Archive | August, 2014

Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy

25 Aug

AP Photo / Patrick Semansky By BRENDAN JAMES Published APRIL 18, 2014, 10:43 AM EDT 437586 ViewsA new study from Princeton spells bad news for American democracy—namely, that it no longer exists.Asking “[w]ho really rules?” researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America’s political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.

via Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy.

Advertisements

WWI 100th Anniversary: UK Taxpayers Still Paying £2bn War Loans to Secret Bankers – Yahoo News UK

10 Aug

It’s a century since the outbreak of the First World War but British taxpayers are still paying for their country’s part in it – and a handful of banks is cashing in on hundreds of millions of pounds.Every year £136m is shelled out in coupon payments to holders of the government debt – War Loans – used to fund the role of troops from the British Empire in WWI.And the owners of 99% of the £1.94bn €2.4bn, $3.26bn WWI debt still around are a secret group of  financial institutions.The UK government’s Debt Management Office DMO told IBTimes UK that there are over 120,000 War Loan holdings in existence yielding their 3.5% bi-annual coupon payments.Over 100,000 are worth less than £1,000 in nominal value and held by ordinary members of the public.”But this large number of holders accounted for only around 1% of the total nominal in issue. So, most of the nominal amount in issue is held by a relatively few financial institutions,” said a DMO spokesman.The DMO declined to reveal the names of the institutions with the five largest holdings of the 3.5% War Loan following a Freedom of Information request, citing various exemptions under the law.

via WWI 100th Anniversary: UK Taxpayers Still Paying £2bn War Loans to Secret Bankers – Yahoo News UK.

Free hugs in Liverpool city centre to remember our ‘real life angel’ Carla – Liverpool Echo

10 Aug

Carla DunphyThe family and friends of an “inspirational” DJ are planning to hand out free hugs in Liverpool city centre to mark the first anniversary of her death.The Free Hug Day, which will take place on Saturday, will be held in memory of 22-year-old Carla Dunphy-Clarkson – described as a “real life angel” by older sister Terri.Terri, 28, has organised the event, which will start at 2pm on Saturday outside St Luke’s, known as the Bombed Out Church, before moving down Bold Street.Terri said: “Carla was so loved by so many people. She had achieved so much in her short 22 years of life and she always loved to help people.“One of the best qualities she had was she could make you smile on your darkest days.“She used to randomly stop people on Bold Street and say ‘Do you want a hug?’“I looked on in embarrassment but Carla said to me ‘they might have needed that hug’ and she was right.“One act of kindness can change someone’s whole day. It could be the little glimmer of hope they need.”Terri said Carla, also known as Bert, had even inspired Liverpool singer Rebecca Ferguson to pen her track, My Best.She said the X Factor star messaged her to tell her she was thinking about Carla when she wrote the song – which is about helping people when they are down.Terri said: “Carla has inspired so many people to be more like her.“That’s the legacy she has left behind.“Carla was a big giver, she did so much for charity.“She travelled to Costa Rica for three months to help build orphanages, she abseiled down the Liver Building for charity, she was an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust and she would frequently help out with the homeless.“She was a real life angel.”Carla, originally from Belle Vale, was found hanged in her city centre flat on August 8 last year.An inquest into her death recorded a narrative verdict.But Terri said she wanted to remember the positive things about her sister.She said: “Whether you were homeless or a businessman, Carla would treat everyone the same.“Not once have I ever heard her judge someone, she would only make you feel special and loved and I am so thankful I was chosen as her sister.”Free hugs will be handed out around Bold Street from 2pm until 4pm on Saturday, before a silent disco at the Bombed Out Church – where Carla used to be a DJ.Terri is also urging people to donate to the fund to protect the future of the church, which she said was one of her sister’s favourite places.To donate to the campaign, go to crowdfunder.co.uk/Bombed-Out-Church

via Free hugs in Liverpool city centre to remember our ‘real life angel’ Carla – Liverpool Echo.

Patrick Cockburn · Isis consolidates · LRB 21 August 2014

10 Aug

Isis consolidatesPatrick Cockburn

You are invited to read this free essay from the London Review of Books. Register for free and enjoy 24 hours of access to the entire LRB archive of over 12,500 essays and reviews.

As the attention of the world focused on Ukraine and Gaza, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Isis captured a third of Syria in addition to the quarter of Iraq it had seized in June. The frontiers of the new Caliphate declared by Isis on 29 June are expanding by the day and now cover an area larger than Great Britain and inhabited by at least six million people, a population larger than that of Denmark, Finland or Ireland. In a few weeks of fighting in Syria Isis has established itself as the dominant force in the Syrian opposition, routing the official al-Qaida affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, in the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor and executing its local commander as he tried to flee. In northern Syria some five thousand Isis fighters are using tanks and artillery captured from the Iraqi army in Mosul to besiege half a million Kurds in their enclave at Kobani on the Turkish border. In central Syria, near Palmyra, Isis fought the Syrian army as it overran the al-Shaer gasfield, one of the largest in the country, in a surprise assault that left an estimated three hundred soldiers and civilians dead. Repeated government counter-attacks finally retook the gasfield but Isis still controls most of Syria’s oil and gas production. The Caliphate may be poor and isolated but its oil wells and control of crucial roads provide a steady income in addition to the plunder of war.The birth of the new state is the most radical change to the political geography of the Middle East since the Sykes-Picot Agreement was implemented in the aftermath of the First World War. Yet

via Patrick Cockburn · Isis consolidates · LRB 21 August 2014.

Police get new power to clear Paternoster Square of protesters… with no order from court – London – News – London Evening Standard

9 Aug

Laws have been passed allowing police to clear the City of London square targeted by anti-capitalist protesters without a court order.Occupy London campaigners targeted Paternoster Square in their 2011 protest against “corporate greed”.But the square’s owners secured a High Court injunction shutting it to  the public and leaving thousands  of protesters spending months camped outside St Paul’s Cathedral, next to  the square.Now the City of London Corporation has granted the square, which is home to the London Stock Exchange, the status of “City walkway”.It means police can close Paternoster Square, and six adjoining lanes and alleys, immediately in the case of “imminent threat” or “force majeure”, the civil law term for unforeseen events.The move is part of a deal between the City, the square’s freeholders, and Canadian-owned Oxford Properties Group, which owns most of the buildings on the site.Oxford Properties Group requested extra powers that included “the ability … to restrict access to the estate  in the case of demonstration or terrorist threat”.The by-laws will be enacted once they are signed off by the town clerk.Matthew Varnham, Occupy’s legal advisor, said the change could be  challenged if it was seen to be incompatible with human rights law. He said: “It’s one step further in encroaching on people’s ancient rights.”

via Police get new power to clear Paternoster Square of protesters… with no order from court – London – News – London Evening Standard.

Police get new power to clear Paternoster Square of protesters… with no order from court – London – News – London Evening Standard

9 Aug

Laws have been passed allowing police to clear the City of London square targeted by anti-capitalist protesters without a court order.Occupy London campaigners targeted Paternoster Square in the

via Police get new power to clear Paternoster Square of protesters… with no order from court – London – News – London Evening Standard.

Here’s how big Gaza is in comparison to some cities around the world | SBS News

6 Aug

Here’s how big Gaza is in comparison to some cities around the world | SBS News.

 

Gaza is a Palestinian region on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It borders Egypt on the southwest for 13 kilometres and Israel on the east and north along a 59 kilometre border.

At 360 square kilometres, Gaza is home to a population of more than 1.5 million people, including 1.1 millionPalestinian refugees.

That means there are a lot of people in a very small area. For perspective, Adelaide is 1,827 square kilometres and home to 1.2 million people. It accounts for 5.72% of Australia’s total population.

Gaza City, the largest urban centre of the strip, is reportedly the 40th most densely populated area in the world.

How does the size of Gaza compare to major cities around Australia?

Sydney, population: 4.576 million (2010)

Brisbane, population 2.043 million (2010)

Melbourne, population 4.077 million (2010)

Adelaide, population 1.203 million (2010)

Perth, population 1.696 million (2010)

Canberra, population 358,222 (2010)

What about major cities around the world?

London, population 8.308 million (2013)

New York City, population 8.405 million (2013)

Tokyo, population 13.35 million (2014)

Berlin, population 3.502 million (2012)

Los Angeles, population 3.858 million

%d bloggers like this: