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Current News and Analysis

Media hyped walrus climate scare stories debunked

By Marc Morano | Climate Depot | October 1, 2014

The October 1, 2014 Associated Press article linking the walrus gathering to melting sea ice, lacks historical perspective and contains serious spin that would lead readers to erroneous conclusions about walruses and the climate.

Zoologist Dr. Susan Crockford weighs in:

Mass haulouts of Pacific walrus and stampede deaths are not new, not due to low ice cover

‘The attempts by WWF and others to link this event to global warming is self-serving nonsense that has nothing to do with science… this is blatant nonsense and those who support or encourage this interpretation are misinforming the public.’

First off, walruses are not endangered. … continue

DOE to offer $12.6 billion for nuke projects

By Timothy Cama | The Hill | September 30, 2014

The Department of Energy (DOE) is drafting a solicitation to provide as much as $12.6 billion in loan guarantees for nuclear energy projects.

The goal of the loan guarantees is to commercialize advanced nuclear technologies that could not otherwise get financing for research and development.

Any nuclear project that would reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions is eligible, but DOE said it is particularly interested in advanced nuclear reactors, small modular reactors, upgrades at existing facilities and front-end nuclear projects.

“For the first time in more than 30 years, new nuclear power plants are under construction in the United States,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a Tuesday statement.

“This solicitation would build on that investment and help support the construction of the next generation of safe and secure nuclear energy projects.”

DOE said the loans align with the Obama administration’s “all-of-the-above” approach to energy as well as the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Argentine President Hardens Stance Toward United States

By Martin Hacthoun | Prensa Latina | October 1, 2014

220px-Cristinakirchnermensaje2010Buenos Aires – President Cristina Fernandez has taken a harder stance against the United States, even issuing a warning against groups inside Argentina confabulating with foreign forces to topple the government, after the ruling by New York judge Thomas Griesa that decreed Argentina in contempt.

“Don’t think for a moment that this is simply an isolated action by a senile judge in New York,” she said in four speeches last night at government headquarters, the first at the Bicentennial Women’s Hall, where she announced policies to encourage public works and urban renewal. [...]

“I wouldn’t be the least surprised to see them insist on economic sanctions 20 days from now,” in relation to the possible fine threatened by Griesa.

With respect to the confabulations against the national and popular plan that she is pushing forward, she warned that “they are exerting pressure on the exchange rate so that the currency can be devalued and collective agreements liquidated.”

Fernandez said that economically and politically powerful groups are looking to unleash an internal crisis. “This is not an economic problem; these are concentrated sectors that want to overturn the government,” she denounced.

In the same vein, she warned about the interference from the interim Charge D’Affaires at the U.S. embassy in Argentina, Kevin Sullivan, even calling the alleged threat against her from the terrorist Islamic State group, published in the opposition newspaper, Clarin, a tall tale that has no factual basis.

“If something happens to me, no-one should look east; look northward instead,” Fernandez emphasized, in a clear allusion to the United States of America. – Full article

US says policy to prevent civilian deaths not valid in Syria, Iraq

Press TV – October 1, 2014

Amid the rise of civilian deaths in US-led military operation against ISIL, Washington has acknowledged that any strikes in Syria and Iraq are exempt from its “standards” applied to other aerial attacks.

US National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden revealed that the current airstrikes will not be performed in line with a previously announced standard for allegedly minimizing civilian casualties.

Obama announced last year that the highest standard which the US can meet is un-authorizing drone attacks unless there is “near certainty” about the lack of civilian casualties.

The confirmation came a week after a dozen civilians, including children, were killed in a US attack in the village of Kafr Daryan in Syria’s Idlib province. … Full article

Ukraine to Increase Military Spending Fivefold

teleSUR | October 2014

The Ukrainian government has announced it will seek to double the number of troops and increase spending five times by 2020 in light of the increased tensions with regions seeking greater autonomy.

The government is planning to more than double its number of troops as part of a five fold increase military in spending.

The announcement comes in a document released on Tuesday, called Strategy 2020, deemed a blueprint of the country’s plans for the next six years.

“We are operating under the assumption that Ukraine should become a military state,” said the head of the cabinet Dmytro Shimkiv. … Full article

At least 11 killed, 40 injured in shelling in Donetsk, E. Ukraine, school hit

RT | October 1, 2014

At least 11 people have been killed and 40 others have been injured in Donetsk, where a school and a bus stop came under fire – reportedly from Ukrainian Army positions.

Two people are reported to have died at the school, and nine at the bus stop, according to Donetsk People Republic’s Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Purgin.

No children were killed in the shelling of school №57, the Donetsk People’s Republic ‘s Interior Ministry said, as cited by TASS. The ministry’s press service added that parents and teachers became victims of the shelling.

The city council stated that all 70 children studying at the school were in the building at the moment of the strike. … continue

Body Cam Video Shows Cop Shooting Man Dead After Complying with Demands

taylor_s220x2201Incident triggered by a 911 call from somebody who reported seeing “gangbangers”

By Carlos Miller | PINAC | October 1, 2014

… again we have another innocent person killed thanks to the See Something, Say Something paranoia of apologist citizens as well as the Comply or Die mentality of modern cops, not to mention the See No Evil leniency of the American legal system when it comes to cops that kill. – Full article

ComputerCOP: Dubious ‘Internet Safety Software’ that hundreds of police agencies have distributed to families

By Dave Maass | EFF | October 1, 2014

For years, local law enforcement agencies around the country have told parents that installing ComputerCOP software is the “first step” in protecting their children online.

Police chiefs, sheriffs, and district attorneys have handed out hundreds of thousands of copies of the disc to families for free at schools, libraries, and community events, usually as a part of an “Internet Safety” outreach initiative. The packaging typically features the agency’s official seal and the chief’s portrait, with a signed message warning of the “dark and dangerous off-ramps” of the Internet.

As official as it looks, ComputerCOP is actually just spyware, generally bought in bulk from a New York company that appears to do nothing but market this software to local government agencies.

The way ComputerCOP works is neither safe nor secure. … continue

‘Free speech clampdown’: New Australian law sees journalists facing 10yrs in prison

RT | October 1, 2014

Australia’s lower house of parliament has passed the first in a series of counter-terrorism amendments toughening the country’s national security law. The new legislation could see journalists jailed for reporting on related matters.

National Security Amendments Bill (No. 1), passed by Australia’s House of Representatives on Wednesday, says a person who discloses information relating to a special intelligence operation may face from five to 10 years behind bars. [...]

One of the most ardent critics of the law is former intelligence whistleblower-turned-federal MP Andrew Wilkie.

“This is clamping down on free speech; this is clamping down on oversight of what the security agencies are up to,” he said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. … Full article

Oblivious Man Staring At iPad Causes Security Meltdown

By Timothy Geigner | Techdirt | October 1, 2014

We’ve often discussed the complete farce that airport security has become since 9/11. Security theater that appears to be a performance art piece on how dumb government can get isn’t something we should be looking to export, but it seems like many countries throughout the planet have incorporated many of the reactionary tactics you can find in the States.

Take, for instance, the story about how a guy in Australia who accidentally walked in the wrong direction while paying too much attention to his iPad shut down a terminal and delayed flights for an hour.

On Saturday morning, a man got off a plane at Sydney Airport in Australia and was so enchanted by the fascinating content on his iPad that he walked into a domestic terminal without bothering to go through security. This event was captured on CCTV and unnerved officials so much that they evacuated passengers.

Flights were delayed for around an hour. One also wonders about security at Sydney Airport. Australia is currently under high alert after its prime minister, Tony Abbott, declared that a terrorist attack on his country was “likely,” even though his security services hadn’t discovered any “particular plots.”

Full article

‘Muslim’ Woman Thrown from Moving Train in Australia

teleSUR | September 30, 2014

A woman described by Australian media as “Muslim” has been beaten and thrown from a moving train in Melbourne.

On Monday police said the victim was grabbed by the neck and rammed into a wall of the carriage before being shoved off the train by a woman of Caucasian appearance on Thursday night, according to the ABC.

The police have issued scant details about the identity of the victim, but local media outlet 7 News has described her as a “Muslim woman,” and that the culprit made “racist remarks” before the attack. … Full article

Israeli military vehicles enter Gaza, soldiers open fire at farms

Ma’an – 01/10/2014

GAZA CITY – Israeli military vehicles entered the southern Gaza Strip early Wednesday and soldiers opened fire towards Palestinian agricultural areas, locals told Ma’an.

Twelve military vehicles entered Gaza from a gate east of the town of al-Fukhari in the Khan Younis district, witnesses said.

The vehicles reportedly crossed some 200 meters into the Strip, and soldiers scanned the area before shooting towards Palestinian farms in an apparent ceasefire violation.

Agricultural workers were forced to leave their fields when soldiers shot at their farms, the witnesses told Ma’an. … Full article

Israeli forces arrest 21 Palestinians overnight, clash with locals

Ma’an – 01/10/2014

JENIN – Israeli forces arrested 21 Palestinians in the West Bank overnight and clashed with locals, sources said Wednesday.

In the Salfit district, Israeli forces detained ten Palestinians.

The Fatah movement said in a statement that six of its activists were arrested in Qarawat Bani Hassan in the district, saying they were detained for protest action during the recent Israeli assault on Gaza.

“Israeli forces, after the war on Gaza came to an end, started to target different West Bank neighborhoods and towns seeking to take revenge on activists who joined protests in support of the Gaza Strip,” the statement said. … Full article

165 Palestinians, Including 40 Children, Kidnapped In Hebron In September

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC & Agencies | October 1, 2014

DataFiles-Cache-TempImgs-2014-1-images_News_2014_06_25_admin-0_300_0The Hebron office of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that the Israeli army kidnapped 165 Palestinians, including 40 children and 25 patients, in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, in September, and imposed high fines on many detainees.

Head of the Hebron office of the PPS Amjad Najjar said most of the kidnapped Palestinians, and many family members, have been beaten and assaulted by the soldiers, who searched and ransacked their homes and properties.

Najjar added that the army issued arbitrary Administrative Detention orders against 70 detainees, forcing them behind bars without charges or trial for different periods.

He added that the Hebron district witnessed the largest number of kidnappings in the occupied West Bank in September, similar to several previous months. … Full article

83 Palestinian prisoners killed during Aqsa uprising

Palestine Information Center – 30/09/2014

RAMALLAH – 83 Palestinian prisoners and detainees died during the Aqsa uprising in September 2000 due to either medical neglect, torture, or assassination.

The Palestinian prisoners center for studies said on Monday that 206 Palestinian prisoners have died in Israeli jails since 1967, 83 of them were killed during the Aqsa uprising. … continue

Child Seriously Injured By Explosive Device Dropped By The Army

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC & Agencies | October 1, 2014

Palestinian medical sources in Bethlehem said that a child was seriously injured, on Tuesday evening, when an explosive device, dropped by the Israeli army during training, detonated near him as he was herding the family sheep.

The sources said Malek Abu Dayya, 12 years of age, was injured in the al-Manshiyya area in Teqoua’ town, southeast of Bethlehem.

He was first moved to a local clinic before he was moved to a hospital in Bethlehem due to the severity of his injuries.

The area is frequently used by Palestinian shepherds for grazing, while the army largely uses it, as well as other areas in the West Bank, for military drills using explosives and live ammunition.

There have been dozens of similar incidents, many leading to fatalities, mainly in the Plains area of the Jordan Valley, where the many military bases are located, and the soldiers use the surrounding areas for training.

Many Bedouin communities have been repeatedly displaced for settlement activities, and for the army to build bases, and conduct live fire training.

Lebanese shepherd survives Israeli gunfire

Al-Akhbar | September 30, 2014

Israeli forces shot at a Lebanese shepherd across the Lebanese borders with Occupied Palestine, the National News Agency (NNA) reported on Tuesday.

According to NNA, while Ismail Khalil Nabaa was tending his cattle on Sadana mountain, approximately 400m above the border, Israeli occupation forces opened fire at him and his flock.

Nabaa, who was kidnapped then released by Israeli forces last July, miraculously survived while several sheep were hit.

The incident is the latest in a series of Israeli attacks targeting southern Lebanese shepherds and their herds.

In August, Israeli forces opened fire at a shepherd and his flock in south Lebanon and killed two sheep.

Also in August, Israeli forces abducted a Lebanese shepherd, one day after they failed to kidnap two other shepherds and instead stole their herd of goats.

Similarly, in June Youssef Mohammad Zahra was kidnapped then released by the Israeli forces.

Israeli settlers, soldiers occupy 25 Palestinian houses

Al-Akhbar | September 30, 2014

Israeli settlers, escorted by the Israeli occupation forces, occupied 25 houses in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan south of the Old City of Jerusalem on Tuesday, residents and Palestinian leaders as well as a local information center said.

The incident led to clashes between Palestinian residents and Zionist settlers in the Silwan neighborhood, which is right outside Jerusalem’s Old City and near the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

It came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas traded inflammatory accusations at the UN General Assembly in New York, making the prospects of peace look even bleaker.

Mohammed al-Khayat, whose family owns three apartments in one Silwan building, told AFP settlers had broken the locks on empty properties and then changed them.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center said in a statement that “settlers of the Elad (Ir David) Association” stormed Silwan at 1:30 am escorted by Israeli soldiers and forcibly evicted the residents of an apartment and occupied it, in addition to several vacant homes.

According to Ma’an News Agency, the houses belong to the Baydoun, al-Karaki, Abu Sbeih, al-Zawahra, al-Abbasi, al-Khayyat, Qarain and al-Yamani families, the statement said.

The Wadi Hilweh Center called the act an “unprecedented settlement attack.”

“Even if the houses have been bought stealthily, this is still an illegal seizure of Arab houses by the Elad settlement association.”

Elad, a hardline settler organization that seeks to increase Zionist settlement in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, told AFP that a company called Kendall Finance had purchased the properties. But Mohammed Dahla, a lawyer representing the Palestinian owners, said they denied selling them. … Full article

Three Israeli soldiers committed suicide after Israeli war on Gaza

MEMO | September 30, 2014

The Israeli military police have opened an investigation after three members of an elite military unit committed suicide, sources revealed yesterday.

The soldiers from the Givati Brigade, who took part in the ground operation during the recent assault, committed suicide after the Israeli war on Gaza ended.

According to the Israeli daily Maariv, in the three cases bullets from personal guns caused the deaths. Two of the soldiers shot themselves on army bases along the borders of the Gaza Strip. … Full article

UN rights expert says Israel’s ‘self-defense’ claim in Gaza ‘untenable’, urges accountability

MEMO | September 30, 2014

Makarim-WibisonoA top UN rights expert has expressed alarm at the impact of Israel’s attack on Gaza for civilians, concluding that “Israel’s claim of self-defense against an occupied population living under a blockade considered to be illegal under international law is untenable.”

Makarim Wibisono, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, spoke Monday at the end of his first mission to the region.

In a press release, Wibisono stated that the Israeli military killed almost 1,500 civilians, including more than 500 children, with “a staggering 11,231 Palestinian civilians, including 3,436 children” injured and many “now struggling with life-long disabilities”.

Tens of thousands of children live with the trauma of having witnessed the horrific killings of family members, friends, and neighbours before their own eyes. … continue

UK Home Office issues threat against the functioning of democracy

RT |September 30, 2014

Powers banning extremists from appearing on TV and which allow police to vet “harmful” individuals’ social media activity would be enforced if the Conservatives return to power next year, Home Secretary Theresa May is set to announce.

The party manifesto will also pledge to introduce time-limited Extremist Disruption Orders to curb individuals’ right to speak at public events and control their social media usage. The maximum sentence could be up to 10 years in prison for breaking a banning order.

Announcing the plans at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham on Tuesday, May will also promise greater powers for British police to access internet data. … continue

Syrian FM says countries in US-led coalition continue to support “terrorist groups”

Al-Akhbar | September 30, 2014

Syria will stand with “any international effort aimed at fighting and combating terrorism” as long as it fully preserves “civilians’ lives, national sovereignty and is carried out according to international accords,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem declared Monday.

In a speech at the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Moallem described ISIS as “an ideology metamorphosed into an organization supported, armed and trained in order to be unleashed like a monster against Syria, Iraq and Lebanon,” stressing on the need to drain its resources “in order for security and stability to prevail in our region and the world.”

He also criticized US plans to train and arm so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels.

“This is a real recipe for the increase of violence and terrorism, shedding of Syrian blood, prolonging of the Syrian crisis and demolishing of the political solution at its basis,” Moallem said. … Full article

Anti-ISIS coalition’s ‘war on revenues’ hitting all Syrians

By Suhaib Anjarini | Al-Akhbar | September 30, 2014

The international coalition’s airstrikes on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front in Syria entered their second week today, with dozens of air raids and missile attacks targeting regions in al-Raqqa, Deir Ezzor, al-Hasaka, Aleppo and Idlib. [...]

A general overview of the locations targeted by the coalition forces suggests that the airstrikes on al-Nusra in Aleppo and Idlib’s countrysides, during the first few days of the operation, have an obvious short term impact, while constant coalition strikes on regions under ISIS’ control have a strategic dimension and their repercussions may go beyond ISIS.

In the first few days, strikes on ISIS were limited to some of the organization’s bases and training camps, but were later expanded to include oil wells, refineries, gas fields and grain silos.

Although some reports suggested that these attacks sought to “dry up ISIS’ sources of revenue,” other sources warned that such actions actually target “Syria’s infrastructure and economy.”

A Syrian source belonging to the so-called moderate opposition told Al-Akhbar, “The recent strikes are going in the right direction to topple both the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the regime.”

The source explained that “in order to topple both parties, some sacrifices ought to be made, and bombing oil wells and gas fields is just the beginning.” He also called for “targeting oil and gas pipelines, and power stations that provide regions under the regime’s control with electricity.”

“These measures will be taken sooner than expected, even if the rebels have to take these measures by themselves,” he said, adding “a war on resources may form an acceptable alternative to a no-fly zone.”

However, civilians were the first to pay the price for these attacks which caused oil prices to skyrocket. Besides, any additional targeting of Syrian oil fields threatens to bring more grief to the region, especially as winter nears. … Full article

US-led strikes leave 6 dead in eastern Afghanistan

Press TV – September 30, 2014

At least six people have been killed after US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan carried out separate airstrikes in the eastern part of the war-ravaged country during the past 24 hours, Press TV reports.

Local officials said an unmanned aerial vehicle launched an airborne attack in the mountainous eastern province of Khost on Monday, leaving four people dead. Two other people lost their lives in a similar airstrike in the eastern province of Laghman earlier in the day.

The US-led forces have recently increased their air raids against civilian areas in Afghanistan.

On September 26, a drone attack in the eastern province of Nangarhar left at least six people, including two women dead and a woman injured.

Four people were also killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan’s northeastern province of Kunar on September 23. … Full article

Moscow rejects Kiev’s ‘virtual’ gas price, seeks $3.9bn to resume supplies

RT | September 30, 2014

Russia is ready to resume gas deliveries to Ukraine only after it pays $2 billion of its debt and makes a $1.9 billion advance payment for future supplies, Russian Minister of Energy Aleksandr Novak said.

“There will be no new supplies if part of the debt is not paid. Otherwise, it turns out to be a game with only one goal, where we deliver the gas and the debt payment is postponed,” he argued. … continue

Ukraine’s People’s Republics Rule Out Political Union With Kiev: Reports

RIA Novosti –  September 30, 2014

Ukraine’s southeastern regions could cooperate with Kiev in the spheres of security and economy, but a political union is out of the question, Andrei Purgin, Deputy Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said in an interview with Russian Channel One on Tuesday.

“Federalism could not be discussed… Economic relations are possible, partly security… But [the republics] do not see a political union,” Purgin said, adding that this position is shared by an overwhelming majority of people in Ukraine’s southeastern regions.

After local residents voted for the independence of the people’s republics at the referendums held in May and lost thousands of lives in the armed conflict with Ukrainian forces, they cannot imagine a life under the power of the Kiev authorities, Purgin said. … continue

Here’s Why Moldova Could be the Next Ukraine

By Andrew Korybko | Russia Insider | September 29, 2014

Lost among the talk of Ukraine’s Civil War and the ISIL threat is the coming Russia vs. West clash in Moldova.

The country is sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, and the region of Transnistria has been de-facto independent for about two decades already.

As Moldova leaps towards the EU (it signed the Association Agreement at the end of June), it is also running towards NATO, and the US has pondered whether or not to grant it major non-NATO ally status via the tentative ‘Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014’ floating around Congress.

The problem is that Transnistria does not want to go along with Moldova’s vision of the future. … continue

Kazakh president proposes free trade zone with Russia, Iran, other Caspian states

RT | September 29, 2014

Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev has suggested establishing a free trade zone involving Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan; all bordering the Caspian Sea and oil-rich.

Nazarbayev suggested the idea at the fourth Caspian Summit, where leaders from the five countries have gathered in Astrakhan, Russia, on Monday.

“Taking into consideration the situation on the world market, we could investigate the possibility of bringing the economies of our countries closer to involve mutual trade. Before regulating the legal status of the Caspian [Sea] we may lay down the foundations for mutual economic activities. I suggest looking into the suggestion of creating a Caspian free trade zone,” Nazarbayev said, as quoted by RIA Novosti. … Full article

Bill McKibben Pretends Not to Know His Funders

full version of interview here

Fight Against Climate Change ‘May Cause More Harm Than Global Warming’

By Matt Dathan | The Times | September 28, 2014

Measures to combat climate change may be causing more damage than current global warming, a former environment secretary has said.

Owen Paterson, who was sacked in David Cameron’s reshuffle in July, attacked what he described as a “wicked green blob” of environmentalists for failing to explain the pause in global warming. [...]

“We were never told the pause was coming along, there are – as I understand it – about 30 different explanations for it and nobody explains why the pause is suddenly going to disappear and we’re going to get back on the track upwards.

He accepted there was “an element” of man-made climate change, but insisted that the climate “has always been changing”. … Full story (subscription required)

World Bank Conducts Self-Investigation Over its Treatment of Kenyan Forest Dwellers

teleSUR | September 29, 2014

sengwer.jpg_1718483346The World Bank is conducting an investigation against itself for failing to protect the rights of the Sengwer people, one of Kenya’s last indigenous communities, who are being evicted off their land, according to a leaked report seen by the Guardian on Monday.

Earlier this year, police evicted the hunter-gatherer society from their home in the Embobut forest, accusing them of threatening urban water supplies and conservation efforts. The officials were following orders to clear the forest as part of a carbon offset project that aims to reduce emissions from deforestation – a project funded by the World Bank. [...]

The evictions have been defined as “cultural genocide” by some 360 national and international civil society organizations and individuals, questioning the legality of removing indigenous people from forested land in the name of conservation.

“Those unlawfully carrying out the evictions use ‘the need to conserve the forests’ as their excuse. Yet the people they are forcibly evicting are the same people who have been protecting their forests,” said the Forest Peoples’ Program, a British indigenous rights advocacy group, in a statement in January. … Full article

US Judge Claims Argentina ‘in Contempt’ of Court

teleSUR | September 30, 2014

U.S. Judge Thomas Griesa, who has repeatedly sided with vulture funds, has declared Argentina in contempt of court for its attempts to pay back over US$200 million in interest to creditors.

The Argentinian debt case reached a new landmark on Monday, as U.S. Judge Thomas Griesa ruled Argentina “in contempt” of court for attempting to pay back the debt it owes to bondholders.

Argentina defaulted in 2001 but reached debt exchanges with nearly all the creditors in 2005 and 2010, with a tiny minority refusing the deal.

Griesa justified his latest decision by saying the country is taking “illegal” steps to avoid his orders. Griesa had previously ruled that hold out creditors, known as vulture funds, had to be paid before other creditors could be settled with. … continue

Raising minimum wage reduces poverty while increasing GDP in Brazil

Report Examines Economy and Social Indicators During the Past Decade in Brazil

CEPR | September 29, 2014

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) released a research paper today that looks at social and economic indicators, as well as policy changes that have occurred since 2003 in Brazil.

“The lives of tens of millions of Brazilians have been transformed by the economic and social policy changes of the past decade,” said CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot, lead author of the paper. “A sharp increase in economic growth, combined with increased social spending, large increases in the real minimum wage, and increased bargaining power for labor allowed for greatly reduced poverty and unemployment, as well as declining inequality.”

“These changes appear to be durable, having mostly withstood the world recession and the slowdown in worldwide economic and trade growth of the past few years.” … continue

French public debt hits new record at €2 trillion

Press TV – September 30, 2014

Official figures show that France’s public debt has soared to 2 trillion euros for the first time in the second quarter of 2014.

The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) reported on Tuesday that the figure is tantamount to more than 95 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

The European Union rules require the member states to limit their national debt to 60 percent of the GDP.

The administration of President Francois Hollande is under pressure since the public deem its economic plan a fiasco.

Other official reports have also highlighted the zero economic growth and high unemployment rate in the country.

In reaction to the INSEE statistics, the French Economy Ministry stated that the government would successfully halt the debt growth by a drastic reduction in public spending. … Full article

Record global debt risks new crisis – Geneva report

RT | September 30, 2014

A record level of $158.8 trillion in global debt, together with low economic growth is creating a serious threat of a new financial crisis, says the sixteenth annual Geneva Report.

Total world debt, excluding the financial sector, has risen from 180 percent of global output in 2008 to 212 percent last year, according to the report written by a panel of senior economists including three former senior central bankers.

“Contrary to widely held beliefs, the world has not yet begun to deliver, and the global debt to GDP ratio is still growing, breaking new highs,” the report said. … continue

Massive new debt hides years of negative GDP growth in EU and USA

By Jon Hellevig | Oriental Review | September 29, 2014

Finland – In a groundbreaking study Awara Group reveals that the real GDP growth of Western countries has been in negative territory for years. Only by massively loading up debt have they been able to hide the true picture and delay the onset of an inevitable collapse of their respective economies. The study shows that the real GDP of those countries hides hefty losses after netting the debt figures, which gives the Real-GDP-net-of-debt.

The moral of the study is that GDP growth figures as such reveal very little about the underlying dynamics of an economy if one does not simultaneously attempt to analyze what part of the growth is credited to simply artificially fueling the economy with new loans.

The study has found that the Western countries have lost the capacity to grow their economies. All they have left is a capacity to pile up debts. By massively accumulating new debt, they are able to keep up a semblance of at least sluggish growth, or of hovering around the zero growth mark. … continue

You Have Depression

By Martha Rosenberg | CounterPunch | September 26, 2014

Are you depressed? Have you lost interest in things you used to enjoy? Are you eating or sleeping too much? Big Pharma hopes so! The push to convince people who are dealing with job, family, relationship and money problems that they actually have “depression” has resulted in almost one in four American women in their 40s and 50s taking antidepressants. Ka-ching.

Psychiatry is often accused of not being “real medicine” because the diseases it diagnoses cannot be proved on blood tests and brain scans. That’s why this month’s announcement of the “first blood test to diagnose major depression in adults” is good news for psychiatrists and Big Pharma. Developed by Northwestern Medicine® scientists, the test, announced this month, “provides the first objective, scientific diagnosis for depression,” says Northwestern.

“The blood test can also predict which therapies would be most successful for patients, and lays the groundwork for one day identifying people who are especially vulnerable to depression — even before they’ve gone through a depressive episode,” gushes a Huffington Post article. No kidding. Treating people “at risk” of heart disease, asthma, osteoporosis, GERD and other conditions is Pharma’s marketing plan. Patients never know if they would have gotten the disorders and will stay on the drugs for decades. … continue

California governor vetoes bill requiring warrants for police drones

RT | September 29, 2014

Despite widely clearing both the state’s Senate and Assembly, California Governor Jerry Brown shot down a bill on Sunday that would have imposed restrictions on when law enforcement agencies can use drones for surveillance.

Brown, a Democrat, said in a statement over the weekend that he was vetoing the drone accountability act that, had it been signed into law, would require police agencies to obtain a warrant before using an unmanned vehicle, or drone, for aerial surveillance. … continue

US wants Guantanamo force-feeding hearing to stay secret

RT | September 29, 2014

Attorneys for the United States government say that an upcoming court hearing concerning the force-feeding practices used on a Guantanamo Bay detainee should be held almost entirely behind closed doors.

The motion, filed by US attorneys on Friday in District Court for the District of Columbia, asks that the preliminary injunction hearing for Gitmo detainee Abu Wa’el Dhiab scheduled for early next month be conducted largely in secret over supposed national security concerns.

“As an initial matter, the hearing should be closed in order to prevent any unauthorized disclosure of classified or protected information,” the motion reads in part. “Furthermore, the hearing should be closed because, although portions of the materials in the record in this case are unclassified, conducting an open hearing in this case would impose significant burdens on the parties and the Court.” … continue

Bahrain sentences nine protestors to life in prison

Al-Akhbar | September 29, 2014

Nine Bahraini protestors have been jailed for life and stripped of their nationality for allegedly smuggling arms to be used in “terrorist acts,” the prosecutor general of the country with the second highest prison population rate per 100,000 amongst Arab states in the West Asian and North African region announced on Monday.

A Manama court also found all nine guilty of having contacted an agent of an unnamed foreign country “to carry out acts hostile to Bahrain,” he said in a statement. … continue

On Israel’s little-known concentration and labor camps in 1948-1955

Civilian prisoners Ramle July 1948 on way to Labour Camps (1)By Yazan al-Saadi | Al-Akhbar | September 29, 2014

Much of the grim and murky circumstances of the Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the late 1940s have gradually been exposed over time. One aspect – rarely researched or deeply discussed – is the internment of thousands of Palestinian civilians within at least 22 Zionist-run concentration and labor camps that existed from 1948 to 1955.

Now more is known about the contours of this historical crime, due to the comprehensive research by renowned Palestinian historian Salman Abu Sitta and founding member of the Palestinian resource center BADIL Terry Rempel.

The facts are these. … continue

Prisoner swaps on shaky ground in Ukraine as Kiev accused of foul play

RT | September 29, 2014

Prisoner swaps in Ukraine are in danger of stalling as rebels say they will no longer tolerate Kiev’s practice of producing random people for exchange instead of actual members of militia and political prisoners.

Prisoner exchanges are a crucial part for consolidating the shaky truce in eastern Ukraine. The peace deal signed in Minsk, Belarus, on September 5 states that all captives must be eventually set free. So far the OSCE-monitored swaps had been done on a one-for-one basis, and Kiev is apparently lacking genuine rebel captives to offer and is substituting them with whoever it can procure.

But the rebels say they won’t have it anymore.

“We don’t reject further trade, but the rules of the game have changed now. The Ukrainian side will have to deliver lists and IDs of our supporters they offer in advance,” prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, told Interfax. … continue

‘I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy’: Village left in ruins after Kiev’s shelling

RT | September 29, 2014

35.siAmid the ruins of a small Lugansk Region village, elderly residents are crying as they try to rebuild their lives. The Ukrainian army “liberated” them from everything they held dear, including their homes, Raisa Repey tells RT’s Maria Finoshina.

“[The Ukrainian army] call themselves liberators – they liberated me from everything I own, from my home. They just didn’t have enough time to take my life,” says Raisa, a resident of Khryashchevatoe village, 12 kilometers from the city of Lugansk.

The village is in a dire humanitarian crisis, as residents are left without gas or electricity and winter is coming, RT’s Maria Finoshina reports from the scene, adding that “people cook on open fires and freeze at night.” … Full article

Israeli forces destroy power grid in Nablus village

Ma’an – 29/09/2014

NABLUS – Israeli military forces on Monday destroyed an electricity network in the Nablus village of Aqraba, a Palestinian official said.

Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity, told Ma’an that Israeli military bulldozers raided the Khirbet al-Tawil area of the village and demolished the main power line established in 2004.

Israeli soldiers destroyed over 80 electricity pylons and wires, he added.

Israel is using demolitions to “pressure residents to leave their houses for the sake of nearby settlements.”

In August, Israeli forces demolished four houses in the al-Tawil neighborhood, some of which were over 100 years old.

The al-Tawil neighborhood is on the outskirts of Aqraba and locals say Israeli forces have targeted several properties in the area under the pretext that they were built without a permit.

Christian Evangelicals Increasingly Support Palestinian Human Rights

By Alison Weir | CounterPunch | September 29, 2014

An article in Middle East Quarterly, a pro-Israel publication, reports that support for Israel is eroding among American evangelical Christians, with only 30 percent in a recent survey stating support for Israel above Palestinians.

This trend is even more pronounced among youth, according to an article by David Brog, Jewish-American executive director of “Christians United For Israel (CUFI), a major pro-Israel organization. Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu has called CUFI “a vital part of Israel’s national security” and columnist Charles Kauthammer has said, “I do not know of an organization in the world more important to Israel than CUFI.”

Brog’s article, “The End of Evangelical Support for Israel?” is largely pitched as a wake-up call to Israel partisans who, according to Brog, “must take this threat seriously.” … continue

Israel seizes French citizen on allegations of propagating pro-Hamas views

DataFiles-Cache-TempImgs-2014-2-images_News_2014_09_29_Abu-Badwiya_1_300_0Palestine Information Center – 29/09/2014

NABLUS – The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) kidnapped a few weeks ago the Palestinian-French law professor Ra’ed Abu Badwiya from his home in Nablus city, AFP news agency said on Monday.

The IOF arrested 41-year-old Ra’ed Abu Badwiya on suspicion of spreading pro-Hamas views among his students at An-Najah national university in Nablus city.

Abu Badwiya’s wife appealed to the French government to immediately intervene and press Israel to release her husband, especially since her husband is a French citizen.

Israeli forces detain teacher in Hebron town

Ma’an - 29/09/2014

HEBRON – Israeli forces detained a 55-year-old man in the Hebron town of Idhna on Monday, relatives said.

Israeli forces broke into the home of Nabil Suleiman Tmeizi before dawn and arrested him, family members told Ma’an.

Tmeizi is a teacher at a local school and supports a family of eight.

Israeli forces demolish university lecturer’s home in Abu Dis

Ma’an – September 29, 2014

BETHLEHEM – Israeli forces demolished three floors of a residential Palestinian building in Abu Dis overnight Sunday on the pretext that the owners lacked building permission, locals said.

Witnesses told Ma’an that five Israeli bulldozers accompanied by Israeli forces surrounded a five-story building in Abu Dis after midnight and began demolishing three floors at around 1:40 a.m.

Israeli forces closed all roads leading to the building before the demolition.

Owner Muatasim Adilah, a lecturer at Al-Quds University, said that Israeli forces ordered him and his family to leave the building without being allowed to remove any belongings.

Neighbors and local residents were not allowed near the area during the demolition.

Three of the five floors were destroyed, with the other two floors left uninhabitable.

Adilah said that the first two floors were built in 1959 while an additional three floors were constructed several years ago after obtaining a license from the Palestinian Authority.

Israel’s Jerusalem municipality issued a demolition warrant for the additional three floors on April 30, 2013 after claiming that the building is located within the municipality’s boundaries.

Adilah then tried to obtain a construction license from the Jerusalem municipality but it was rejected. … Full article

Palestinian child injured by Israeli gunfire in Gaza

Palestine Information Center – 29/09/2014

DataFiles-Cache-TempImgs-2014-2-images_News_2014_09_29_watchtower-0_300_0GAZA – A 14-year-old child was injured on Monday morning when Israeli forces opened fire at a populated border area in Gaza.

Spokesman for the health ministry Ashraf Qudra told Quds Press that the Israeli military watchtowers to the north of Gaza borderline opened heavy gunfire at a Bedouin village near the security fence, leading to the injury of one child.

The child was rushed to Kamal Odwan hospital suffering a bullet injury in his left leg.

In a similar attack, a Palestinian farmer was injured Sunday evening by Israeli gunfire in Beit Lahiya town in the north of the Strip.

Child injured in settler hit and run near Hebron

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC & Agencies | September 29, 2014

Palestinian medical sources have reported, on Sunday evening, that a child was injured after being struck by a settler’s car east of Yatta, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron.

The sources said the child, Islam al-’Amour, six years of age, suffered a number of fractures, cuts and bruises to different parts of her body, and was moved to al-Ahli hospital in the city. Similar to various prior incidents, the settler fled the scene.

There have been dozens of similar incidents, especially since the settlers use various bypass roads in different residential and rural areas in the Hebron district.

The incidents, including in other parts of the occupied West Bank, have led to dozens of injuries and several fatalities among the Palestinians, including children and elderly. … Full article

Lieberman: No outcome in Iran’s nuclear negotiations will please Israel

MEMO | September 29, 2014

During meetings he held yesterday with a number of his counterparts on the side-lines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Lieberman said: ‘Iran should not be allowed to continue its nuclear activities’
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he doubts any agreement made between the P5+1 and Iran regarding Tehran’s nuclear program would please Tel Aviv.

During meetings he held yesterday with a number of his counterparts on the side-lines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Lieberman said: “Iran should not be allowed to continue its nuclear activities.” … Full article

The Wall Street Journal misrepresents Iran nuclear negotiations

By Cyrus Safdari | Iran Affairs | September 28, 2014

As part of what appears to be a concerted campaign in the Right-wing and pro-Israeli media outlets in the US against US nuclear negotiations with Iran, which have a consistent theme of portraying the Obama administration as somehow “caving in” to Iranian demands, the Wall Street Journal today goes far out of its way to misrepresent the state of affairs in an article about President Rouhani’s speech at the UN.

The article is entitled “Iran Makes the Rules. Tehran holds firm while the U.S. keeps making nuclear concessions.” 

Any reader who has followed the news would at this point wonder what “concessions” the US has been making, since there are none other than not engaging in courses of action (such as bombing Iran) that are illegal anyway. But then the article proceeds to claim… continue

Media censor Argentine president’s remarks at UN

Press TV – September 29, 2014

Mainstream media outlets have censored the comments made by the Argentine president at the United Nations General Assembly where she harshly criticized the US international policies.

During her speech before the United Nations 69th General Assembly on September 24, Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner covered a variety of issues from economic reforms needed at the International Monetary Fund to the plight of Palestinians and the global fight against terrorism.

The Argentine president questioned countries such as the United States for attacking groups, including the ISIL Takfiri terrorists which Washington previously backed against the Syrian government.

“Where do ISIS (ISIL) and Al-Qaeda take their guns from? Yesterday’s freedom fighters are today’s terrorists,” Cristina Fernandez said, blasting US policies vis-a-vis terrorism. [...]

Fernandez also touched on judicial cooperation with Iran over the issue of the 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing in the capital, Buenos Aires, and the political pressure that has been exerted on Argentina by the US and Israeli lobbies in that regard.

Tehran and Buenos Aires signed a memorandum of understanding on January 27, 2013 to jointly probe the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA), which killed 85 people and wounded 300 others.

The Argentine president dismissed the allegations against Iran concerning the 1994 deadly bomb attack.

Under intense political pressure imposed by the US and Israel, Argentina had formally accused Iran of having carried out the bomb attack. … Full article

Ron Paul: Obama’s bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria are ‘immoral and illegal’

RT | September 29, 2014

Ron Paul, America’s most outspoken libertarian and anti-mainstream politician, has slammed US military strikes in Syria.

Not known for mincing his words or flip-flopping, Paul told RT’s Abby Martin that President Obama’s decision to use military force in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State [IS], without approval from the UN or the US Congress, was “immoral and illegal” under US and international law.

The “whole mess that we’ve been involved in in the Middle East has been technically illegal because we’ve initiated war, but we haven’t declared war,” Paul told Abby Martin in RT’s “Breaking the Set” show.

“I consider what’s going on now, specifically in these last few weeks, totally immoral,” Paul said. “I think it’s illegal under our laws and illegal under international law as well.”

The 12-term Senator from Texas criticized Obama since he pledged to “wind down these wars” yet the military expansion continues to ramp up “massively” in Iraq and Syria.

On Obama’s recent comment to the UN General Assembly that the only way to deal “with killers like this is with the language of force,” Paul replied that airstrikes would only cultivate more violence, not eliminate it.

“We have to do a little bit more than just address the violence that is occurring, and forward the question: ‘Why is there violence?’” Paul said.

People in the Middle East are clearly tired of American meddling and “everything we do there increases the violence,” he said.

Instead, people there should handle their own problems, the senator said.

“If we had such a situation going on in our country, we would deal with it, and I think the people there should deal with it,” he said. “Why should someone from 6,000 miles away, who’s been stirring this pot for so long, be the group that’s going to bring everyone together and organize the fight?” … Full video interview with Abby Martin

‘Bought Journalism': German bestseller reveals CIA pay Western media for spin & bias

September – 2014

August – 2014


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