School meal portions are being shrunk, leaving children to go hungry, teachers and parents have warned. Smaller portion sizes caused by cost-cutting are reported in schools across the country and are of particular concern, given the increase in the number of impoverished pupils who rely on school lunches as their only hot meal of the day. Primary-age children, in particular, are going hungry after being given lunches that are too small, according to teachers.
The findings of a study by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) were confirmed by individual teachers and parent groups who told The Independent it was a growing problem that had to be addressed. “Children are going hungry in schools and we all know what hunger does to your ability to learn,” said Mary Bousted, the ATL’s general-secretary. “It is no surprise that, in the current economic climate, there has been an increase in the uptake of free school meals … For some children, it may be their only hot meal of the day.”
Meeting Sunday in the Turkish city of Istanbul, the so-called “Friends of Syria” conference stepped up the US-led campaign to destabilize and oust the government of Syria through a combination of diplomatic maneuvers and direct military interference.
Washington leads the group of 74 countries, with the aid of the European powers and the pro-US dictatorships of the Middle East. The conference took place as former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan heads a UN monitoring mission in Syria, with the stated goals of bringing about a ceasefire and opening dialogue between the government and the opposition. The Syrian regime has signed on to Annan’s peace talks, though the main US-backed opposition groups have refused to do so.
Opening proceedings Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made clear that the Annan mission is to be used by the “Friends of Syria” as a means to ratchet up tensions with the Assad regime and lay the groundwork for foreign military intervention.
Front Range farmers bidding for water to grow crops through the coming hot summer and possible drought face new competition from oil and gas drillers.
At Colorado’s premier auction for unallocated water this spring, companies that provide water for hydraulic fracturing at well sites were top bidders on supplies once claimed exclusively by farmers.
The prospect of tussling with energy industry giants over water leaves some farmers and environmentalists uneasy.
In an open letter published over the weekend, dozens of prominent members of the U.K.’s theater and film industries protested the inclusion of Israel’s national theater, Habima, in an upcoming Shakespeare festival, over what the signatories say was the theater’s “shameful record of involvement with illegal Israeli settlements.”
The letter, which was published late last week in the British newspaper the Guardian, was signed by such leading cultural figures as film director Mike Leigh, actress Emma Thompson and actor-director Richard Wilson.
In it, the signatories write of their “dismay and regret” over Habima’s planned run of The Merchant of Venice at the Globe to Globe festival, due to take place this May, citing the national theater’s willingness to play at settlement cultural halls despite a boycott by several Israeli actors and playwrites.
An Algerian lawyer said Monday that she has evidence that the young man accused of killing seven people in attacks on French soldiers and a Jewish school claimed his innocence to police.
Mohamed Merah, 23, was killed after a more than 30-hour standoff with authorities, who have said that during negotiations he confessed to the killings in southwestern France and refused to surrender peacefully.
But Zahia Mokhtari, a lawyer for Merah’s Algerian father, told BFM television on Monday that she had two identical videos of Merah that contradict the police narrative.
“In these videos, he says, ‘I am innocent. Why are you killing me? I didn’t do anything,’” she said.
Mokhtari would not detail how she got the videos, saying she would reveal more on their origin once she files a lawsuit in French courts against the elite police force, RAID, that killed Merah.
A police official with knowledge of the investigation cast doubt on her claims Monday, noting that Merah led police to evidence that proved he was the perpetrator.
Prosecutors say Merah spoke at length with negotiators from the RAID force throughout the long standoff last month while he was holed up in a Toulouse apartment.
During these conversations, authorities say, Merah told them where to find a video he took of the killings. Al-Jazeera television has said it received a copy of the video, which shows the deaths of three paratroopers, three Jewish children and a rabbi from the killer’s point of view.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of police rules, added that Merah had toyed with police during the standoff, initially agreeing to surrender but later vowing to “die with his weapons in his hands.”
Police have said that Merah said he had links to Al Qaeda but have cast doubt on that claim. They are holding his brother on suspicion he helped to prepare the attacks and are looking for a possible third man who may also have been involved.
The killings have left France reeling, reviving worries about Islamist extremism and shaking up the French presidential campaign.
US covert and overt criminal Wars of Aggression caused 20-30 million deaths of human beings since World War 2, according to the outstanding documentation of James Lucas of Countercurrents.org. The US use/support of armed attacks is documented in 37 countries, and in direct violation of treaties after both world wars (Kellogg-Briand and UN Charter) to forever end armed attacks unless first attacked by another nation’s government.
The end of this gruesome and psychopathic history of armed attacks and war-murders in the Orwellian names of unalienable rights and freedom will end upon the demand of enough in the 99% to arrest the obvious current War Criminals.
Republican Governor Mitch Daniels has signed Senate Enrolled Act 1 into law in Indiana. The new law allows citizens to use deadly force against police officers they think are illegally entering their homes. Earlier this month, Addicting Info reported that the bill had passed the Senate. Republicans say the bill is designed to keep police safe, but Democrats say the bill will lead to the wanton killing of police officers.
Rep. Craig Fry, a Democrat, says the bill “is going to cause people to die and it’s too late after somebody dies for a jury to sort it out. Somebody’s going to die, whether it’s a police officer or an individual who thinks a police officer is entering their home unlawfully. People are going to die.”
By 1929, Charles Mitchell, President of the National City Bank (which would become Citibank), had popularized the idea of selling stock and high yield bonds directly to smaller investors. Mitchell and a very small group of bankers, brokers, and speculators manipulated the stock market, grew wealthy and helped create the economic boom of that fabulous decade.
Their successes made them folk heroes of the day. The Crash of 1929chronicles a fateful year through the words and experiences of the descendants of these titans of finance.
In 1929, while the market was rising, seemingly without limits, there were few critics. Based on eight years of continued prosperity, presidents and economists alike confidently predicted that America would soon enter a time when there would be no more poverty, no more depressions — a “New Era” when everyone could be rich.
Instead it was the rich who became became richer. Jesse Livermore, a Wall Street insider, drove around town in one of six yellow Rolls Royces. His daughter-in-law describes his two yachts, private railway car and five homes, including an apartment on Fifth Avenue he bought to have a place where he could change clothes for the theater.(Excerpt from pbs.org)
David Cameron has drawn up secret plans to boost his popularity with an island-based war
A leaked Downing Street memo details the scheme, codenamed Operation Worked For Maggie.
According to the document, members of the prime minister’s local Conservative Association, many of whom are in their seventies, would be parachuted into the unfashionable holiday destination.
Those who survived the drop would seize control of key amenities while wearing green overalls and talking with ‘foreign sounding accents’.
The document states: “In making the case for war, claim that the island could launch an attack on London within two and a half hours, providing the hovercraft and trains are running as advertised.”
Following the declaration of war, Cameron would make Churchillian speeches and be photographed pretending to drive a tank.
Brigadier Tom Logan said: “The ‘battle’ to retake the Isle of Wight would go without a hitch, the loss of half a million conscripts from council estates and Labour voting families notwithstanding.
“A good winnable war for a holiday destination still relatively popular among elderly voters could unite a nation torn apart by fuel and snacks.”
The leaked memo also lists several other strategies for boosting the prime minister’s popularity.
They include ‘bogwash Clegg live on BBC2′, ‘be photographed in a vest with a spanner, fixing an old Datsun’ and ‘sex tape with Rhianna’.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner outlined how his department will find savings, including $286 million in the next fiscal year, by changing the materials that go into coins, replacing paper with electronic communications and consolidating internal agencies.
The effort to find efficiencies is part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to reduce budget deficits by $4 trillion over the next 10 years.
Geithner, in written testimony prepared for the House Committee on Appropriations, said a good portion of next year’s savings at Treasury will come from changing the composition of U.S. coins to more cost-effective materials.
Changing the makeup of coins and improving the efficiency of currency production will save more than $75 million in the next fiscal year. In addition, the suspension of presidential dollar coin production, announced in December, will save another $50 million.
Geithner said the department is also finding savings by encouraging electronic communication instead of paper. For example, this year 77% of taxpayers will file returns online. Treasury has saved $63.9 million since 2009 by encouraging electronic filing.
The new study found that the average warming of sea water since the 1870s is about 0.39 C at a depth of 366 metres and 0.12 C at 914 metres, for an overall, multi-depth average increase in water temperature of about 0.33 C over the past 135-plus years.
That result implies “a centennial time scale for the present rate of global warming” rather than the five-decade-long trend previously known to science, the study concludes.
It “indicates that, globally, the oceans have been warming at least since the late-19th or early-20th centuries,” the researchers state.
Project leader and Scripps’ oceanographer Dean Roemmich told Postmedia News on Monday that the comparative study is “clear in emphasizing the significance of the Challenger Expedition with regard to its baseline measurements of ocean temperature.”
He added in a summary of the findings that “the significance of the study is not only that we see a temperature difference that indicates warming on a global scale, but that the magnitude of the temperature change since the 1870s is twice that observed over the past 50 years.”
Babies treated in the womb for obesity: Overweight mothers-to-be get diabetes pill to cut the risk of having a fat child
Babies are being medicated in the womb in an attempt to prevent them from being born obese.
In a world first, dangerously overweight mothers-to-be in four British cities have started taking a diabetes drug during their pregnancy.
The doctors behind the controversial NHS trial say that obesity among pregnant women is reaching epidemic proportions and they need to act now to protect the health of tomorrow’s children.
However, there is likely to be unease about resorting to medication in pregnancy for a problem that can be treated through changes in diet and exercise.
If the strategy is a success, the treatment could be in widespread use in as little as five years, with tens of thousands of overweight but otherwise healthy mothers-to-be drugged each year.
It is well established that carcinogenic substances are lurking in the environment around us, but just how many cancer cases are caused by these substances remains a mystery. Diet and smoking habits make up nearly 60 percent of cancer cases, and thus personal lifestyle changes play a major factor, but how many cancer cases result from environmental and occupational exposure?
For decades the estimate for such cases has remained at 6 percent, but many experts feel that number is significantly lower than what is actually true. In a 1981 report by two scientists, Sir Richard Doll and Sir Richard Peto, was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. It was estimated that pollutants in the environment caused about 2 percent of cancer deaths and exposures in occupational settings were responsible for 4 percent. Using these numbers, 30,000 U.S. deaths resuleds from these exposures in 2009.
But the percentage of cancer cases caused by environmental toxins and occupational exposure can’t be confidently calculated. While it is important to know which substances are carcinogenic and how much these substances are used in our society, many factors must be taken into consideration when determining exactly what causes this number 2 killer to be so rampant.
Tobacco smoke is responsible for nearly 30 percent of cancer cases, and the carcinogenicity of the substance is amplified even greater when asbestos is present. Benzene, which causes leukemia, is commonly found in vehicle exhaust. Similarly, radon, a natural radioactive gas found in many homes, raises the risk of lung cancer while arsenic, linked to skin, liver, bladder and lung cancer, contaminates many foods and juices – as well as the water supply.
While scientists and mainstream medical professionals call upon the abilities of mainstream medical science to lessen cancer rates, research shows that the war against cancer using such techniques is a complete failure. Despite 10′s of millions of dollars being spent on the war on cancer each year, and the American Cancer Society allegedly making its mission to treat and prevent cancer, overall rates continue to climb as mainstream medicine provides little benefit.
No matter exactly how many cancer cases are being caused by the environment and occupational exposure, possessing the knowledge allows for individuals to reduce their exposure to the carcinogenic substances while manufacturers and factories can reduce or halt the use of the cancer-causing substances.
So how can the nearly 60 percent of cancer cases caused the smoking and lifestyle be drastically slashed? To put it simple, don’t smoke and live a healthy lifestyle with enough exercise and healthy eating. Fructose is consistently being found to play a significant role in the development and spread of cancer, so fructose consumption should be greatly limited. Using organic consumer products, consuming organic foods, not smoking, and filtering your tap water will also greatly help to reduce any chance you have of developing cancer.
But that time isn’t now. And until that time comes, Russell will be keeping his wealth in gold.
He writes in King World News:
What I want to illustrate is that great fortunes are made at super-bear market lows. But you must have the money at the lows. Which is why gold is so singular and valuable. If you have gold at the bottom of the next bear market, you can exchange it for a collection of great common stocks or funds, and then sit back and relax.
You are then betting on the lasting power of the US. If the US comes back, you will be rich beyond your wildest dreams. But you have to have the guts to hang on to your gold. And you need patience — the patience of ten men.
And when the time comes, things will get messy before they get good.
And I wonder — is there a super bear market waiting for us somewhere in the future? The great ride from the end of WWII to today has never been fully corrected. Some day it will be. And impossible bargains in stocks will be lying around — with very few willing or solvent buyers.
…My thinking is that sooner or later we will be subject to a major correction (bear market) that will wipe out or correct 60 years of inflation and leveraging. When that happens, I want to own the only kind of money that the Fed can’t destroy.
The slaying of Trayvon Martin has raised many questions about race relations in the US in the weeks since the 17-year-old was gunned down by George Zimmerman. Some, however, are concerned that these conversations aren’t enough.
Malik Zulu Shabazz, the national chairman of the New Black Panther Party, told a radio program over the weekend that he wants African-Americans in the US to be prepared for further victimization and, in hopes of preventing further attacks, wants blacks to be briefed in self defense.
“This Saturday in Sanford, Florida the New Black Panther Party will be conducting county-wide and state-wide defense training and community patrols to protect against racial violence and attacks, and people like Zimmerman,” Shabazz told The Muslim Street radio program on Sunday evening.
It was on February 26 that Martin was shot and killed by Zimmerman, a community watch captain on patrol in a Sanford, FL gated community while walking on foot to his father’s apartment. More than a month after the event, however, no charges have been brought against the confessed shooter and he still stands a free man. Although a grand jury will soon consider taking on a case against Zimmerman, the silence so far has caused outrage across America. In recent weeks, protests and rallies have occurred from coast-to-coast, and even US President Barack Obama himself has touched on the topic. With Americans asking for justice en masse, Shabazz suggests that proactively preaching defense tactics to black youths could be perhaps the best thing to do for now while Zimmerman remains free.
“We’re talking now here about community patrols, laying a structure for defense [training] in the communities where men and women will know how to deal with this violence and police misconduct,” said Shabazz.
Additionally, Shabazz is calling for a worldwide strike on April 9 in hopes of raising even more awareness for their fight for justice. According to the New Black Panther Party leader, over 300 organizations have agreed to take part in a strike both in the US and abroad. Discussing the strike with The Muslim Street, Shabazz said next Monday would be“a day of absence, where there is no work, no school, and no shopping in the cause of justice for Trayvon and the immediate arrest of Zimmerman and charging him with the appropriate charges.”
“[W]e’re talking about a national strike and using the power of our labor and our dollars to affect justice,” added Shabazz.
Unemployment across the countries that use the euro hit a 15-year high of 10.8 per cent in February.
Figures from the European Commission’s official statistics agency, eurostat, showed unemployment was up from 10.7% in January and compared to 10.0% in February 2011.
The figures laid bare the vast economic differences between 17 countries using the euro.
Among the Member States, the lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Austria (4.2%), the Netherlands (4.9%), Luxembourg (5.2%) and Germany (5.7%).
Annan announced on Monday that Damascus has accepted a deadline to start implementing his proposed plan to settle the Syrian unrest.
The former UN chief, who briefed the 15-member Security Council by videoconference from Geneva behind closed doors, was quoted as saying that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has agreed on the April 10 deadline to put the plan to work.
“The Syrians have told us they have put a plan in place for withdrawing their army units from populated zones and surrounding areas. This plan … will be completed by April 10,” Annan’s spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said in Geneva.
“If we are able to verify this has happened on the 10th, then the clock starts ticking on the cessation of hostilities, by the opposition as well. We expect both sides to cease hostilities within 48 hours,” he added.
Annan met Assad in Damascus on March 10 and presented him with a six-point plan calling for the military pullout.