Category Archives: International

Millennials Have The Power But Are not Using It In The Polls

By : Eric Levitz of Intelligencer

The United States, circa 2018, looks like a place run by people who know they’re going to die soon.

As “once in a lifetime” storms crash overour coasts five times a year — and the White House’s own climate researchsuggests that human civilization is on pace to perish before Barron Trump — our government is subsidizing carbon emissions like there’s no tomorrow. Meanwhile, America’s infrastructure is already “below standard,”and set to further deteriorate, absent hundreds of billions of dollars in new investment. Many of our public schools can’t afford to stock their classrooms with basic supplies, pay their teachers a living wage, or keep their doors open five days a week. Child-care costs are skyrocketing,the birth rate is plunging, and the baby-boomers, retiring. And, amid it all, our congressional representatives recently decided that the best thing they could possibly do with $1.5 trillion of borrowed money was to give large tax breaks to people like themselves.

There are many plausible explanations for why America has embraced “carpe diem” as its governing philosophy. Our ruling political party is dominated by geriatric billionaires and millenarian Christians; our electoral system gives politicians little incentive to prioritize the nation’s long-term well-being over their constituents’ immediate gratification; and the conservative movement’s decades-long assault on “big government” has constrained the public sector’s capacity to invest in the future. But all these causes of American misrule are informed and exacerbated by this overriding fact: Young people vote much less than those who aren’t long for this Earth.

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Americans Ruled by a Minority

By: Anne Applebaum

Now that the predictable result has been achieved, it’s worth taking a moment to think about the longer-term impact of the bizarre, emotional events of the past two weeks in Washington. Reasonable people can still disagree about what happened in a house in suburban Maryland in the summer of 1982; reasonable people can even disagree about whether now, more than three decades later, those events should matter. But reasonable people cannot disagree about the political orientation of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. In his testimony, he revealed himself to be an extreme partisan, a Republican Party activist and a man at least willing to bend the truth in public.

He did not reveal himself to be a man dedicated to upholding a neutral idea of the rule of law. On this point, Kavanaugh’s opponents and supporters are in total agreement. Just after he was sworn in to the job he might hold for many decades, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, tweeted: “Congratulations Judge Kavanaugh! Instead of a 6-3 liberal Supreme Court under Hillary Clinton, we now have a 5-4 conservative Supreme Court under President @realDonaldTrump, cementing a tremendous legacy for the President and a better future for America.” Note the expression “under President @realDonaldTrump”: This was a partisan contest, and the winning side is crowing in triumph that one of the partisan faithful has been victorious.

But what now? Thanks to the quirks of our Constitution and the vagaries of our politics, the result is that all three branches of the U.S. government are dominated by minorities. In the White House, we have, for the second time in less than two decades, a president who did not win the popular vote. He was elected thanks to the electoral college, a system originally designed to block demagogues, but which no longer does. Electoral college delegates are not independent, as they once were; instead, they vote as their state party chairman decides. The effect is to skew the result.

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New Glued Cans Will Reduce Plastic Consumption by 75% Making Carlsberg The First Brewery Of Its Kind

By: Telegraph Reporter

Carlsberg beer cans are to be stuck together with glue as it becomes one of the first brewers to abandon plastic rings.

The Danish firm said the move, which has been heralded as a world-first, to attach its multi-packs with adhesive will reduce the use of plastic to package products by 75 per cent.

After a three-year development process, Carlsberg insists the dots of glue bonding its new “Snap Packs” are strong enough to withstand journeys from shelves to homes, yet sufficiently brittle to break when twisted.

The eco-friendly packaging innovation will be debuted in the UK, where 30 per cent of Carlsberg’s beer output is drunk every year.

At a launch event in Copenhagen, inventor Christopher Stuhlmann revealed how a trip to his local DIY store helped convince him that his brainwave could become a reality

arlsberg beer cans are to be stuck together with glue as it becomes one of the first brewers to abandon plastic rings.

The Danish firm said the move, which has been heralded as a world-first, to attach its multi-packs with adhesive will reduce the use of plastic to package products by 75 per cent.

After a three-year development process, Carlsberg insists the dots of glue bonding its new “Snap Packs” are strong enough to withstand journeys from shelves to homes, yet sufficiently brittle to break when twisted.

The eco-friendly packaging innovation will be debuted in the UK, where 30 per cent of Carlsberg’s beer output is drunk every year.

At a launch event in Copenhagen, inventor Christopher Stuhlmann revealed how a trip to his local DIY store helped convince him that his brainwave could become a reality

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Mexican Military Steps In To Stop Acapulco’s Corrupted Police Force

By: Harriet Agerholm of Independent

Mexican authorities have taken control of the entire police force in the southern Mexican city of Acapulco, claiming the department has been infiltrated by drug gangs.

Two police commanders have been accused of murder, while the rest of the force officers have been stripped of their guns, radios and bulletproof vests and taken for background checks.

Acapulco – a beach resort – was a fashionable location favoured by movie stars in the 1950s and 60s, but has since been plagued by escalating violence due to warring drug gangs.

State police and the military will now assume the law enforcement responsibilities in the city, which has some 800,000 residents.

The state government said it took the step ” because of suspicion that the force had probably been infiltrated by criminal groups” and “the complete inaction of the municipal police in fighting the crime wave”.

Last year, Acapulco had a murder rate of 103 per 100,000 residents, one of the highest in Mexico and the world.

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Are The Chinese Using Loans and Debt To Conquer and Colonize Africa?

Chinese investments in Africa may appear to be beneficial, however, countries are falling into China’s debt trap.   Political leaders making these deals with China may be set for life, but is it at the expense of the people they serve?  The following perspectives Chinese investments present the consequences of China’s investments in Africa.

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Roman Catholic Clergy Distance Themselves From Pedophile Priests And Church

photo courtesy of yournewswire.com

NOT IN OUR NAME
A Legal and Moral Declaration and Pledge of Non-Cooperation issued by Concerned Roman Catholic Clergy
Issued on Sunday, September 23, 2018
We are a group of clergy within the Roman Catholic Church who in good conscience are unable to associate any longer with the criminal, anti-Christian actions of the Vatican and the Papacy. We refer to the massive cover up of violent crimes against children now being perpetrated as a matter of policy by the church hierarchy: crimes in which every Catholic is expected to collude.
The growing exposure in the world media of a massive network in our church of child trafficking, rape, torture and murder, and the direct implication of the Pope and senior Cardinals and Bishops in this network, compels every one of us to make a choice. For by our daily association with the Church of Rome we are accomplices in its crimes, under both the laws of God and Man.
No Papal statute or command can justify or absolve such a criminal and sinful association. Whether Pope or Priest, we must all face and answer to God for our actions, or our inaction. And we must also answer to the Law.
Under the law, anyone – including ordained clergymen – can be tried and convicted for harming a child or enabling or concealing those who do. As Catholics, we are all therefore guilty and subject to prosecution according to our own church policy known as Crimen Sollicitationas (1929), which requires that we suppress evidence of child abuse in the church, not tell the police of such abuse, and silence the victims.
This policy refers to the rape of children as “a pontifical secret” which, if disclosed, will result in the excommunication of any honest Catholic who reports the crime! Such a bizarre and inhuman statute constitutes a massive criminal conspiracy for which we are all liable for arrest and prosecution. (1)
For this reason, as moral beings and followers of Jesus Christ, we cannot any longer adhere to the collusion and silence imposed on us by a criminal church regime that places its own money and power ahead of the lives and safety of children. For did not our Lord tell us, “Whatever you do to the least of these my people, you do to me?”; and “Whoever would cause one of these little ones to fall, it would be better that a millstone be tied around his neck and he be cast into the sea”?
Christ’s judgement on those who harm children is the same as ours.
Accordingly, as of this day, we publicly disassociate ourselves from any allegiance to the leaders of the Church of Rome and from our vows of obedience to our Bishops and to the Pope. We will not be subject any longer to Crimen Sollicitationas and its requirement of collusion with the rape and murder of children. Under the law of God and Man, we are obligated to always protect children and prosecute their tormentors, not simply when it is expedient.
As a consequence, we pledge ourselves to the following faithful course of action:
1. We will actively uncover and report to our congregations, the police and the media any violence or other crimes done against children within our parishes, dioceses and communities, regardless of Church policy.
2. We will also uncover and report to our congregations, the police and the media the names of anyone within the Church who harms a child or who aids and abets such harm, and who conceals it, regardless of their rank or position within the Church.
3. As ordained clergymen, we will refuse to give Holy Communion or any other sacrament of the Church to anyone associated with such crimes. We will also refuse to accept financial donations or tithings of such persons.
4. If ordered by our nominal superiors to collude with such crimes, or if we face discipline or punishments for acting according to our consciences and the Law, we will separate ourselves from those officials and continue to conduct our pastoral and sacramental offices apart from the church hierarchy, within separate congregations under the authority of Christ Alone.
5. We will actively reach out to all our brethren clergy and to all Roman Catholics in our communities, and urge them to join us and take this same pledge of Non-Cooperation and Witness against the anti-Christ regime that governs our Church.
Our faith is in God and not in Man. As God wills it, so it is done.
Signed and Published on this 23rd Day of September in the year 2018 by Ordained Clergymen of the Roman Catholic Church in America, Canada, Ireland, England, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Italy.
Please share this Declaration. It has been released to the global media. We invite all clergy and adherents of our church to reflect on and endorse this statement.
You can contact us at congregationalcovenant@gmail.com

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Sirius XM Buys Pandora for 3.5b

By: Chris Isidore of CNN

SiriusXM is buying Pandora in a $3.5 billion all-stock deal.

The deal will create the world’s largest audio entertainment company, the companies said early Monday.

SiriusXM (SIRI) has 36 million subscribers in North America. It was formed with the merger of the Sirius and XM satellite radio services in 2008.

Sirius had paid Howard Stern hundreds of millions of dollars to lure him from traditional radio in 2006. SiriusXM has built a stable of stars with exclusive programming to go along with its lineup of music, news, talk and sports.

Pandora (P), a groundbreaking streaming music service founded in 2000, has more than 70 million active users. It faces intense competition from Spotify (SPOT), from music services offered by Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN), and from Jay-Z’s Tidal, which is partly owned by Sprint (S).

Pandora’s ability to stay an independent company was very much in doubt. SiriusXM had already invested $480 million to buy 19% of Pandora’s stock last year, and it was widely reported to be looking at a full purchase.

Soon after that investment was announced, Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren lost his positions as CEO and board member, and Michael Herring lost his job as president.

Pandora stock, which was down 35% for the year when they left, has nearly doubled since then, partly in anticipation of a purchase. The company still lost $221 million in the first half of the year, although that was down 43% from the first half of 2017.

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Canadian Government Takes a Jab At U.S. Pharmaceuticals

By: Jeff Lagerquist of Yahoo

Canadian officials are considering how to take aim at the massive U.S. pharmaceutical industry in the event of a full-blown trade war with the United States, according to an Ottawa-based law professor with knowledge of the situation.

The plan would target valuable U.S. patents, granting Canada’s generic pharmaceutical firms the right to copy, sell and potentially export American drugs.

Amir Attaran, a biomedical scientist and University of Ottawa law professor, said the move would stun Wall Street and the White

House, while mobilizing the powerful U.S.

pharmaceutical lobby behind Canada’s cause.

“Canadian officials are aware of and studying the proposal in case the United States decides to impose a major retaliation on Canada,” he told Yahoo Canada Finance on Tuesday.  “I’m positive it’s being considered.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland travelled back to Washington to resume NAFTA negotiations on Wednesday. U.S. officials have demanded a deal by Oct. 1., upping the pressure to resolve long-held sticking points such as the dispute resolution mechanism, cultural protections, and the supply-managed dairy industry.

Attaran spelled out how Canada could employ a pharma-based retaliation strategy in a magazine column in June. He declined to disclose who in the federal government is now considering the plan, saying only that it is not the officials negotiating the trade deal with the U.S.

Global Affairs Canada did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

“I think one plausible reaction for the Canadian government would be to say if the Americans operate radically outside of NAFTA, as by penalizing our car industry, we will pursue their pharmaceutical industry’s interests,” Attaran said. “At that point, you have exited the negotiating model of resolving our differences, and you are resorting to brute force.”

The Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America was the fourth largest U.S. lobby group in 2017, spending nearly US$26 million that year, according to the nonpartisan Centre for Responsive Politics. The Washington D.C.-based trade group’s members include drug industry giants Pfizer, Sanofi, and Johnson & Johnson.

Attaran said a threat by Canada to suspend U.S. patents on Canadian soil would be impossible for those companies to ignore.

“Pharma would be putting in phone calls out to everyone in Congress whom they made campaign donations to. And that is nearly everyone,” he said. “Pharma spends more on lobbying than banking and defence combined, and each of those are a huge lobby.”

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Magic Mushrooms Could Help Curtail Depression

By: Ryan O’hare of Imperial College London

The findings come from a study in which researchers from Imperial College London used psilocybin – the psychoactive compound that occurs naturally in magic mushrooms – to treat a small number of patients with depression in whom conventional treatment had failed.

In a paper, published in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers describe patient-reported benefits lasting up to five weeks after treatment, and believe the psychedelic compound may effectively reset the activity of key brain circuits known to play a role in depression.

Comparison of images of patients’ brains before and one day after they received the drug treatment revealed changes in brain activity that were associated with marked and lasting reductions in depressive symptoms.

The authors note that while the initial results of the experimental therapy are exciting, they are limited by the small sample size as well as the absence of a control group – such as a placebo group – to directly contrast with the patients.

Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, Head of Psychedelic Research at Imperial, who led the study, said: “We have shown for the first time clear changes in brain activity in depressed people treated with psilocybin after failing to respond to conventional treatments.

“Several of our patients described feeling ‘reset’ after the treatment and often used computer analogies. For example, one said he felt like his brain had been ‘defragged’ like a computer hard drive, and another said he felt ‘rebooted’.

“Psilocybin may be giving these individuals the temporary ‘kick start’ they need to break out of their depressive states and these imaging results do tentatively support a ‘reset’ analogy. Similar brain effects to these have been seen with electroconvulsive therapy.”

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Amazon Employees Accepting Bribes For Positive Reviews

By: Zoë Bernard of Business Insider

For Amazon’s online sellers, a negative product review can be extremely damaging to businesses selling their products on the retail giant’s site.

In order to quash bad feedback, some sellers are offering Amazon employees bribes to obtain bad reviewers’ email addresses or to erase the negative review from the site entirely, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s sources, this practice is especially common in China, where small business owners sometimes pay Amazon employees around $300 for each bad review they take down.

These services are reportedly overseen by brokers who use the Chinese messaging service WeChat to connect sellers with Amazon employees.

Sellers can even contact brokers to get proprietary information on sales volume and data relating to shoppers’ online spending habits in order to boost sales, the sources said.

Amazon policies prohibit disclosing this information, and the online retail giant has launched an internal investigation to determine which employees are violating the company’s policies.

In a statement to Business Insider, an Amazon spokesperson said that the company holds employees to a “high ethical standard” and that anyone violating these codes “faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties.”

“In addition,” they wrote, “we have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behavior, we will take swift action against them, including terminating their selling accounts, deleting reviews, withholding funds, and taking legal action.”

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