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2010 November 23 | Activist News
Disobey

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 »

greed3

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

Huffington Post July 1, 2013 By Mark Gongloff Big, profitable U.S. companies paid an average federal tax rate of less than 13 percent in 2010, according to a new study — or More »

jeff olsen

Man Tried for Chalk Drawings Found Not Guilty

NBC San Diego July 1, 2013 By Christina London The man accused of vandalism for drawing with chalk outside banks has been found not guilty on all charges. A jury returned its More »

freedom-of-the-press

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 23, 2010

Corporate Profits Were the Highest on Record Last Quarter

New York Times
November 23, 2010
By CATHERINE RAMPELL

The nation’s workers may be struggling, but American companies just had their best quarter ever.

American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.66 trillion in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago, at least in nominal or non-inflation-adjusted terms.

Corporate profits have been going gangbusters for a while. Since their cyclical low in the fourth quarter of 2008, profits have grown for seven consecutive quarters, at some of the fastest rates in history.


This breakneck pace can be partly attributed to strong productivity growth — which means companies have been able to make more with less — as well as the fact that some of the profits of American companies come from abroad. Economic conditions in the United States may still be sluggish, but many emerging markets like India and China are expanding rapidly.

Tuesday’s Commerce Department report also showed that the nation’s output grew at a slightly faster pace than originally estimated last quarter. Its growth rate, of 2.5 percent a year in inflation-adjusted terms, is higher than the initial estimate of 2 percent. The economy grew at 1.7 percent annual rate in the second quarter.

Still, most economists say the current growth rate is far too slow to recover the considerable ground lost during the recession.

“The economy is not growing fast enough to reduce significantly the unemployment rate or to prevent a slide into deflation,” Paul Dales, a United States economist for Capital Economics, wrote in a note to clients. “This is unlikely to change in 2011 or 2012.”

Full Article Here – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/24/business/economy/24econ.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss

ICC War Crimes Trial of Former Dr Congo Leader Begins

Scoop
November 23, 2010

The International Criminal Court (ICC) today began the trial of former Congolese leader Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, who stands accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in the Central African Republic (CAR) between 2002 and 2003.
In 2009, judges at The Hague-based ICC found that Mr. Bemba, the leader of the Mouvement de libération du Congo (MLC), had the “necessary criminal intent” when he ordered his armed group into the CAR to back up embattled leader Ange-Félix Patassé.

According to the Court, MLC fighters committed war crimes and crimes against humanity on that mission, with Mr. Bemba “effectively acting as military commander.”


The Prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, underlined that “in the ICC era,” the fate of military commanders who commit crimes is prosecution.

“Jean-Pierre Bemba used an entire army as a weapon to rape, pillage and kill civilians in the Central African Republic. Today he is brought to account for deliberately failing to prevent, repress or punish mass atrocities committed by his men in CAR,” he told a news conference at The Hague.

With sexual violence not included in the grave breaches regime of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, Mr. Bemba’s trial is the first international criminal investigation in which alleged rapes far outnumber alleged killings.

“Sexual violence is at last being treated the way women have always experienced it – as a tactic of war and terror,” declared Margot Wallström, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Pointing to justice and accountability as “key pillars of prevention, deterrence and social change” in situations where sexual violence is rife, Ms. Wallström said that where impunity prevails, sexual violence can linger after the guns fall silent as a “war within the peace.”

Full Article Here – http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1011/S00476/icc-war-crimes-trial-of-former-dr-congo-leader-begins.htm

Helping The World’s Poor Save A Bit At A Time

NPR
November 23, 2010
By Wendy Kaufman

Far more poor people want to save — rather than borrow — money in Africa or India.

But the poor often have a hard time putting money aside.

And that’s something the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation hopes to change by putting $500 million toward something called microsavings.

“The poor do save; they already save,” says Melinda Gates, co-chair of the foundation. “We’re unlocking something they do.”

They might buy livestock or jewelry they can sell when they need cash. But animals die, and a necklace can be stolen.


Commercial banks in the developing world have little interest in providing financial services to the poor. But a few people have begun to innovate to encourage people to save. And this caught the attention of Bill and Melinda Gates.

“It really is all about how you create something at scale that will help people transform their own lives,” Melinda Gates says.

A Bank In A Butcher’s Shop

Aleksandr-Alain Kalanda, the CEO of the Opportunity International Bank of Malawi, says shoppers were initially suspicious of his minibank, and mainstream bankers laughed.

“We went into a market and established a kiosk in that market out of a butcher’s shop,” Kalanda says.

Today, 12,000 people save money at this kiosk alone.

“Virtually everybody in that market is banking with us,” Kalanda says. And so are people in the neighborhood. Many deposit 75 cents at a time, and their average balance is less than $85. But after adding it all up, it totals $1 million.

The bank can make a profit because it has a large customer base across Malawi and because the bank’s transaction costs are low.

Full Article Here – http://www.npr.org/2010/11/22/131524116/helping-the-world-s-poor-save-a-bit-at-a-time

Student fees: Liberal Democrat MPs braced for ‘doorstep’ protests

Guardian
November 22, 2010
By Paul Lewis and Matthew Taylor

Security at constituency offices stepped up ahead of marches, sit-ins and walkouts planned for Wednesday over proposed rises.

Liberal Democrat MPs have been warned that their constituency offices may be occupied on Wednesday, as anger over the proposed increase in university fees threatens to spread across the country.

Police have advised Lib Dem officials that student campaigners were planning to target offices as part of a day of protest. Two Lib Dem constituency offices were occupied on Friday – John Hemming’s in Birmingham Yardley and Jenny Willott’s in Cardiff Central.


More than 20,000 school, college and university students have signed up to a Facebook site organising a co-ordinated “walkout” from classes at 11am on Wednesday.

At least 30 regional online groups have sprung up in the past week, amid signs that the occupation of the Conservative party headquarters in London earlier this month has emboldened organisers to plan local actions.

They are planning marches, sit-ins and acts of civil disobedience in opposition to the coalition’s plans to raise tuition fees and scrap the education maintenance allowance. Organisers are predicting that some of the protests will involve fewer than 100 people, while others are predicted to attract several thousand. Tonight about 50 students occupied part of the School of Oriental and African Studies campus in central London, and in Manchester around 150 students from the Metropolitan University occupied a lecture theatre.

London is expected to be the focus of the activities, with the University of London Union (ULU) hosting a “carnival of resistance” protest. More than 1,000 facemasks have been ordered.

Protesters plan to congregate in Trafalgar Square, and other demonstrations are planned in Parliament Square, Whitehall and Horse Guards Parade. Protesters have also said they will target the Guardian’s building tomorrow, when it hosts a lecture by the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg.

Clare Solomon, president of ULU, said the masks would add to the “carnivalesque” nature of the protest. She was against plans to target the Lib Dem headquarters in a re-enactment of the occupation of the Tory building, as a result of which more than 60 people were arrested, and at least one has been charged with violent disorder.

All non-essential meetings at the Liberal Democrats‘ London headquarters in Cowley Street have been cancelled or moved. Security will be stepped up and officials said police had promised “reinforcements” would be stationed around the building. Lines of police are also expected to be deployed around parliament and department buildings.

The Metropolitan police, criticised for failing to predict the level of unrest at the last demonstration, will have officers from its specialist riot squad, the territorial support group, on standby across central London in an operation overseen by Commander Bob Broadhurst, who was in command of policing at last year’s G20 demonstration.

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/nov/22/liberal-democrat-mps-student-protests

Atomic damages case due for trial

ITN
November 22, 2010

A single case of a British atomic test veteran claiming damages is now entitled to proceed to trial.

Three High Court judges have ruled that the case of the late Bert Sinfield should be heard.

But Lady Justice Smith, Justice Leveson and Sir Mark Waller ruled that nine other test cases were statute-barred and outside the legal time limit.

They said they had declined to exercise their discretion in the veterans’ favour because they had no evidence which could prove their illnesses had probably been caused by radiation exposure.


The servicemen blame their ill-health, including cancer, skin defects and fertility problems, on involvement in Britain’s nuclear tests on the Australian mainland, Monte Bello and Christmas islands between 1952 and 1958.

The MoD, while acknowledging its “debt of gratitude”, denies negligence and fought the cases on the preliminary point that they were all launched outside the legal time limit.

It is likely that the veterans will attempt to take their case on to the Supreme Court.

Full Article Here – http://uk.news.yahoo.com/4/20101122/tuk-atomic-damages-case-due-for-trial-dba1618.html

US, China, Russia Resist Weapons Pact: Report

Common Dreams
November 22, 2010
By Robert Evans

The United States, Russia and China are working against a pact signed by 108 countries to ban cluster munitions that kill civilians long after conflicts, a leading international campaign group said on Monday.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the 3 powers — as well as others like India, Pakistan, Israel and South Korea — were still pushing for a weaker United Nations treaty on the weapons although the pact was already in force.
“More than two years after adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the United States and other major military powers continue actively to resist the convention,” a 224-page report by the group said.

The report — Meeting the Challenge: Protecting Civilians through the Convention on Cluster Munitions — was presented by HRW at the United Nations’ European headquarters, seat of the world body-sponsored Conference on Disarmament.


The convention, negotiated outside the U.N. disarmament framework by countries frustrated at blockages in talks there, bans production, stockpiling and transfer of the weapons, which are dropped by air or fired by artillery.

Campaigners say they have killed thousands of civilians, with many deaths unrecorded in rural areas of poor countries where they have been deployed, since their first major use by the United States in Vietnam in the 1960s.

COLD WAR WEAPON

The weapon, designed during the Cold War to attack tanks and supporting troops in open warfare, scatters bomblets over a wide area which often fail to detonate immediately and can explode years after fighting is over.

The convention was signed in Oslo in December 2008 and went into force on August 1 this year when 46 countries had ratified it. Ratifications by others are pending.

Several signatories have already destroyed their stocks, and others like Britain and France are in the process of doing so. But the countries HRW dubbed “resisters” have stood aloof, saying they prefer more gradual measures.

Later this week, diplomats from countries supporting the convention and their critics will meet for two days in Geneva in an attempt to push the U.N. process forward.

They are to hear a report from an expert group looking into the humanitarian impact of cluster weapons — an exercise activists say is pointless.

“What is needed is a total ban as soon as possible,” Bonnie Docherty, senior HRW arms researcher and author of the report told a briefing for negotiators and journalists.

Full Article Here – http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/11/22-1

US, China, Russia Resist Weapons Pact: Report

CommonDreams
November 22, 2010
By Robert Evans

The United States, Russia and China are working against a pact signed by 108 countries to ban cluster munitions that kill civilians long after conflicts, a leading international campaign group said on Monday.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the 3 powers — as well as others like India, Pakistan, Israel and South Korea — were still pushing for a weaker United Nations treaty on the weapons although the pact was already in force.
“More than two years after adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the United States and other major military powers continue actively to resist the convention,” a 224-page report by the group said.

The report — Meeting the Challenge: Protecting Civilians through the Convention on Cluster Munitions — was presented by HRW at the United Nations’ European headquarters, seat of the world body-sponsored Conference on Disarmament.


The convention, negotiated outside the U.N. disarmament framework by countries frustrated at blockages in talks there, bans production, stockpiling and transfer of the weapons, which are dropped by air or fired by artillery.

Campaigners say they have killed thousands of civilians, with many deaths unrecorded in rural areas of poor countries where they have been deployed, since their first major use by the United States in Vietnam in the 1960s.

COLD WAR WEAPON

The weapon, designed during the Cold War to attack tanks and supporting troops in open warfare, scatters bomblets over a wide area which often fail to detonate immediately and can explode years after fighting is over.

The convention was signed in Oslo in December 2008 and went into force on August 1 this year when 46 countries had ratified it. Ratifications by others are pending.

Several signatories have already destroyed their stocks, and others like Britain and France are in the process of doing so. But the countries HRW dubbed “resisters” have stood aloof, saying they prefer more gradual measures.

Later this week, diplomats from countries supporting the convention and their critics will meet for two days in Geneva in an attempt to push the U.N. process forward.

They are to hear a report from an expert group looking into the humanitarian impact of cluster weapons — an exercise activists say is pointless.

“What is needed is a total ban as soon as possible,” Bonnie Docherty, senior HRW arms researcher and author of the report told a briefing for negotiators and journalists.

Full Article Here -

Yoo: I Said Torture Was Legal, But It Doesn’t Mean They Should’ve Done It

TPM Muckracker
November 22, 2010
By Ryan J. Reilly

Former Justice Department lawyer and “torture memo” author John Yoo used a speeding metaphor to explain that just because he gave George W. Bush the legal justification for the “unpopular” decision to waterboard Khalid Sheikh Muhammed didn’t mean Bush had to go through with it.

“Just because a law says you can drive 65 miles per hour doesn’t mean you have to drive 65 miles per hour,” Yoo said. “There’s still a lot of discretion and choice that the leaders of our government had to make.”

“I know part of the job from being the lawyer is defending sometimes unpopular decisions that your clients make. I’m willing to do that part of the job. But I also think that there’s no escaping responsibility if people who make the policy decision,” Yoo said in an interview on CNN on Friday.


“And I’m prepared and confident in saying that I think my legal judgment then was right under the circumstances. But that doesn’t mean that you had to — that President Bush had to choose the policy that they did either,” Yoo said.

Bush said in a recent interview promoting his book that he personally gave the CIA the go ahead to use harsh interrogation techniques against KSM. Alberto Gonzales told TPM last week that he was “aware” of the government’s policy towards so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, but wouldn’t say whether he heard President Bush’s statement that he told the CIA “damn right” when asked whether to waterboard the man behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International have called on Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate Bush for the decision, as has Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

Full Article Here – http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/11/yoo_i_said_torture_was_legal_but_it_doesnt_mean_they_shouldve_done_it_video.php?ref=fpb