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Rhondda Records Daily Cartoon
having a laugh - WITH the Rhondda !
 
 
Richard Gould's Page
Move over Titch Gwilym and Micky Gee, Richard Gould IS the new Welsh virtuoso
 
 
Efran Kaye's Page
The master of music, Efran Kaye is here!
 
 
Peace Page
A Page from the Rhondda dedicated to Peace
 
 
Peace Events Page
Some activities you just might like to aid Peace
 
 
Penrhys, Rhondda Page
A page telling the story of a unique magical village - Penrhys, in the Rhondda !
 
 
Rhondda History Page
A page to help those who want to know the Rhonddas past
 
 
Your Health Page
A page to help your health - be positive !
 
 
Jobs in the Arts Page
News of opportunities in drama, music, dance in Wales
 
 
Quotations Page
Words said in truth or jest
 
 
Rhondda Records' Top Ten Books Page
Great Thinkers point the way forward
 
 
One Union
A Page to help unity among working people
 
 
Glynbyerful Male (voice) Choir's Very Own Page
a choir from all the Glyns of the Rhondda for nutters
 
 
FOLK REVOLUTION
A Page for those who DO care about true folk
 
 
Poetry and Literature in Wales Page
Poetry and Literature in Wales
 
 
Welsh Recipes Page
Food to honour from Wales' tradition for now
 
 
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Welsh language News
 
 
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Let's open up and share (communicate)
 
 
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Stuff yew cun buy, frwm the Rhondda, innit
 
 
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We wish you all SHALOM ! (PEACE)
and a HAPPY, SUCCESSFUL 2015
!


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

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

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

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

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

Lots of great music scattered over several Pages:

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

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

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

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

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


Freedom Day 2015



Today, April the 27th, is

Freedom Day 2015,

Today is a Public Holiday in South Africa
which celebrates South Africa’s unique
 constitution and democratic freedom.

Freedom Day also serves to commemorate
 the country’s 1st post-Apartheid elections,
held in 1994.

On this day, Mzansi started the process
 of walking away from a dark, colonised
 past, and sloughing off the shackles of
 white minority domination, by electing
 Nelson Mandela, through a free, fair,
 voting process.

The holiday also pays homage to Mzansi’s
 unique and remarkably detailed, inclusive,
 constitution – including a Bill of Rights that
 is second to none. The document is widely
 recognised as one of the most developed
charters in the world, and guarantees all
those within South African borders, the
freedom from hatred and oppression
that ruled in the past.

http://www.capetownmagazine.com/
public-holiday-freedom-day



events in Rhondda

Hay in May 2015

Hay in May


Doyl Vic invites you to


3 weekends of live music
and spoken word events

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


wristbands £5 a day, car parking & camping,
b&b,
restaurant etc available, book early -
01497847131

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







THE HAY IN MAY FRINGE FESTIVAL 2015

THE TONEAGE invites you to his gig on

30th May at 22:00 at:

THE HOLLYBUSH INN,

HAY ON WYE


_____________________________________



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





Wales elderly paying for health care

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

________________________________________________


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some private companies involved in the deal
 have previously faced criticism for providing
 substandard care for patients in hospitals
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. And they are doing this ahead
 of an election which they're afraid they won't win
 because of the damage they've done to the NHS."

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

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

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

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

Vanguard, one of the companies involved in the
 recent deal, lost its contract with a hospital
when
it emerged their surgeons had performed
“rushed”
operations and patients reported
serious
complications.

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

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


_______________________


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

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


____________________________



UK ministry bids for deal
 with Saudi prison service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


________________________________



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

Maria Eagle, shadow environment secretary:

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

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


__________________________________



            UK Students Demonstrate Against Cuts          

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



_____________________________



UK parents hit by government cuts in legal aid

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

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

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

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

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


_________________________


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

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

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

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

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


______________________________



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


___________________________________


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

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

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

People's Assembly spokesperson:

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

A protester told media that it's frustrating,
 and that “People want to work here if only
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 a year ago, 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 the coalition took office in 2010,
despite significant increases in the number of
people aged 65 and 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 has reneged on his pledge
 to let voters recall disgraced MPs, sparking
a furious coalition row.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

____________________________


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.

Last September, the United Nations Special
Investigator on Housing, Raquel Rolnik,
 called for the 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
can’t trust the leadership of our constabularies
to measure their own performance,” says
Committee Chair Bernard Jenkin, adding that
he is "shocked" that these offences occur
"on such a wide scale."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

________________________


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 before 2015.

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

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

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

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

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham:

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

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

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

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

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

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

___________________________________


SCOTLAND SHOWS THE WAY FORWARD

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

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

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

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

_____________________________________________


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, and even the victims when
the story broke in the early 90s.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

'Innocent until proven guilty?

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

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



____________________________________________



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 aged 65
 or over up from 82,000... to over 105,000 in 2012-2013.

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

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

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

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

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

_________________________________________



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

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

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

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

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

 Unison, and Paul Kenny of the GMB, declare:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pro-NHS campaign Health Emergency chair Geoff Martin:

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

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

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


________________________________________



UNISON SAYS 'WE ARE MOVING LABOUR TO ACT'


Unison general secretary Dave Prentis warns Labour leader

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

 
"People will not vote Labour mainly because they
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
 a future Labour government.
 
He also pledges that the 1.3 million-strong union
 is about to lead the biggest protests seen in the UK
 since the 1990 poll tax rebellion, in order  to consign
 the coalition government to the dustbin of history.
 
Mr Prentis says Unison is ready to lead a wave of
 anti-austerity action that will include demonstrations
 in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, from now,
 and throughout next year.

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

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

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


_________________________________________________




 People's Assembly Offers Renewed Hope

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The assembly is backed by major trade unions
 representing millions of workers, including the
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 the crucial public services that "our grandparents
 fought for" unless people resist the government's
"extreme ideological" attacks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

__________________________


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


___________________________


Wales losing to South East England

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

The percentage of people with at least "good" health
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 explains...
"There is no plan for dealing with the escalation or decline
of risk of individual offenders.

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

Labour MPs scorned those Coalition MPs who couldn't
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 Tory-led coalition
today over its "vicious spiral" of spending cuts
often hitting low-paid workers and jobseekers.


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


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

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

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

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


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


"People on the breadline spend every penny of their
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 the political parties, employers and
 indeed unions," she says.

"My strong belief is that when we look back at the period
 from the 1980s to the 2008 crash, historians will see
these
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 and Wales, is the most unequal
  place in Europe, and the wealth gap between the UK’s
rich & poor, is twice as wide as any EU member state.

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

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


_____________________________________


LEFT GOVERNMENTS GIVE SECURITY
(Right "gives" racism, immigrant scapegoating and gangs)

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

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


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

communication equipment, and other resources.

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

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


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

will save thousands of lives.

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


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

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


________________________________________


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 while cutting vital
services like refuges, creches and rape crisis centres.
It does not have to be this way. The government could
easily bring in billions that could fund vital services by
clamping down on tax dodging.”


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


Sheena Shah, a UK Uncut activist:

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

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

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



07415 063231 | 07572 594128

_______________________________


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 one million jobless youth have
been searching for work for at least six months.


The TUC, representing  six million UK workers says

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



_______________________________________



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, which is “tearing families apart.”

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

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

_________________________________________________


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 spiral out of control if the average
lifespan in Britain increases by only three years
more than estimated. It says that the “financial
implications of people living longer than expected
are very large,” and could ruin public finances
as the cost of pensions and healthcare rises.


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


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


IT'S NOT WHO VOTES THAT COUNTS -
BUT WHO COUNTS THE VOTES !


As our masters follow the US on everything...
from police arms 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
taxpayer 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/

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




MET's KETTLING LEGAL, SAYS APPEALS COURT

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

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


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

The Met used violent tactics like kettling

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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 quite complicated journeys,
given that they have to be met at each stage of their
journey. Now that has all been stopped by Scrooge
bosses. Ordinary passengers are used to being ripped
off by these profit-chasing cowboys, but even they will
be shocked by this latest cynical penny-pinching move."


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


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


SCOTLAND REACHES OUT TO SCANDINAVIA

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


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


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

first colony, Wales.

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


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


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


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

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



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


NEIL KINNOCK's DAUGHTER-IN-LAW
MAKES DENMARK GROW


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

Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt's

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


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


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


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

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


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

the welfare state."

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


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

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



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


AND WHERE IS WALES' BLOSSOMING...?

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


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



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

conserving life on earth



 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
House of Commons on Monday, during
 which, Greenpeace held a protest
out-side Westminster Palace.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Labour and other MPs tabled amendments
 to allow the change to be made, so Energy
Minister Amber Rudd told the House that
 the government will remove the provision
that shale gas exploration will be allowed
 in such areas, only in "exceptional
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 Warns on Big Hole in Ozone Layer               
 
 A hole in the ozone layer, which started to grow
 in early September, reached 23,400,000 square
kilometers on October the 1st, report Japanese
scientific institutions.

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

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

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

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


________________________________



Venezuela Rejects Unipolarity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


______________________________________



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

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

 Activists from Romania, Hungary, Austria, the
Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Germany
came to the Pungesti site, wearing bright yellow
jackets and holding banners reading "Pungesti-
anti-Chevron quarantine area" & "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 and professor
 at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

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

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

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


__________________________________________________


Japan Intends to Resume Whaling in Pacific Ocean  

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

____________________________


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

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

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

The law adopted now by France's lower house
 (National Assembly) is similar to one rejected
by
the upper house 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
 and is designed to be resistant to a kind of weed killer
 about to be phased out anyway, over 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 have forced the
Romanian government to postpone a vote on
 the bill in parliament until November and PM
 V. Ponta has agreed to form a special
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 Vice President Salvador Sanchez
 Ceren, in La Palma municipality, about 80
 kilometers from the capital, San Salvador.
 
"The Cuban and Salvadorian people share
 knowledge and wisdom, because knowledge
 is not the property of individuals, but humanity,
 and that is what the Cuban government has
 shown," the Salvadoran vice president says.

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

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

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

_________________


POOP POWER

"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 poop. 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 on Tuesday.


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


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


TEPCO spokesperson Masayuki Ono, says that radioactive
water leaking from the wrecked reactors is likely to have run
into 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 GMO 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 the
 cultivation of genetically-modified crops.
 
In September, French scientists from the University
 of Caen released a study showing that rats fed on a
diet containing NK603, a corn seed variety, resistant
 to Monsanto's Roundup weed-killer, along with those
 given water mixed with the product at levels permitted
 in the US, died earlier than those on a standard diet.

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

 Monsanto Video Revolt  beats a corporate media
 blackout on GMO foods, to bring the issue to the
world’s attention. The campaign was announced
 by the Global Healing Centre, Natural News and
 Natural Society, which have united to counter
 GM produce & 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 its controls, or risk being “left behind.”

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

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

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

_______________________________


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 a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying.


_____________________________




THE GREATEST BATTLE

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

The leaders from 11 tribes walked out of a
meeting in Rapid City on May 16th, and call
on US President Barack Obama to engage

with them in direct negotiations, over the
Keystone XL pipeline.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

She says the pipeline would run directly through

 her tribe's traditional burial grounds near Bridger,
South Dakota.

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

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

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

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

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


_____________________________________________



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

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

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

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

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

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

The Council already has 6 permanent members
 and 26 observers, including 20 organizations
 and 6 countries, and Bildt says the inclusion of
 more observers won't impede council duties.

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

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

development in the region.

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


_________________________________________



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
 produced by burning fuels, which can cause
 respiratory conditions leading to early death.

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

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

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

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

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

Court documents show 40 out of the UK’s 43 air quality
 zones exceeded the limits in 2010, and the government’s
 Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
 (Defra) says 23 zones might comply by 2015 and 16
 between 2015 and 2020, while London is not expected
 to comply before 2025.

“This historic ruling marks a turning point in the fight
 for clean air and will pile the pressure on Owen
Paterson,” says James Thornton, chief executive of
ClientEarth, referring to the UK Secretary of State
for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

“He must now come up with an ambitious plan to
protect people from carcinogenic diesel fumes,”
which are largely blamed for creating NO2, he says.


_____________________________________


Dear Friends,
I'm highly recommending this Canadian film, on Vimeo:

Salmon Confidential
How Government Cover-Up on Fish Farming
Threatens Your Health, 
and the Entire Ecosystem
 
Ben and I watched it on Sunday. 
We actually didn't intend to watch it, but I plugged in
a new set of speakers for my computer, and opened a
link in a mercola.com newsletter to test the sound,
and we were enthralled by this brilliantly presented
extended
report: The problem, analysis, solution is
very clearly laid out,
leading to an uplifting and
inspiring result. 

Salmon Confidential, the film

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, into
British
Columbia’s most remote rivers, Vancouver grocery
stores and
sushi restaurants.

The film documents Morton’s journey as she attempts to
overcome
government and industry roadblocks thrown in
her path and works to
bring critical information to the
public in time to save BC’s wild salmon. 

The film provides surprising insight into the inner workings
of government agencies, as well as rare footage of the
bureaucrats tasked with managing our fish and the safety
of our food supply. >>> more

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/04/13/salmon-confidential.aspx?e_cid=20130413_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20130413 In addition, the main points in the extended
mercola.com report:

  • 'Keystone' Species Missing in Action by the Millions
  • Wild Salmon Declines Traced Back to Salmon Farms
  • Lethal Salmon Virus Found in Every Region with
  • Installed Salmon Farms
  • You May Be Buying Salmon Infected with
  • Dangerous Fish Viruses
  • Farmed Fish Pose a Number of Health Hazards
  • to Your Health
  • Buying Local Increases Food Safety and Food Security

Story at-a-glance

• Salmon Confidential draws back the curtain to reveal how
the Canadian government is covering up the cause behind
British Columbia’s rapidly dwindling wild salmon populations:

fish farms

• In British Columbia, pacific salmon are an essential
species for the ecosystem. They fill hundreds of streams
and rivers, feeding hundreds of species, including humans.

Since the early 1990’s, salmon numbers have rapidly
dwindled, coinciding with the introduction of farmed
salmon pens.

• Fish farms breed pathogens that can spread like wildfire
and contaminate any wild fish swimming past. Wild
salmon that died before spawning have tested positive
for a number of salmon viruses, including the highly lethal
“salmon influenza”

• Farmed fish, purchased in stores around British Columbia
have tested positive for at least three lethal fish viruses,
including the dreaded ISA virus (aka salmon flu), salmon
alpha viruses, & Piscine reovirus, which causes salmon to
have a heart attack, preventing them from 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. Somebody has to! 
We must step up to support
politicians who are stopping
that.... Department of Wild
Salmon: That's us!"


And an exemplary statement of Canadian government
official
position on the findings: "...not designed as a
public document.
That'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
have submitted to telling lies.
The camerawoman did a brilliant
job focusing
on their eyes— watching them glaze over when

they lied. I felt sorry for them, and very glad for
the people
who pursued the truth and came up
with the best solution
possible: Department of
Wild Salmon: That's us!"


 — the local communities taking responsibility for
overseeing the protection and health of 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,
and the data was found to remain relevant.
Update 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


Japanese and US "Difficulties"

China  will always welcome the US & Japan
 joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment
Bank (AIIB), and has kept them informed on
 all relevant information, China's Finance
 Minister Lou Jiwei says.

"The United States and Japan have not been
 able to join AIIB due to their own difficulties,"
 Lou tells Xinhua on the sidelines of the World
 Bank-IMF Spring Meeting, without elaborating.

The United States and Japan decided to stay
out of China's initiative by the March 31 dead-
line, as both countries worry that the AIIB may
 challenge the Japan-led Asian Development
Bank (ADB) and the US-dominated World Bank.

However, China has underlined that the AIIB
 will take an open and inclusive attitude and,
as complementary to existing development
banks, able to strengthen the whole region's
 communications plus its social & economic
 development.


______________________________



German Media Reveals
              Mass Layoffs by the World Bank               

German media say today that over 3.4 million people
 worldwide, have been displaced over the last years,
 or lost their livelihoods, due to World Bank policies.

According to research by public TV networks NDR
 and WDR, and the journal Sueddeutsche Zeitung,
 many of the people affected by 972 World Bank
 projects, were laid off, or suffered other kinds of
 human rights violations.

The media analyzed over 6,000 documents of
the WB, in collaboration with the International
Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation
 and Development, reacts with "great concern"
to the reports and demands a change in policy
by the international financial institution.

However, the media also finds that the German
 government, through its development policy, is
 involved in some of the controversial projects.

Since the end of 2013, German representatives
on the top Board of Directors at the World Bank
 have voted just once against a project, out of
 its 600 initiatives each year.


______________________________



CS Bank Must Be Launched Before
 July 9, Russian Finance Minister Says

Sputnik: The BRICS Bank has to be launched
prior to the group’s summit in July, Russia's
 Finance Minister, Anton Siluanov, states.

“We [BRICS member states finance ministers]
agreed on the course of work for creation of
the BRICS bank. The summit of the leaders
of BRICS member states will take place on
July 9-10, and the bank has to be launched
before then,” Siluanov says on Thursday.

The prominent emerging economies of BRICS
 were established in 2010 when S Africa joined
Brazil, Russia, India & China in what was BRIC.

BRICS countries include 40-45% of the world's
population, and boast a combined economy of
about $16 trillion.

Russia accepted the presidency of BRICS -
 taking over from Brazil - earlier this month.
Moscow is to host a series of events, that
include the summit in Ufa, in early July.


__________________________________


India Scraps Major Arms Purchase

 with France, Inks Major Deal with Russia
 
The article originally appeared in the Breton
 State Daily. It was translated by Tom Winter
 at Fort Russ.

India has essentially annulled a gigantic arms
 contract with France, for the purchase & joint
construction of 126 Rafale fighter planes: the
Indian Prime Minister agreed to buy only 36 of
them during his Paris visit last week, a serious
 government source states. Instead, India will
buy 127 fifth generation Russian fighter jets.

It's part of the direct fall-out from the French
 government's anti-Russian policy, which has
united with Washington. Obedient to the US,
 Le Drian/Hollande's pair chose not to send
the Mistral ships to Russia. This about-face
 by India, constitutes a massive triumph for
Vladimir Putin. Moscow’s revenge against
France, will cost Paris 20 billion euros.

“1 car can’t go on 2 highways at the same time.
The other route had numerous problems” says
Mr Parrikar, alluding to the former Rafale deal
with France signed by the former coalition
government, led by the Indian National
Congress Party.

India, governed by Hindu Nationalists, has
 in effect engaged in conciliation with China,
and a move toward Russia, which now has
disappointed US expectations about any
anti-Russian, anti-China axis.

Indian PM Narendra Modi met Vladimir Putin in
 December when the hot issue was non-delivery
 of the Mistral because of the conflict in Ukraine.

The head of the government of India, determined
 to enter the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
 with China, Russia, and Iran, and to free Eurasia
 from US tutelage, told the Russian president he
 wishes to “keep Russia as the primary partner
 in defense materiel.”

The Indian government therefore entered into
 negotiations to acquire 5th generation Russian
 fighter jets, which should be emerging from the
 factories in 2016. The contract envisions giving
 India 127 Russian fighters, which experts know
  are the best in the world.

Russia undertakes to accelerate production
and to deliver the first fighters in 36 months.

This check on the antiRussian policies asked for
by Le Drian and Holland, is not done yet with its
 consequences for the French arms industry.

Le Drian, a future candidate in regional elections
in 2015 and the current Defense Minister, will do
 anything to avoid the Mistral question, which is
 striking a decisive blow now to the shipyards of
 Saint-Nazaire.

An Atlantist, Le Drian has considerably damaged
 the interests of Brittany as well as of France, as
 the cost of the non-delivery of the Mistral has set
France back at least 20 billion euros, five times
 the cost of a Mistral.

The impact of the Russian counter-attack on
 France is considerable, both in the mid-term
 and the long term.

Meanwhile, France’s press, anxious to please
 the government, prefers to congratulate it for
 a 36 Rafales deal with India, preferring to not
bring to mind the ruinous effect of a French
foreign policy firmly aligned with Washington.


__________________________________


 Asia Times: Merkel Urges Japan
 to Join China's Asian Bank.

Japan’s Jiji Press agency this week, quotes
 Japanese government sources as saying the
 German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called
 on Japan to join AIIB, as a founding member.

Sources state that Merkel made her request
 to Japanese PM, Shinzo Abe, in an April 1st
 'phone call. Abe is said to have repeated his
 concerns about the AIIB’s structure and its
lending sustainability.

A high-level European diplomatic source has
also confirmed to Asia Times correspondent
Pepe Escobar, in an April 6th dispatch, that
Merkel’s government has vigorously talked
to Beijing in an effort to disrupt its present
 strategic partnership with Russia.

“Beijing won’t necessarily listen to this
political gesture from Berlin, as China
is tuning the strings on a pan-Eurasian
'New Silk Road' project, which implies
closer trade/commerce/business ties
with both Germany and Russia,” Pepe
Escobar writes.


___________________



The new Chinese rating agency set up
to counter US agencies' obvious bias:

They give Russia - an A rating = stable.

But the US gets - an A rating negative
(because of its gigantic debt and deficit)


_____________________________________



CHINA SIDE-STEPS DOLLAR -- AGAIN

China's central bank signs a currency swap
 agreement -- valued at 30 billion yuan ($4.9
 billion) -- with South Africa's central bank,
 on Friday.

The agreement lasts for three years and can
 be extended upon agreement, by both sides,
 says a spokesperson for the People's Bank
of China (PBOC).

The deal aims to facilitate bilateral trade and
 investment and to maintain regional financial
stability, Xinhua news agency reports.

South Africa's Reserve Bank (SARB) states
 the agreement's purpose is to support trade
 and investment between South Africa and
China, and act as a mitigating resource for
short term balance of payment pressures.

The PBOC also signed swap agreements
 with Armenia & the Republic of Suriname
 in March.

To promote international use of the yuan,
China has currency swap agreements now
with over 20 countries & regions since the
 start of a global financial crisis in late 2008.


_______________________


Ruble makes highest gains in 5 months
(-- drops back a bit later on Friday)

Once a troubled currency due to complications
 arising from US-engineered sanctions, Russia's
 ruble has made the highest gains in almost five
 months in what analysts are already describing
as a ‘miracle performance’.

In the latest trading in Moscow, Friday, the ruble
 rose 3% against the dollar and nearly 4% versus
the euro, its best performance in over 4 months. 

The worst performer in 2014, is now the best
in 2015. The ruble has recovered 16% in 2015,
 and more than 55% since December the 16th,
 or ‘Black Tuesday’, when the ruble bottomed
out against the dollar, at nearly 80 rubles.

The massive upswing has shocked many
analysts, but most agree the ruble has for
 the most part, shaken off its crude curse,
 or being intrinsically linked to oil prices,
Russia Today reports on its website.

In March alone, the ruble appreciated by
 over 20%. In the week ending April 3rd,
Russia's Central Bank spent $5.5 billion
 propping up the ruble.

Thursday, the ruble reached 52 against
 the dollar, at the close of business.


__________________________________



GREEK HOBBLE

Greece issued the planned payment to the IMF
on April 9th and restarted discussions with its
creditors on March 6th.


__________________________________



The Telegraph: Greece Plans Nationalising
 Banks, Issuing Parallel Currency
 
Greece is drawing up plans to nationalise banks
and introduce a parallel currency to pay salaries
 and pensions --- unless the eurozone softens its
 demands for austerity measures --- according to
 the UK’s newspaper, The Telegraph.

The preent coalition led by left-wing Syriza,
 could also decide to default on an IMF loan,
according to sources close to Syriza, the
newspaper says.

“We're a Left-wing government. If we've to choose
 between a default to the IMF or a default to our own
 people, it is a no-brainer,” The Telegraph quotes a
senior Greek official as saying.

“We may have to go into a silent arrears process with
 the IMF. This will cause a furore in the markets and
 means that the clock will start to tick much faster,”
 the source adds.

Greece has to pay EUR 458 M to the IMF on April 9.
 If the government does this, it won’t have enough
 money left to cover salaries and social security
 payments to state employees unless the eurozone
 agrees to disburse the next tranche of its interim
 bailout financing in time.

“We will shut down the banks and nationalise them,
and then issue IOUs if we have to, and we all know
 what this means. What we will not do is become a
 protectorate of the EU,” states the source The
Telegraph quotes in its article.


_________________________________



Scholars Voice Concern about
  Impact of Greek Departure from EU

Greek departure from the Eurozone could
 expose Europe's Central Bank to losses
 of tens of billions, says Stavros Zenios,
 an academic and member of the Board
 of Directors of Cyprus's central bank.

Exit would create a hole which Germany
 and other euro members may have to fill.

As political wrangling with Athens freezes
 Greece's access to loans from euro zone
states, Greece has been drawing heavily
 on the ECB, running up an ever larger tab.

The Greek government insists it will stay
 a euro zone member, but the uncertainty
 prompted the ECB to examine the impact
 of a possible exit, uncovering a massive
 potential bill for the central bank and the
 euro zone countries that underpin it,
experts say.

Any such losses would come on top of a
 default on some or all of Greece's over 320
 billion euro national debt and this provides
 yet another reason for keeping the Greeks
inside the fold.

The ECB bill could bounce on to euro zone
countries, because the central bank is a
joint venture which they all own.

"If one is pushed out, the rest have to
absorb the costs," Zenios says.

ECB President Mario Draghi recently
tallied the finance to Greece at 104
billion euros.

Germany's Bundesbank gets a credit via
 the ECB, while Greece's central bank is
edging further into the red. Greece is a
big net importer and has been suffering
 a massive capital flight.

The remaining euro countries may either
have to make it good......... or write it off.


_______________________________



AIIB having tremendous influence

 on shift of power from West to East.

The popularity of the China-proposed Asian
 Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) shows
 that Asia in general, and China in particular,
are leading the world in another -- and more
 relevant -- direction, a Dutch expert says.

Rien T. Segers, a Dutch expert on the political
 economy of east Asia, believes that the world
 is undergoing a transition from "the financial,
 economic and political dominance of the US,
 towards the dominance of a number of Asian
 countries, led by China."

"If dominance is a politically incorrect word,
leadership is not nice either. I would prefer
'cooperative influence'", says Segers.

"The rich and old economies have no other
choice but to go for a development which
 is a reflection of the cooperative influence
 of Asian countries on the West - and vice
versa", he adds.

Over 40 countries, so far, have shown an
interest in becoming members of the AIIB.

 European countries, including France, Italy,
the UK, Germany, Spain & the Netherlands,
 have all stated that they want to become
founding members of the new bank.

The Netherlands has now applied to join
 the AIIB as a founding member - before
March 31, the deadline for applications.

The AIIB supports infrastructure projects in
 Asia, and is expected to be established by
 the end of this year. The final number of its
founding members is to be confirmed on
 April the 15th.


__________________________________________



WEST's MONOPOLY WEAKENING FASTER

Russia, Australia, the Netherlands and Brazil
have all announced that they plan to join the
 Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).   

Despite US criticism, more countries from
the heart of Washington’s camp, say they
too, are considering joining. They include
 diehard allies like Turkey & South Korea.

China says it has already accepted the
application of Brazil, its largest trading
 partner, to the AIIB, adding that Austria
has also applied to join.

The AIIB is a multinational lender. It has
30 founding members with applications
still coming in.

Other nations will still be able to join
 the bank, but as common members.


__________________________________



US SEES EUROPE SHIFT TO CHINA

France, Germany and Italy all joined the
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
(AIIB) last week - and the UK joined it
 the week before that.

Their choice is a vote of confidence in China,
which has achieved 3 decades of economic
 success and readied itself to make greater
 contributions to world development. How-
ever, what makes the AIIB so popular,
does not end there...

Unlike existing world lending bodies like
the World Bank, in which the US has the
dominant role and a veto, the AIIB gives
China no such privileges.

Instead, all members participate in the
decision-making process, in order to
 achieve win-win results.

The AIIB doesn't seek to weaken present
 institutions, but to strengthen them, and
 vigorously push forward the global
economy.

The World Bank welcomes the AIIB, says
 World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani
Indrawati, adding: "the WB will cooperate
closely" with the AIIB.

The US may be embarrassed that so many
 allies braved its warnings, and embraced
 the AIIB, but as a NYT editorial says: "this
 is a problem of America's own making."

The US has been too sluggish in reforming
 global financial institutions it controls, as
 their power distribution no longer reflects
 reality in the global economic landscape.

Decision-makers in the United States truly
do have to be reminded - that if they don't
 jump on the bandwagon of change in time,
they'll soon be overrun by the bandwagon.

 Meanwhile, South Korea and Australia
are also applying for membership, but
Japan, wishing to keep its relationship
exclusively with the US, has said 'no'.

AIIB --- launched last year --- is a China-led
 international development bank, targeting
 investment in Asian infrastructure such as
transport, energy and telecommunications.

 Analysts consider the new institution as a
 rival to the Western-controlled World Bank
 and the (US-led) Asian Development Bank.


________________________



Money Pouring into Russia despite Sanctions

The net inflow of money into funds investing in
 Russian shares continued its six-week streak,
 $40.7 million between 26 February – 4 March,
the Emerging Portfolio Fund Research shows.

The leader among BRICS countries is India,
whose inflows totaled .55% ($678.1 million)
over the course of the week (the 12 month
 total was 7.4%, or $7.4 billion).

China had comparatively weak results—
an outflow of .12% ($341.1 million) in the
week, or 3.8% ($11.1 billion) over the year.

Investors continued to withdraw assets
 from Latin America--.75% ($216.3 million)
 in the week, reports Vesti Ekonomika.

Russia is in 2nd place among the BRICS.
Its total capital influx over the year
reached 1.1% ($525.2 million).

Therefore Russia is continuing to outpace
 developing markets, concludes Sberbank
 Investment Research.

Most are funds oriented toward Russia
 (inflow of .11%, $34.3 million). Passive
 funds attracted .47% ($54.2 million),
active funds lost .02% of assets ($4.6
million). In the week ending March 4th,
RTS index increased by .1% and Brent
crude rose by 3.2%.

J.Hawk:

'To put it in plain English, Russia is
considered to have an attractive
investment climate, no mean feat
after a decade of sanctions, credit
 rating downgrades, threats of more
 sanctions, even threats of military
 action and provocative NATO
exercises on its border.'

'All of these measures were intended,
 not to hurt Russia’s economy directly,
 but to create the impression Russia
 is surrounded, isolated, starved of
 capital, and with its economy “in
tatters”, to quote Barack Obama.

 International investors know
 when they see a winner.

_______________________


US Frenzy at Chinese ad of yuan
 as new world reserve currency
 
In Thailand, China has recently erected a
curious billboard. The words on the billboard
 announce a new "world currency" called the
 Renminbi. The US dollar is nearing the end
 of its global power and dominance.

Renminbi's trading hubs have appeared all
over the world, from Singapore to London
 to Luxembourg to Frankfurt and Toronto.

Transnational corporations like McDonald's
 issue bonds in renminbi. Sovereign states,
including the UK, issue debt in renminbi.

The renminbi is the official currency of the
 People's Republic of China. The name literally
 means "people's currency." The yuan is the
 basic unit of the renminbi, but is also used
to refer to the Chinese currency generally,
 especially in international contexts.

A historic look at dominant reserve currencies
 shows that reserve currencies run in cycles
 that last somewhere between 80 and 110
 years per cycle.

The US Dollar has held its status as a reserve
 currency since 1921, bringing it to a 94 year
long streak, indicating that the US Dollar has
almost run its course.

The US prints money in an attempt to postpone
 the crisis, creating currency wars with nearly
 all major central banks in the world. As history
 shows, money printing will only aggravate the
 problem, making the transition more painful
 and costly.

Many international experts in finance believe
that the US Dollar is on its last legs. Central
banks simply manipulate events to help the
dollar maintain its status for a little longer.
However, the time when the US Dollar
crashes is not too far away.

China and other countries, including Russia,
 have been calling for the US Dollar to be
 replaced by another world reserve currency.

More and more countries make decisions
to do without the dollar in their settlements.


________________________



Rothschild warns of 'chaos, extremism'
 and 'horrendous' problems in Europe

Jacob Rothschild, 78-year-old banker & chair of
RIT Capital Partners, warns of global instability
 and the fragility of any hope for future incomes,
Richard Dyson writes, in The Telegraph.

In his statement on the economic year 2014,
 Rothschild expresses his concern about the
complicated economic background investors
 will face in the future.

According to Jacob Rothschild, the current
 geopolitical situation is perhaps even more
 dangerous than it was during the Second
World War, Pravda.Ru reports.

He stresses that the current state of affairs
 exists, as a result of the rampant chaos and
 extremism in the Middle East, the crisis in
 Ukraine and a general weakening of Europe
 -- which faces horrendous unemployment --
 against the backdrop of the EU's inability
 to conduct necessary reforms.


_________________________________



The US is Completely Bankrupt.

Some time ago, a summary of a report by the
 authoritative Washington-based Cato Institute
 was published. According to this institute, US
 government debt in 2014, was not USD 18
 trillion, but was in fact, USD 91 trillion.

The huge difference arises from the fact that
 official estimates don't include any “unfunded
 liabilities of programs like Social Security
 and Medicare.”

“While those liabilities don’t show up on official
 balance sheets, they nonetheless, represent
the legal obligations of the US government.”

 “The expected shortfall from these programs
 brings the true debt to an unfathomable
USD 90.6 trillion,” notes the Cato Institute’s
 brief summary. The full version of the report
-- including all calculations -- was in March.

_______________________


US Investment Advisor, Ron Holland:


"Americans should take advantage of the
recent dollar strength to diversify into gold,
 investments, real estate and safe havens
outside the US dollar & the United States.

"Better to be early than too late, because
 eventually the consequences of aggressive
 military actions, central bank manipulation,
 uncontrolled government debt & unfunded
 liabilities, will come home to the American
 people.

"Neither the guilt of our political and banking
 leadership nor the innocence of our citizenry
 will protect you, your assets or your family."


________________________________



Russia ratifies $100bn
BRICS New Development Bank


Russia's State Duma ratifies the $100 billion
 BRICS bank, that will serve as a money pool
for infrastructure projects in Russia, Brazil,
India, China and South Africa, and challenge
the dominance of the West-led World Bank
 and the IMF.

The New Development Bank is expected to
start fully functioning by the end of 2015,
according to the Russian Finance Ministry.

Russia has agreed to provide $2 billion dollars
 from the federal budget for the bank, over the
 next seven years.

It will have three-tiers of corporate governance,
with a Board of Governors, Board of Directors
 and a President.

The bank’s board of directors will hold its first
 meeting in Ufa in Russia this summer. Russian
 Finance Minister Anton Siluanov is likely to
become the bank’s first Chair of the Board of
 Governors, says Deputy Finance Minister,
Sergei Storchak, on 'Russia 24' TV channel.

The decision to establish the BRICS bank, with
 $100 billion in capital, was made in July 2014.
Each of the five member countries is expected
to allocate an equal share of the $50 billion
startup capital --- expanding to $100 billion.

The bank will be headquartered in Shanghai,
 India will serve as the first five-year rotating
 president, and the first Chair of the Board
 of Directors will come from Brazil.


______________________



China outstrips US foreign investment in 2014

More foreign direct investment flowed into
 China than the US in 2014, bumping the US
off the top spot for investment in the world,
 a position it has held since 2003.

China's $127.6 billion in foreign investment
 in 2014, was far more than the $86 billion
flowing into the US, according to figures
published by the UN Conference on Trade
and Development (UNCTAD).

The difference between 2013 is staggering,
 when $123.9 billion poured into China and
 $230.8 billion into the US.

The US saw foreign direct investment (FDI)
falling to its lowest since 2009, when the
market was wiped out by a financial crisis.

 The US ‘lost’ so much investment because
 of Verizon’s $130 billion purchase of Voda-
fone in the UK, which counted against it in
 the UNCTAD tally.

China, the 2nd largest economy, has been
 steadily gaining ground in FDI, which has
accelerated since the yuan's exchange
rate became flexible, and other reforms
made it easier for Western businesses
to operate in main-land China.

“There were structural changes in inflows
 to China, from manufacturing, to services,
& from labour-intensive to tech-intensive,”
according to the Director of Investment
 and Enterprise at UNCTAD, James Zahn.

After China, Hong Kong too, passed the US
--- into second spot, followed by Singapore
 and Brazil. The US is the only developed,
 and not developing, nation in the top five.

The UN survey notes a major shift favoring
 investment in the developing economies ---
which saw investment rise 4% in 2014 ---
while developed economies fell by 14%.

The biggest losers are the EU --- and the
former Soviet bloc.

 (Russia lost 70% of its foreign investment,
 and Ukraine lost out on $200 million. Both
 as a result of the conflict in E. Ukraine.)

Another title China took from the US in
October 2014, was the world’s biggest
economy in terms of purchasing power.

“China's been steady with modest growth
over the past few years and it's expected
to continue,” Zhan tells the WSJ.


__________________________________



Greece’s anti-austerity Syriza party

 officially wins parliamentary elections

Radical left-wing opposition party Syriza
has officially won the Greek parliamentary
elections, securing 149 seats, out of 300.

Syriza managed to gain key support to
form a new government, after meeting
with Panos Kammenos, the head of the
anti-austerity party, Independent Greeks,
 which also opposes Greece's bailout deal.

Kammenos says his party backs Tsipras
to be the next prime minister.

"From this moment there is a government in
the country. The Independent Greeks give
 a vote of confidence to PM Alexis Tsipras.
There is an agreement in principle," Panos
 Kammenos says, after talks with Syriza's
 leader, as quoted by Reuters.

“It's an historic victory. It sends a message
against austerity and
in favor of dignity and
democracy,” Panos
Skourletis, spokes-
person, tells
Greek Mega TV.

Syriza is the first anti-austerity party
to come to
power in the EU.

The government has announced that it
is no longer bound to the Troika loans
and has announced privatisation plans
are now "on ice", plus a series of new
benefits for the elderly and a reversal
of many job cuts.


(For details, see 'One Union' page)


____________________



Iran stops using dollar
in international settlements

Iran is stopping the use of the US dollar in
settlements
with foreign countries, Iran's
Central Bank says, on
Saturday (24th of
January, 2015).


“In foreign trade from now on, we'll be
using other
currencies, including the
yan, euro, Turkish lira,
Russian rouble
and South Korean won,” the Central

 Bank’s deputy head, Gholam Ali
Kamyab, tells
Tasnim News Agency.

He says Iran is presently considering
bilateral
currency agreements with
several countries on
the use of other
currencies. The agreements
favour
trade and economic operations, he

 says, and are planned for in the
"near future".



__________________________________________



GERMANY FALLING

Fresh official figures show that for the first time
 in three months, German industrial production
 fell sharply in November last year.

Figures provided by the German Economics
 Ministry show a 0.1% drop in industrial out-
put, as energy production and construction
 activity also fell.

The fall comes after a 0.6% rise in October.

Data from the Federal Statistics Office shows
that seasonally adjusted exports declined for
 a 2nd consecutive month, by 2.1%,  in Nov.

The figures also show imports rose by 1.5%.

Economists predicted a 0.3% rise in production.

The Federal Statistics Office says German
 factory orders fell by 2.4% in November,
compared with October..

The drop is thought to have been caused by
 a 2.6% fall in orders from non-euro countries
 and a 4.7% decline in domestic demand.

Economists say the Ukrainian conflict and
Western sanctions imposed against Russia
 have contributed to the geopolitical crisis,
 limiting growth.


_______________________________



S&P cuts Ukraine’s rating to
 triple C-, spurring default fears

Standard and Poor (S&P) has lowered Ukraine’s
 credit rating from CCC to CCC-, nine rungs below
 investment grade.

S&P warns that Ukraine, which is in dire need of
 international financial assistance, may be on the
 brink of default, as Central Bank reserves shrink
and bailout funds are delayed.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says that
- despite productive talks with Kiev - the parties
failed to reach an agreement.

Though the country has received billions in aid
from the IMF, the US and the EU, a tumultuous
year has left Ukraine’s economy in ruins.

The IMF estimates that Ukraine would need
$15 billion in the short term to avoid a full-
blown financial crisis.


_______________________________



The US is behind the current drop in oil prices –
Bolivia’s president

The US is behind the current drop in oil prices,
 as it is aiming to undermine the economies of
petroleum producers Russia and Venezuela,
Bolivian President Evo Morales tells RT.

Morales says it is “a pity” that Washington
 stays on the “wrong course” by continuing
 to use sanctions against its political rivals.

“[The US thinks] we are living 200, 300 or
 500 years ago, instead of today. But all the
past should remain in the past. The US
 should realize this,” he states.

America is acting like other large empires
 did for centuries, as they “disseminated
 strife & hatred inside & outside, wishing
to establish political control over other
nations and plunder them economically,”
 Morales says, in an apparent reference
to the Spanish conquistadors’ invasions
of Latin America.

The Bolivian president also slams Europe
as “US accomplices”... for implementing
sanctions worldwide.

“We must think of a way to liberate Europe,
and just think --- they used to be invaders
of our countries,” he says.

Morales says President Obama “should stop
 imposing sanctions” and pay more attention
 to America’s internal problems, such as
 “abolishing capital punishment, or thinking
 of new laws to fight racial discrimination.”

He describes the US president as a
“discriminated against Afro-American”
who is himself  “discriminating against
 migrants.”

“Of course, when America can’t overthrow
 a president by a violent military coup, it
starts to view the option of economic
sanctions.

“I am sure that the oil prices plunge was
 provoked by the US, to undermine the
 Russian and Venezuelan economies.
This is my opinion,” Morales says.

He urges Moscow and Caracas to “join
their efforts” to counter Washington’s
 “aggressive policies.”

Morales says that current oil prices, which
have reached their lowest since 2009, are
 the result of “temporary difficulties.”

“I am sure the US aggression related to oil
price cuts will not last long. Is $60 per
barrel a feasible price? Washington is not
interested in this.

“All the US is interested in, is an economic
assault on some countries to overthrow
their presidents. But they will not succeed
 in this task,” he says.

The oil price has fallen from $100 per barrel
in June, to $60 a barrel in December, due to
a drop in global demand, and increased oil
 production in the US.

Many observers believe that low oil prices
 & Western sanctions imposed on Moscow
 over its reunion with Crimea and alleged
 involvement in the Ukrainian crisis, have
given a painful blow to Russia’s economy.

A decline in confidence in Russia’s economy
 prompted investors to sell off Russian assets,
 which in turn saw the ruble plunging over 40%
 against the dollar, since the start of the year.


_______________________________



UNASUR Rejects IMF Criticism
          of Regional Pro-Integration Processes               
 
The Secretary General of the Union of South
American Nations (Unasur), ex Colombian
president Ernesto Samper, says that the
 International Monetary Fund lacks the
moral authority to make recommendations
 about pro-integration processes in the region.

"The IMF has no moral authority to come and
give us
any recommendations, after we were
- for many years -
subjected to its terms that
hindered any possibiluty
of progress. It is
like Dracula running a blood bank,"
says
Samper, at a press conference in Quito.


In recent remarks in Santiago de Chile, the IMF's
 Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, said that
pro-integration mechanisms like Unasur, the
 Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America
(ALBA), the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) 
& the Central American Integration System (SICA)
 should be rejuvenated, and compared them to a
big plate of spaghetti.

Mrs. Lagarde should rather worry about what is
happening in Europe, says Samper, who, in turn,
compared the current economic crisis in Europe
 to a lasagne, with only two countries eating the
 cheese and meat and leaving pasta to the rest.

Samper recalls that all the difficulties Unasur
 countries, and Latin America in general, have
 suffered to curb poverty and have economic
growth, have been caused by the IMF's
"poisonous demands" which have hindered
 any chance of progress in the region.

It's like Methuselah giving lessons on youth,
 says the secretary general of the regional
 bloc which includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil,
 Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay,
 Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.


_____________________________________



         Greece: All Time High Long term Unemployment             
 Long term unemployment grew over the last year
 in Greece reaching an all-time high, the quarterly
 report on employment issued by the EC shows.

Data shows that during the second quarter of
2014, unemployed people seeking jobs for one
 year or more, reached 19.6% of the financially
 active population , that is, over two thirds of
the total number unemployed in the country.

The report confirmed that despite the relative
 stability of the unemployment rate, about 27%
 for over a year, the rate of unemployed people
 still shows a long term an upward trend, with
 an increase of 1.9% during the last year.

The CE also reports a decreasing Gross Domestic
 Product, now back at its 2000 rate, plus increased
 inequality among the population, due to the total
 elimination of social assistance and the collapse
 of household incomes.


_________________________________


IMF warns of downside risks
in uneven global recovery

The International Monetary Fund, on Tues (6th Oct),
 lowered its global economic growth forecast for the
 third time in 2014, warning that the global recovery
 remains uneven and that downside risks have risen,
 compared with the spring.


_______________________________


Russia's MDM Bank joins China’s Union Pay

MDM Bank, one of Russia’s top 30 banks,
has joined the Chinese payment system,
Union Pay, the bank says.

“After the project’s technical implementation,
 the owners of Union Pay cards will be able to
receive cash in MDM Bank’s ATMs and pay in
 those stores and malls serviced by the bank,”
the bank says.

Union Pay’s representative in Russia, Fan
Zhiguang, says the number of the system’s
 cards in Russia will be 2 million within 3 years.

The Chinese system and Japan’s JCB will work in
 co-branding with the operator of Russia's national
payment system, whose founding was ordered
 by President Vladimir Putin, after Visa/MasterCard
 stopped processing cards by some Russian banks,
 due to sanctions imposed on the country by the US.


__________________


Russia bans all US agricultural products,
EU fruit & vegetable imports - watchdog

Moscow bans all US agricultural products,
 including poultry, plus EU fruit & vegetable
imports, in response to Western sanctions
imposed on Russia over Ukraine's crisis,
says Russia’s agricultural watchdog.

All agricultural goods produced in the US and
 imported into Russia, will be halted for 1 year,
 assistant to the head of Rosselkhoznadzor,
 Aleksey Alekseyenko, reports.


EU fruit & vegetables fall under the ban,
 Alekseyenko says, adding that all dairy
products from the EU,
are on the list.

“The list includes milk powder, butter & cheese,”
 a source says, adding that this also includes all
mass production cheeses.

Russia's sanctions on US and EU food imports
 will be “quite substantial,” Alekseyenko says.

The restrictions are to affect those countries
 which initiated sanctions against Russia.

By the end of 2013, the major importers of dairy
 products to Russia were:-  Finland, with 17,8000
tons worth US$19.6 million dollars; Estonia, with
8,300 tons worth $19.4 million; Poland, with 3.8
tons worth $8 million; and Lithuania, with 3 tons
worth $7.3 million, according to Russia’s Federal
Customs Service.

Alekseyenko states that many countries that
 didn't sanction Moscow, are ready to increase
 their exports of similar products to Russia.

Russian officials have already held
 consultations with representatives from
Ecuador, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina, on
expanding food imports from them, says
 Rosselkhoznadzor.

Russia’s agricultural watchdog is permitting
 imports from over 90 Brazilian suppliers of
animal origin products.

The list comprises 31 suppliers of beef
by-products, 27 suppliers of poultry, 27
suppliers of beef, 4 suppliers of pork and
pork by-products, and 3 suppliers of milk
 and dairy products.

This is a retaliatory measure for the several
rounds of sanctions imposed by the US and
 EU on Moscow, over the crisis in Ukraine.

The month before, the EU chose the harshest
 restrictions ever, targeting the finance, energy
 and defense sectors of the Russian economy.

They hit 5 Russian banks, including the biggest,
 Sberbank. The EU also introduced an embargo
 on the import and export of arms and related
 material, to and from Russia.



___________________________



Sanctions against Russia already
 taking toll on Western businesses — FT

According to the Financial Times, shares in Adidas,
the world’s 2nd largest sportswear group, fell 15%
after the company issued a profit warning & said it
would accelerate a closure of its stores in Russia.

“These warnings come as the EU directs its toughest
 sanctions against Russia since the end of the cold
war, targeting Russia’s energy, financial & defense
 sectors,” the newspaper’s online article says.

According to the newspaper, shares in Adidas, the
 world’s second-largest sportswear group, dropped
 15% after the company issued a profit warning and
 said it would accelerate the closure of stores in
 Russia because of increasing risks to consumer
spending in the region.

Joe Kaeser, chief executive of Siemens, warns
 that geopolitical tensions, including those in
 Ukraine, pose “serious risks” for Europe's
growth, both this year, and the next.

Royal Dutch Shell’s chief executive, Ben van
Beurden, says that, along with other western
 oil majors, he is assessing the impact of the
tighter sanctions on Russia’s energy sector
imposed by the US and EU.

 “It’s a bit early to say how it will play out, what
the consequences might be or how we'll react,”
he says. Last month the oil company suspended
 operations in the Yuzivska field in east Ukraine,
 amid mounting clashes between separatist and
 government forces, the newspaper says.

Erste Group, the third-largest lender in emerging
 Europe, warns the turmoil could impact banks in
 Eastern Europe:

 “I can’t exclude any nasty surprises in the region
 due to political decisions or developments,” says
 Erste chief executive, Andreas Treichl. “If the
crisis accelerates, of course, we will have to
 revise our forecast for all of Europe in 2015
 and in 2016,” he adds.


_____________________



"Inclusive growth and sustainable solutions."

The day after the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil,
 the 6th BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China
and South Africa) Summit started there.

Fortaleza and Brasilia were the host cities from
 June 14 -16, to finally establish a new financial
 framework under the title, "Inclusive growth
 and sustainable solutions."

The countries of the BRICS group are
now setting the foundations for a new
 global financial framework.

A monetary stabilization fund - the Contingency
 Reserve Agreement (CRA) & a development bank,
 known as BRICS Bank, are going to operate as a
multilateral support mechanism for balance of
payments, and a fund to finance investments.

 BRICS is to distance itself from the IMF and the
World Bank, institutions created 70 years ago,
by the US Treasury Department.

 This financial cooperation in the face of
the dollar's volatility, offers alternatives
 without 'structural adjustment programs'
 or "economic restructuring".

As a consequence of the growing global
economic slow down, it has become more
difficult for the BRICS countries to attain
 growth rates above 5%.

 The continued fall in prices of primary materials
 for industrial use, due to a reduced demand from
 Asia and the return of short-term capital flows to
 Wall Street, has negatively impacted most foreign
 trade and exchange rates.

With the exception of the slight improvement of
the yuan, the currencies of the BRICS countries
 have fallen from 8.80 percentage points (Indian
 ruppee) to 16 (South African rand), compared to
 the dollar, between May 2013 and June 2014.

The CRA will reduce volatility in trade and
 investment, between BRICS members.

The CRA won't need the support of the IMF
 to make its own loans, affording it greater
 political autonomy from Washington.

 The currency war of the central economies
 against the economies of the capitalist
 periphery, demands the implementation
of the CRA --- as soon as possible.

 The Contingency Reserve Agreement and
the BRICS Bank will be valuable financial
instruments beyond the reach of the US,
the International Monetary Fund and the
World Bank.

The BRICS Bank begins with 50 billion dollars
 of capital, rising to 100 billion in 2 years and
 200 billion in five years.

 It will be able to finance up to 350 billion dollars
for infrastructure, education, health, science,
technology and environmental projects.

In South America, the BRICS Bank could reduce
 financing costs and strengthen the Development
 Bank of Latin America's role in smoothing trade
 cycle instability, by increasing credits in times
 of crisis, and thus rule out loans from both the
 Inter-American Development Bank (IADB),
and the World Bank.

On the other hand, as a credit provider, the
BRICS Bank will compete with other financial
entities which hold considerable influence in
 the region, such as the Brazilian National
Bank of Economic and Social Development
 (BNDES), CAF, China Development Bank and
 Exim Bank of China – the Chinese banks
with the greatest number of credits.

  If BRICS Bank loans are issued in yuans,
 the currency's internationalization will
gradually strengthen its position as a
 means of payment & reserve currency,
 to the detriment of other currencies.

Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, the five
 most dynamic emerging economies on the planet,
 make up the BRICS group, a powerful association
 which represents 43% of the world's population,
 30% of the earth’s surface, 18% of the world's
GDP and 35% of the world's currency reserves.

BRICS members’ industries produced over 50%
of global economic growth over the last decade.

 Goldman Sachs states that by 2035 the BRICS
 could become an economic bloc greater than
 G-7, composed of the major industrial powers.

Goldman Sachs also argues that Brazil, Russia,
India and China’s economic potential is such,
 that they could become the world’s dominant
4 economies --- by 2050.

 They constitute an enormous territory (39.7
million square kilometers), which gives them
 strategic continental dimensions and a huge
 quantity of natural resources.


___________________________________



US appetite for European market
 responsible for Ukrainian crisis - experts

The Ukrainian crisis broke out because of US
wishes to devour European markets by ousting
 its competitors --- Russia and China --- says the
President of Neokon consultants, Mikhail Khazin.

The European Union market is optimal for the US,
 and the US won't yield it to Russia or China, or the
EU's powerhouse, Germany, the economist told
the Free Thought intellectual club.

“It's no accident that the US proposal to the
EU makes Europe a free trade zone. Then,
the EU countries will be deindustrialized, as
production costs are higher in Europe, than
in the US,” Khazin said.

 “Over time, the European market, according
to Washington’s designs, should become a
market for US goods.”

The US “has revised its energy strategy and is
 going to export shale gas to Europe,” the expert
 added. “Since it is more expensive than Russian
 natural gas, the US seeks to limit or completely
 stop, Russian gas supplies to Europe,” he said.

 This, Khazin believes, is the reason for Kiev’s
 stubbornness in the gas conflict with Russia,
-- forcing Gazprom to cut supplies to Ukraine
 on June 16th, until Ukraine pays for already
supplied gas.

US shale gas plans also explain the interference
of certain US politicians, including Ambassador
 to Bulgaria Marcie Ries & Senator John McCain,
into talks on the South Stream pipeline's future,
 between Russia and the EU, he added.

“Washington’s global economic aim is to destroy
 and devour the European Union consumer market
 to harm Russia and China, as the latter is set to
 become world leader this year, and challenge
the US,” Khazin said.

The economist recalls ex Ukrainian President
 Viktor Yanukovych’s visit to Beijing, straight
 after his trip to Vilnius for the EU Association
 Agreement signing last November...

 Yanukovych had agreed with China on a deep-
water port construction in Crimea in advance.
The project would attract about $12 billion of
investment & about 2 million Chinese workers.

 This was Beijing’s plan on how to lay a new Silk
Road to Europe, and it has faced persistent US
 resistance, Khazin says.

“Washington does not want to see China taking
the EU sales market, or Russia’s strengthening
 position as energy supplier to Europe, via the
South Stream pipeline.

 Hence the US politicians’ eagerness in Kiev &
 their numerous visits to the Maidan at the time
 of protests by EU integration supporters.

 It's the US that deprived Yanukovych of the
 presidential post, to sweep into power pro-
American politicians,” the expert believes.

The US is keen to take a tight grip on Ukraine's
 energy sector, and the new government in Kiev
 is eager to help it. Ukrainian Prime Minister
Arseniy Yatsenyuk has already announced
 that the country’s gas transportation system
is being handed over to its US & EU partners.

 Moreover, US Vice-President Joe Biden’s son
is now a board director of Ukraine's private
oil and gas company, Burisma.

Professor Daisuke Kotegawa, former executive
Japan director at the IMF, shares Khazin’s view:

 “As a specialist in the settlement of major
 financial crises, I can say that the political
crisis in Ukraine is hugely influenced by
global financial instability & uncertainty
 about the US establishment patronizing
 Ukraine over its position in the world.”

Mikhail Delyagin, director of the Institute
 for Globalization Problems, says “the US
purposefully destabilized the situation in
 the Middle East during the Arab Spring”.

“This time, the US has provoked a political
 crisis in Ukraine. Russia could be its next
target. The chief US strategic goal in the
context of these destructive actions, is
to instill fear and drive global financial
speculators’ money into US securities,
to keep the US's national economy
 afloat,” the expert says.


_________________________________



Russia-Ukraine ties chillier over gas cutoff

Kiev wanted to pay 268.5 dollars per 1,000 cubic
 meters of gas -- the price it had when Yanukovych
 was in power. Then it wanted to pay at 326 dollars
for an "interim period", until a lasting deal was
finally reached.

Moscow offered a discounted price of 385 dollars.

EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger says
 Moscow declined Kiev's final offer, under which
 Kiev would pay 1 billion dollars immediately and
 then make monthly repayments to Gazprom.

 That proposal was for 385 dollars per 1,000
 cubic metres in winter, 300 dollars in summer.

Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller says now
that it will no longer be enough for Kiev to pay a
part of its debt, for supplies to resume. Ukraine
 must now pay off its entire 4.45 billion dollars in
 debt, & pay in advance for 1 month's deliveries,
 he says.

This appears almost impossible for Ukraine,
 with its economy hard hit by chronic unrest.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk
accuses Russia of deliberately blocking a
deal to cause Kiev supply problems in the
winter, when temperatures plunge, and
heating needs, increase.

 "It is yet another step against the Ukrainian
state and against Ukrainian independence,"
he says.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev claims
that part of the Ukrainian leadership is "losing
 adequacy," citing Yatsenyuk's refusal of Russia's
 earlier preferential gas price offer and "paranoid
 behaviour" by the acting foreign minister, Andrei
Deshchytsa, who made insulting remarks about
 Russian President Vladimir Putin, that weekend.

He has now been replaced, as are several
others, such as the Chief prosecutor.

Medvedev says Russia is still open to dialogue.

"If our colleagues in Ukraine start to hear (our)
 reasoning better (and) return to discuss the
 highly concessional, very preferential offers
 made by Russia, I think we will be ready to
 continue talks," he says. "But, of course,
 under the condition that the debt is settled
 in full."

Gazprom has filed a lawsuit at the Stockholm
 arbitration court, demanding Ukraine pay off
its gas debt. Naftogaz, in turn, says it has
also made its case at the same court, to
contest Gazprom's pricing.

The Ukrainian company says it is also seeking
 to recover about 6 billion dollars "overpaid" to
 Gazprom since 2010, by an "unfair" contract.

Gazprom promises it will continue to supply gas to
 consumers in other parts of Europe at full volume,
 but warns the European Commission of potential
 interruptions in gas transit through Ukraine, and
 urges Ukraine to abide by all its obligations, to
ensure a smooth transit of gas to the EU.

Instead of compromising and settling
its debt, Kiev seems to be prepared
 to raise the stakes.

Kiev’s desire to dictate the terms to Russia
 may have an irrational basis underneath, says
international law expert Alexander Mercouris.

“It is difficult for the Ukrainians at this time
to negotiate with Russians about anything.
There are many people in Kiev who don’t
 like that,” he says.

“One of the fundamental problems with
the way in which Ukraine's authorities
 have been dealing with their multiple
 crises since taking power in February,
 is that they don’t seem to show very
much grasp of reality,” he adds.

There are also concerns that Kiev will
just begin siphoning off gas in transit
 from Russia to European consumers,
as happened during previous rounds
of gas stand-offs.

“The Ukrainian government has been
intransigent and is putting the people
of Europe at risk. That’s why the EU
is actually cautiously supporting
Russia’s position at this time,”
political analyst Bill Dores said.

Ukraine has for years enjoyed a
politically motivated preferred
treatment by Russia in gas
price discounts, he added.

 Now there's a government in Kiev
hostile to Russia, Moscow has no
reason to support it with subsidies.

An escalating conflict will hurt all three
 parties involved. But the coup leaders
 are tempted to raise the stakes, says
Mercouris.

“There is an expectation that once things
 are deteriorating in Ukraine, it could be
 blamed on the Russians,” he explains.

With Ukraine's economy already in peril,
& with painful austerity measures being
demanded by international creditors in
exchange for loans, plus political turmoil
in the eastern provinces, Kiev has loads
 of blame to apportion in the near future.


_________________________


Emirates Airline Cancels
 70 Airbus Planes Order

The United Arab Emirates on Wed 11th June
cancelled their order for 70 long-haul A350
planes from European manufacturer Airbus.
  
The decision was taken following "on-going
 discussions with the airline in light of their
fleet requirement review", Airbus says.
  
Airbus adds that it is still very confident in
the A350 program and says there are almost
750 planes on their order books already.

"The program of test flights for the A350 is
 progressing well, scheduled for certification
 (by the Aviation Authorities) in the coming
months," says Airbus.

According to AFP, the cancellation of such
a big order seems to be a serious setback
for the manufacturer, based in Toulouse.
John Leahy, boss of Airbus, is to make a
statement later.
  
The Emirates is one of Airbus's biggest clients
 and placed their order for 70 A350s in 2007.
The first deliveries were scheduled for 2019.

In London, aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce says
 the cancellation reduces the value of its order
book by 2.6 billion pounds (3.2 billion euros,
$4.3 billion).


_________________________________



Letting in Vultures is not Negotiable,

             says Argentina's Cristina Fernandez               
 
 "Some things are not negotiable, like delivering our
 homeland to vultures for them to tear it to pieces",
 said Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, to an
 emotional crowd of young activists that gathered
 at the Casa Rosada to meet her.

Fernandez addressed activists of various
 organizations, and in her address to youth,
 she referred to the decision of over hundred
UK parliamentarians that signed a motion of
support for Argentina against Vulture Funds.

"This call attempts to stop vulture funds from
 making profits out of Argentina and forcing
the country into non-compliance with its
 payments," said Fernandez.

"What is wrong with some people that they
 cannot distinguish between the Government
 and the interests of the homeland? There is
 only one way of understanding the homeland:
to love it and defend it with our own lives, if
necessary," said Fernandez.

The president referred to a lawsuit that Argentina
 has brought to the US Supreme Court to appeal
 the ruling by a New York judge that favors groups
of financiers damaging the exchange agreements
 signed by Argentina with 93% of its creditors.

According to Judge Thomas Griesa's ruling, until
 Argentina pays the Vulture Funds, it should not
 pay the creditors that joined the 2005 and 2010
 agreements --- something that would force the
 country into non-compliance with debt payments.

The IMF agrees that implementation of Judge
Griesa's ruling could damage business
and
the restructuring of debt payments in many

 countries around the world.

According to Telam news agency, the
106 legislators' motion for support calls
 on the UK government to promote a law
which will "stop the vulture funds from
 ignoring the restructuring of Argentine
and Greek debt."

Jubileo network states: "two of the creditors,
 NML Capital and Aurelius Capital Management,
 are suing Argentina in New York, demanding
 huge profits for debts it purchased at pennies
 on the dollar during the 2001 crisis.


______________________________________



EUROPE ENTERS NEGATIVE TERRITORY

As the G7 threaten Russia with sanctions
--- risking a patient Russia's gas cut off ---
the ECB drops interest rates to an historic
 record low, entering negative territory.

 The European Central Bank(ECB) lowers its
benchmark interest rate, to 0.10%, as the
continent battles deflation, after multiple
failed monetary policy attempts.

The European Central Bank also cuts its main
 refinancing rate to 0.15% from 0.25%, and the
 deposit rate from zero to -10%, the first time
the ECB has ever seen a negative rate.

The new interest rate applies to all EU
member states.


__________________________________



NATO's RASSMUSSEN & RICH ELITE

140 participants representing 22 countries
 attended a 62nd annual Bilderberg meeting,
in Copenhagen, Denmark.


As is usually the case with the summit,
this year’s Bilderberg – which took place
 from May 29th to June 1st – attracted
notables such as NATO Secretary General
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former director
 of the US National Security Agency, Keith
 Alexander, and the former US national
security advisor to the White House,
 Thomas E. Donilon.

 In addition to the guest attendees, the Bilderberg
 Steering Committee is a list of powerful financiers,
 including Peter D. Sutherland, Chair of Goldman
 Sachs International, as well as Peter Thiel, the
 president of Thiel Capital.

Bilderberg runs under “Chatham House Rules,”
 which stipulate that the identity or affiliation
 of a speaker may not be revealed by the other
 participants, including by any media there.

 Though it may be intended to promote a
free exchange of ideas among the rich,
such rules feed what detractors say is an
 unnecessary cloud of secrecy, as well as
 a range of conspiracy theories, that say
 the summit is a shadowy gathering of
 architects of a “New World Order.”

______________________________________


HOLD PUT ON UKRAINE/EU DEAL

Ukraine’s President-elect Petro Poroshenko
has asked the President of the European
 Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, and the
President of the European Council, Herman
 Van Rompuy, to postpone the signing of
 the economic section of the agreement on
 Ukraine’s association with the EU, for an
 indefinite period, because of the unstable
 situation in the country, sources in the
Kiev government say.

The sources say Poroshenko is afraid
that after Ukraine signs the association
 agreement with the European Union,
 Russia might impose restrictions on
imports of Ukrainian goods, which will
 have a negative impact on the socio-
economic situation in Ukraine.

 Initially, it was planned to sign the second part
 on June 27th, “but Petro Poroshenko said he
wanted this document to be signed earlier
than that,” Deshchytsia says: consultations
will focus on “how early this document could
be signed.”

Earlier, Poroshenko said he would sign the
 association agreement, as soon as he was
 sworn into office.

On March 21st, Ukraine and the EU signed
 the political section of the agreement. The
 document was signed by Ukraine’s interim
Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatshenyuk, the
President of the European Commission,
 Jose Manuel Barroso, and the President
 of the European Council, Herman Van
Rompuy, & leaders of the 28 EU nations.


_______________________________________


Talks to resume on China's $10 billion
 investment plans for Crimea

Chinese investors will resume suspended talks in
 August on building a $3 billion, 25-meter deep-water
port near Yevpatoria in Crimea, the republic’s first
Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliyev says.

First moves in a project announced in December
 and sealed with a letter of intent, await Crimea's
 transfer to ruble transactions and securing stable
 water supplies recently seized by Ukraine,
Temirgaliyev says.

This will be the first move forward in Chinese
 plans to invest $10 billion in the peninsula's
 developments, which were announced before
 the fall of President Viktor Yanukovych.

These were, to develop Yevpatoria, upgrade
 the port in the city of Sevastopol and create
 an economic zone in Crimea for electronics
 and IT companies.

A $7 billion worth second stage is expected
 to build oil complexes, grain elevators and
 liquefaction plants, and to lease Crimean
agricultural land.

As Crimea’s status changed to become
 a region of the Russian Federation, China's
 interest broadened into prospective joint
projects with Russia, including a bridge or
 a tunnel across the Kerch Strait. This links
 Crimea's Kerch peninsula and the Taman
 peninsula of Russia's Krasnodar region.

Construction could require upwards of 100
 billion rubles ($2.9 billion) if rail tracks were
 laid along the bridge, according to Russian
 Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov.

Chinese companies are also keen to take part
 in thermal and alternative energy projects in
Crimea, though further investment schemes
have not yet been specified.


______________________________________


RUSSIA TO DUMP DOLLAR FOR RUBLE

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says
 Western sanctions on Moscow will galvanize
 it into using the ruble more, as the currency
for global trade.

"Trading for rubles - this is a definite priority,"
 Medvedev says.

"This, in fact, should ultimately move the ruble
from the cohort of freely convertible currencies
 into the ranks of reserve currencies," he adds.

The Russian government is reportedly considering
 plans to oblige state-owned companies to receive
 payment for key exports in rubles, rather than in
 dollars, as at present.

"Of course, the more we sell, for example, our
 products, including oil, gas, machine-building,
 defense products for rubles, the more we will
 encourage such a quality for our currency,"
 Medvedev says.

He plays down Western sanctions, saying,
 "At present the effect of sanctions on the
Russian economy is absolutely minimal,
if you can talk about any effect at all."

Russia warns of retaliatory measures
 if the West continues with sanctions
 over the crisis in Ukraine.

___________________________________


EU to discuss import bans on Russian

caviar, vodka and diamonds – report

Further EU sanctions against Russia may see a
ban on caviar, vodka, furs & diamond imports,
 Reuters reports, citing a two-page document
 setting out possible scenarios.

 The paper outlines low-intensity, medium-
intensity & high-intensity sanctions. The
 latter would include bans on oil and gas.

Russia prepares classified document with
 retaliatory measures on Western sanctions

Russia has prepared a classified document
with measures to retaliate if more Western
sanctions are used against Moscow over
 Ukraine, a senior economic aide says.

There are tactics developed in response to
 the sanctions, Andrey Belousov tells Rossiya
 24 TV, at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum.

 Certain acts will provoke different reaction levels
– it depends on whether the sanctions are imposed
 against individuals or sectors, or they're systemic,
 he says.

 If any new sanctions are imposed against Russia,
 “we know exactly how to react,” the official says.

______________________________________________


WEST "ONE-UPMANSHIP" FALLS INTO NET


 China and Russia inks the long-awaited gas deal
 in Shanghai, ending decade-long natural gas
supply talks between the two.


_____________________________


Australia’s Woodside pulls out
 of massive Israel gas venture

Australian energy giant Woodside Petroleum
 has pulled out of the massive Leviathan gas
 joint venture off the coast of Israel — one of
 the largest deposits found in the world.

The company says it has terminated an early-
stage agreement with Leviathan partners,
led by US oil producer Noble Energy, to take
a 25% stake, worth an estimated US$2.5
billion, in the discovery.

Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman says
 that negotiations between the parties, which
started in 2012, failed to reach an acceptable
 outcome on development and supply.

“While Woodside’s commitment to growth
 is strong, even stronger is our commitment
 to making disciplined investment decisions.

“I would like to acknowledge and thank the
 Leviathan Joint Venture participants and
 the Israeli government for working with us.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
said the exports would bring in some US$60
 billion to state coffers over the next 20 years.

Woodside signed a non-binding memorandum
 of understanding in February, outlining its
intention to take up a stake in the project,
running all the downstream gas production
 operations, with Noble in charge of up-
stream processing.

The Leviathan field’s size is estimated at
18.9 trillion cubic feet (535 billion cms) of
natural gas, plus 34.1 million barrels of
condensate, and has been hailed as the
 largest gas deposit found in the world
 in a decade.

_________________________


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It will blow your mind!  Paste this in your browser now:

http://rt.com/op-edge/158988-bankers-killing-suicide-fraud/

_______________________________


US TREASURY BONDS SCAM
HIDES PRECIPICE


From November 2013 to January 2014, Belgium,
 with a GDP of $480 billion, bought $141.2 billion
of US Treasury bonds.

Somehow, Belgium came up with enough money
to allocate during a 3-month period, 29% of its
 annual GDP, to purchase US Treasury bonds.

Certainly Belgium did not have a budget surplus
 of $141.2 billion.  Was Belgium running a trade
 surplus during a 3-month period equal to 29 %
 of Belgium's GDP?

No, Belgium’s trade and current accounts are
 in deficit.

Did Belgium’s central bank print $141.2 billion
worth of euros in order to make the purchase?

No, Belgium is a member of the euro system.
Its central bank can't increase money supply.

So where did the $141.2 billion come from?

There is only one source.  The money came
from the US Federal Reserve, and the purchase
was laundered through Belgium in order to
hide the fact that actual Federal Reserve bond
purchases during November 2013 through to
January 2014, were $112 billion per month.


____________________________________


GERMANY CAN SEE U.S. POWER PLAY

 
Economic sanctions against Russia, demanded
 by Washington, will hurt the economy of German
 eastern states first, says Herman Winkler, a
German European Parliament deputy from the
centre-right Christian Democratic Union.

“Sanctions will only damage ourselves and
 affect, first of all, the economy of eastern
Germany,” Winkler says on Monday.

US' calls for more rigorous sanctions against
 Moscow suggest that Washington is pursuing
 its own economic objectives, he states.

“After the fracking boom, the United States
is on its way to becoming the largest gas
exporter in the world,” Winkler says, “and
Russia is now an unwelcome competitor.”

“We should stop being the Americans' servants,”
 he says, adding that the Ukrainian crisis could
  be settled, only by co-operating with Moscow.

A policy of confrontation is “blind to history
and deaf to the other side,” Winkler says.

__________________________


G20 determined to spur growth,
pushed US to ratify IMF reforms

Policymakers from G20 nations urged the US
Congress to pass the long-
delayed quota and
governance reforms
to the IMF,  "by the end
of 2014".


Instead, a Congress paralized by fear of
losing control, dithered, which has led,
in 2015, to Russia, China and the BRICS
setting up their own investment banks --

Representing over 80% of the global GDP,
the G20 nations are Argentina, Australia,
Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France,
 Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan,
 Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South
Africa, Republic of Korea, Turkey, the
 US and the EU.

They say they are "deeply disappointed"
 with the long delay in IMF quota and
 governance reforms.

"The implementation of the 2010 reforms
 remains our highest priority, and we urge
 the US to ratify these reforms at the
 earliest opportunity," the G20 says.

"If the 2010 reforms are not ratified by year-end,
 we will call on the IMF to build on its existing
 work and develop options for next steps and
 we will work with the International Monetary
 and Financial Committee  to schedule a
 discussion of the options."

 The IMFC is the IMF's top decision-making body.

The reforms have been blocked by the US,
which has veto power over IMF decisions,
 due to party political squabbling.

IMF's Managing Director Christine Lagarde
 says the IMF is not giving up on pushing the
 quota reform, as it matters for the credibility
 of the institution.

"I very strongly hope that the resolve of
 the institution, the pressure brought to
bear by the members of this institution on
 all those who have not yet ratified will
 deliver fruit in the not too distant future,"
 she says.

The reform package includes a doubling
 of IMF quotas and a shift in quotas to
 dynamic emerging markets and under-
represented countries, and a proposed
amendment to reform the executive board
 to be more representative and all-elected.

If the reform package is implemented,
four large emerging economies, China,
 India, Russia and Brazil, will all become
 top 10 shareholders of the Washington-
based global lender.

________________________________


BRICS countries - allies in opposing unipolar world

Cooperation within the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia,
 India, China and South Africa) is now the overriding
 central geopolitical format for Russia, the Chair of
 the Russian National Committee for BRICS Studies,
 State Duma deputy Vyacheslav Nikonov, says.

He has recently come back from Rio de Janeiro
 where he led the Russian delegation at the sixth
 BRICS academic forum.

The politician believes that “amid the present
 principal disagreements with the US and EU
 over Ukraine and because of G8 reformatting,
Russia will develop increasingly close ties with
 BRICS members and the Shanghai Cooperation
 Organization (SCO), as well as the Eurasian
 Economic Community, with the participation
 of several former Soviet republics and other
 interregional organizations”.

The main BRICS summit scheduled for July in
Rio de Janeiro will study 20 cooperation formats
 now being considered in ministries, institutions
 and think tanks throughout the member countries.

“The recent refusal by major settlement systems
 Visa and Mastercard to service cards for several
 Russian banks, puts Russia and the other BRICS
 countries face to face with the need to put into
 practice the idea of a joint Bank of Development
 and a Stabilization fund for mutual settlements
 in national currencies and to establish national
 settlement systems,” the expert adds.

Nikonov says “the Brazilians are now most
 concerned about economic growth issues,
social policy, environmental issues, and aid
 to developing countries”.

 The summit’s focus will be on information security
 amid the revelations by former CIA contractor
 Edward Snowden “that brought to light a bugging
 of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s phones”.

“BRICS is not a binding structure, it doesn't
 encroach upon anyone’s sovereignty. It's
nothing like the EU, whose headquarters in
 Brussels take away the most part of member
 countries’ sovereignty.

 "BRICS is not planning any supranational bodies
 to which imperative rights would be delegated.
 BRICS is the 21st century cooperation format
 and by no means a hierarchical organization,”
 the analyst believes.

“There is no place for a single centre of influence
 in the modern world. The idea of a multipolar
world was actively promoted in geopolitical
polemics in the 90s, when the world had just
 dropped the bipolar system & some hotheads
 declared it was time to have the only centre
 to decide in international affairs as the USA,”
 Nikonov says.

“BRICS countries have a number of trump cards
 up their sleeve,” the expert adds. “Brazil is the
 largest Latin American state with a highly
 developed industry and agriculture.

 "Russia is the world’s major supplier of
 hydrocarbons. China demonstrates brisk
 economic growth. India, huge intellectual
 resources. Furthermore, over 2.5 billion
 people live in China and India - almost a
 quarter of the global population."

 "South Africa is the most mature country on
the African continent, with enormous natural
 resources and a developed agricultural sector,
 whose produce suffices not only for the nation
 itself, but also makes the country one of the
 leading agricultural suppliers,” Nikonov says,
 about BRICS’ economic potential.

“Therefore, it is BRICS that is capable of offering
 the world a historical alternative and undertaking
 the building of a foundation for a new world order,”
 believes the politician.

 “BRICS’ key task now, is to assist a transition
 from US hegemony to a polycentric world order,
 where interference in countries’ internal affairs
 for the overthrow of unwanted regimes, is
 unacceptable."

__________________________


EU/US SANCTIONS SPUR
RUSSIA/CHINA GROWTH


Russia’s biggest billionaire has bought shares
in big Chinese internet retailer Alibaba, after
selling his stakes in US tech giants Apple and
 Facebook. The deal comes as the US and EU
 impose sanctions on Russia, that could turn
 from politics to business.

Usmanov, 60, a founder of Russia’s iron ore
Metalloinvest holding company, has a fortune
of $18.6 billion as of March 2014 and is betting
more on China, while selling US assets.

“Chinese companies account for 70 - 80%
 of our foreign internet investments portfolio,”
 Ivan Streshinskiy, head of Usmanov’s asset-
management company USM Advisors LLC,
 tells Bloomberg in an interview in Moscow.

In recent months Usmanov has sold the stake
 in Apple he bought for about $100 million last year,
Streshinskiy says. Before the Apple sale, Usmanov
 started a slow sale of the 10% stake in Facebook
 he bought in 2009, when the company was valued
 between $6 billion and $10 billion.

 Usmanov sold some shares in the Facebook
 IPO, that valued the company at $104 billion.

Alibaba, the world’s 2nd biggest internet company
 - after Google Inc. - is valued at about $200 billion.
The Chinese on-line retailer posted surging sales
 in the three months through to September, and
marked a fourth straight quarterly profit.

As Russia’s relations with the west sour over
 the Crimea referendum & the crisis in Ukraine,
Usmanov says his Metalloinvest holding will
 increase its presence in the Chinese market,
 if Europe imposes sanctions on its exports.

“We are concerned with the possible sanctions
 against Russia, but we do not see any dramatic
repercussions on our business,” the tycoon says.

 “China is unlikely to impose any sanctions. So we
will be trading in rubles, yuan, and Hong Kong or
Singapore dollars.”

China is one of Russia’s biggest trading partners,
 with bilateral trade estimated at a record $87.5
 billion in 2012.

Direct investment by Chinese companies into
 Russia is also increasing.  Between 2004 and
 2012, it grew by 40 times, to reach S4.9 billion
  says Tang Hua, an official with China's National
Development and Reform Commission.

__________________________________


QUANTATIVE EASING (PRINTING MONEY)
OBSCURES USA's COLLAPSE

In a leaked memo to clients, financial expert
David John Marotta calculates the actual
number of Americans out of work to be an
astronomic 37.2%, as opposed to the 6.7%
 claimed by the Federal Reserve.

“The unemployment rate only describes people
 who are currently working or looking for work,”
 he says.

“Unemployment in its truest definition, meaning
 the portion of people who do not have any job,
 is 37.2 percent.

This number obviously includes some people who
 are not or never plan to seek employment. But it
 does describe how many people are not able to,
do not want to or cannot find a way to work,”
 he and colleague Megan Russell reveal in their
client report, leaked to the Washington Examiner.

Contrary to expectations, a drop in the
unemployment rate, Marotta argues, is
 presently a sign that the unemployed are
simply dropping out of the job market.

“Officially-reported unemployment numbers
 decrease as time passes, as the unemployed
become discouraged enough to stop looking
for work,” say Marotta and Russel.
 “A decrease is not necessarily beneficial;
 an increase is clearly detrimental.”

They also criticise the so-called Misery Index,
 based on official unemployment and inflation.

 The Wall Street advisers say the Index is 14
 plus and not the 8 advertised by Washington,
 as it completely ignores that the US economy
 is being hugely subsidized by Q.I. schemes,
including monthly bond purchases by the
Federal Reserve.

“Today, the Misery Index would be 7.54, using
official numbers,” the analysts write. But, if the
true unemployment picture, including workers
 who've given up the job search, is placed with
 the historical method of calculating inflation,
  ‘the current misery index is closer to 14.7.”

___________________________________


Youth Unemployment Marks Opening
 of World Economic Forum

Persistent labour difficulties in the world,
especially high youth unemployment levels,
 started the discussions on the first day of
the World Economic Forum, held in Davos.

According to experts and executives attending
the meeting, high youth unemployment is the
 main obstacle to economic recovery in Europe.

That situation is one of the main problems in
 the continent where an entire generation with
 neither present nor future, will be wasted.

In addition to that is what experts describe
 as a rampant aging population, high energy
 costs and high debt levels.

Axel Weber, president of Germany's Central Bank
(Bundesbank), says that optimism about Europe's
recovery is not entirely justified, as a 1% average
 growth rate isn't enough to create jobs and
attract investment.

Financial markets have improved, but not
the real economy, he says.

Data from the International Labour Organization
shows that the youth sector is still one of the
 most affected, with over 74 million men and
women under 24 unemployed.

The 44th World Economic Forum, gathers
economic, political and global top figures
and is attended by 2,500 top people,
including heads of state and Government.

Specialists draw attention to many criticisms of
the meeting including "the lack of humility and
 unselfishness of the richest" who talk annually
 but do not generate concrete actions in a world
 of growing inequalities.

______________________


WISDOM OF THE EAST

Nearly 1,500 political leaders, entrepreneurs and
academics.... analyzed new growth paths in Asia
 during the annual conference of the Boao Forum,
 its Secretary General Zhou Wenzhong announces.

The annual conferences of the forum, which began
 in 2002, are a perfect moment for Asians and other
 emerging economies to hold talks, assess the state
of the global economy and promote development
 and cooperation between the two parties.

The forum, held in the province-island of Hainan,
had the motto: "Asia's New Future: Identifying
New Growth Drivers".

On the sustainable development category,
Zhou underlines issues like climate change,
 society, human development, cyber security,
 the power of eastern wisdom, and business
ethics in
the pharmaceutical industry.

Nearly 500 journalists attend the forum,
 as well as 1,500 guests.

_____________________________


NETHERLANDS DEGRADED

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) ratings agency
 has downgraded the Netherlands’ credit
 rating from AAA to AA+, citing growing
 concerns over its "performance".

The Netherlands has been following
"austerity" cuts for several years, and
now has inflated house prices, mass
unemployment, rising inequality and
 an ever-increasing national debt.

The Netherlands is the latest eurozone
 country to be downgraded, leaving only
 Germany, Luxembourg and Finland with
 AAA+ from all 3 main credit agencies;
 that is, S&P, Fitch and, Moody’s.

_________________________________


CHINA TO AVOID FED's "TAPERING"

China’s central bank says that it no longer sees
any benefit at all in increasing its $3.66 trillion
foreign currency reserves, the world's largest.
 
China will cap its purchases of US dollars, in
 an effort to limit the depreciation of the yuan.

“It’s no longer in China’s favour to accumulate
 foreign-exchang