What some of us want—those who aren’t blinded by a lot of bullshit persiflage thrown up to mask the idea that rich folks want to keep their damn money—is for you to acknowledge that you couldn’t have made it in America without America. That you were fortunate enough to be born in a country where upward mobility is possible (a subject upon which Barack Obama can speak with the authority of experience), but where the channels making such upward mobility possible are being increasingly clogged. That it’s not fair to ask the middle class to assume a disproportionate amount of the tax burden. Not fair? It’s un-f—king-American, is what it is. I don’t want you to apologize for being rich; I want you to acknowledge that in America, we all should have to pay our fair share. That our civics classes never taught us that being American means that—sorry, kiddies—you’re on your own. That those who have received much must be obligated to pay—not to give, not to “cut a check and shut up,” in Gov. Christie’s words, but to pay—in the same proportion.
“The poor have suffered tremendously from the financial disasters of recent years and nothing, really, has been done by the very rich people to help them.I am saying to the prime minister, look, don’t just protect your very rich colleagues in the financial industry, consider the moral obligation to help the poor of our country.” Speaking to the BBC, O’Brien, Scotland’s most senior Roman Catholic authority, said.
O’Brien also called for Cameron to introduce a Robin Hood or financial transaction tax on City dealings. O’Brien said he was speaking in favour of a campaign by the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund which along with other religious and political groups has been campaigning for the introduction of a Robin Hood or Tobin tax which could raise £20bn each year from a 0.05% levy on financial transactions.
The interview comes as figures from the Sunday Times rich list show that the assets of Britain’s wealthiest 1,000 increased for another year in a row to £414bn.
If France changes the direction of the European construction, if France brings back growth, economic activity, sustainable development, big environmental infrastructure, then Europe will recover and we’ll be done with this austerity that is imposed everywhere and which ends up taking hope away from the people and leading them to vote for the far right
Source: The Wall Street Journal
In 2007 the Baiji was declared extinct. The first dolphin species to go extinct due to human activities. The Yangtze river porpoise live in the same river and the population is shrinking rapidly. When I heard that 12 of them had died in less than 2 motnhs that raised a flag. I had been working on the graphics for myslef but I proposed it to the editors and one of them came right away and gave me a green light to go ahead. I show the Porpoise, the Baiji (extinct) and the vaquita, the most endanegred ceteacean in the world and the cutest too (that info according to me)
Women condition and Rapes in South Africa
Doctors Without Borders claims that a woman is raped every 26 seconds in South Africa, a figure matched only by countries at war. The World Health Organization has reported that the first sexual experience of 40 percent of South African women is forced. And according to South Africa’s Medical Research Council, one woman is murdered by an intimate partner every six hours.
Source: The New York Times
Britain’s Future May Be Darker Than People Think
By Peter Coy on April 25, 2012
Financial markets have shrugged off the surprising news that Britain’s economy shrank again in the first quarter, putting it into a recession. The positive spin is that the number may well be revised back into positive territory. IHS Global Insight said it was “hugely skeptical” of the official numbers. In London, British stocks rose today as good earnings reports outweighed concern about the economic contraction.
But economists at London-based Capital Economics warn today that worse may be ahead for the U.K. economy—with the bad news mostly emanating from the Continent. They estimate that a 10 percent drop in exports to the euro zone could cost as many as 1.5 percentage points of British gross domestic product. That would be three times as large as the hit on the U.S.
“This would be particularly unhelpful at a time when the U.K.’s economic plans rely on a boost from the external sector,” notes Capital. That’s a reference to the austerity measures of Prime Minister David Cameron, which hinge on the notion that export-led growth will compensate for a decline in government spending.
Capital Economics is looking for a 0.5 percent contraction in U.K. output this year. That puts it at the bottom, according to 27 forecasters surveyed by Bloomberg News. The median is 0.6 percent growth, and the high is 0.8 percent.
Sudan applies emergency act to the border region. Two fighter jets fire four missiles at South Sudan border towns, a witness says. The airstrikes across the volatile border come amid reports of fighting. Witness: “I saw one boy who was about 10 years old who was completely burned”.
The European crisis rebounds: Dutch Prime Minister resigns in budget cuts row
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte resigned on Monday in a crisis over budget cuts, creating a political vacuum in a country which strongly backed an EU fiscal treaty and lectured Greece on getting its finances in order.
Rutte said he had offered his minority coalition’s resignation to Queen Beatrix after a split with the populist Freedom Party, which had backed his government for the past 18 months, opening the way for elections possibly as early as June. The row erupted at the weekend when the anti-EU Freedom Party led by populist Geert Wilders refused to agree with Rutte’s centre-right coalition on how to cut 14 to 16 billion euros from the budget.
Turmoil in what is traditionally one of the euro zone’s most stable and prosperous members jolted financial markets, already worried that the Socialist frontrunner in French elections has pledged to renegotiate the agreement to ensure fiscal stability if he wins the presidency next month.
Markets have punished Spain by pushing up its borrowing costs sharply after Madrid relaxed its targets for cutting the budget deficit.
Analysts said the Netherlands can avoid this fate, but only if parties in and outside the centre-right coalition can somehow agree on budget cuts. Anything less may threaten the Dutch government’s AAA credit rating.
Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager, who has taken a tough line with euro zone “budget sinners” such as Greece, tried to reassure markets that the country was not about to ditch its commitment to good housekeeping.
“The Netherlands will retain its solid fiscal policy and will also show the market it will lower its deficit and also have a path of sustainable government finances,” he said.
De Jager, who in the past has said Greece should be denied international aid unless it got its fiscal house in order, dismissed suggestions that political paralysis would force the Netherlands into the ranks of Europe’s sickest economies.
Nonetheless, investors sold Dutch and peripheral euro zone bonds, driving yields on debt issued by struggling Spain above 6 percent. The premium investors demand to hold Dutch bonds rather than German benchmarks surged to its highest in three years.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso made clear the Dutch had to meet their targets. “We fully expect that the Dutch authorities will find a solution that ensures the financial stability of the country and the wellbeing of its citizens,” he told Reuters on a visit to Copenhagen.
The crisis in the Netherlands - perhaps Germany’s closest European ally on budget discipline - risks undermining a drive led by Chancellor Angela Merkel to get new fiscal rules ratified by the end of this year, although only 12 of the 17 euro zone members have to ratify it to bring the pact into force.
The Dutch crisis flared at a time of wobbling support for the EU fiscal pact. The Socialist frontrunner to win the French presidential election runoff next month, Francois Hollande, has promised to renegotiate aspects of the agreement.
Zainab al-Khawaja protesting alone in the streets of Bahrain against the arrest and detention of her father, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja—a revered human rights defender—who entered the seventieth-day of his hunger strike. She was arrested by Bahraini security forces shortly after this photo was taken.
The European Commission targets 17 million jobs
Responding to a record 10% unemployment in the EU, the union “is launching a programme for more employment,” leads Süddeutsche Zeitung. Faced with harsh criticism for its austerity policies, the European Commission is taking on what is usually considered a domestic issue: social policy and the labour market. The Commissioner tasked with the challenge, László Andor, is to present this week an “employment package” that aims to create 17 million new jobs by 2020.
The main measures of this plan are: complete opening up of labour markets, both private and public, to all European citizens – including Romanians and Bulgarians – “appropriate minimum wages” that will let employees live off their labour, mutual recognition of degrees, and lower labour taxes.
The Commission hopes the most potential lies in the health sectors, services for the elderly, development of a sustainable climate-friendly economy, and in IT, though it remains to be seen whether states will allow interference in their social affairs. The plan will be discussed at the EU summit in June.
16 April 2012 - Presseurop, Süddeutsche Zeitung
King Juan Carlos on his €10,000-a-day hunting safari in Botswana, which had been hushed up before he fell and broke his hip. Photograph: Target Press/Barcroft Media.
“We all have to tighten our belts a bit because of the difficult times for the economy,” the king had told them over the summer, as he backed austerity. The hunting trip was just the latest in a series of gaffes which have seen Spain’s normally respectful press tear up a decades-old deal not to scrutinise the royal family.
The European Commission more open to GMOs!
According to information obtained by German daily Frankfurter Rundschau, the European Commission is opening the door to the use of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in food production. After authorising, in 2011, the use of GMOs in fodder, such as soy beans for pig feed, Brussels wants to extend the authorisation of GM traces to a tolerance level of 0.1% for foodstuffs. The measure could come into force this summer.
18 April 2012 - Presseurop / Frankfurter Rundschau