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Posted by Turborama in General Discussion
Sat Dec 10th 2011, 11:08 AM
Source: CNN

updated 10:08 AM EST, Sat December 10, 2011

-- Senior Palestinian leaders on Saturday strongly criticized comments by Republican presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich that the Palestinians are an "invented" people, calling them ignorant and racist.

Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said the Gingrich remark was "the most racist statement I've ever seen."

Erakat, who has negotiated in talks with Israel and the United States, said the remarks show "how really despicable things can get" in American politics.

"Such thinking should be an alarm and concern for the world," Erakat said.

Read more:

More slamming of his comments at the link.
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Posted by Turborama in Latest Breaking News
Mon Dec 05th 2011, 12:01 PM
Source: The Guardian

Top 10% have incomes 12 times greater than bottom 10%, up from eight times greater in 1985, thinktank's study reveals

Randeep Ramesh, social affairs editor | Monday December 5 2011 10.39 GMT

Income inequality among working-age people has risen faster in Britain than in any other rich nation since the mid-1970s owing to the rise of a financial services elite who through education and marriage have concentrated wealth into the hands of a tiny minority, according to a new report by the OECD.

Economists from the thinktank, which is funded by developed world taxpayers, say the annual average income in the UK of the top 10% in 2008 was just under £55,000, about 12 times higher than that of the bottom 10%, who had an average income of £4,700.

This is up from a ratio of eight to one in 1985 and significantly higher than the average income gap in developed nations of nine to one.

However, the report makes clear that even in countries viewed as "fairer" – such as Germany, Denmark and Sweden – this pay gap between rich and poor is expanding: from five to one in the 1980s to six to one today. In the rising powers of Brazil, Russia, India and China the ratio is an alarming 50 to one.

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And, of course, the growth of the income inequality gap in the UK will only continue to speed up now the Tories are at the helm relishing imposing their draconian austerity frenzy on the population.

The OECD report also warns about the stratospheric rise of the top 1% in rich societies plus the falling share of income going to poorer people.

More details about the report at the link, and here...

OECD inequality report: how do different countries compare?

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Posted by Turborama in Latest Breaking News
Fri Dec 02nd 2011, 03:21 AM
Source: Washington Post

By Scott Clement

Republican split on global warming

Belief in global warming has recovered somewhat this year after a sharp falloff in 2008 and 2009, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press released Thursday. Currently, 63 percent of Americans say there is “solid evidence” that the earth’s temperature has increased in past decades. That number is up from 57 percent two years ago, but still far from highs of 77 percent in 2006 and 2007.

A key feature of the initial drop in global warming belief was a burgeoning partisan divide, with Republicans and independents becoming markedly less convinced. The new poll reveals a growing internal divide within the GOP between conservatives and moderates, as well as between tea party and non-tea party Republicans.

More than six in 10 moderate or liberal Republicans in the new poll say there is solid evidence of global warming (up 22 points from 2009), while barely three in 10 conservative Republicans say the same. And while 30 percent of Republicans who agree with the tea party believe in global warming, that jumps to 56 percent of non-tea party Republicans. Democrats continue to be the strongest believers – over three quarters say there is solid evidence.

Some academics have investigated why people believe or doubt global warming’s existence. A 2010 paper suggested that the falloff in the belief that global warming is happening in 2009 may have reflected a shifting political calculation rather than a change in basic understanding of climate change. (The paper was authored by survey researchers at Harvard, ABC News and Post polling manager Peyton M. Craighill).

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Much more at the link...

Changing climate of Republican opinion doesn't agree with Tea Party

Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
Friday 2 December 2011 05.23 GMT

This won't make the Koch brothers happy: nearly two-thirds of moderate or liberal Republicans now believe there is solid evidence for global warming, according to a poll from the Pew research centre.

That's 22 points higher since 2009, the year the billionaire oil brothers first began pouring money into Tea Party groups working to discredit Barack Obama's green agenda.

The shift suggests that the Koch efforts to spread doubt about climate science may be backfiring.

Climate change doubt – seen by Tea Party activists as a litmus test of conservative credentials – is not, as it turns out, energising the Republican masses.

Full article:
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Posted by Turborama in Latest Breaking News
Sun Nov 27th 2011, 11:07 AM
Source: NYT

Published: November 27, 2011

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The Arab League approved tough economic sanctions against Syria on Sunday because of its violent crackdown against antigovernment protesters, an unprecedented step against an Arab country.

The sanctions included a travel ban on officials and politicians, a halt to all dealings with the Syrian central bank and the cessation of all Arab projects in Syria.

The finance ministers drafted the sanctions on Saturday at a meeting in a hotel in the Cairo suburbs rather than the league’s headquarters in Tahrir Square, the scene of clashes last week between security forces and protesters seeking to hasten civilian rule in Egypt.


Syria depends on its Arab neighbors for half of its exports and a quarter of its imports. Its two most vital sectors, tourism and oil, have ground to a halt in recent months.

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Posted by Turborama in Latest Breaking News
Fri Nov 25th 2011, 08:01 PM
Source: The Guardian

Washington increases pressure on ruling generals to cede power to civilian government as protests continue in Cairo

Chris McGreal | Friday November 25 2011 17.24 GMT

The White House has called for the Egyptian military to surrender all power immediately to a new civilian government that is due to be elected within the next few days.

In a marked increase of pressure on the ruling generals after days of hesitancy, Washington appears to have withdrawn its support for the army to retain a significant political role after next week's parliamentary elections.

But the US nevertheless threw its weight behind the ruling military council's plan to press ahead with the elections despite days of protest and dozens of deaths among demonstrators. Protesters have demanded the vote be postponed because the army would still have ultimate authority in running the country until the middle of next year.

The White House said the army council should swiftly cede full control to the newly appointed prime minister, Kamal Ganzouri, and his government. "The United States strongly believes that the new Egyptian government must be empowered with real authority immediately. We believe that Egypt's transition to democracy must continue, with elections proceeding expeditiously, and all necessary measures taken to ensure security and prevent intimidation," the White House said in a statement.

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Posted by Turborama in Latest Breaking News
Thu Nov 24th 2011, 01:05 PM
Source: The Guardian

US-based Egyptian journalist uses Twitter to describe sexual and physical assault she says took place at the interior ministry

Shiv Malik | Thursday November 24 2011 10.18 GMT

The US-based Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy has been released, according to her personal Twitter account, after 12 hours in detention at the hands of Cairo security forces. A later tweet from the account @monaeltahawy said that she was sexually and physically assaulted while being held inside the interior ministry in Cairo, in the early hours of Thursday morning.

A US embassy representative in Cairo told the Guardian that the reports of her detention were "very concerning" and that "US embassy consulate officers are engaging Egyptian authorities".

At 10:30am on Thursday, the former Reuters Middle East correspondent who has been lauded for her recent coverage of the Egyptian uprising, began tweeting that she had spent 12 hours in detention under the authority of interior ministry and military intelligence officials and that she had suffered a serious sexual assault by up to half a dozen members of the Egyptian security forces. She also said that she had been kept blindfolded for hours and also posted a picture of her severely bruised hand and then both her arms in casts.

She also thanked supporters after #freemona began trending around the world on Twitter.

Read more:

Mona's latest article for the Guardian was published last Friday and was about the "Naked Blogger" and condemned the military for sexually assaulting female prisoners (coincidence?):

Here's Mona in January predicting the downfall of Mubarak:
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Posted by Turborama in General Discussion
Sun Nov 20th 2011, 07:53 AM
Source: The Guardian

When Alice Walton, heiress to the Walmart supermarket fortune and the the 10th richest woman in the United States, opened a spectacular fine art museum in her home town, she might have expected plaudits and gratitude. It hasn't quite worked out that way.

The long-awaited opening of the Crystal Bridges Museum for American Art in Walton's home town of Bentonville, Arkansas, has provoked mixed reactions. Some have celebrated the unveiling of a significant new private art institution, but many have criticised the decision to spend $1.4bn of company and family foundation money as the retail colossus cuts back its workers' benefits.

Protesters at the museum have informally joined forces with the Occupy Wall Street camps across the US and point to growing ties between the Occupy movement and established trade unions.

The museum, which opened last weekend and features a survey of American art from Benjamin West to Georgia O'Keefe, from Norman Rockwell to Andy Warhol, and from Joan Mitchell to Walton Ford, has also come under criticism from within the art establishment for both inflating values and buying masterpieces from impoverished art institutions without giving local institutions a chance to match Walton's offer.

Read more:
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Posted by Turborama in Latest Breaking News
Fri Nov 18th 2011, 09:26 AM
Source: Reuters

By Janeman Latul
JAKARTA | Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:38am EST

(Reuters) - Little over a decade ago, Indonesian budget airline Lion Air served a single route on remote Borneo island. On Friday, it placed a $21.7 billion order with Boeing (BA.N), the airplane giant's biggest commercial order on record.

PT Lion Mentari was founded with just $10 million in start-up capital in 1999 by Kusnan and Rusdi Kirana, who ran a travel agency until they spotted a growth opportunity when the Indonesian government deregulated the aviation industry.

Lion Air -- 48-year-old Rusdi is now CEO, and Kusnan is president commissioner -- was one of dozens of new carriers to emerge around that time in Southeast Asia's biggest economy, including Sriwijaya Air and the now bankrupt Adam Air.

The Boeing deal for 230 short-haul jets takes Lion Air's orderbook to more than 400 planes, which they aim to use to fly across an Asia-Pacific region still seeing robust passenger growth despite the shaky global economy.

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Obama lauds Boeing-Indonesia deal

by USA Today Feed on Nov. 18, 2011, under USA Today News

While in Bali for an East Asian economic summit, President Obama praised a new trade deal today in which Boeing will send planes to an Indonesian airline in order to create jobs in the United States.


Said Obama:

“This is a remarkable example of the trade, investment and commercial opportunities that exist in the Asia-Pacific region. For the last several days I’ve been talking about how we have to make sure that we’ve got a presence in this region, and it involves … jobs at home.”

“It’s going to result in over 100,000 jobs back in the United States of America, over a long period of time. This represents the largest deal, if I’m not mistaken, that Boeing has ever done. We are looking at over 200 planes that are going to be sold and the U.S. administration and the Ex-Im Bank in particular were critical to facilitate this deal. I want to thank all the administration officials who were dogged in trying to get this (deal).”

“This is an example of a win-win situation where people in the region are going to be able to benefit from outstanding airlines, and our workers back home are going to be able to have job security and be able to produce an outstanding product made in America. So congratulations, gentlemen. Thank you so much.”

Full article:
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Posted by Turborama in General Discussion
Wed Nov 09th 2011, 09:13 AM
Source: The Guardian

If fossil fuel infrastructure is not rapidly changed, the world will 'lose for ever' the chance to avoid dangerous climate change

Fiona Harvey, environment correspondent | Wednesday November 9 2011 10.01 GMT

The world is likely to build so many new fossil-fuelled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be "lost for ever", according to the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure.

Anything built from now on that produces carbon will continue to do so for decades to come, and this "lock-in" effect will be the single factor most likely to produce irreversible climate change, the world's foremost authority on energy economics has found. If this infrastructure is not rapidly changed within the next five years, the results are likely to be disastrous.

"The door is closing," Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA), told the Guardian. "I am very worried – if we don't change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum (for safety). The door will be closed forever."

Every month now counts: if the world is to stay below 2C of warming, which scientists regard as the limit of safety, then emissions must be held to no more than 450 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; the level is currently around 390ppm. But the world's existing infrastructure is already producing 80% of that "carbon budget", according to a new analysis by the IEA, published on Wednesday. This gives an ever-narrowing gap in which to reform the global economy on to a low-carbon footing.

Read more:

Fascinating/scary/frustrating article that's well worth reading in full.

ETA this related article from The Guardian...

The burning issue of energy cannot wait for economic good times

The house is ablaze and we are throwing bucket after bucket at it - buckets of petrol. Worse, if that is possible, the world's politicians are not stepping in to stop us stoking the flames: instead they are helping us pay for the petrol.

That simple, devastating analogy captures entirely the current global action on climate change. Despite warnings from scientists that have been clear for years, the globe is not curbing its carbon emissions: they are rising by record amounts. We are not even getting more efficient in our use of fossil fuels to power our economies, we are now getting worse. And the rising subsidies poured into fossil fuels swamp those for clean energy by six to one.

The previous charge made against the world's leaders - you are not moving forward fast enough - failed to spark action. Will the new message - you are now reversing at speed towards a hellish future - change that? The UN negotiations on a global climate change agreement, reconvening in Durban shortly, will be the first test of whether this new reality has sunk in.

But, with tackling global warming tumbling down the agenda with politicians transfixed by economic crisis, the omens are gloomy. The new warning this Wednesday from the International Energy Agency, a deeply conservative organisation, could not be more stark. Unless we shift the global energy supertanker off its current, dirty course by 2017, we will have locked in enough greenhouse gas pollution to condemn the world to a temperature rise above the 2C deemed "safe" by governments. Yet the best aspirations for Durban look utterly inadequate. UK's climate change minister Greg Barker recently said having a global climate deal ready to "click in" by 2020 was realistic.

Full article:
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Posted by Turborama in Latest Breaking News
Mon Nov 07th 2011, 11:29 AM
Source: The Guardian

The secretive oil billionaires the Koch brothers are close to launching a nationwide database connecting millions of Americans who share their anti-government and libertarian views, a move that will further enhance the tycoons' political influence and that could prove significant in next year's presidential election.

The database will give concrete form to the vast network of alliances that David and Charles Koch have cultivated over the past 20 years on the right of US politics. The brothers, whose personal wealth has been put at $25bn each, were a major force behind the creation of the tea party movement and enjoy close ties to leading conservative politicians, financiers, business people, media figures and US supreme court judges.

The voter file was set up by the Kochs 18 months ago with $2.5m of their seed money, and is being developed by a hand-picked team of the brothers' advisers. It has been given the name Themis, after the Greek goddess who imposes divine order on human affairs.

In classic Koch style, the project is being conducted in great secrecy. Karl Crow, a Washington-based lawyer and Koch adviser who is leading the development, did not respond to requests for comment. Nor did media representatives for Koch Industries, the brothers' global energy company based in Wichita, Kansas.

Read more:

Good to see the Guardian consistently shining a bright light on what the demonic Kochs are scheming in the shadows for 2012 (even if it does make one shudder when reading it in full).

It's a real shame the US MSM aren't doing the same thing.
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Posted by Turborama in Latest Breaking News
Thu Nov 03rd 2011, 12:26 AM
Source: The Guardian

Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
Thursday November 3 2011 03.08 GMT

The conservative oil billionaires Charles and David Koch are spending millions on television ads meant to turn the failure of the Solyndra solar energy company into an election liability for Barack Obama.

The group Americans for Prosperity, which is funded by the Koches, said on Wednesday it was spending $2.4m on television ads accusing Obama of putting billions of taxpayer dollars at risk to help political donors.


The same group helped organise the Tea Party protests against Obama in 2009. It has said the ads will run for two weeks on stations in Florida, Michigan, Virginia, and New Mexico. All are battleground states in the 2012 presidential election.


In the last few years the brothers have spent more than $50m to advance their political agenda, supporting foundations such as Americans for Prosperity, which opposes pollution controls and has worked to discredit the science on climate change.

Read more:

Great to see more exposure of the Koch's involvement in AFP, the "Tea Party" etc.
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Posted by Turborama in Latest Breaking News
Tue Nov 01st 2011, 10:26 AM
Source: CNN International

Tokyo (CNN) -- The decommissioning of four reactors at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will likely take more than 30 years to complete, according to a report by Japanese officials.

The draft report, released by Japan's Atomic Energy Commission of the Cabinet Office on Friday, said the removal of debris -- or nuclear fuel -- should begin by the end of 2021.

"We set a goal to start taking out the debris within a 10-year period, and it is estimated that it would take 30 years or more (after the cold shutdown) to finish decommissioning because the process at Fukushima would be complicated," the report states.

Last month, the plant's owner -- Tokyo Electric Power Company -- said engineers might be able to complete the cold shutdown of damaged reactors by the end of the year.

Read more:
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Posted by Turborama in Latest Breaking News
Sun Oct 30th 2011, 11:42 AM
Source: The Guardian

Ten years on from its creation, calls are mounting from legal and human rights experts for closure of the 'torture' centre on Cuba

Ed Vulliamy in New York | Sunday October 30 2011

The former chief prosecutor for the US government at Guantánamo Bay has accused the administration he served of operating a "law-free zone" there, on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the order to establish the detention camp on Cuba.

Retired air force colonel Morris Davis resigned in October 2007 in protest against interrogation methods at Guantánamo, and has made his remarks in the lead-up to 13 November, the anniversary of President George W Bush's executive order setting up military commissions to try terrorist suspects.

Davis said that the methods of interrogation used on Guantánamo detainees – which he described as "torture" – were in breach of the US's own statutes on torture, and added: "If torture is a crime, it should be prosecuted."

The US military, he said, had been ordered to use unlawful methods of interrogation by "civilian politicians, and to do so against our will and judgment".

Read more:
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Posted by Turborama in Latest Breaking News
Wed Oct 26th 2011, 11:27 AM
Source: CNN International

From Mohammed Jamjoom and Hakim Almasmari, CNN
October 26, 2011 -- Updated 16:33 GMT (00:33 HKT)

Yemeni women defiantly burned their traditional veils Wednesday in protest of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's brutal crackdown on anti-government demonstrations.

Thousands of women gathered in the capital, Sanaa, said witnesses. They carried banners that read: "Saleh the butcher is killing women and is proud of it" and "Women have no value in the eyes in Ali Saleh."

They collected their veils and scarves in a huge pile and set it ablaze -- an act that is highly symbolic in the conservative Islamic nation, where women use their veils to cover their faces and bodies. It's the first time in the nine months of Yemen's uprising that such an event has occurred.

Inspired by Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman's Nobel Peace Prize this month, more and more Yemeni women have taken to the streets and escalated their campaign for help from the international community.


ETA CNN have now embedded a video at the top of the story.
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Posted by Turborama in Latest Breaking News
Sun Oct 23rd 2011, 06:41 AM
Source: NYT

Published: October 21, 2011

A British seismologist said Friday that two minor earthquakes in northwestern England “appeared to correlate closely” with the use of hydraulic fracturing, a method of extracting natural gas from wells that has raised concerns about environmental and seismological risks in the United States.

The scientist, Brian Baptie, seismic project team leader with the British Geological Survey, said data from the two quakes near Blackpool — one of magnitude 2.3 on April 1, the other of magnitude 1.5 on May 27 — suggested the temblors arose from the same source. Cuadrilla Resources, a British energy company, was conducting hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operations at a well nearby when the quakes occurred.

In fracking, water, sand and chemicals are injected into a well at high pressure to split shale rock and release trapped gas.

The company suspended its fracking operations shortly after the second earthquake, which, like the first, was barely felt and caused no damage. Paul Kelly, a Cuadrilla spokesman, said a report by several academic scientists on the quakes, commissioned by the company, should be released in a few weeks.

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