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Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 11:46 PM
Number of posts: 13,713
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May 19, 2015 by Amanda Froelich
More than 45,000 people came together last weekend and set the Guinness World Record for single-day reforestation efforts.
You often hear saddening statistics about the rate of deforestation from ecologically-minded friends and the news, but how often do you hear about the good that is being carried out to reverse environmental damage? Not as often, that’s for sure.
As stated by Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, “Ecuador broke a world record for reforestation Saturday, as thousands of people pitched in to plant 647,250 trees of more than 200 species.”
On May 16, 2015, thousands of people gathered to volunteer and reforest the Earth. They planted 220 different species of flora on almost 5,000 acres of land, setting a new Guinness World Record.
Full article: http://www.trueactivist.com/ecuador-just-set-the-world-record-for-reforestation/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TrueActivist+%28True+Activist%29
Posted by polly7 | Thu May 21, 2015, 11:41 AM (3 replies)
West African family heartbroken after sending child on treacherous journey to seek a better life in Europe.
By Nicolas Haque
May 20, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "Al Jazeera" - Abdou Diallo has been training to be a mechanic in Senegal's capital, Dakar, for six years - since he was 10 - hoping to one day get a paying job.
But knowing that his life would likely be spent struggling to earn a small wage, the 16-year-old's parents have taken out a huge loan and sold all of the family possessions so that Abdou can try and make the treacherous journey to Europe.
While the visa to most European nations cost about $100, Abdou and his family know that Africans are rarely able to obtain such visas.
So they are paying people smugglers $3,000 to organise the trip, which will include an overland trip into Libya and then onto a boat to cross the Mediterranean.
It is a trip fraught with danger. Nearly 2,000 migrants are thought to have drowned trying to reach Europe so far this year and more than 10,000 have been rescued.
Full article: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article41915.htm
Posted by polly7 | Wed May 20, 2015, 10:08 PM (0 replies)
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Film premiering this week in the UK details 2003 march against Iraq War—the largest protest in history
by Nadia Prupis, staff writer
The 2003 protest against the Iraq War brought out approximately one million people in London alone. (Photo: We Are Many/Facebook)
The extraordinary February 15, 2003 march against the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which brought an estimated 30 million people to the streets in 800 cities on every continent, is immortalized on screen in Amir Amirani's acclaimed documentary, We Are Many, premiering in the UK this week.
Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/05/20/we-are-many-documentary-depicts-legacy-global-anti-war-movement
We Are Many - Official Trailer - MAY 21 Nationwide Screenings With Q&A, In Cinemas May 22
Posted by polly7 | Wed May 20, 2015, 09:46 PM (3 replies)
Hundreds of Tech Companies to Congress: TPP and Fast Track Harms Digital Innovation and Users’ Right
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 12:30pm
Electronic Frontier Foundation
WASHINGTON - In a joint letter to Congress released today, more than 250 technology companies and user rights organizations say that the extreme level of secrecy surrounding trade negotiations have led to provisions in agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that threaten digital innovation, free speech, and access to knowledge online, and the letter calls on Congress to come out against the Fast Track, also known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), bill for legitimizing this secretive process. Its signatories include AVG Technologies, DreamHost, Namecheap, Mediafire, Imgur, Internet Archive, BoingBoing, Piwik, Private Internet Access, and many others.
Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2015/05/20/hundreds-tech-companies-congress-tpp-and-fast-track-harms-digital-innovation-and
Posted by polly7 | Wed May 20, 2015, 09:42 PM (5 replies)
Published on Wednesday, May 20, 2015
by Common Dreams
Biodiverse ecological agriculture in women's hands is a solution not just to the malnutrition crisis, but also the climate crisis.
by Vandana Shiva
'Women have been the primary growers of food and nutrition throughout history,' writes Dr. Vandana Shiva, 'but today, food is being taken out of our hands and substituted for toxic commodities controlled by global corporations.' (Photos: Georgina Smith/CIAT)
Having destroyed our sources of nutrition by destroying biodiversity—and creating vitamin A, iron and other deficiencies—the same companies who created the crisis are promising a miracle solution: GMOs. Genetically engineered Golden Rice and GMO Bananas are being proposed by corporations hiding behind the cloak of academia as a solution to hunger and malnutrition in the Global South. But these are false miracles.
Full article: http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/05/20/women-and-biodiversity-feed-world-not-corporations-and-gmos
Posted by polly7 | Wed May 20, 2015, 09:19 PM (1 replies)
A young boy sits outside his home, which was destroyed when Saudi-led forces targeted his neighborhood Dhamar, 90 kilometers from the capital. Photo by Alhussain Albukhaiti, taken on April 14, 2015. Copyright Demotix.
More than 1,800 people — mostly civilians — have died and another 500, 000 people have been displaced in fighting so far.
Electricity, Food and Fuel Shortages Increase Suffering of Yemenis as Saudi-Coalition Bombs Continue to Fall
Yemen's Humanitarian Crisis Exacerbated By War
According to UNICEF, children in Yemen are more at risk of dying from hunger and poor health care than bombs and bullets.
Posted by polly7 | Wed May 20, 2015, 01:44 PM (2 replies)
Workers in the fast food industry in New Zealand scored a spectacular victory over what has been dubbed “zero hour contracts” during a collective agreement bargaining round over the course of March and April this year.
Government under pressure:.........
“Zero-hour contracts are common in the fast-food and service industries. Companies like McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s still use them. Young and vulnerable workers are particularly affected. Probably among these are the offspring of National Party voters who are working in fast-food outlets while, say, in tertiary study. A message about the implicit unfairness of their lot will have reached the Beehive.
“Mr Woodhouse insisted initially that there should be no rush to reform because zero-hour contracts could be valid in certain circumstances. That may be so with casual agreements involving university students, where it suits either party to be able to say yes or no to work. In that situation, the balance is equitable. But this can hardly be used as a justification for maintaining the practice in circumstances where the balance is clearly unfair.
“Already, the minister has indicated change will occur in two areas. First, restraint of trade provisions that stop employees working for a competing business if their employer does not provide their desired hours of work will be outlawed. Second, shifts will no longer be able to be cancelled at short notice. The restraint of trade is especially unfair. It prevents workers taking on extra part-time work to provide far greater income certainty.
“Mr Woodhouse must not stop there, however. The Restaurant Brands employees won a guaranteed number of hours of work. That must also be part of the Government’s changes. The law must specify that workers paid at an hourly rate are assured an agreed weekly minimum number of hours. Employees will derive a benefit in terms of certainty and security. Workers, for their part, demonstrate far greater loyalty to employers if they feel they are being treated fairly. As with the best workplace law, advantages will flow to both sides.”
Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/how-unite-took-on-the-fast-food-companies-over-zero-hour-contracts-and-won/
Posted by polly7 | Wed May 20, 2015, 01:05 PM (0 replies)
These agreements are garbage, and I have no idea why our gov'ts keep creating new ones that allow overruling laws, except that corporations must be valued above all else. People are just tools now to keep them running.
NAFTA Is Starving Mexico
Free trade has starved Mexico and stuffed transnational corporations.
Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) became the law of the land, millions of Mexicans have joined the ranks of the hungry. Malnutrition is highest among the country’s farm families, who used to produce enough food to feed the nation.
As the blood-spattered violence of the drug war takes over the headlines, many Mexican men, women, and children confront the slow and silent violence of starvation. The latest reports show that the number of people living in “food poverty” (the inability to purchase the basic food basket) rose from 18 million in 2008 to 20 million by late 2010.
About one-fifth of Mexican children currently suffer from malnutrition. An innovative measurement applied by the National Institute for Nutrition registers a daily count of 728,909 malnourished children under five for October 18, 2011. Government statistics report that 25 percent of the population does not have access to basic food.
Seventeen years after NAFTA, some two million farmers have been forced off their land by low prices and the dismantling of government supports. They did not find jobs in industry. Instead most of them became part of a mass exodus as the number of Mexican migrants to the United States rose to half a million a year. In the first few years of NAFTA, corn imports tripled and the producer price fell by half.
Take the case of Corn Products International (CPI). The transnational filed a NAFTA claim against the Mexican government in 2003, claiming a loss to its business due to a tax levied on high fructose corn syrup in beverages. Mexico’s reason for imposing the tax was to save a sugarcane industry that provided jobs for thousands of citizens and played a crucial economic role in many regions. The government was also frustrated by its failure under NAFTA to access the highly protected U.S. sugar market.
A 2008 NAFTA tribunal ruled that Mexico had to pay $58.4 million to CPI. The government paid up on January 25, 2011. CPI posted $3.7 billion dollars in net sales the year of the decision. The fine paid by the Mexican government could have provided a year’s worth of the basic food basket to more than 50,000 poor families.
How NAFTA Drove Mexicans into Poverty and Sparked the Zapatista Revolt
By EDELO, Creative Time Reports
The North American Free Trade Agreement, passed 20 years ago, has resulted in increased emigration, hunger and poverty (with Video)
December 30, 2013
Mexico was said to be one step away from entering the “First World.” It was December 1992, and Mexico’s then-president, Carlos Salinas, signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The global treaty came with major promises of economic development, driven by increased farm production and foreign investment, that would end emigration and eliminate poverty. But, as the environmentalist Gustavo Castro attests in our video, the results have been the complete opposite—increased emigration, hunger and poverty.
While the world was entertaining the idea of the end of times supposedly predicted by the Mayan calendar, on December 21, 2012, over 40,000 Mayan Zapatis . tas took to the streets to make their presence known in a March of Silence. The indigenous communities of Chiapas—Tzeltales, Tzotziles, Tojolobales, Choles, Zoques and Mames—began their mobilization from their five centers of government, which are called Caracoles. In silence they entered the fog of a December winter and occupied the same squares, in the same cities, that they had descended upon as ill-equipped rebels on January 1, 1994, the day NAFTA came into effect.
In light of the 20th anniversary of NAFTA’s implementation and the Zapatista uprising, we set out to explore both the positive and negative effects of the international treaty. The poverty caused by NAFTA, and the waves of violence, forced migration and environmental disasters it has precipitated, should not be understated. The republic of Mexico is under threat from multinational corporations like the Canadian mining company Blackfire Explorations, which is threatening to sue the state of Chiapas for $800 million under NAFTA Chapter 11 because its government closed a Blackfire barite mine after pressure from local environmental activists like Mariano Abarca Roblero, who was murdered in 2009.
Still, one result of the corporate extraction of Mexico’s natural resources and displacement of its people that has followed the treaty has been the organization and strengthening of initiatives by indigenous communities to construct autonomy from the bottom up. Seeing that their own governments cannot respond to popular demands without retribution from corporations, the people of Mexico are asking about alternatives: “What is it that we do want?” The Zapatista revolution reminds us that not only another world, but many other worlds, are possible
Full Article: http://www.alternet.org/world/how-nafta-drove-mexicans-poverty-and-sparked-zapatista-revolt?akid=11347.44541.RWB6aQ&rd=1&src=newsletter941851&t=19
NAFTA's Chapter 11 Makes Canada Most-Sued Country Under Free Trade Tribunals
Canada is the most-sued country under the North American Free Trade Agreement and a majority of the disputes involve investors challenging the country’s environmental laws, according to a new study.
“Thanks to NAFTA chapter 11, Canada has now been sued more times through investor-state dispute settlement than any other developed country in the world,” said Scott Sinclair, who authored the study.
There are currently eight cases against the Canadian government asking for a total of $6 billion in damages. All of them were brought by U.S. companies.
The study notes that although NAFTA proponents claimed that ISDS was needed to address concerns about corruption in the Mexican court system, most investor-state challenges involve public policy and regulatory matters. Sixty three per cent of claims against Canada involve challenges to environmental protection or resource management measures.
Even though Canada enjoyed a healthy and mutually beneficial free trade with the US, Mulroney was duped into the Canada/US Free Trade Agreement, later to become NAFTA. In the wink of an eye Canada went from being a branch plant economy to a captive economy and resource slave to the US. NAFTA has really nothing to do with free trade. It is really a constitutional bill of rights for corporate exploitation. It was a huge step forward in formalizing the corporate welfare state and marked the death knell of the social welfare state. While many Canadians saw from the outset the NAFTA was an economic Trojan horse, Americans on their side of the border were only later to have similar concerns.
FOUR REASONS WHY NAFTA IS A BAD DEAL FOR CANADA:
NAFTA undermines democracy. Foreign corporations use Chapter 11 to challenge environmental laws, municipal land-use controls, water protection measures, the activities of Canada Post, and even the decisions of judges and juries. While no Canadian citizen or corporation could bring forward these challenges, NAFTA grants corporations of member countries the right to challenge any federal rule or law that they perceive as a barrier to their ability to make a profit. The result is millions of tax dollars being spent to either fight or settle with these corporations.
NAFTA threatens health care and other public services. The exemption for health care under NAFTA, which has largely kept U.S. for-profit health corporations out of Canada, applies only to a fully publicly funded system. Once privatized, the system must give “national treatment” rights to American private hospital chains. The NAFTA exemption only applies to medicare as it stood in 1989, and doesn’t provide protection for a possible expansion of medicare into new areas like homecare and pharmacare.
NAFTA strips Canada of control over our energy resources. Canada now produces about 40 per cent more oil than it consumes, but has to rely heavily on imported oil from offshore. Thanks to NAFTA, Canada now exports 70 percent of the oil and 61 per cent of the natural gas we produce each year to the United States. NAFTA prevents us from selling our energy resources to Canadians at rates lower than we sell them in the U.S. And because of NAFTA’s proportional sharing clause, we can’t ever cut back on the amount of energy we produce and sell to the United States, even in times when our country runs short.
NAFTA could put our water up for sale. Canadian water is defined as a “service” and an “investment” under NAFTA. The agreement’s so-called water exemption is inadequate. After British Columbia banned bulk exports of lake and river water, the California-based Sun Belt Corporation launched a Chapter 11 challenge, seeking $10 billion in damages. The case is still outstanding, and has profound implications for the future of Canada’s water.
Posted by polly7 | Tue May 19, 2015, 04:18 PM (1 replies)
I thought it was absolutely horrible to use rape as a propaganda weapon for war, while ignoring the reality of it for all those brutalized, raped and some, murdered by the NATO supported 'rebels' - just one example of their many atrocities.
In early March of 2011, news headlines in Western nations reported that Gaddafi would kill half a million people.
<1> On March 18, as the UN agreed to launch air strikes on Libya, it was reported that Gaddafi had begun an assault against the rebel-held town of Benghazi. The Daily Mail reported that Gaddafi had threatened to send in his African mercenaries to crush the rebellion.<2> Reports of Libyan government tanks sitting outside Benghazi poised for an invasion were propagated in the Western media.<3> In the lead-up to the United Nations imposing a no-fly zone, reports spread rapidly through the media of Libyan government jets bombing the rebels.<4> Even in February, the New York Times – the sacred temple for the ‘stenographers of power’ we call “journalists” – reported that Gaddafi was amassing “thousands of mercenaries” to defend Tripoli and crush the rebels.<5>
Italy’s Foreign Minister declared that over 1,000 people were killed in the fighting in February, citing the number as “credible.”<6> Even a top official with Human Rights Watch declared the rebels to be “peaceful protesters” who “are nice, sincere people who want a better future for Libya.”<7> The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights declared that “thousands” of people were likely killed by Gaddafi, “and called for international intervention to protect civilians.”<8> In April, reports spread near and far at lightning speed of Gaddafi’s forces using rape as a weapon of war, with the first sentence in a Daily Mail article declaring, “Children as young as eight are being raped in front of their families by Gaddafi’s forces in Libya,” with Gaddafi handing out Viagra to his troops in a planned and organized effort to promote rape.<9>
As it turned out, these claims – as posterity notes – turned out to be largely false and contrived. Doctors Without Borders and Amnesty International both investigated the claims of rape, and “have found no first-hand evidence in Libya that rapes are systematic and being used as part of war strategy,” and their investigations in Eastern Libya “have not turned up significant hard evidence supporting allegations of rapes by Qaddafi’s forces.” Yet, just as these reports came out, Hillary Clinton declared that the U.S. is “deeply concerned by reports of wide-scale rape” in Libya.<10> Even U.S. military and intelligence officials had to admit that, “there is no evidence that Libyan military forces are being given Viagra and engaging in systematic rape against women in rebel areas”; at the same time Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, “told a closed-door meeting of officials at the UN that the Libyan military is using rape as a weapon in the war with the rebels and some had been issued the anti-impotency drug. She reportedly offered no evidence to backup the claim.”<
Untrue, says US
US says Gadhafi troops issued Viagra, raping victims
Allegation suggests troops encouraged to turn to sexual violence, envoys say
By Louis Charbonneau
updated 4/28/2011 9:31:26 PM ET
UNITED NATIONS — The U.S. envoy to the United Nations told the Security Council Thursday that troops loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi were increasingly engaging in sexual violence and some had been issued the impotency drug Viagra, diplomats said.
Several U.N. diplomats who attended a closed-door Security Council meeting on Libya told Reuters that U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice raised the Viagra issue in the context of increasing reports of sexual violence by Gadhafi's troops.
"Rice raised that in the meeting but no one responded," a diplomat said on condition of anonymity. The allegation was first reported by a British newspaper.
US intel: No evidence of Viagra as weapon in Libya
UN Ambassador Rice reportedly had said drug was being used in systematic rapes
NBC News and news services updated 4/29/2011 1:52:00 PM ET
UNITED NATIONS — There is no evidence that Libyan military forces are being given Viagra and engaging in systematic rape against women in rebel areas, US military and intelligence officials told NBC News on Friday.
Diplomats said Thursday that US Ambassador Susan Rice told a closed-door meeting of officials at the UN that the Libyan military is using rape as a weapon in the war with the rebels and some had been issued the anti- impotency drug. She reportedly offered no evidence to backup the claim.
While rape has been a weapon of choice in many other African conflicts, the US officials say they've seen no such reports out of Libya.
Posted by polly7 | Tue May 19, 2015, 03:17 PM (1 replies)
Please see prior thread:
By Rene Guerra
Source: teleSUR English
May 19, 2015
In anticipation of an imminent ruling from the World Bank’s little known investor-state arbitration tribunal that could force El Salvador to pay Canadian mining firm OceanaGold US$301 million, a Salvadoran delegation is in Canada to discuss how this arbitration process threatens democratic decision making, public health and the environment here and beyond.
“As United Nations expert Alfred de Zayas recently expressed, the impact that investor-state arbitrations have already had and will have on human rights is very worrisome,” warned Yanira Cortez, Deputy Attorney for the Environment for El Salvador’s Human Rights Prosecutor’s Office, at an event in Ottawa this week. “We know that just the threat of these lawsuits can force governments in the Global South – and even here in Canada – to go against the public interest when it comes to health and environmental protections.”
Since May 11, Cortez and Marcos Gálvez, President of the Association for the Development of El Salvador, have been sharing how their country’s sovereign decision to halt large-scale mining on environmental grounds could be punished any day now by the secretive International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington, DC. Gálvez’s organization is also a founding member of the country’s National Roundtable against Metal Mining.
They have also been reminding Canadians of the dangers they face through investor provisions in existing and proposed free trade agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Canada and European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).
OceanaGold (originally Pacific Rim) is suing El Salvador for an amount equivalent to the country’s 3-year budget for health, education, and public security for not having granted it a permit to put a gold mine into operation, despite its project not having met regulatory requirements and despite a broad-based consensus in El Salvador rejecting large-scale mining. Filed in 2009, this ICSID suit is taking place in an undemocratic, closed door arbitration tribunal and could undermine El Salvador’s sovereignty and right to legislate social and environmental policies in the public’s interests. For example, a proposed legislative ban on mining has been stalled in the Salvadoran legislature for years, partly due to government fears of further suits in response.
As Gálvez and Cortez’s stay in Canada draws to an end, Gálvez draws hope from this growing global concern over these powerful international tribunals. “Salvadorans, Canadians, and many others elsewhere face a common threat. Let’s continue to call on our governments to withdraw from these treaties and provisions that leave us all so vulnerable.”
Full article: https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/salvadorans-warn-canadians-about-world-banks-kangaroo-court/
Posted by polly7 | Tue May 19, 2015, 01:11 PM (1 replies)