. Quite frankly,
we don’t get anything through the media. There's
no general understanding of the situation here in
 Europe, because the media are not putting this
view forward. In fact, I think many people would
 be very surprised, that it was still a matter for
 discussion. They would be even more surprised
 to learn that it’s still an ongoing accident, and
that it hasn’t terminated yet… and they would
 be more surprised to learn that nobody knows
 how to stop it.”

Abe's administration established a very tight
 news blackout and instituted severe secrecy
 laws --- to prevent the truth from getting out.

Information about the meltdown is controlled
via biased sources. Dr. Baverstock underlines:

 It is imperative for “the IAEA (International Atomic
Energy Agency) to have its role clarified. It cannot
continue to be the promoter of nuclear power and
the organization that is involved for safety. So, the
 failure of the IAEA to respond, in this particular
 instance is very good ammunition to move towards
 getting that view heard at the UN General Assembly,
 and that will be something which politicians have
 to do. There are some politicians who are
sympathetic to the view expressed here.”

Of course, it's only too self-evident that PM Abe
 is preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and
 posturing to re-open nuke facilities. As of 22nd
October, 21 of Japan’s 43 operable reactors,
are undergoing NRA safety reviews.

 Already, Kyushu EPC’s Sendai 2 nuclear power
plant restarted last week, supplying electricity
 to the grid. It’s as if nothing bad has happened.

Corium is a lava-like radioactive hot molten mix
of a nuclear reactor core formed in a meltdown.

The corium is missing at Fukushima Daiichi
 Nuclear Power Plant No. 2. Nobody knows
where it is. Nobody knows! Better yet, or
rather worse yet, finding No.2’s melted
core is an ongoing challenge.

What if the corium leaked or leaks into the
ground, beneath the reactor’s final cement
& steel containment vessel, the last line of
defense? Answer: Nobody knows because
 it has never happened before.

Cesiun-137, deadly to all Earth's life forms,
 and one of many dangerous isotopes, is
water-soluble --- and makes its way into
 soils and waters --- and quickly becomes
ubiquitous in the ecosystem; that’s what
 happens: “ubiquitous in the ecosystem.”

Afterwards, an exclusion zone is established to
 keep everybody out, due to excessive levels of
 radiation. When Ihor Gramotkin, director of the
 Chernobyl Power Plant, was asked how soon
 Chernobyl's reactor site would be inhabitable
again, he replied: “At least 20,000 years.”

Yet the Abe government is already, now,
 moving people back into some of the 4-
year-old exclusion zones of Fukushima.

200 US sailors of the USS Reagan have a
pending lawsuit against TEPCO, et al and
say young sailors are already enduring
 leukemia, ulcers, gall bladder removals,
 brain cancer, brain tumors, testicular
 cancer, dysfunctional uterine bleeding,
thyroid illness, stomach ailments & other
 complaints, unusual in such young adults.

The sailors served in “Operation Tomodachi,”
providing humanitarian relief after the March
 11th, 2011 Fukushima disaster -- based upon
assurances that radiation levels were okay.

According to the plaintiff’s attorneys, more
sailors are now in the process of coming
 on board, as a storm of nuclear radiation
 after-effects, spreads through the ranks.



________________________________



Belgium to power 170 trains with wind energy

Xinhua -- Belgium has inaugurated a project to
power 170 trains by wind energy -- with the first
 seven of the 25 turbines having entered service
on Saturday,
25th October, local media report.

Sudpresse newspaper group says turbines will
 be built along the main rail line from Leuven to
 Liege,
generating enough power for every high-
speed and local train using the line.


The number of trains to be covered by the wind
 project, represents about 5% of the country's
total rail traffic, Belgian railtrack operator
 Infrabel says.

Belgian broadcaster RTL reports that
once all
25 turbines are operating, they are expected
 to produce 35,000 megawatt hours -- enough
 energy to power 10,000 homes.


About two-thirds of the produced electricity is
 needed for the rail line and the surplus will be
added to the domestic electricity supply grid.

Philippe Van Troeye, production director at
Belgian energy firm Electrabel, tells media:

"Wind energy, like solar power, is intermittent,
 but it will play a more and more important role
 in our energy provision, in the future."


________________________________________



The Bee Under Frosty’s Bonnet

This article appeared first in the Morning Star.
 
Peter Frost reports on how relentless and secret
 lobbying of the Tory government by agribusiness
has brought a banned bee-killing poison back to
 our countryside.

Do you remember that once David Cameron vowed
 that his government would be the greenest ever?
Well that is just one more velvet glove that has
 been discarded to reveal yet another Tory iron fist.

Cameron’s Tory government along with its most un-
green minister to destroy the environment Liz Truss
has caved to pressure from agrochemical farming's
 lobby & agreed to let bee-harming pesticides back
 into the UK's fields this autumn.

Truss and her team at Defra have ignored the
 overwhelming science showing neonicotinoids
 harm honeybees, bumblebees and many other
 pollinators and beneficial insects.

After months of secrecy the government has
agreed to let farmers in some parts of England
 sow seeds treated with neonicotinoid pesticides.

They claim it is only a temporary measure,
but in fact it's much more likely to become
permanent and nationwide.

Friends of the Earth bees’ campaigner
Paul de Zylva, tells the Morning Star:

 “It’s scandalous that the government has caved in
 to the National Farmers Union (NFU) pressure and
 given permission for some farmers to use banned
 pesticides that have been shown to harm our
precious bees.

“Ever more scientific evidence shows just how
dangerous these chemicals are to bees & other
 pollinators — they should have no place in our
fields and gardens.”

Dr Lynn Dicks of the University of Cambridge:

 “We now have robust evidence that neonicotinoids
 have a serious impact on free-living bumblebee
colonies in real farmed landscapes.”

The government has been negotiating with the
 agrochemical industry in secret... It continues
to refuse to make publicly available the NFU
 application - and even suppressed the notes
 of its expert advisers’ meeting.

Public pressure finally got these released and
 published but surprise, surprise, they say nothing
 about the alleged scientific basis for the decision.

Truss and other ministers promised that decisions
 would be science-based. But how can we believe
them if the secrecy continues?

The government tell us that this use of chemicals
is only a limited and temporary permission for one
 crop in a particular areas of the country, but we
 know the NFU continues to lobby for the
extension of use for these poisons, that
 we know, kill bees.

These neonicotinoids are banned all over the EU
and there’s more than enough evidence to make
 the ban permanent here in Britain.

For instance the ingredient allowed under this change
of mind by Truss and the government -- clothianidin -- 
was tested in the recent study.........   It showed that
bumblebees in landscapes with clothianidin-treated
 oilseed rape produced only a third as many queens
 as those in landscapes treated with other — non
neonicotinoid — insecticides.

The NFU and the industrial farming lobby continue
 their campaign to get the ban lifted all across the
 UK. Commercial beekeepers are deeply worried
 both about crop pollination and honey production.

Public pressure, protest demonstrations, online
 petitions, have all shown the government, that
most people are totally opposed to the
industrial farming lobby and to their poisons.

The lack of government transparency shows how
 much pressure it has been under from members
of the public who are totally opposed to the use
 of neonicotinoids.


__________________________________



Countries Confirm Presence
    at Climate Summit in Bolivia    

In Morales' opinon, there is a world environmental
 movement for the 'Pachamama', or 'Mother Earth'.

The conclusions of the 2nd World Summit in
October on the Rights of Mother Earth --- in
Cochabamba --- will be presented to the next
UN Conference on Climate Change, slated for
 Paris on November 30 - December 11 this year.


_____________________



and Wales....?
 
Scotland is the latest nation to ban cultivation
 of genetically-modified (GM) crops, also known
 as GMOs – genetically-modified organisms.

Scotland is taking advantage of EU regulations
which permit it to opt out of being forced to let
GMO agri-business gain access to Scotland.

 In its decision, the Scottish National Party
(SNP) government in Edinburgh has broken
with the Tory government in London, which
has allowed the production of GMO crops.

 Opponents of GM foods argue that, although
 the European Union law allows some nations
to opt out of growing GM crops, it lets others
permit GM companies into their agricultural
 sectors, thus circumventing the
current GM
bans in Germany, Italy, and France.

Scottish government official statement:

 "The Scottish Government believes that
 GM policy in Scotland should be guided
by what is best for our economy, & our
 own agricultural sector, rather than by
UK priorities. There is no evidence of a
significant demand for GM products, by
 Scottish consumers. To grow GM crops
 in Scotland, would damage our 'clean
and green' brand."


To stop a contamination of Scottish crops
 by English GM seeds, a strict agricultural
 inspection regime must be established on
 the English-Scottish border, a thing that's
music to the ears of pro-independence
 Scots, and a nightmare for the English,
who want to preserve an increasingly-
unworkable "United Kingdom".

The only Scottish MEP on the EU's
 agricultural committee, Alyn Smith
 of the SNP, says Scotland wants to
 have a reputation for growing and
exporting natural foods, not these
adulterated GM products.

 Smith says, while the SNP favors
 "carefully regulated research and
 development of GM foods", it does
not want to jeopardize Scotland’s
 role, as a producer of natural
 quality foods.

One effect of the Transatlantic Trade &
 Investment Partnership (TTIP) --- if the
UK accedes to the TTIP --- will be that
Monsanto could sue Scotland before
 an ISDST...  and potentially scrap
 Scotland’s GMO farming ban.

The role of the TTIP...   is to circumvent
 national sovereignty & put corporations
- like Monsanto - over the will of elected
governments & the people they govern.

 In addition, under free trade agreements
 like the TPP, articles like this, criticizing
 Monsanto, could result in costly lawsuits
 against both author & publisher, brought
 before ISDSTs.

 Constitutional guarantees of the freedom
 of the press & speech in the US, & other
 TTIP signatory nations are abrogated by
 "free trade" agreements designed to put
 the rights of multinational corporations
above nations, states, provinces,
 counties, municipalities, and
individual citizens.

Russia and France ban the cultivation of
 Monsanto’s GM products, including corn.
Monsanto corn has been found to cause
cancerous tumors in laboratory rats.

Yet the proto-fascist government of Ukraine
 welcomes Monsanto & other GM companies
 with open arms. At risk, is Ukraine’s large
wheat-growing industry.

Perhaps nothing shows the link between
 neo-cons and GM foods, better, than the
US neocons' support for the Ukrainian
 government & its dangerous agricultural
 policy, which aims to benefit Monsanto,
 & destroy the individual Ukraine farmer.

The Monsantos made much of their fortune via
 the transatlantic slave trade. From its roots in
 trading in African slaves, Monsanto now trades
 in adulterated food products and in pesticides
shown to be harmful, not only to humans, but
also livestock and bees, and other beneficial
 insects, and to bird populations.

 Monsanto’s first major Frankenfood offering
was saccharin, a derivative of coal tar, and
 which was sold to the Coca Cola Company.

Saccharin has been shown to cause
 bladder cancer in humans.

After President Obama’s trip to his dad's
 homeland in Kenya, 7 Kenyan MPs from
 parliamentary committees dealing with
 Agriculture, Livestock & Cooperatives,
 Education, Research and Technology,
Health, the Environment and Natural
Resources, Finance, Planning and
 Trade, introduced legislation to
 lift Kenya’s ban on GMOs.

Kenya succumbed to the desires of a US
president, more interested in protecting
the profits of Monsanto -- whose initial
financial backing came from a family of
slave traders -- than in the health of the
people of Kenya.


_______________________



Earth closer to 'irreversible changes' as
 humans cross 4 of 9 planetary boundaries

Earth is slipping towards the “danger zone” as
 humanity has crossed 4 of the 9 environmental
phases (so-called planetary boundaries) moving
closer potentially “irreversible changes,” a new
high-profile study claims.

A combination of factors, including climate change,
 shifting agriculture patterns & other activities that
 cause biological and chemical changes to nature
 (not least of which is the use of fertilizer), have
 got us closer to “the danger zone” from which
 there’s no return, a study in 'Science' claims.

“We’re running up to and beyond the biophysical
 boundaries that enable human civilization as we
 know it to exist,” says the co-author of the study,
 Steve Carpenter, who's director of the University
 of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Limnology.

Carried out by 18 leading experts in their fields,
 the study entitled ‘Planetary Boundaries: Guiding
 human development on a changing planet’ points
 out that human activity is changing the planet's
functions, destabilizing complex interactions
 between people, oceans, land, and atmosphere.

"For the first time in human history, we need to relate
 to the risk of destabilizing the entire set," one of the
 authors of the study, Professor John Rockstrom of
Stockholm University, tells the Thomson Reuters
 Foundation. His colleague, Professor Will Steffen,
believes that “past a certain threshold, curbing
 greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, or
 land-use change may not reverse or even slow
 the trends of Earth System degradation, with
 potentially catastrophic consequences.”

The report is based on the 9 ‘boundaries’
idea
that originated in 2009. Each phase stands for
 boundaries, within which, humanity can live
 sustainably and what that would entail.


The nine planetary boundaries:

1. Climate change

2. Change in biosphere integrity
 (biodiversity loss and species extinction)

3. Stratospheric ozone depletion

4. Ocean acidification

5. Biogeochemical flows
 (phosphorus and nitrogen cycles)

6. Land-system change
 (for example deforestation)

7. Freshwater use

8. Atmospheric aerosol loading
(microscopic particles in the atmosphere
that affect climate and living organisms)

9. Introduction of novel entities
 (e.g. organic pollutants, radioactive
materials, nanomaterials, and micro-plastics).


Each is marked by an irreversible change to our
 environment and, once reached, is followed by
a period where we can either act or let it all slip
 further. And, “given the pace of change, we can
no longer exclude the possibility of reaching
critical tipping points that could abruptly and
 irreversibly change living conditions on Earth,”
 the report says.

Back in September, a WWF report said
Earth has crossed 3 of the 9 identified
"planetary boundaries,” which, it said,
are “potentially catastrophic changes
to life as we know it.”

The 3 extreme danger points crossed:

Biodiversity,
Carbon dioxide levels

Nitrogen pollution from fertilizers.

Scientists consider climate change
as at the top of this list of planetary
boundaries, the researchers believe.

"We are at a point where we may see abrupt,
irreversible changes, due to climate change,"
 Rockstrom says, referencing particularly the
danger of the melting Arctic ice sheets, which
 releases large amounts of greenhouse gases.

According to the study, our planet has been in
a “remarkably stable state” for 12,000 years.
 But this changed roughly 100 years ago, says
Carpenter, who adds “everything important to
 civilization” occurred during that precise time
 – from agriculture to the industrial revolution.

The paper will be discussed at the World
Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland,
 next week, presented as a wake-up call
 to policymakers.

 It will also be incorporated into the UN’s
 upcoming global strategy in September,
for
when the current Millennium
Development
Goals expire.


___________________________



A forum on ecological development 
in southwest China's Guizhou Province

Under the theme "Embracing New Era of Eco-
civilization", Eco Forum Global in Guiyang City,
 Guizhou's capital, saw 1,700 plus delegates
 from across the globe discuss topics like:
sustainable development, climate change,
& green energy, to finance, says the forum
organizer.

The environment is at the highest ever place
on
China's agenda, Du Qinglin, vice chair of
the National Committee of the Chinese
People's
Political Consultative Conference,
said in a speech
at the opening ceremony.

China is trying to find new growth in eco-
friendly industries, create sustainable urban
 patterns, control pollution and cure China's
 environmental damage, Du says.

"We expect to nurture a new competitive edge
 and new sources of national strength through
 green development. Going green will be China's
 new path to tackle the economic new normal,"
he says.

The event is China's latest effort to enhance
 awareness to protect the environment, after
a growth-at-all-costs economic model fueled
 decades of explosive growth --- but tainted
much of the country's air, water and land.


Environment Minister Chen Jining said: 
"the Chinese environment is reaching,
or has reached, its limit -- due to years
of sprawling development at the price
of the
environment".

The Chinese government has promised to take
 "more forceful" measures in the next five years
to protect the environment and promote green
development.


________________________________



6th mass extinction already here as
species disappear 100 times faster - study

The world is on the brink of its 6th mass extinction,
as animals are disappearing 100 times faster than
 previously, scientists warn in a new report. They
say humanity could be among its first victims.

According to Princeton, Stanford and UC Berkeley
 scientists, rates like these haven't been seen since
 the last age of the dinosaurs, some 66 million years
 ago. Paul Ehlrich of Stanford says the data “shows
 without any significant doubt, that we are now
 entering the sixth great mass extinction event."

Data demonstrates “without any significant doubt
 that we are now entering the sixth great mass
extinction event,” Ehlrich, whose work on species
 disappearance, dates back to 1980, says.

The report has been drawn to counter critics who
 believe the data is exaggerated. Ehlrich and co-
authors seek to demonstrate, using conservative
 assumptions, that the new phase is already well
 under way, seeing as they are “far above the
‘background’ rates prevailing in the 5 preceding
mass extinctions.”

The background rate is the normal rate of
disappearance between mass extinctions.

“If it is allowed to continue, life would take many
 millions of years to recover, and our species itself
 will likely disappear early on,” lead author Gerardo
 Ceballos, of the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico,
 says in support.

But the background rate is difficult to estimate,
so scientists had to improvise with techniques.
 Humanity has gaps in its knowledge of what
happened over Earth’s 4.5 billion-year lifespan.

The team used a past extinction rate that was
twice as high as the estimates widely used in
 previous studies, and compared that rate to the
 most conservative estimates. In this way, they
 brought the two approximate rates as close to
 each other as possible – the current and all-
time background rates.

The researchers argue that if the past rate was
two mammal extinctions out of 10,000 species
 over 100 years, the “average rate of vertebrate
 species loss over the last century is up to 114
times higher than it would be without human
activity --- even when relying on the most
conservative estimates of species extinction.”

They add that their “calculations very likely
 underestimate the severity of the extinction
 crisis because our aim was to place a realistic
 lower band on human impact on biodiversity.”

The International Union for Conservation of
Nature backs up the alarming news, giving
 a threat level of 26% for mammals and 41%
 for amphibians – Elrich calls those making
 it into the statistic, “the walking dead.”

“Averting a dramatic decay of biodiversity and
 the subsequent loss of ecosystem services, is
 still possible through intensified conservation
 efforts, but that window of opportunity is
 rapidly closing,” the scientists say.

There is a man-made causal chain that leads to
biodiversity reduction, habitat loss, deforestation,
overexploitation of resources and other evils. As
 species disappear, so do key ecosystem services
 provided by bee pollination, as well as wetlands
 water purification. The researchers say we stand
 to lose many of those biodiversity benefits within
 three generations. As Ehlrich puts it, “We are
sawing the limb that we are sitting on.”

The authors hope their study, published in
Science Advances, will serve to influence
 policy and propel conservation efforts
forward before the changes become
 completely irreversible.


______________________________



China Makes First Electric Plane for Passengers

Prensa Latina - China has produced the first electric
 planes for passengers in the world with an airworth-
iness certificate, according to official media.

The BX1E has a wingspan of 14,5 meters and a load
 capacity of 230 kilograms. This artefact can reach
 an altitude of 3,000 metres, they say.

The energy load is completed in 2 hours, allowing
the flight to last from 45 minutes to an hour, at a
speed of 160 kilometres per hour, notifies news
 agency Xinhua.

The plane is designed by Shenyang Aeroespatial
 University and the Academy of Aviation Liaoning.

The first two airplanes have already been
delivered,
to Liaoning Ruixiang General
Aviation Co., Ltd.


The BX1E can be used in training pilots,
tourism,
meteorology and emergencies.

Each can be sold for around 163,000 US
 dollars, states this official press organ.


__________________________________


G7 Group Agrees to ‘Decarbonize’ Global
 Economy by End of Century – Merkel

Sputnik – The G7 group of the world’s leading
industrialized
nations has agreed to replace
oil, gas and coal, with
alternative energies
by the end of the century, to
reduce global
carbon emissions, the German
Chancellor,
Angela Merkel, says after the 'summit'.


“We are committed to the fact that during the course
 of the century we want to see the decarbonalization
 of the world economy,” Merkel tells media reporters
 commenting on the results of the two-day G7 summit
 in Germany’s Bavaria.

The G7 nations have also agreed to raise funds
 for climate change mitigation, Merkel says.

“It will be one of our goals by 2020. We want
public and private sources to allocate $100
 billion every year,” she says.

The G7 leaders agreed that the world should
 reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much
 as 70% by 2050, the German chancellor adds.

Ahead of key climate talks to be held in Paris
 in December, the group is committed to the
 goal of keeping global warming below two
 degrees Celsius, by the end of the century.

The statement comes a month after Merkel
 pledged to make every effort to achieve a
 global climate change agreement during a
 UN conference in Paris.

The 21st UN Climate Change Conference is due
 to be held in Paris, in late November and early
 December. The Paris deal will replace the 1997
 Kyoto Protocol, which failed to agree on legally
 binding and universal agreements on climate
 for all nations of the world.



_____________________________



G7's "ambitious" climate targets
 another empty promise?

The Group of Seven (G7) leaders say they are to fill
 a gap in financial support for developing countries
 to address climate change, and seek a phase-out
 of fossil energy globally, within this century.

Although the "club of rich countries" describe
this commitment as "ambitious", analysts say
 -- considering their past real actions -- that
what G7 vow now, could be just another
empty promise.

G7 say they will continue their efforts to meet
their previous commitment to provide 100 billion
 US dollars a year by 2020, from both public and
 private sectors, to developing countries, to help
them battle against climate change.

Other targets: to seek world decarbonization
 over the course of this century:- to cut carbon
 emissions by 40 to 70% by 2050 compared to
 2010 levels and transform their own energy
 sectors, by 2050.

"Urgent, concrete action is needed to address
 climate change," said the G7 leaders in their
 communiqué, asking "all parties" to share
the
task of emission cutting.

Environmental activists, however, say the G7
 need more actions than words.

"G7 leaders still aren't spelling out how they will
 keep their vow to deliver 100 billion US dollars
 in climate finance by 2020 and failed to commit
to provide more of this money from public funds
 -- a vital foundation for success in Paris at the
end of the year," states Oxfam: "Developing
 countries need a credible financial roadmap,
 not a set of accounting tricks."

"Developing countries are ready to move fast &
 far on renewables, but they need finance and
 technology from rich countries to do it. We
need to see more concrete commitments for
 immediate action," says Samantha Smith,
leader of WWF's Global Climate and
 Energy Initiative.

The developed countries, including the G7,
promised in 2009 to increase climate cash
 support to developing states to 100 billion
 US dollars a year by 2020. A clear roadmap
 to meet this commitment, however, was
 never provided.

The Green Climate Fund, by June 3rd, has only
 59% of the total pledged money delivered. No
 promised money was transferred from Canada,
Italy or the United States.

"We urgently need a roadmap to the pledged
100 billion US dollars. These (G7) countries
still have plenty of opportunity between now
 and Paris to step up to the plate," says Anoop
 Poonia from Climate Action Network, S. Asia.

Finance & allocation of emission reduction
 responsibilities are two of the key issues in
 ongoing tough climate negotiations within a
 UN framework, towards a new global climate
deal, which is set to be made by the
year's
end, in Paris.


Analysts say the G7 countries themselves
are not making enough efforts to phase
 out fossil fuels and cut emissions.

"G7 leaders have indicated that fossil fuels
 are on their way out. However you wouldn't
 know it by looking at the national emissions
 reduction pledges they have put on the table
 for the crucial climate conference in Paris,"
 says Oxfam's spokesperson Jorn Kalinski,
 "They must now live up to their own rhetoric
 and kick their dirty coal habit."

In Intended Nationally Determined Contributions
 (INDC), or climate actions it was willing to take
 under the new climate deal after 2020, officially
 submitted to the UN, Canada pledged to cut its
 greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005
 levels -- by 2030.

The vow was criticized by environmental groups
 pointing out that the target was just equivalent
 to 14% below 1990 levels, a more commonly
 used base year to calculate emission reduction.

A similarly weak pledge was planned to be
submitted by Japan, whose PM Shinzo Abe
 announced earlier this month that Japan
was willing to reduce carbon emissions to
 26% below 2013 levels by 2030.  But when
compared with the 1990 levels, the target
 means Japan would only cut its emission
 by 18% -- by 2030.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,
 a UN scientific body, says developed countries
 must reduce their emissions by 25-40% below
1990 levels by 2020 to limit global warming to
 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The EU, which had already reduced its carbon
 emissions by 19% from 1990 levels in 2013,
 insisted during the ongoing UN climate talks
 in Bonn that it was only willing to to further
 reduce its emissions to 20% below 1990
 levels by 2020.

"We are looking for more than 'hot air'. We are
 looking for real action from this summit," said
Adrian Lovett, Europe Executive Director of
international campaign group "One" which
 floated huge balloons depicting G7 leaders
 on Sunday when the summit started.

"'Hot air' can mean empty promises...when
 it's all talks, and no action," he said then.


________________________



1000s in Ecuador plant nearly 650,000 trees
--- in one day!

Thousands of people in Ecuador have cooperated
 to plant 647,250 trees in one day -- setting a new
 world record in reforestation, says the president.

President Rafael Correa says several different
 species were planted during the day and that
 reforestation efforts were carried out all over
the country, which prides itself for its diverse
 geography from its Pacific coast, high Andean
peaks, and low Amazon basin.

"I've just been informed that we have broken
 the Guinness record for reforestation," Correa
 announced in his weekly address to the nation.

Environment Minister Lorena Tapia tweets that
44,883 people participated in planting the trees
 on more than 2,000 hectares of land.

Environmental scientists believe planting trees
 is helpful in offsetting carbon buildup -- as they
 sequester carbon dioxide emissions from the
 atmosphere and help to reduce global warming.

Guinness officials say the previous record was
 set by a group in the Philippines, just last year.

And in Wales? All we get is broken promises
to plant native trees - and garbage planted
by the Forestry Commission!


________________________



NASA: Major Antarctic Ice Shelf

to Disintegrate Within Few Years
 
For the last 10,000 years, the Larsen B Ice Shelf
has clung to the edge of the Antarctic Peninsula.

 Two-thirds of it collapsed in 2002, and according
 to a NASA study, the rest could break away and
disintegrate -- by 2020.

The Antarctic continent has a number of huge ice
 shelves which hug the land’s perimeter. Some are
 over half a mile thick.

With rising global temperatures, they are melting
 quickly. According to some estimates a complete
 disappearance of Antarctica’s ice could result in
a sea level rise of 240 feet.

According to a new NASA study based on radar
 information and airborne surveys, one of those
 ice shelves will melt completely in just 5 years.

 While most of Larsen B Ice Shelf collapsed
 in 2002, the rest still covers approximately
 625 square miles.

"These are warning signs that the remnant is
 disintegrating," lead author of the study, Ala
 Khazendar's statement says. "Although it’s
 fascinating scientifically to have a front-row
seat to see the ice shelf becoming unstable
 and breaking up, it’s bad news for our planet."

"What is really surprising about Larsen B is
how quickly the changes are taking place,"
Khazendar says. "Change has been relentless."

The ice shelves serve a specific purpose on
 Antarctica, stopping massive glaciers in the
 continent’s interior, from sliding into the sea.

Without Larsen B, many of those glaciers
 will slowly creep into the ocean.

"This study of the Antarctic Peninsula glaciers
 provides insights about how ice shelves farther
 south, which hold much more land ice, will react
 to a warming climate," states Eric Rignot, the
study’s co-author.


_______________________



Pope’s Top Adviser: Climate Skeptics
Don't Want to Pay For Ruining Earth

One of Pope Francis' advisers says climate
change denial, is a phenomenon rooted in,
and fueled by, capitalism.

In the US, global warming denial is typically
a belief of the far right, despite all scientific
 evidence, and the religious fundamentalists
and conservative talk show hosts, all push
the idea that the majority of scientists are
'bought off' by green technology business
 people, left think tanks, and governments.

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, one
of Pope Francis’ closest advisers, thinks
the answer lies in capitalism.

“The ideology surrounding environmental
issues is too tied to a capitalism that does
not want to stop ruining the environment,
because they do not want to give up their
profits,” Cardinal Rodriguez says, reports
the Boston Globe.

His words are a reaction to lobbying by
some US groups, to the Pope’s planned
 encyclical on climate change.

The Pope's encyclical is timed to coincide
with the UN
climate change summit later
 this year, and a UN-sponsored agreement
on Sustainable Development Goals.

Apparently it is designed to encourage
the world's Catholics to recognize and
fight climate change.


Although the encyclical has not been
released yet, the Heartland Institute,
a think-tank controlled by Charles &
David Koch is already "lobbying" the
 Vatican with the message: “there is
 no global warming crisis.”

Yes, the same Koch brothers who own
 Koch Industries, a big energy company
 which could suffer financial losses -- if
 strict environmental legislation arrives.

“I have already heard criticism of the
encyclical” Rodrigues says, calling it
 “absurd” to reject a document which
has not even been seen yet.

A survey published in 2013, of thousands
 of peer-reviewed scientific papers, found
 97.1% of the world's scientists agreeing -
that climate
change is real, and is being
caused by
human activity.


---------------------------------------------


 Study Links Swarm of Quakes in Texas to Fracking 
             
With real time monitors, scientists have linked a
 swarm of earthquakes west of Fort Worth, Texas,
to nearby natural gas wells & wastewater injection.

In 84 days from November 2013 to January 2014, the
 area around Azle, Texas, shook with 27 magnitude 2
 or greater earthquakes, while scientists at Southern
 Methodist University and the US Geological Survey,
 monitored the shaking.

It's an area that's had no recorded 'quakes for 150
 years on faults "inactive for hundreds of millions of
years," says SMU geophysicist Matthew Hornbach.

When the volume of injections decreased
 significantly, so did the shaking. The scientists
conclude that removing saltwater from the wells
 in the gas production process and then injecting
 that wastewater back underground, "represents
 the most likely cause" for the swarm of 'quakes,
 according to a study published in the journal
Nature Communications.

The scientists determine this based on
where and when the quakes happened;
computer models that track pressure
changes; and company data from near-
by wells.

Hornbach says the timing & location of the
quakes correlates better to the drillings &
 injections, than any other possible reason.

"There appears to be little doubt about the
 conclusion that the earthquakes were in
fact induced," USGS seismologist Susan
Hough, who wasn't part of the study team
emails. "There's almost an abundance of
smoking guns in this case."


______________________________


Russia To Start Producing
Ecologically Clean Wheat

Scientists at Nemchinovka Scientific Research
Institute of Agriculture in Moscow, a well known
 scientific breeding centre, have produced a kind
 of winter wheat which is supposedly superior to
 all types of existing wheat, in that it can grow in
less fertile regions with cool climates - and still
provide higher yields than those grown in more
 favorable conditions.

Protein content in the new varieties is two
 times higher than most wheat on the market.

Breeders at Nemchinovka believe that the
 new varieties of wheat will be able to solve
 a major agricultural problem: the quality of
grain, globally, is on the decline.

“Currently, in the developed world, the average
 yield of winter wheat is 90-100 hundredweight
 (hundredweight = approximately 45 kilograms)
per hectare,” Bagrat Sandukhadze, a famous
 breeder, and head of the Laboratory of Winter
Wheat Breeding at Nemchinovka, tells RIR.

“What’s more its protein content is only 8-9%,
which doesn’t make for good bread.” he says.
 Nemchinovka varieties can produce 100-120
 hundredweight per hectare --- with a protein
 content of 17% and a gluten content of 30%
 or more.

Sandukhadze (& his colleagues) have created
 15 new varieties of winter wheat to grow in the
“Nechernozemye” zone - a vast territory of the
 European part of Russia from the Arctic Ocean
to the forest-steppe zone in the south and from
 the Baltic Sea to western Siberia.

14 have already obtained patents & copyright
 certificates... "The brilliant breeder, Professor
Sandukhadze, can essentially provide quality
 wheat to feed the entire non-Black Earth area
 of Russia," says Valery Charushin, executive
 director of the Demidov Scientific Foundation
 and Chair of the Ural Branch of the Russian
Academy of Sciences.

Margarita Shipitsyna, a member of the
coordinating council of the Russian Guild
 of Bakers and Confectioners and director
 of research at Russian Recipe, says that
genetically modified varieties, presently
 occupy about 70% of the world's fields.

Experts believe that, due to the high yield,
these new Russian varieties are a worthy
 "response to GMOs."

"Growing good varieties of food grains with
 strong genes lets you save the environment
 & is 10 times more profitable than investing
 in chemicals that stimulate growth, or in
genetic engineering,” says Sandukhadze.

“Professional selection is worth a maximum
 of millions, yet technological factors lead to
billions in costs & degrade the environment.

 In Russia, there are 40 million hectares of
vacant land, where you can grow a good
 eco-friendly grain and ensure the health
 of the nation."

Shpitsyna adds that, despite the success
 of breeders, Russia still has to solve some
 problems associated with land quality...

 "In order to get a good healthy bread, Russia
needs to revive quality control, which was
 systematically carried out in the Soviet era.
 The quality of food grains in Russia has
 significantly decreased. There are new
 diseases in the grains."

The breeding of new varieties has taken
 Sandukhadze 47 years. Breeding winter
wheat in non-fertile zones with wet and
cool climates, was started by Soviet
breeders, way back in the 1930s.

 Sandukhadze already belongs to the
 third generation of researchers.

Winter wheat varieties by Sanukhadze in
 recent years are now cultivated throughout
 Russia and abroad. The Moscow 39 variety is
 considered particularly unique and is sown in
 Canada, Austria, Turkey and other countries.

"When this strain was tested at an international
competition in Canada, between 1999-2002, it
was recognized as best, for its combination of
high yield & grain quality,” Sandukhadze says.

 “This wheat can grow in any weather due to its
 special genes & durability. It is frost-resistant,
 disease-resistant & has a unique grain quality
and good baking qualities.

 For his achievements, Sandukhadze won
 the prestigious Demidov Prize in February
2015. It's the first time since the award’s
 inception, in 1832, that it has ever been
 awarded to a breeder.

 This article originally appeared in
full at Russia Beyond the Headlines


______________________________



GMO Lies: Study Shows How Pesticide
Use Soars with more GMO Crops

And it is killing the pollinators.

Remember claims that genetically modified
 foods would result in less pesticide residues?
Well, those promises were baseless.

What's really happened is that a huge increase
 in bee-toxic neonicotinoids has replaced those
chemical insecticides used previously --- and
especially in GM corn and soy crops.

34−44% more for GM soybeans and 79−100%
for GM corn in 2011 alone.

Biotech has caused an almost 100% increase
 in chemical pesticides --- in just a few years.

Ms Douglas, graduate student in entomology
 at Pennsylvania State University & an author
 of the study, comments:

"The application of neonicotinoids to corn seed &
 soybeans has driven a surge in crop-land treated
 with insecticides, ever since the mid-2000s."

No wonder the bees and butterflies are dying.

Over 40 million hectares of land are doused in
 neonics and the now limited availability of any
 neonicotinoid-free seed, means US farmers,
 are running out of other options.

Bt crops ARE a pesticide. The Bt toxins are
 inside every fibre of the plant once it grows,
and insects that eat them end up with their
gut exploding in a quick and painful death.

Monsanto’s Bt toxins don’t just kill insects.
 They are also harming human embryo cells.

E Toxin Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has also
 been found in the blood of pregnant women
 and baby’s umbilical cord blood supply.

Yet still, Monsanto asserts that all their
pesticide in the form of Bt crops are safe.

Straight from Monsanto’s Pages:

“Are foods & ingredients developed through
biotechnology (or GMOs) safe to eat?

Yes. Plants and crops with GM traits have
been tested more than any other crops —
with no credible evidence of harm to
 humans or animals.


_______________________________



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
 decades.

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

"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
UK's House of Commons, at 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
circumstances".

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: 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 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 Chevron shale gas exploration

Greenpeace activists chained themselves to
 the gates of a Chevron shale gas exploration
well
in 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" & "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
dangerous
incompatibility.

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
 Republic.

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
should
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 & professor
 at 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.


_______________________________________



FRANCE INSISTS ON "NO GM"

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

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

The law follows a decree halting 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 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
 GM & extending its reach to all transgenic
 maize varieties” Jean Marie Le Guen, the
minister
in charge of relations with the EU
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 & parts of Asia.


_______________________________


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's report, says 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.

______________________________________


EUROPE SPLITS AGAIN ON GM CROPS

The European Commission is set to authorize
the growing of genetically modified maize on
EU land, 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
 decisions by bigger member states who
want 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 its 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 a
 green light to GM maize.

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

Marco Contiero, Greenpeace 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 then...

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


____________________________________



THERMAL POWER -
THE NEGLECTED GIANT?


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

 renewwales.org.uk


_______________________________________


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
the
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 & 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.


__________________________________________



LOSS OF AMAZON RAINFOREST GROWS SHARPLY

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
as the PM 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.

___________________________________


HUNGER  STRIKE FOR CLIMATE SENSE


Hundreds of activists from different NGOs
joined
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
media 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 stated at the event's inaugural meeting
 that he was going on hunger strike until the
 conference was over and agreements made
on concrete action to fight climate change.

"I'm 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 & prevent
 "natural" disasters.


______________________


THROW AWAY LIVES

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 & 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 & with
a broad coalition of partners to rise to the challenge,
 that also calls for 100% access to adequate food all
 year round; to eliminate childhood stunting; to make
all
food systems sustainable; & to end 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 & 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 & households should monitor to see
 where & how they waste food & 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.

_____________________


STOP FRACKING NOW

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
goes unchecked, these numbers will only get worse,”
John Rumpler, 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 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.

________________________


NOT IN ROMANIA, CANADA!!!


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 chain stretched 7 kilometers around parliament.
People 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 approx.
 314 tons of gold and 1,500 tons of silver.

Protests erupted on September the 1st, after the
 Romanian government OKed 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 forced the
Romanian government to postpone a vote
on
the bill in parliament and PM V. Ponta
agreed to form a special committee
'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 VP Salvador Sanchez Ceren,
in La Palma municipality, 80
kilometers
from the capital, San Salvador.

 
"The Cuban and Salvadorian people share
 knowledge and wisdom, because knowledge
 isn't 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, 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

"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
for 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
 foundation.

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 poo. If you feel your production
 is not enough, you can invite some of your
 friends to watch television at your home,"
 he suggests.

______________________


JAPANESE AUTHORITIES
"DEVOID OF RESPONSIBILITY"


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

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, admitted the leakage to
oceans 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.


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 underground water systems, 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 9-magnitude earthquake triggered
a tsunami that inflicted heavy damage on the six-reactor
Fukushima plant. 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 said the
  crisis at Fukushima nuclear plant was 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.”


_____________________________


NO MORE GMOs IN EUROPE?

 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 2 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
  cultivation of genetically-modified crops.
 
French scientists from the University of Caen released
a study showing 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.

 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 & 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 shows  that only 21%
of the UK's people favour 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 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, & 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 cash, an initial investment
 of $150 million, which could double to $300 million
 within a few 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.

_______________________________


LATIN AMERICA AND CHINA LEAD


The 2nd International Summit on the Environment
(CIMA) was held at Guayaquil city, in Ecuador, and
aims 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
bio-
entrepreneurs, and eight specific forums.

The CIMA also included Academic Forums for female
 leaders, visionary entrepreneurs & 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, a spokesperson says.

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

 says Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying.


_____________________________




UK THE DIRTIEST POLLUTER

 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
made 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
they 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 doesn't 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.

 Via 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 of the UK’s 43 air quality
 zones exceeded the limits, 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 until 2025.

“This historic ruling marks a turning point in the fight
 for clean air & will pile the pressure on,” 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,”
  --- 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

Summary:

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 world-
wide, a chain of events
is set off by government to
suppress the findings.

Tracking viruses, Morton moves from courtrooms, to
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 gives 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 in Every Region with Salmon Farms
  • Buying Salmon Infected with Dangerous Fish Viruses
  • Farmed Fish Pose 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 100s 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 wild
fire 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, & Piscine reovirus, which causes salmon
to have heart attacks, barring them swimming upriver.

• I recommend buying locally-grown foods & wild fish only.

Fish farms are breeding grounds for disease & 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. Someone 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's 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'
ve 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 a 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:

 http://www.globalartscollective.org/water.htm
I hope we all can do likewise, because ocean
currents
connect us all!


Maireid
--
Websites:
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 1 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.

A 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 endure.

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
listened.

Please do look at this very good explanatory graph
and updated info here:
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/
Looking-Back-on-the-Limits-of-Growth.html

In essence, they estimated that if human beings
continue to consume more than nature is 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's another way of doing business. Growth is
still possible, but only if we invest in technologies
  like 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 & sun. We need to stop
wasting so much, & 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
The data was found to remain relevant.
Updated document can be read here:
http://www.csiro.au/files/files/plje.pdf


_____________________________



PLASTIC PEOPLE EAT THE EARTH.

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
sayss if the whole world used our natural resources
like Americans use them, we would need 5 planets
to sustain the Earth.

Yet the USA is only 5th on the list of countries that
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.


BRICS


Europe lifting anti-Russian sanctions


Finland’s trade minister Kai Mikkanen says that the
 country is going to resume the trade and economic
 relations with Russia, that stopped in 2014.

Kai Mikkanen said that, despite the importance of
maintaining European unity, Finland is interested
 in co-operating with its neighbouring country,
on
several issues.

    He noted, ''We have a 1,300 km common border
    with Russia, so we have many issues that have
 to be dealt with, from time to time''.

Earlier, Norway announced plans for resuming
 cooperation. In addition, France's Minister of
 Finance, Michel Sapin, is now in Moscow. His
visit symbolizes Paris's desire to expand
trade relations with Moscow.

________________________________

Oil Prices Surge As OPEC Reportedly Reaches
Deal to Cut Production by 1.2 Million Barrels

Nov. 30 -The Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Countries
(OPEC) has agreed to cut supply by 1.2
million barrels
per day (bpd) versus the current
33.64 million barrels,
according to Bloomberg.
Crude prices soared
almost 8% on the report.

Bloomberg quoted a delegate in Vienna, asking not
 to be identified as the decision has not been made
 public yet.

As of 1:30pm GMT, Brent crude was trading nearly
$4 higher above $50 per barrel, while US crude
benchmark WTI was above $48.

The deal came after weeks of negotiations,
as S Arabia, Iraq & Iran fought for the very
last barrel of production. This is the first
coordinated cut from OPEC in eight years.

According to Bloomberg estimates, the deal
allows Iran to raise production by 200,000
 bpd from the current 3.7 million.

The agreement also expects non-OPEC
countries to cut about 600,000 pbd.

Russia ready to cut production by 300,000
 barrels per day and join OPEC agreement

TASS - Russia is ready to join OPEC's production
 limiting agreement and cut its production in the
first half of the year by 300,000 barrels per day,
 Energy Minister Alexander Novak said.
 
"Russia is ready to join the agreement for
stabilization of the situation on oil markets.
According to results of our proactive talks with
 key OPEC and non-OPEC countries that lasted
 several months, Russia will reduce production
 by up to 300,000 barrels in the first half of 2017
 in a phased manner within tight deadlines, on
 the basis of technical opportunities," he said.

Russia will comply with its voluntary oil production
 limiting, on condition that the OPEC adheres to its
 agreement, the energy minister said:

"Our negotiations with non-OPEC countries also make
it possible for us to expect that a range of countries
 will join the agreement, with the overall production
limiting contribution, up to 300,000 barrels daily.

Russia’s voluntary limiting is linked to adherence
 by OPEC to the level of 32.5 mln barrels daily,
 adjusted for Indonesia, and to maximized
 participation by non-OPEC countries."


___________________________________



Trump is meeting with an ex-bank CEO who
wants to abolish the Federal Reserve and
return to the gold standard
source Novorossia Today:
November 29th, 2016

As President-elect’s Donald Trump’s transition rolls
 on, much more attention is being paid to possible
 selections for a variety of high-ranking positions,
and to
meetings, that might help decide these
 appointments.


On Monday, Trump will meet with John Allison, the
 former CEO of BB&T bank, and of the libertarian
 think tank, the Cato Institute.

There have been reports that Allison is being
 considered for Treasury secretary.

On the campaign trail Trump has questioned
the future of the Federal Reserve’s political
 independence, but Allison takes the rhetoric
 a bit further. When running the Cato Institute
Allison wrote a paper in support of the
abolition of
the Fed.

“I would get rid of the Federal Reserve because
 the volatility in the economy is primarily caused
 by the Fed,” Allison wrote in 2014 for the Cato
 Journal, a publication of the institute.

Allison said that simply allowing the market to
 regulate itself would be preferable to the Fed
 harming the stability of the financial system.

“When the Fed is radically changing money
supply, distorting interest rates, and over-
regulating the financial sector, it makes
rational economic calculation difficult,”
he
wrote. “Markets do form bubbles,
but the
Fed makes them worse.”

Allison suggested that the government’s
 practice of insuring bank deposits up to
$250,000 should be abolished, and the
US should return to a banking system
backed by “a market standard such
 as gold.”

Allison also argued for higher capital reserves
of up to 20% of assets at banks. On the other
 hand, he also argued that the government
should repeal three of the broadest
banking regulations.

“We should raise capital standards, but it's
 more important to eliminate burdensome
 regulations:-  including Dodd-Frank, the
Community Reinvestment Act, and Truth
 in Lending,” Allison wrote. “About 25% of
 bank personnel costs relate to regulations.
Banks cannot pay the regulatory costs and
have high capital standards.”

This is similar to Trump’s desire to roll back
 regulation -- including Dodd-Frank -- on the
financial institutions, though he has since
 backtracked somewhat.

It is unclear if any of Allison’s policy views
will ultimately be a part of Trump’s plans,
 but given the unconventional nature of
 his ideas, the meeting is notable.
   
________________________________


Russia's 'Syria countersanctions' 
will hit the West below the belt

The West and Russia are entering the third year
 of a war of sanctions. Washington threatens to
  impose new sanctions against Russia, this time
 for Syria. Russia will take "painful measures" in
 response, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister,
 Sergei Ryabkov, says.

 Pravda.Ru offers a list of counter sanctions that
 we compiled on the basis of experts' opinions.

1. Russia's first answer would be the abolition of
neo-liberal economic policies and a transition to
 a new economic development strategy. This can
block Western influence channels on our country
 & thus become the most asymmetric, but tough
answer, to any new Western sanctions, noted
Ruslan Dzarasov, Doctor of Economics, head
 of the department of political economy, at
 Russia's 'Plekhanov' Economic University.

The expert noted that "we continue to adhere to the
 export growth model, taking capital to the West and
forming a budget on the basis of financial interests
 of capital rather than domestic consumers." Russia,
the expert said, should introduce a combination of
 state planning and a market sector, "similar to
 what the USSR was doing during the 1920s."

"The state should ensure the financial transparency
 of corporations, expand the rights of trade unions
 and workers, strengthen social control over big
 business, & show influence on the formation of
prices in the economy, to stop price disparities
 in favour of the mining export sector, and to
 the detriment of manufacturing industry,"
 Ruslan Dzarasov told Pravda.Ru.

2. Russia could refuse to save its reserves in US
dollars. Russia doesn't take first place in terms
 of dollar savings in the world - but it could still
give a serious blow to the Western financial
system, Dr Valentin Katasonov, Economics
 Professor at the Moscow State Institute of
 International Finance, and head of Russia's
Sharapov Economic Society, told Pravda.Ru.

"A lot of Russia's liabilities in national gold
 and currency reserves, are denominated
in US dollars. Should they be put on the
market --- the dollar will suffer greatly,"
 leading expert at the Union of Oil and
Gas Industrialists, Rustam Tankan said.

Noteworthy: some private Russian companies
have already abandoned the US dollar in their
 activities. Megafon, one of Russia's 3 leading
 cellular providers, converted about 40% of its
dollar deposits to euros & Hong Kong dollars.
The company transferred the funds to major
 Chinese bank accounts. Norilsk Nickel took
similar measures. The Hong Kong dollar is a
Chinese foreign clone of the dollar, and the
 US is unable to impose any sanctions on
 this currency.

 Russia has started abandoning the US dollar as
 a reserve currency, by opening a Raw Materials
 Exchange in St. Petersburg, where Russian
energy carriers are traded in rubles.

3. Russia could freeze US investors' assets in
the Russian economy. "Foreign citizens are
the ultimate beneficiaries of our shadow
 holdings. There are 'tricky' financial
mechanisms in the timber industry,
for instance," Igor Gerasimov, a
member of the Committee for
Business Security at the
 Chamber of Commerce,
 and security expert,
told Pravda.Ru.

The shadow mechanism works as follows...
A
wood-working firm does most of the work,
while most of the profit goes to a "general

contractor." The latter pays the company a
relative price for production, & a minimum
 profit. Most of the profit goes to specific
 individuals, to the accounts of foreign
 companies. Therefore, Russia could
adopt laws over the nationalization
of natural resources & city-forming
 enterprises, said Igor Gerasimov.

4. The State Duma of the Russian Federation
 has already discussed a draft law to relieve
both state-run and privately-owned Russian
companies of $700 billion of debts... which
are held by Western banks in countries
now threatening sanctions on Russia.

5. Sanctions in the field of high technology, will
be no less sensitive. "Russian titanium will stop
 arriving at European companies, and this will
 certainly be a very significant act of pressure
on our partners," Alexei Mukhin, general
 director of the Centre for Political
Information, told Pravda.Ru.

Boeing & United Technologies, as well as Europe's
 Airbus Group, purchase most of their titanium from
 Avisma, a Russian company, which happens to be
 the world's largest titanium producer. Yet this
covers only about 30% of their needs. The US,
however, is entirely dependent on Russia for
its rocket engines. RD-180 is a 6-ton liquid
 rocket engine, with a thrust of 400+ tons.
 The US has used Russian rocket engines
since 2000. The US Congress passed a
 budget which provides for the allocation
 of 100s of millions of dollars... to buy an
  "unlimited" number of RD-180 engines.

6. Russia's sanctions against Western airlines
would lead to their elimination. A great deal
of airlines fly across the territory of Russia
and save a lot of money on this, chair of
the Federation Council Committee on
International Affairs, Andrei Klimov,
told Pravda.Ru.

"If all of a sudden, the Russian authorities try
 to do something in this field, it will generate
huge profits to companies from such states
 as the United Arab Emirates, & at the same
 time, it will cause serious financial damage
 to German, French and other air carriers,"
 said the expert.

7. Many large companies in the West have strong
 lobbies in legislative authorities. Therefore, the
 input of targeted sanctions... under the pretext
of rules and regulations violations, would be a
very strong response. Starting from 1 Nov 2016
Russia banned imports of salt from the EU, the
 US, Canada, Australia, Iceland, Liechtenstein,
 Montenegro, Albania and Ukraine.

 On 15 February 2016, Russia banned imports
 of soybeans and corn from the US, including
 through third countries. Russia still imports
 various US food products, spending millions
 of US dollars a year (PepsiCo, Starbucks,
Cargill, McDonald's), pharmaceuticals
 (Pfizer), cosmetic products (Procter &
 Gamble, Johnson & Johnson), plastics,
 machinery, textiles, footwear, auto-
mobiles (Ford, General Motors), as
well as products under a "secret
code" worth $554 million --- in
 the first half of 2016, alone.

Lyuba Lulko
Pravda.Ru


_______________________________________

World Central banks get

rid of US securities
Thursday, 20 October, 2016

The number of US bonds decreased dramatically
 last week (27.5 billion dollars). This decline is
 the biggest this year. As a result, the value
of US securities has fallen.

Now their total cost is about $3 trillion.
This is the lowest level in five years.

China & Saudi Arabia are the leaders among
 those countries which are selling US bonds.


____________________________________________



IMF heralds catastrophe for

major banks of EU and US
Source: REX

The International Monetary Fund said in a report
 published on October 5 that a significant number
 of major banks in the wealthiest countries of the
 world are so weak that neither the growth of the
world economy nor an increase in interest rates
 will help them solve their problems.

The problematic credit organizations include one-
third of Europe's banks with assets totaling $8.5
 trillion and a quarter of US banks with assets
worth $3.2 trillion.

According to the IMF, the financial stability now
 depends on how well financial institutions can
adapt themselves to the new era with tougher
regulation and supervision, restrained growth
and low interest rates.

Experts note that despite an improvement in the
 structure of bank assets and equity indices, low
 profitability remains a significant problem, that
 can not be solved through cycles of economic
 recovery.

The report, in particular, draws attention to the
euro-zone banks, profits of which, have halved,
since the average levels of 2003-2006.

Experts believe that Europe lags behind the US
 in terms of the disposal of bad loans. Both the
IMF and the European Central Bank see loose
 monetary policy as the main cause of bank
 problems.

IMF experts also remained concerned about
the financial stability of Japan and China. At
 the same time, experts point out decreasing
 pressure on emerging markets, against the
backdrop of higher prices on raw materials
and a certain stabilization of the Chinese
 economy.

_______________________________


Vietnam joins Russia-led free trade zone

A free trade agreement between the Russian-led
 Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and Vietnam
 takes effect now with its ratification. The
deal opens the EEU's market of 181

million people to Vietnam.

The EEU countries – Russia, Armenia, Belarus,
 Kazakhstan & Kyrgyzstan – get the opportunity
 to sell goods in Vietnam on a preferential basis.

The free trade deal covers more than 90 percent
 of all goods traded between the EEU & Vietnam.
It will save exporters from the EEU about $40-60
million in the first year. Vietnamese companies
can expect savings of up to $5-$10 million a year.

With the deal Hanoi expects to significantly raise
 its foreign trade. Trade with Russia is expected
to
more than double to $10 billion by 2020.

"Specific conditions will be created for Russia in
 order to increase the supply of its products on
the Vietnamese market. It concerns not only
high value-added products, but also agricultural
produce, consumer goods and so on," said the
Russian Trade Mission in Vietnam.

Russia’s exports to Vietnam, include, nuclear
 reactors, mineral fuels, oil and its distillation
products and fertilizers. Imports from Vietnam
include electrical machinery, boilers & knitwear.

In terms of the agreement, Russian automotive
 companies GAZ, Kamaz & Sollers will be able
 to create joint ventures to produce buses,
trucks, special vehicles, and passenger cars.
 The localization of production is expected to
 reach 40 to 50 percent over the next decade.

Vietnam signed the free trade zone agreement
 with the EEU in 2015, becoming the first non-
regional country to join the bloc.

More than 40 countries and international
organizations, including China, Indonesia,
 Israel and Iran, have expressed interest
 in a free trade deal with the bloc.

Establishment of the EEU was signed by the
 presidents of Russia, Belarus & Kazakhstan
in 2014. Armenia & Kyrgyzstan, joined later.

 The bloc was designed to ensure the free
movement of goods, services, capital and
 workforces, between member countries.

________________________________________


WESTERN BANKS CRACKING

4 of the biggest banks are reported as going down:
HSBC, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank and Wells
 Fargo, are all reported by eminent experts as
"about to fail."

_______________________________________


Chinese yuan becomes IMF reserve
currency, first new addition since 1999

The Chinese yuan is now added to the IMF reserve
 basket, becoming the first currency to be added to
 the list since the emergence of the euro in 1999.

The official entry brings to a close, at least partly,
Beijing’s years-long struggle
for international
acceptance on the sort of level
enjoyed by
the US dollar. The currency now
joins the
big four: the US dollar, the euro,

the yen, and the UK's pound.

The decision means the Chinese yuan will now be
 used as one of the International Monetary Fund’s
 lending currencies, in emergency bailouts. This
 sort of internationalization is in line with
 China’s wish for an increase in the
 legitimacy of its currency.

The move also evidences China’s growing role
as a power to challenge the global economic
 dominance of the United States.

The IMF has fixed the relative amounts of
the five main currencies in its basket for

five years, based on the exchange rate
of
each, over the last three months.

__________________________________________


Deutsche Bank to fight US $14bn claim

Deutsche Bank says it will challenge a $14 billion
claim by the US Department of Justice on alleged
mis-selling of mortgage-backed securities during
the 2008 financial crisis.

“Deutsche Bank has no intent to settle these
potential civil claims anywhere near the number
cited. The negotiations are only just beginning.
The bank expects that they will lead to an out-
come similar to those of peer banks which
have settled at materially lower amounts,”
Deutsche Bank says in its statement.

No details on the case have been publicized.
 Yet reports say sales of mortgage securities
 before the 2008 financial crisis, lie at the
 heart of the case.

The claim against Deutsche Bank far exceeds
 its expectations that the DoJ would look for
 a figure of only up to 3 billion euros ($3.4
billion), Reuters reported.

European stocks wrapped up in negative territory
on Friday in reaction to the case against Deutsche
Bank. Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays both
fell over 5%, while Credit Suisse and UBS fell
over 3%. French lenders BNP Paripas and
Societe Generale both fell over 2%.

Deutsche Bank’s shares stumbled 8.5%, wiping
 off roughly €1.5 billion from the German lenders’
 market capitalization.

Other big banks have reached deals in recent
years with US authorities over their mortgage
 activities in the run-up to the financial crisis.
Earlier in 2016, Goldman Sachs agreed to pay
 $5.1 billion to settle claims on its dealings.


________________________________


Russian oil transport monopoly to stop oil
exports via domestic Baltic ports by 2018

Xinhua - Russian oil pipeline company Transneft
 is planning to stop Russia's oil exports via the
 Baltic ports by 2018 and redirect the routes to
 Russian ports, the Russian presidential web-
site reported.

"Last year, around nine million tons were shipped
 through Baltic ports, while this year, the figure
 was 5 million tons. By 2018 we will reduce this
 flow to nil and will direct it to our ports instead
 - as we have surplus capacity," said Chair and
 President of Transneft, Nikolai Tokarev, at the
meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to Tokarev, the company will redirect oil
 freight flows from the Baltic ports of Ventspils and
 Riga, in Latvia, to Russia's own Baltic ports of Ust-
Luga and Primorsk, along with the construction
of oil transport routes.

Transneft is a Russian state-owned transport
 monopoly and the largest oil pipeline company
 in the world. The company is operating over 70
 thousand km of trunk pipelines, and transports
 about 90% of the oil produced in Russia, to
various destinations.


__________________________________________



HBOS banking group on long-
awaited trail for £35 million scam

A group of HBOS bankers in the UK are on trial
charged with conspiracy to corrupt, fraudulent
trading & money laundering, at a London court.

The London-based Southwark Crown Court will host
 the first trial of bankers to come from the financial
crisis in 2008. 2 former senior HBOS managers and
 6 other defendants, will appear in court.

The heavily postponed trial was originally scheduled
 to start at the beginning of the year. The defendants
were initially charged in 2013.

Those charged also include bankers David Mills &
 Michael Bancroft, as well as their wives, who are
 accused of giving money & “numerous high-value
 gifts” to HBOS managers in exchange for favours.

The alleged scam was exposed by Thames Valley
 Police after a two year investigation code-named
 Operation Hornet.

HBOS collapsed in 2008 and was bought by UK-
backed Lloyds TSB. A former head of corporate
 lending, Peter Cummings, was fined £500,000,
 and banned from the banking industry.

The British government bailed out Lloyds at the
 height of the financial crisis in 2008 at a cost
of some £20 billion, handing the state a 43%
 stake in the bank.


_____________________________________


Banking giants reverse predictions
 of post-Brexit ‘Brecession’, proving
 it was the Remain Camp, who lied:

Two of the City’s biggest powerhouses have
scrapped their predictions:  of a post-Brexit
recession which would see the UK economy
 collapse, following the EU referendum - and
now envisage better-than-expected results
 in the third financial quarter.


 But investor Jim Rogers warns that the US
policy of printing money will soon hurt us:

"You should be very worried. There's going to be a
serious economic crisis --- in the next year or two.

We all are going to pay a horrible price for the
artificial money coming out of America, and
 other central banks. We’re all going to have
a huge problem. Be worried, be worried."


______________________________________


US's "INVISIBLE" EARNER ON THE LINE

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), lie 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
conditions".

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.

_____________________

China welcomes Canada's decision
 to apply for AIIB membership: Xi

Xinhua - Meeting Canadian PM, Justin Trudeau, Xi
says China is willing to improve communication
 and coordination with Canada, protect an open
& inclusive multilateral trade system with the
 country and deepen cooperation in areas such
as climate change, peacekeeping and marine
 protection.

This is the first official visit by Trudeau since
taking office in November 2015. His father,
former Canadian PM Pierre Trudeau, was
the first Canadian PM to visit China, after
the establishment of diplomatic relations.

After his stay in Beijing, Trudeau flew
 to Hangzhou, to attend the G20 summit.

____________________________________________


World seeing ‘greatest monetary policy
experiment in history’ - Rothschild

 Low interest rates, negative yields on government
 debt & quantitative easing, are part of the biggest
 financial experiment in world history, and the
 consequences are as yet, unknown, says RIT
Capital Partners Chair, Lord Rothschild.

“The six months under review have seen central
 bankers continuing what is surely the greatest
experiment in monetary policy in the history of
 the world. We're therefore in uncharted waters
 and it is impossible to predict the unintended
 consequences of very low interest rates, with
 30% of global government debt --- at negative
 yields, combined with quantitative easing on
 a massive scale,” Rothschild writes, in the
company's semi-annual financial report.

The banker says this policy has led to a rapid
growth of stock markets --- US stocks have
grown 3-fold since 2008 - with investments
 growing and volatility remaining low.

However, the real sector of the economy didn’t
 enjoy such profits, as “growth remains anemic,
 with weak demand and deflation in many parts
 of the developed world,” says Rothschild.

The billionaire stresses that many risks remain
 for the global economy, with the deteriorating
geopolitical situation. Among those risks, he
includes the UK's vote to leave the EU, the
 US' presidential election & China's slowing
economic growth. Another risk is global
terrorism, which Rothschild says is a
consequence of continuing 'conflict'
 in the Middle East.

A Bank of America Merrill Lynch report in June,
shows interest rates in developed countries,
 in particular America’s 0.5%, are now at
their lowest level in 5,000 years.<