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2010 November 9 | Activist News
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The Road to World War 3

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Edward Snowden

Open Letter To Obama

July 26, 2013 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Re: Civil Disobedience, Edward J. Snowden, and the Constitution Dear Mr. President: You are acutely aware More »

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U.S. Companies Pay Just One-Third Of The Legal Tax Rate: GAO Study

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The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

Washington’s Blog/Global Research May 20, 2012 By George Washington Attack on the Press You know that the Department of Justice tapped scores of phone lines at the Associated Press. You might have More »

Daily Archives: November 9, 2010

Investigation launched into soaring executive pay

Guardian
November 9, 2010
By Jill Treanor

An investigation into the escalating pay of boardroom bosses will be launched today as Barclays prepares to reveal that its investment banking arm has amassed a pay and bonus pot of at least £4bn this year.

As the high pay commission, set up by the thinktank Compass and backed by the Joseph Rowntree charitable trust, begins its year-long analysis into the widening gap between the lowest and highest paid, a Compass poll shows that 99% of people believe that top executives are overpaid.

The poll, intended to coincide with the launch of the commission, shows that only 1% of people think that top executives should be paid as much as they are, while 64% believe that a chief executive should take home less than £500,000 a year.

The commission intends to have a broader focus than the government’s investigation into fair pay in the public sector being headed by Observer columnist Will Hutton.

Vince Cable, the business secretary, has already launched a review of British business which will include an analysis of soaring executive pay. However, chancellor George Osborne is yet to give any guidance on whether proposals to expose pay deals of more than £1m in the banking sector made by City grandee Sir David Walker will be adopted by the government.

Compass began campaigning for the government to create a high pay commission more than a year ago when it suggested that a maximum pay ratio should be imposed on companies so that the top earner at a company never earns more than a precise multiple of the lowest earner.

With the previous government failing to adopt its ideas and the coalition also shunning its proposal, Compass is appointing Deborah Hargreaves, a former Financial Times journalist and one-time business editor of the Guardian, to chair the commission.

She will be joined by the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Newby; Brian Bailey, director of pensions at the West Midlands Pension Fund; Frances O’Grady, deputy general secretary of the TUC; and Michael Taylor, former director of Christian Aid.

The commission, which Compass stressed would be independent, will focus on top pay in the private sector and comes after research by Incomes Data Services that found the pay of boardroom bosses rose 55% in a year. The average chief executive of a FTSE 100 company was paid a total of more than £4m.

Hargreaves said: “Pay at the top is one of the most pressing debates of the day. The forthcoming spending cuts will shift the public’s focus even more onto the question of fairness and the gap between high and low pay.”

The commission begins its analysis amid estimates that Barclays Capital has set aside another £1.5bn to pay its 25,000 staff on top of the £3bn pay and bonus pot that had been amassed half way through the year. A trading statement by Barclays due today is expected to show a downturn in investment banking profits in the third quarter – matching the recent results from many of its rivals.

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/nov/09/executive-pay-inquiry-launched?CMP=twt_fd

Cholera case confirmed in Haitian capital

Associated Press
November 8, 2010
By JONATHAN M. KATZ

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A 3-year-old boy from a Port-au-Prince tent city was confirmed by health authorities to have cholera Monday, proving Haiti’s growing epidemic has spread from outlying areas to the country’s crowded capital.

The confirmation raises the peril for an estimated 2.5 million to 3 million people in the city, nearly half of whom have been living in tents or under tarps in easily flooded encampments since the Jan. 12 earthquake destroyed their homes.

Samples from more than 100 other patients in the capital were being tested for cholera. The outbreak has already killed at least 544 people in Haiti, Health Ministry Executive Director Gabriel Timothee told The Associated Press.

The boy was tested after being taken to the Bernard Mevs/Project Medishare hospital Oct. 31 suffering from severe dehydration, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. He was treated with oral rehyrdration, IV fluids and antibiotics and released.

A stool sample tested by Haiti’s national laboratory contained vibrio cholerae 01, the bacteria causing the disease, the chief medical officer, Dr. Antonia Eyssallenne, confirmed to AP in an email. The boy’s family had not traveled in more than a year or had contact with anyone from the Artibonite Valley, where the epidemic was first registered and has done its most ferocious damage.

Timothee said many of the patients hospitalized in the capital with cholera are believed to have recently arrived from the Artibonite Valley, an agricultural area where more than 6,400 of Haiti’s known 8,138 casese have been recorded.

At least 114 of the people suspected of having the disease in the capital are in the Cite Soleil slum, the expansive oceanside shantytown at the capital’s far northeastern edge and its closest point to the valley.

Since its discovery in late October, the disease has spread to half of Haiti’s 10 administrative regions, or departments. More than 200 people have been hospitalized in the West department, where Port-au-Prince is located, but no cases of cholera have yet been confirmed within the limits of the capital city.

Cholera had never been documented in Haiti before its appearance last month.

In little more than three weeks it is suspected of infecting tens of thousands of people, though only about a quarter of people infected normally develop symptoms of serious diarrhea, vomiting and fever. Nearly 4 percent of the thousands hospitalized have died, most from extreme shock brought on by dehydration.

Officials are concerned that floods triggered by Hurricane Tomas on Friday and Saturday could exacerbate the spread of the disease, which is transmitted through the consumption of fecal matter contained in contaminated water or food. The release of a dam on the Artibonite River caused the infected waterway to swell Monday, but there were no reports of major flooding.

Living conditions in Port-au-Prince’s earthquake camps have “deteriorated as a result of the storm,” Boston-based Partners in Health said Monday.

“Standing water, mud, lack of garbage collection, and limited sanitation availability make the camps a potential flashpoint for cholera outbreak,” the group said.

Humanitarian groups and Haitian health care workers have been working in Port-au-Prince to prepare for cholera, informing residents about preventative measures such as regular hand-washing and sufficiently cooking food as well as setting up clinics in expectation that the disease would spread to the city.

The origin of the outbreak continues to be a source for debate. Analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that the cholera outbreak in Haiti most closely matches a strain of the disease found in South Asia.

Full Article Here – http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101109/ap_on_he_me/cb_haiti_disease_outbreak

World Bank president calls for debate on global gold standard

Raw Story
November 8, 2010
By Stephen C. Webster

Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank, shook up the world of international finance and central banking on Monday when he called for consideration of tying currency values to the global trade of gold, in hopes of producing more stable economies.
Basically, he called for the G20 to discuss establishing a global gold standard as part of an ongoing refashioning of financial markets — and his remarks sent prices of the shiny metal soaring.

Gold, he wrote in an editorial published by The Financial Times, could be “employed as an international reference point of market expectations about inflation, deflation and future currency values. Although textbooks may view gold as the old money, markets are using gold as an alternative monetary asset today.”

Zoellick said the modified gold standard could play a key role in the third reformatting of the global monetary systems since World War II and the Bretton Woods Agreement.

He added that whatever system emerges would “likely to need to involve the dollar, the euro, the yen, the pound and a renminbi that moves towards internationalization.”

Zoellick’s remarks come ahead of the G-20 meeting in S. Korea, where the issue of quantitative easing is sure to be a hot topic. Quantitative easing is a term used to describe the effect of a central bank that dilutes a currency’s value by injecting even more currency into the system.

The practice, which the US Federal Reserve is about to begin anew, has led to talk of an international “currency war,” with the world’s most powerful economies reducing the values of their currencies to compete with each other.

“The world has seen an international gold standard before, during the interwar years and between 1875 and 1914; England was the first country to adopt a gold standard in 1821,” Forbes reporter Parmy Olson noted. “But in 1971 President Richard Nixon abandoned the system established under the Bretton Woods Agreement, instigating a new, more flexible period in the global currency market known as ‘Bretton Woods II.’”

Full Article Here – http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/world-bank-president-calls-debate-global-gold-standard/

Servicemen at ‘UK’s Abu Ghraib’ may be guilty of war crimes, court hears

Guardian
November 8, 2010
By Ian Cobain

British servicemen who filmed hundreds of interrogation sessions at a secret prison near Basra which has been described as “the UK’s Abu Ghraib” may be guilty of war crimes, the high court heard today.

Evidence of the alleged systematic and brutal mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at the facility, operated by a military intelligence unit called the Joint Forces Interrogation Team (JFIT), has been submitted during proceedings brought by more than 200 former inmates.

Further footage of the interrogation of a suspected insurgent brought into JFIT in April 2007 emerged in court today, showing the individual being abused and intimidated, subjected to sensory deprivation and threatened with execution. The footage also shows him being led out of the interrogation cell, wearing ear muffs and blackened goggles, to be “taken for a quick run”, before being brought back a minute later.

In statements submitted to the court, this man and others say that during these interludes they were forced to run in zigzags across an assault course while wearing blackened goggles, and being kicked and beaten with rifle butts.

The court has been told that there is evidence that detainees were starved, deprived of sleep, subjected to sensory deprivation and threatened with execution at JFIT. It also received allegations that prisoners were beaten, forced to kneel in stressful positions for up to 30 hours at a time, and that some men detained by British forces were subjected to electric shocks.

Some of the 222 men bringing proceedings say they were subject to sexual humiliation by women soldiers, while others allege that they were held for days in brightly-lit cells as small as one metre square.

Michael Fordham QC, counsel for the men, told the court: “The question needs to be asked, if these very serious allegations are true … are these British war crimes?”

Lawyers for the former JFIT inmates say there needs to be a public inquiry, to discover what happened and to investigate the extent to which the abuses were systemic, as well as to establish the lessons to be learned. Today’s proceedings were intended to force such an inquiry. In a related case, around 250 Iraqi people detained by British forces are seeking damages for injuries they say they suffered.

The Ministry of Defence says a public inquiry would be costly and unnecessary, and that a team of investigators should be permitted to continue its own investigation into the allegations, which it insists remain “unproven”.

The men’s lawyers say that the MoD’s investigation is expected to answer to a branch of the military, the provost marshal(army), which was responsible for the detention of the 222 men – although not their interrogation – and that an investigation by the military of the military would fail to meet the UK’s obligations under the European convention on human rights.

It is unclear why the interrogators filmed themselves, unless they were preparing training material for use at their headquarters in Chicksands, Bedfordshire. There is reason to believe that the camera is being operated by someone outside the room. During a preliminary hearing, the court heard that a total of 1,253 interrogation sessions were recorded.

The film disclosed today shows the suspected insurgent, a 30-year-old mechanic identified by his lawyers as “Hanif”, being interrogated at the British base at Shaiba, south west of Basra.

Throughout repeated sessions, the interrogators attempt to force Hanif to confess to taking part in a mortar attack on a British base several days earlier, which he denies. He is asked no questions about future insurgent operations.

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/nov/08/servicemen-uk-abu-ghraib-court-iraq

Thousands flee fighting

The Nation
November 9, 2010

More than 12,000 Burmese fled into Thailand yesterday to escape fresh armed clashes in the border towns of Myawaddy and Pyaduangsu, only a day after an election which critics called “a sham perpetuation of military power” in Burma.

Ethnic minorities along the Thai-Burmese border had warned earlier that the junta would launch a major offensive after holding its first election in 20 years, as many armed rebel groups refused to become part of the government-controlled Border Guard Forces.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday said he anticipated the border situation would be a matter of heightened concern for at least three months during the transitional period following the poll.

“This is the critical period, when the Burmese government and the minorities are testing their powers,” he told reporters.

The Thai government has instructed commanders on the ground to take care of the border and prepare to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees, but to avoid any creating any misunderstanding between the countries, he added.
The clash in Myawaddy between the formerly pro-junta Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) and Burmese government troops killed three people and injured about 20 others, border sources said.

The DKBA commander, Maj-General Saw La Pwe (aka Nakhamway), confirmed in a telephone interview with the Karen Information Centre that his soldiers had captured eight Burmese troops, including two majors.

The DKBA’s Brigade 5 stormed Burmese government posts in Myawaddy on Sunday in an attempt to resist the authorities’ order for them to become members of the Border Guard Forces after the election.

The DKBA took over key strategic positions in the town, including a communication office, a police station, a Thai-Burma Friendship Bridge guard house on the Myawaddy side, a township office and a Military Affairs Security Unit Office, the last of these formerly a Military Intelligence facility. 

Full Article Here – http://www.nationmultimedia.com/home/2010/11/09/national/Thousands-flee-fighting-30141821.html