viernes, 31 de enero de 2014

Study reports double-digit growth in market performance of 'eco-labels' | International Institute for Environment and Development

Study reports double-digit growth in market performance of 'eco-labels' | International Institute for Environment and Development

sector sourcing commitments are driving major market growth for
sustainable commodities, according to the State of Sustainability
Initiatives (SSI) Review 2014 published today by an alliance of
international organisations -->

 Certified tea is among the commodities to have experience strong market growth.

VIDEO: Pete Seeger Recalls the 1949 Peekskill Riot Where He And Paul Robeson Were Attacked | Democracy Now!

VIDEO: Pete Seeger Recalls the 1949 Peekskill Riot Where He And Paul Robeson Were Attacked | Democracy Now!:




Watch an exclusive excerpt from our 2004 interview with the legendary folk singer and activist Pete Seeger, who died Monday at the age of 94. We searched our archives and found Seeger’s description of the Peekskill Riots of 1949, when he and the singer and actor Paul Robeson were attacked after they performed.

Click here to see all of our interviews with Pete Seeger over the years.

Watch a related interview with historian Will Kaufman, author of the book, Woody Guthrie, American Radical. He describes the singer’s experience at the Peekskill riots, and sings one of Guthrie’s songs about the incident.


CATALONIA .---- Catalan News Agency - “An independent Catalonia should not pay” for Spain’s “odious debts”, says employer association

Catalan News Agency - “An independent Catalonia should not pay” for Spain’s “odious debts”, says employer association

Barcelona (ACN).- The President of the
employer’s association Cercle Català de Negocis (CCN), Albert Pont,
stated that part of the Spanish Government’s debt is “odious” and
therefore an independent Catalonia could not recognise this
“illegitimate debt”. However, Pont underlined the “willingness” to pay
for the proportionate share of the rest of the debt, which should be
calculated “item by item”. In an exclusive interview with the CNA, he
denounced a public debt generated “for the benefit of no more than a few
companies” that “provide works, services and infrastructures” for the
Spanish Government. According to him, this system and the consequent
debt is one of the main causes of the current economic crisis in Spain.
In addition, the President of the CCN denounced that the Spanish
Government is taking away “between €16 billion and €18 billion” from
Catalonia each year, a fiscal deficit amounting to “around 9%
the Catalan GDP”. “The IMF already established that fiscal deficits
exceeding 4% of the GDP of a territory amounted to colonial relations”,
he highlighted. Pont criticised a “perverted” system that is “providing
funding to regions that offer public services of better quality than the
ones we have” in Catalonia. He recognised the need for solidarity, but
he also underlined the necessity to include amount and time limitations.
Besides, the Chairman of the CCN, which groups almost 8,000 members and
has more than 1,000 full-right members, insisted that an independent
Catalonia would have “more business opportunities”. Furthermore,
regarding the EU membership debate, Pont insisted that a “political
solution” will be reached to keep Catalonia within the EU. He totally
ruled out the possibility of being left out but he also said that, under
this “impossible” circumstance, “the average custom duty is between
1.4% and 1.5%”, which would not be a problem for the economy.
Nonetheless, he insisted that the free circulation of people, goods and
capital are not run by a set of treaties which would continue to be

How do you think the Catalan economy will evolve in 2014?

Currently we can already see some positive trends in the Catalan
economy. For instance, the increase in exports, which is above the
Spanish average for exports. In addition, since the self-determination
process started in September 2012, Catalonia has established itself as
the European region that receives the most foreign investments regarding
the real economy, outside of Barcelona’s stock exchange. So we can see
there are certain trends indicating that Catalonia has entered into the
mindset of international investors. Finally, another indicator is
tourism: overnight stays as well as the number of days in stays have
increased, when in other major cities in Spain, this hasn’t been the

This does not mean that in the background, we don’t have a very
serious economic situation caused by an increase in public debt and
deficit. And this is what we must try to sort out. We believe that a
Catalonia, freed from paying off €16 billion or €18 billion in fiscal
deficit each year, would be a Catalonia that could reinvest all of this
capital in infrastructure, capital, knowledge, etc. And this would be
the way to overcome the crisis.

How do you think our economic model should evolve, since the
crisis has revealed the limits of our old production model? What should
our new production model look like?

It must be said that there isn’t one single economic system that has
not suffered from crises, that is immune to crises. But this crisis has a
particular characteristic and it is that we have provoked it. It has
been a speculative crisis, a real estate crisis, which fundamentally
developed out of very specialised markets and economy sectors tied to
State oligopolies or to large companies providing works, services and
infrastructures for the State; companies that live off State debt. It is
a system of communicating vessels that exists between certain items in
the Spanish budget and the accounts of certain companies. Therefore,
from the CCN, we believe that this public debt has been generated not
for the benefit of society but for the benefit of no more than a few
companies. This is an odious debt and, in principle, we shouldn’t be
deemed responsible for it. Even more so than in the 90s and the first
years after 2000, the Catalan institutions have criticised the Spanish
Government and its policies regarding investments and infrastructure.
They have denounced these colossal macro-works and this cult of
immoderation as being unviable and unsustainable. So when you have not
taken part in the decision, when the decision has gone against your
position, when you have warned time and again against the risks without
being taken into account, and this debt has eventually served to benefit
a few only, this is an illegitimate debt.

So what we have to do is change this model, return to productive
economy, which is what we know all about: an economy of small and
medium-sized companies, and especially - the most important thing
nowadays - the only way out of the economic crisis for a Catalan
company, strictly speaking, is for it to be internationalized. It’s as
simple as hiring a commercial director bilingual in French, German or
English, that will allow all of us to focus on considerably larger
markets. We have the francophone community next door with 75 million
inhabitants with an average income that exceeds almost €50,000 per year.
And on the other hand, we have Spain, with 40 million inhabitants but
with an average income that amounts to less than €25,000 per year. Thus,
we see that the product or type of product demanded by one market or
the other is very different, the product demanded by Europe is a product
of much greater added value and this is where we should go.

When you talk about an ‘odious debt’ and not taking
responsibility for it, in a process of independence what would happen to
such a debt?

We are precisely analysing how to distribute the assets and debts of
the Spanish State [in the event of Catalonia’s independence], and we are
probably the ones who have studied this the most thoroughly. And
indeed, distribution is necessary. But you should bear in mind that if
Spain does not recognise the independence of Catalonia, Spain should
assume its debt completely and the Catalan Government its own debt, as
long as there hasn’t been an agreement on the issue. And such an
agreement could take months or even a year to be reached. In order to
know what we are talking about, I’ll give you an example: when
Yugoslavia was dismantled, the resulting states had to distribute some
€16 billion of debt. When the Soviet Union collapsed – an economic,
demographic, military giant – they had to distribute a debt of
€53billion. At the current time, the debt of Spain amounts to €980
billion and there still need to be added items that are not included in
the concept of debt. In the end, it all adds up to €1,250 billion. This
is unsustainable.

What we must show to the international community is that Catalonia
has to assume part of this debt, that there is the willingness to assume
part of this debt; obviously, a proportionate one. However there are
shares of the debt that we are not responsible for. For instance, if the
Spanish State gets into debt to build a high-speed rail line between
Algeciras, Madrid and Jaca, planning to build a 118-kilometre-long set
of tunnels, at 1,500 meters altitude, since this infrastructure will not
pass through Catalonia, the debt it will have generated cannot be
transferred to Catalonia. We have to be careful with this. When people
say that Catalonia will have to assume between 16% and 20% of the €980
billion of debt of the Spanish State, no, it doesn’t work like this. We
have to analyse things item by item and see which debt can be
transferred, because not all debt can be transferred, and of the debt
that can be transferred, what share we should assume. Some of the debt
cannot be transferred, for instance the debt of the Spanish State to
individual people. For example Treasury Bonds, State Bonds, Treasury
Bills, etc. All of these are papers stating ‘Kingdom of Spain’ and those
who signed the bonds bought them from the Kingdom of Spain, not the
Republic of Catalonia. It is complex but we can define precisely which
areas are our responsibility and which ones are Spain’s.

By not acknowledging some items of the debt or the bonds issued
by the Kingdom of Spain when Catalonia was part of it, don’t you think
this may affect the recognition of an independent Catalan State by the
international community, since they might see Catalonia as a state that
doesn’t pay for its debts?

It is just that they are not its debts [Catalonia’s]! You’re right
but you also have to keep in mind that the doctrine of the odious debt
has applied, I would say, to almost all countries in the world including
the United Kingdom or the United States in Iraq in 2004... It isn’t
that you arbitrarily decide that this debt shouldn’t be yours to pay.
The question is how you justify it. That is to say, if you prove that
you haven’t made the ​​decision, that you have warned time and again
that this was not the way to do things, that they didn’t take this into
account, and furthermore that this debt has gone to works, services and
infrastructure that are not in your territory, automatically nobody will
say “excuse me, this debt is yours”. No, it is not mine to pay. Not
that I am running away from it, it is just that I am not responsible for
it. It is not mine. You cannot transfer it to me.

This is directly linked to the fiscal deficit and Catalan
resources paying for infrastructure in other parts of Spain. Could you
explain to a foreign audience what this fiscal deficit is and detail the

What are called fiscal balances are economic instruments used to
study the difference between what each region contributes to the State
and what each region receives from the State. That is to say, the
difference between the taxes paid to the central government by the
region and the services received by the region from this same central
government. There are some regions which, for historical reasons or
other reasons, have an unfavourable economic situation and, on
principle, they are prioritised by the State, which transfers to them a
series of payments. There are regions that have fiscal surplus, meaning
they receive more money than they are providing. In the case of
Catalonia, we don’t have any surplus; we only have a fiscal deficit,
meaning that Catalonia contributes much more than it receives. What do I
mean by much more? The IMF has already established a few years ago that
fiscal deficits exceeding 4% of the GDP of a territory amounted to
colonial relations. Catalonia’s fiscal deficits are around 9% of its
GDP, and talking about the Balearic Islands, their fiscal deficits
exceed 14% and even 17% of the GDP. This means three times more than the
limit set by the IMF. And all this has consequences.

In principle we are not against the fact there has to be fiscal
redistribution between regions and different levels of wealth within the
same society. It is OK, such a system has worked well. What happens is
that, in the Spanish case, the system has been perverted. It has been
perverted for several reasons. First of all, because there are no
limits. The IMF set this limit and Spain, on the contrary, hasn’t used
it. Secondly, because there are also no limits as to time. For how many
years will you have to transfer revenue to other territories? 30 years?
40 years? A lifetime? Always? For ever? There must be a limit here. And
finally because the order principle has not been respected. What is the
order principle? The order principle states that the richest region has
to be the one which brings the most to the Spanish State and, once the
solidarity levelling has taken place, it must remain the richest region.
This hasn’t applied in Spain because the two richest regions do not
contribute and the third and fourth richest ones, once they have
contributed and the solidarity levelling has occurred, become ninth and
eleventh. With such a thing, what you’re doing is financing the richest
Autonomous Communities. What does this mean? That you are providing
funding to regions that offer public services of better quality than the
ones we have here. It corrupts the whole system and therefore it is not
viable as well as being immoral.

Catalonia is the Autonomous Community with the highest
debt. Does it mean that the Catalan Government is poorly funded due to
the fiscal deficit and therefore accumulates debts? Or does it mean that
things could be done better in Catalonia?

It is obvious that things could be done better; they could be done
better here and better done in Sweden. But here there is one question to
be taken into consideration: without Catalonia’s fiscal deficit, the
Catalan Government would have a budget passing from €29 billion to €46
billion. If only a third of this fiscal deficit was funding the Catalan
town halls, it would mean that a municipality of 10,000 people with a
budget of €10 million a year would have a budget of €22 or €23 million
per year. With this, we could do a lot! There must also be control
mechanisms to prevent the perversion of the system, but this fiscal
deficit is everything. And furthermore, it doesn’t only mean that the
Catalan economy is missing €16 billion per year. The problem is that
these €16 billion are a money multiplier, meaning that we are not only
losing the €16 billion but the whole economy generated by the €16
billion. The value of this is incalculable. We must point out that, in
the whole of Europe, Catalonia is the region that has the largest
accumulated fiscal deficit. From 1986 till now, it is about to reach
€300 billion. This is equivalent to 6 Marshall Plans! The Marshall Plan
was 6 times smaller than Catalonia’s fiscal deficit over the past 30

On the basis of past or present currencies?

Present currencies! Comparable currencies.

So, an independent Catalonia would be richer? Especially
considering membership in the European Union, the Eurozone and the
entire debate which is currently going on?

Yes. An independent Catalonia, first of all, would be richer. The
thing is that I do not like such an idea. Why? Not that I wouldn’t like
it being richer, I do not like the concept because we are in a global
economic crisis and we have to think about changing certain values. And
now it is not about growing for the sake of growing, not about consuming
for the sake of consuming. That is to say we also have to change part
of the model of what wealth means and how wealth is generated. But it is
true that Catalonia would plainly have many more opportunities. And
above all, business opportunities. We are not fully aware of the
business opportunities generated by a state out of becoming a state, or
by a metropolitan region like Barcelona’s out of becoming the capital of
a state. Just in the real-estate sector, which is now in crisis,
Catalonia would need 400,000 square meters just to accommodate embassies
and ambassadorial residences. This would not be for us to pay, but for
the countries that come to settle here. And this is one example, but I
could tell you dozens more. 

But what if we are left outside of Europe? There are people who
insist that Catalonia, depending on the course the independence process
follows, could remain outside the EU. What would happen to taxes, free
circulation of people, goods, services, capital, with the Euro ... Would
we be impoverished?

No. In this sense they are playing with us. “Catalonia outside
Europe, Catalonia within Europe”. In Europe, the taxes, free circulation
of goods, capital, and products, etc. do not only depend on the
European Union. They depend on numerous treaties, for example the
European Economic Area, the European Union Customs Union, Schengen, etc.
The Schengen Area is not a founding treaty of the EU, we shouldn’t
forget this. In this sense, the way to transfer multilateral treaties to
the successor state, in this case Catalonia, would be as simple as
making a notification of succession to the members which agreed to the
treaty. It is as simple as saying to them, “Gentlemen, from now on, the
responsibility Spain had over the Catalan territory when those treaties
were enforced, I will assume it myself”. Regarding the founding treaties
of international organizations such as the Council of Europe, the
United Nations, etc, here we should ask for membership.

What about the EU? Well, several things will happen with the EU.
Firstly, we must ask ourselves whether the EU is an international
organization, because from my point of view it is not an international
organization like the UN actually is. The EU is an organization for
integration, a growing confederation of states from the start. So you do
not have to apply a legislation dating back to 1978 and that, in
addition, neither France, nor Spain, nor Italy, nor Germany have signed
or ratified. The only existing regulations on the succession of treaties
of international organisations is the 1978 Vienna Convention, which was
not ratified by either the European or the United Nations greatest
powers. So we cannot apply something that hasn’t been ratified. We must
seek a political solution. What is the political solution? The political
solution is that Catalonia has to sign the Act of Admission of
Catalonia to the European Union and negotiate its economic
participation, negotiate its participation in the Council of Ministers,
in the European Parliament, etc. But while this is being negotiated, all
the EU treaties, all the EU legislation will remain in force for the
Catalans, in respect to the Catalan population and to the Catalan and
foreign companies operating in Catalonia. Therefore there will be
continuity in this regard as well as well as a legal security.

Have you detected in business and economic circles a fear that
Catalonia might be left outside the EU and the Euro? What would be the
consequences for custom duties and foreign investment?

No. Firstly, it is impossible. And secondly, regarding custom duties,
if people knew that outside not only the EU but also outside the
European Economic Area, the European Union Customs Union, the average
custom duty is 1.4% or 1.5%...We’re not talking about custom duties of
20% or 30%, which would be impossible. We’re talking about tariffs of 1
point something! It’s nothing! But it won’t be this way anyway because,
in the end, who will charge these custom fees? These tariffs will be
charged by us, because 70% of the products exchanged between France and
Spain transit through Catalonia. However, things don’t work like this.
The world doesn’t work like this anymore. We want to create a state, but
we must understand that today’s international community is not formed
of states like it was in the 19th century. The state is no
longer a closed nation-state; there is a much higher interdependence.
And this will obviously be respected.

What I would like once and for all is for Spain to face the challenge
of Catalonia’s independence because it is being said and discussed that
Catalonia could remain outside the EU, outside Schengen, the Euro zone,
but why won’t anyone tell us what will happen to Spain? Because this is
a fundamental question. If the independence of Catalonia is a case of
secession with the extinction of the legal identity of the Spanish
State, the Spanish territories that have not seceded will also have to
ask for admission to the EU and the United Nations. Unless you believe
that, in essence, the non-seceded territories are Spain; then, Spain may
keep its legal identity. But this is not yet clear. Moreover, I have
already publicly defended the opposite version. I have already argued
publicly that we are not facing the secession of Catalonia but facing
the dissolution of Spain. Therefore the remaining territories [within
Spain] will have to go through the same process they are planning for
us. However, in the end, none of this will happen. Why? Because it is an
issue that must be resolved politically.

If Spain is dissolved, what we were talking about earlier on regarding the Spanish Kingdom’s bonds…

Then they would all have to be distributed! But only in the event of a dissolution, not with a secession.

  • Albert

  • Albert

Albert Pont, interviewed by the CNA (by X. Alsinet)

Press briefings notes on Egypt and Ukraine -- DisplayNews


Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:  Rupert Colville
Location:      Geneva
Date: 31 January 2014
Subjects:      1) Egypt and 2) Ukraine

1)   Egypt

We are extremely concerned about the increasingly severe clampdown
and physical attacks on media in Egypt, which is hampering their ability
to operate freely.

In recent months, there have been numerous
reports of harassment, detention and prosecution of national and
international journalists as well as violent attacks, including several
that led to injuries to reporters trying to cover last weekend’s third
anniversary of the Egyptian revolution. Unconfirmed reports suggest that
several journalists were wounded by live fire as well as rubber bullets
last Saturday, some of which may have been fired by opponents of the
government as well as by police and other government forces. This
accentuates the difficult and increasingly dangerous environment for
journalists trying to carry out their work in the country.

significant number of other journalists covering events related to the
anniversary were detained by the authorities, although most are reported
to have now been released.

Wednesday’s announcement that the
Egyptian Prosecutor-General intends to bring to trial 16 local and 4
foreign journalists alleged to have worked for the international
broadcaster Al Jazeera, on vague charges including “aiding a terrorist
group” and “harming the national interest”, is also of great concern.

has not only placed a sharp focus on the systematic targeting of Al
Jazeera staff – five of whom are actually in custody -- since the fall
of the previous government last July, but also led to increased fears
among the media in general, both national and international, which is
clearly deeply detrimental to freedom of expression and opinion.

working for other media organizations have reported being attacked by
government supporters after being accused of working for Al Jazeera. A
video has also emerged which appears to show a police officer
threatening a camera crew working for another TV station that, if they
did not stop filming, he would tell bystanders they worked for Al
Jazeera so that they would be attacked. If confirmed, this lends
credence to allegations that the anti-Al Jazeera campaign in Egypt is,
on occasion, amounting to incitement to violence.

We have also
received numerous reports of intimidation of journalists, who have had
their equipment seized, and in some cases of local journalists who have
been sacked for reporting on sensitive issues. There are also reports of
journalists in detention being subjected to ill-treatment or being held
in conditions that are not in line with international human rights

We urge the Egyptian authorities to promptly release
all journalists imprisoned for carrying out legitimate news reporting
activities in exercise of their fundamental human rights. It is the
State’s obligation to ensure that the right to freedom of expression is
respected, and that journalists are able to report on diverse views and
issues surrounding the current situation in Egypt.

All reports
of violence against journalists, including the attacks on 25 January,
must be independently and transparently investigated.

2)   Ukraine

We welcome the beginning of dialogue between the President and the
opposition. We call for this dialogue to be sustainable, inclusive and
grounded on the full respect of international human rights treaties
ratified by Ukraine and political commitments made through the Human
Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review, last March. 

We also welcome the abolition by the Ukrainian parliament earlier
this week of the laws passed on January 16, which unnecessarily
restricted the exercise of the rights to freedom of assembly,
association and speech, as well as the operation of NGOs. We call upon
the President of Ukraine to sign the new law abolishing the legislative
package of January 16. 

However we are appalled by the deaths
reported in recent days in Kiev, which should be promptly, thoroughly
and independently investigated. We are also calling for an investigation
into reports of kidnappings and torture.  

We reiterate our
call to the Government and protesters to exercise restraint and create
conditions for dialogue and reconciliation. International human rights
norms and Ukraine's compliance with these standards and its obligations
pertaining to human rights must be at the centre of any future solutions
and reconciliation processes.


For more information or media requests, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / or Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169 / ) or Cécile Pouilly (+41 22 917 9310 / )

UN Human Rights, follow us on social media:
Check the Universal Human Rights Index:

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Palestine | About 13 families in Al Jammal village from northern #Palestinian valley were displaced by occupation forces on Thursday morning, after the demolition of their homes.


Foto: ‎#Palestine | About 13 families in Al Jammal village from northern #Palestinian valley were displaced by occupation forces on Thursday morning,  after the demolition of their homes.

#فلسطين|#الاغوار|شبكة أجيال الإذاعية |شردت قوات الاحتلال صباح اليوم الخميس، نحو 13 عائلة في الأغوار الشمالية بعد هدم مساكنهم في خربة أم الجمال بالأغوار الشمالية.

 وأفاد شهود عيان بأن قوات عسكرية مدعومة بجرافات بدأت بهدم مساكن وحظائر لسكان المنطقة.

 من جانبة، أوضح رئيس مجلس محلي وادي المالح عارف دراغمة بأن حوالي 50 منشأة تتضمن مساكن من "الخيش" وحظائر مواشي، وأفران خبز بدائية تم هدمها خلال العملية العسكرية في الخربة.

 وهدمت قوات الاحتلال على مدار الأشهر الماضية عشرات المنشآت في أكثر من موقع بالأغوار الشمالية.‎

Vidéo : une fillette sauvée des décombres après des bombardements - France - France 24

Vidéo : une fillette sauvée des décombres après des bombardements - France - France 24

- Une fillette de 14 mois, ensevelie sous les décombres de sa maison, a
été sauvée in extremis par des habitants du quartier de Maasraniyeh, à
Alep. La scène du sauvetage a été tournée par des rebelles

Human Rights Watch

Today Human Rights Watch stands in solidarity with Russia's human rights activists, its LGBT community, and the inspiring athletes heading to Sochi to compete in the Olympic Games. We have changed our profile picture for the duration of the Olympics and ask all of our friends, fans, and supporters to do the same using the image below.


INFOGRAPHIC: How we eat at the global table | EurActiv

INFOGRAPHIC: How we eat at the global table | EurActiv

The Netherlands, France and Switzerland are the
three countries enjoying the planet’s cheapest, healthiest and most
plentiful diets according to a new Oxfam ‘Good Enough to Eat’ index,
while three African countries have the worst.

The Oxfam Food Index
measured the quality of people’s food by its diversity, their access to
safe drinking water, and the extent of unhealthy outcomes such as
diabetes and obesity levels.

Access to food were assessed by checking levels of malnutrition,
while affordability was measured by food price volatility and price
levels relative to other goods and services.

European countries occupy the entire top 20 except for one –
Australia - which ties in 8th place. African countries occupy the bottom
30 places in the table except for four – Laos, Bangladesh, Pakistan and

>> Read our coverage: New global food table: Europe feasts while Africa fasts

Angola and Zimbabwe suffer the most volatile food prices, while the
US has some of the cheapest and most stable food prices. Burundi, Yemen,
Madagascar and India had the planet’s worst rates of malnutrition,
although Burundi and Cambodia were also among the best performers for
obesity and diabetes. The US, Mexico, Fiji, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia
scored the most poorly.

Ukraine and the Rebirth of Fascism in Europe | Global Research

Ukraine and the Rebirth of Fascism in Europe | Global Research

The violence on the streets of
Ukraine is far more than an expression of popular anger against a
government.  Instead, it is merely the latest example of the rise of the
most insidious form of fascism that Europe has seen since the fall of
the Third Reich.

Recent months have seen regular
protests by the Ukrainian political opposition and its supporters –
 protests ostensibly in response to Ukrainian President Yanukovich’s
refusal to sign a trade agreement with the European Union that was seen
by many political observers as the first step towards European
integration.  The protests remained largely peaceful until January 17th
when protesters armed with clubs, helmets, and improvised bombs
unleashed brutal violence on the police, storming government buildings,
beating anyone suspected of pro-government sympathies, and generally
wreaking havoc on the streets of Kiev.  But who are these violent
extremists and what is their ideology?


ukrainian-nationalists-attacked-police si-1

IMF Sponsored “Democracy” in The Ukraine | Global Research

IMF Sponsored “Democracy” in The Ukraine | Global Research

There is an ongoing and deliberate attempt by foreign powers to
spearhead the destabilization of Ukraine including its state structure.

There is a long history of colored revolutions in Ukraine going back to the 1990s.

The protest movement in Kiev bears a marked resemblance to the
“Orange Revolution” of 2004 which was supported covertly by Washington.
The 2004 “Orange Revolution” led to the ousting of the pro-Russian Prime
Minister Viktor Yanukovich, spearheading  into power the Western proxy
government of  President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Julia

Once more Viktor Yanukovitch is the target of a carefully staged
“pro-EU protest movement”. The latter was launched following president
Yanukovitch’s decision to cancel the “association agreement” with the

The mechanisms of interference are in some regards different to
those of 2004. The protests are supported directly by Brussels and
Berlin (with EU officials actively involved) rather than by Washington:

“The right-wing parties leading the protests in
coordination with EU officials and politicians had called for a “million
man march.” Ultimately, some 250,000 to 300,000 people gathered on
Maïdan (Independence) Square. It was the largest protest in Kiev since
the 2004 “color revolution” organized by US and European imperialism—the
so-called Orange Revolution that ousted the pro-Russian Yanukovich and
brought the pro-Western tandem of President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime
Minister Julia Tymoshenko to power.

Evgenia Tymoshenko, the daughter of former prime minister and
billionaire natural gas magnate Julia Tymoshenko, whom Yanukovich has
jailed, read a message from her mother calling for Yanukovich’s
“immediate” ouster. (See Alex Lantier, December 8, 2013)


Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Friday, January 31 - YouTube

Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Friday, January 31 - YouTube

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CATALONIA -- Katalonci se ogradili od Dodikovih istupa i politike | Građanska koalicija "Prvi mart"

Katalonci se ogradili od Dodikovih istupa i politike | Građanska koalicija "Prvi mart"

Catalans distanced themselves from Dodik's statements and policies

The Catalan National Assembly sent a proclamation to the public that
distance themselves from Milorad Dodik and the message sent by
integrating RS with Catalonia.
The letter states: "We have read the thoughts of Milorad Dodik of the daily" Avaz "by 8
November., in spoken as Scotland and Catalonia examples of how to do
the process of independence, which, according to Dodik, the Republic of
Serbian should follow.

From the Catalan National Assembly, the main civic movement that
promotes the independence of Catalonia, and is independent of any
political party, which unites people of different mišeljenja, we want to
distance ourselves from the said paragraph.

Catalonia wants to build an independent state for all its citizens,
where živijeti all people regardless of their origin or nationality, in
constant dialogue of different policy options.
In this respect, our project is based on tolerance and respect for the rights of minorities and European integration.

For these reasons, we believe that Catalonia is not an example, nor
will it ever be, for political projects Dodik and his party, who work
diametrically opposed to the ideas and values ​​of our country. "

Have you read this?

EU Court advises to rule against payment cards fees | EurActiv

EU Court advises to rule against payment cards fees | EurActiv

A top legal official in the European Court of
Justice yesterday (30 January) advised the EU judges to reject an appeal
made by MasterCard over the fees it charges on payment transactions.

The fees, best known by their acronym
MIFs (multilateral interchange fees), have been the object of a legal
dispute between the EU authorities and the major payment cards companies
(MasterCard and Visa).

Yesterday's opinion given by the advocate general of the ECJ, Paolo
Mengozzi, is the latest episode of a saga that has run since 2007 and is
expected to end by autumn at the latest. The Court is to issue its
definitive decision between April and September 2014.

Not big surprises are expected. Over the years, the EU institutions
have shown a common front against MIFs, accused of being a hidden "tax
on consumption" by Neelie Kroes, the EU antitrust commissioner who
started the fight more than six years ago, before passing the baton to
the current competition commissioner, Joaquin Almunia.

MasterCard has hit back at the Commission, but its legal recourse was
rejected by the EU tribunal in 2012. The payment card group has issued a
second appeal against the tribunal.

Yesterday, the advocate general confirmed the validity of the first
ruling stating that "the tribunal sufficiently analysed the effects of
MIFs on competition, and has correctly explained why MIFs distort

The advocate general's opinion is not binding, but in most cases the
ECJ's decisions are close to the advocate general's position.

“The consumer will be the big loser if this opinion is followed by
the Court," Javier Perez, president of MasterCard Europe, said in a

Opcions Pan African Climate Justice Alliance


We represent over 800 African Civil Society Organizations from diverse backgrounds in Africa under the auspices of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), have actively been engaged in the ongoing international dialogue on the post-2012 global climate change treaty. PACJA and its members have closely followed all climate-related deliberations since 2008, both regionally and globally.

We have observed the evolution of a coordinated framework on the climate change dialogue processes among key African Governmental processes. Satisfied that our recommendation for tripartite structure for climate policy-making, in which technical negotiations are undertaken by the African Group of Negotiators under UNFCCC, ministerial guidance is provided by AMCEN, and over-arching recommendations are endorsed by the African Union, has served Africa well. Chances of conflict and duplication which existed earlier have minimized, thus rendering the African processes the most effective in the world. We thank and congratulate our leaders for this progress.

Crucially important to CSOs is the next two years when most important processes that will potentially shape future development frameworks across the globe will be concluded by 2015:

(i) Negotiations for the New Climate Change treaty under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
(ii) Negotiations for the new development Framework to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) spearheaded by the United Nations

We, African CSOs, view the two processes interrelated, and dependent on each other. Sustainable Development Goals cannot be attained if the global community fails to heed the recommendations by science and act decisively on climate change.

At the 2012 Rio+20 Conference, all countries agreed that climate change is a major obstacle to sustainable development and poverty eradication. This is supported by the experience of people living in poverty and vulnerability and major UN reports feeding into post-2015.

Science further underlines the immediate need for action in all areas, including international development. The urgency for action is underpinned by climate science and the window of opportunity for avoiding dangerous climate change is rapidly closing.

The post-2015 framework must therefore help to make climate action in all countries happen without further delay and must support poor people, particularly in Africa, to build resilience so as to adapt to climate impacts they are experiencing already.

Time is running out for Africa. While we appreciate the progress our leaders have made in coming up with the African Common Position for UNFCCC, we are concerned that the Post-2015 process in Africa is experiencing unnecessary delays. A Strong African voice is needed to ensure the next global framework truly reflects Africa’s priorities and needs. UN processes to determine what will follow the Millennium Development Goals are already well underway, and will not wait for Africa.

Now is the time to lay strong foundations for the future, and ensure that African perspectives are strongly reflected in the Post-2015 development framework. A sufficiently ambitious Common African Position must be published as soon as possible, to both facilitate transparent discussion and endeavor for development, followed by final agreement at the AU Summit in June 2014 at the very latest.

Such agreement must anchor on a genuine global sustainability pathway, and must reflect the integrated link on social, economic, cultural and environmental dimensions of development. Any development agenda that fails to integrate these dimensions in a balanced way is not acceptable for addressing present and future development challenges in Africa.


Mithika Mwenda

Secretary General

Kenya Mobile #: +254 724 403 5555


Dr. Tolbert Thomas Jallah, Jr.


Ethiopia Mobile#: + 251 93 98 52776



Food security hindered by seed market dominance, MEPs warn | EurActiv

Food security hindered by seed market dominance, MEPs warn | EurActiv

The EU seed market is dominated by a few large
seed businesses rather than a diverse range of smaller companies, which
has implications for the continent’s food security, says a report
commissioned by European Parliament Green group.

Five companies control about 95% of the
vegetable seed sector and 75% of the maize market share specifically,
according to the report, presented in the European Parliament on
Wednesday (29 January).

The assertion goes against European Commission and seed industry’s
position that the market, and the five dominant companies, is made up of
some 7000 mainly small and medium-sized entreprises, allowing for
healthy competition.

“This is simply not true. The EU seed market is not healthy. It is
not diversified,” said Bart Staes, a Green MEP from Belgium who
presented the report, ‘Concentration of market power in the EU seed market’.

The Greens say that the concentration of power in the seed market
means that these companies may have had a strong influence over the
European Commission in its seed and plant reproductive material marketing proposals.

These proposals, which the Commission presented to the EU legislature in May last year “benefit the seed lobby”, said Staes.

Garlich von Essen, the secretary general of the European Seed
Association, which represents about 30 national seed associations from
the EU member states, said that the figure of 7000 smaller companies was
“pretty accurate”.

The figure was the same as those given by an external evaluator to
the European Commission. “I’m pretty confident [the Commission] did not
just copy-paste the ESA figures”, he said.


A wheat field near Tolleshunt d'Arcy in the United Kingdom. Rwendland photo.

Dear FCC: Reclassify Broadband | Free Press

Dear FCC: Reclassify Broadband | Free Press:

The D.C. Circuit’s decision in the Verizon case dealt a huge blow to the open Internet.

Right now there is no one protecting Internet users from ISPs that block or discriminate against online content. Companies like AT&T, Time Warner Cable and Verizon will be able to block or slow down any website, application or service they like. And they’ll be able to create tiered pricing structures with fast lanes for content providers and speakers who can afford the tolls — and slow lanes for everyone else.

It’s time for the new FCC leadership to correct the agency’s past mistakes and reassert its clear authority over our nation’s communications infrastructure. To preserve the open Internet, the FCC must reclassify the transmission component of broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently argued that “it is essential that the FCC continue to maintain an open Internet and maintain the legal ability to intervene promptly and effectively in the event of aggravated circumstances.” We agree. The court’s decision provides a road map for the agency to move in a positive direction and reclaim its authority to protect the open Internet.

The FCC must move to reclassify broadband services under Title II of the Communications Act.


No progress on Europe's transparency register | Friends of the Earth Europe

No progress on Europe's transparency register | Friends of the Earth Europe:

Transparency campaigners cannot find a single area of "good progress" made by the review group to improve the EU's lobby register, according to a scorecard published today by The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU), which includes Friends of the Earth Europe. The scorecard assesses the outcome of the recent EU Transparency Register review process against ALTER-EU's own recommendations for reform. The assessment has been made after receiving leaked copies of the final outcome of the review process.

Out of the ten ALTER-EU recommendations for reform, five were assessed as "no progress made" and a further three as "some improvement, more to do". In the two most important areas (making the register mandatory and the introduction of incentives to encourage registration) the Parliament's efforts were given a slightly higher score than the Commission's, to reflect the intransigence and total lack of firm commitment to progressive reform shown by the Commission.


No progress on Europe's transparency register

Major operation to save Earth’s most threatened tribe makes progress - Survival International

Major operation to save Earth’s most threatened tribe makes progress - Survival International

 At least 200 agents have now been deployed to
remove illegal invaders from the land of Earth's most threatened tribe –
a major step forward in our campaign to save the Awá!

Nixiwaka Yawanawá, an Amazon Indian in London, said, ‘After so many
years fighting, my Awá brothers and sisters are finally seeing a light
of hope and a sign that they’ll be able to live in harmony with their

Let's keep up the pressure

The Awá are Earth's most threatened tribe; without their forest, they will not survive.

The Awá are Earth's most threatened tribe; without their forest, they will not survive.



Kazakhstan: Green economy of the future? | International Institute for Environment and Development

Kazakhstan: Green economy of the future? | International Institute for Environment and Development

Kazakhstan taking the lead among Central Asian countries by aspiring to
make the leap to a green economy, Saule Ospanova sets out ten essential
recommendations to help it on its way -->

Kazakhstan's capital Astana will host the EXPO trade fair in 2017. Credit: Ken & Nyetta/Flicker (Creative Commons)

jueves, 30 de enero de 2014

Amnesty International





Over 336,000 activists worldwide joined as one calling for the defense of basic human rights in Russia. The signatures have been delivered to the Kremlin in Moscow and also Russian embassies in over a hundred countries. The album will be updated regularly as we get more photos of these events.
It is time for change. With the Sochi Olympics about to begin on February 7, we need to keep the pressure on Russia to end the strangle hold on fundamental freedoms.



▶ the Machine Must Stop - YouTube

▶ the Machine Must Stop - YouTube:

 a brief look at the wreckage of industrial capitalism


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Permaculture Videos | Films For Action

Permaculture Videos | Films For Action

What #permaculture people really do, as explained in wonderful documentary format:


Utah Is on Track to End Homelessness by 2015 With This One Simple Idea

Utah Is on Track to End Homelessness by 2015 With This One Simple Idea

Sometimes, it really is this simple:

Could These 3 Simple Changes to Banking Fix the Economy?

Could These 3 Simple Changes to Banking Fix the Economy?

 This 4 minute video explains (with alternatives!):

Five years on Gaza's children remain targets - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Five years on Gaza's children remain targets - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

 Opinion: Despite evidence of Israeli war crimes in Gaza, international
efforts to hold Israel accountable have been blocked, writes Brad

Gazan children have suffered severely from Israeli attacks [EPA]


Chomsky Vs Zizek (Full Compilation) - YouTube

Chomsky Vs Zizek (Full Compilation) - YouTube

"The European intellectuals he is talking about have a concept of
theory, which in my view, is largely divorced from facts. It's mostly
big, complicated words that may be fun for intellectuals to throw around
to each other but most of it is gibberish. So sure, if you can find a
theory that has some real principles which are of some interest and you
can draw conclusions from them which you can apply to interpreting the
actual world around you then sure, that's wonderful. If there
are such theories, I am happy to see them. I don't find them when I
read Paris Post-Modernist talk. What I see is intellectuals interacting
with one another in ways which are incomprehensible to the public and,
to be frank, incomprehensible to me. So sure, let's have theories that
have some intellectual content, some consequences, can be refined,
change and lead us to better understanding."
― Noam Chomsky

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"Dirty Wars" Filmmaker Jeremy Scahill on the "Drone President" & Obama’s Whitewashing of NSA Spying | Democracy Now!

"Dirty Wars" Filmmaker Jeremy Scahill on the "Drone President" & Obama’s Whitewashing of NSA Spying | Democracy Now!:

In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on the United States to "move off a permanent war footing," citing his recent limits on the use of drones, his withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and his effort to close the military prison at Guantánamo Bay. Obama also vowed to reform National Security Agency surveillance programs to ensure that "the privacy of ordinary people is not being violated." Jeremy Scahill, whose Oscar-nominated film "Dirty Wars" tackles the U.S. drone war and targeted killings abroad, says Obama has been a "drone president" whose operations have killed large numbers of civilians. On NSA reform, Scahill says "the parameters of the debate in Washington are: Should we figure out a way to streamline this and sell it to the American people, or should we do more surveillance?"

Debate: Is Ukraine’s Opposition a Democratic Movement or a Force of Right-Wing Extremism? | Democracy Now!

Debate: Is Ukraine’s Opposition a Democratic Movement or a Force of Right-Wing Extremism? | Democracy Now!:

Ukrainian anti-government protesters have rejected an amnesty bill aimed at ending the country’s political unrest, refusing to vacate occupied government buildings and dismantle their street blockades in exchange for the release of jailed activists. The demonstrations in the Ukraine are collectively referred to as "Euromaidan." They began in late November after President Viktor Yanukovich reversed his decision to sign a long-awaited trade deal with the European Union to forge stronger ties with Russia instead. While the Ukrainian opposition has been hailed in the West as a democratic, grassroots movement, we host a debate on whether the rush to back opponents of Russian President Vladimir Putin obscures a more complex reality beneath the surface. We are joined by two guests: Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University; and Anton Shekhovtsov, a Ukrainian citizen and University College London researcher who has just returned from observing the protests in Kiev.

"A Silent Coup": Jeremy Scahill & Bob Herbert on Corporate, Military Interests Shaping Obama’s SOTU | Democracy Now!

"A Silent Coup": Jeremy Scahill & Bob Herbert on Corporate, Military Interests Shaping Obama’s SOTU | Democracy Now!

 "Does the average American benefit from the continuation of these wars?
No. Who benefits? That’s the most important question we all have to ask:
It’s corporations," explains national security reporter Jeremy Scahill.

"When corporations control our political process in this country
through a legalized form of corruption that’s called campaign finance,
what does that say about the state of our democracy? In a way, there
already has been a coup in this country, but it’s been a silent coup."

Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Thursday, January 30 - YouTube

Democracy Now! U.S. and World News Headlines for Thursday, January 30 - YouTube

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Geheimoperation transatlantisches Freihandelsabkommen | 26 November 2013 | REPORT MÜNCHEN - YouTube

Geheimoperation transatlantisches Freihandelsabkommen | 26 November 2013 | REPORT MÜNCHEN - YouTube

 Hardhitting program by German TV on risks emerging from TTIP negotiations - now subtitled in English, don't miss it! 

26 November 2013 - German TV program about the "Transatlantic Trade and
Investment Partnership" (TTIP), the secret negotiations and the
potential harmful impacts to European social and ecological standards.
Produced by ARD. More information on the program:  

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> - Monitor - Monitor vom 30.01.2014 - Monitor - Monitor vom 30.01.2014

# # If TTIP Taft does not create jobs, then what? Today 22:00 Change Monitor

Was bringt das Freihandelsabkommen mit den USA? - WDR 5

Was bringt das Freihandelsabkommen mit den USA? - WDR 5

What does the free trade agreement with the United States? Act Beautiful

It is the largest economy in the world: For several months, the EU and
the U.S. are negotiating a free trade and investment protection
agreements. The protest is great - but the horror scenarios of the critics are right?

Growth, new jobs and a strengthening in global competition promise the
proponents of free trade zone. You will see a new era in transatlantic
relations looming. However, environmental and consumer protection and
the German Cultural Council up in arms against the negotiations. They
fear a lowering of standards and the disclosure of European values in
favor of the free market of companies. The protest was so loud that the
European Commission has now decided to suspend negotiations on the right
of action for the time being.

Are the doomsday scenarios of the critics right or expression of unfounded panic?

"A carefully negotiated TTIP which addresses the concerns of the
citizens may be the solution for many existing problems in the
transatlantic relationship and bring many benefits for the individual

Flaggen der USA und der EU

A new era of transatlantic relations?

Révolte américaine contre les ogres du fast-food, par Thomas Frank (Le Monde diplomatique)

Révolte américaine contre les ogres du fast-food, par Thomas Frank (Le Monde diplomatique):

 Le président Barack Obama a récemment fait de la réduction des inégalités l’objectif principal de son second mandat. Il devra pour cela augmenter le salaire minimum, dont la stagnation depuis plus de sept ans a conduit les employés de la restauration rapide à lancer un mouvement de grève dans plus de cent villes des Etats-Unis.

Foto: Chez votre marchand de journaux et en ligne

Naomi Wolf examines the inspiring struggle against rampant sexual harassment and rape. - Project Syndicate

Naomi Wolf examines the inspiring struggle against rampant sexual harassment and rape. - Project Syndicate

CHENNAI – Sometimes
countries suddenly take a mighty leap forward, forcing everyone else to
take notice. On one critical issue – sexual harassment and rape – India
has moved far into the lead. Following a number of brutal rapes that
became notorious worldwide, Indian women are pushing back in radical,
innovative, and transformational ways.

attacks have been ceaseless and indiscriminate. A 51-year-old Danish
tourist and an 18-year-old German aid worker are among the most recent
non-Indians to be raped. But so is the coverage of them by India’s media. On January 14, The Weekreported on the case of Suzette Jordan,
a 39-year-old Anglo-Indian mother of two in Kolkata, who survived what
has become a numbingly familiar story. In 2012, she had a drink in a bar
and agreed to a ride home with a man she had met; when she entered the
car, four other men piled in. They put a gun in her mouth, beat her
savagely, raped her, and dumped her on the roadside.

reporting of the crime brought new recriminations: the member of
Parliament for her constituency, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, called the rape
“a deal gone wrong”; another minister called her experience “a concocted
story.” But Jordan fought on, and a trial is underway; she has also
started a group to support rape survivors.

level of sexual violence directed against women in India is not
unusual; what is unusual is that the country’s media are now covering
the issue as a burning social problem, rather than sweeping it under the
rug. And women themselves are politicizing the issue, rather than
blaming themselves for being too friendly, not careful enough, or in the
wrong place at the wrong time. They – and the men who support them –
are standing up to rape in ways that should be a model for the rest of
the world.

rape laws were changed in the wake of the rape and murder in 2011 of
Bhanwari Devi, a 36-year-old midwife whose accusations of sexual
misconduct implicated senior political figures. But Indian activists
often refer to the case of another Bhanwari Devi, a social worker who
was gang-raped in 1992, as an early turning point, for it resulted in
1997 in the Indian Supreme Court’s Vishaka judgment,
which proposed guidelines to prevent sexual harassment in the
workplace. With pressure mounting for legislative action, India last
year finally adopted a law banning workplace sexual harassment.

Russia ups the economic pressure on Ukraine | EurActiv

Russia ups the economic pressure on Ukraine | EurActiv

President Vladimir Putin raised the pressure on
Ukraine yesterday (29 January), saying Russia would wait until the
neighbouring country formed a new government, before fully implementing a
$15 billion (€11 billion) bailout deal that Kyiv urgently needs. Russia
also started extra border checks with Ukraine.

Putin repeated a promise he made at the
EU-Russia summit on Tuesday to honour the lifeline agreement with
Ukraine in full (see background), but left open the timing of the next
aid installment as Kiev struggles to calm more than two months of
turmoil since President Victor Yanukovich walked away from a treaty with
the European Union.

A day after Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigned on Tuesday, hoping
to appease the opposition and street protesters, Russia tightened border
checks on imports from Ukraine in what looked like a reminder to
Yanukovich not to install a government that tilts policy back towards
the West.

Ukraine's new interim prime minister Serhiy Arbuzov promised to try
to limit the economic damage inflicted by the sometimes violent street
protests, and said he expected Russia to disburse a further $2 billion
(€1.46 billion) aid installment "very soon".

Putin had less of a sense of urgency. "I would ask the [Russian]
government to fulfill all our financial agreements in full," he said,
repeating a promise made on Tuesday after the government resigned in