Taxpayers in Minnesota ended up paying $70 million more than they needed to for electricity in 2011 because of “green” energy mandates, according to the Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA).
“Taxpayers already pay a high price to subsidize wind energy through billions in federal grants, loan guarantees and tax credits that prop up the ‘windustry,’” Tom Steward writes for the Minnesota State News.
“Now the bill for state renewable energy mandates is coming due with hundreds of thousands of Minnesota electric co-op and utility customers picking up the tab,” he adds.
The United States must resolve that ‘never again’ is not just an ‘empty slogan’, said U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday, in a statement marking Holocaust Remembrance Day. Yet, I am left bewildered, what does president Obama refers to? Is ‘never again’ a universal message pointing at genocides in general or did he refer to Jewish suffering only? With 1,455,590 dead Iraqis due to an Anglo American criminal war, it seems as if the USA is actually complicit in an actual genocide.
Obama’s comments followed Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Holocaust Memorial Day address at Yad Vashem where he stated that Israel’s “enemies tried to bury the Jewish future but our future was born again in the land of our forefathers, here we built a base, and a new beginning of freedom, and hope and action.”
Netanyahu, as usual, was almost correct. The ‘Jewish future’ was indeed born again after the holocaust just to introduce total misery, racism, expansionism, oppression, death and carnage to the entire Middle East. The so-called ‘Jewish State’ has managed, in just a few decades, to locate itself as the primary threat to world peace. With the Jewish State and its lobbies pushing for a war against Iran, there is little room for doubt- Israel is driven by a suicidal inclination in the spirit of Biblical Samson. Yet, being a nuclear super power, Israel’s potential self-inflicted tragedy may as well put an end to the world, as we know it.
In Yad Vashem, the Israeli PM, once again explored the most banal pre-traumatic stress symptoms. He went on to say that today’s generation “faces calls to exterminate the Jewish State,” and that lessons of the past must not be forgotten. Netanyahu obviously focused on Iran, calling it an existential threat to Israel, and to world peace. He added, “It is the world’s responsibility to stop Iran securing nuclear weapons.”
PM Netanyahu is obviously wrong. It is actually obvious that nuclear Iran could only save Israel from itself. It would restrain the Jewish State and stop it from exploring its lethal inclinations.
If Obama is sincere, if ‘never again’ isn’t just an ‘empty slogan’ as he says, he better goes out of his way to restrain Israel’s genocidal inclinations and its belligerent pro-war Lobbies around the world.
Prisoners, whose ranks increasingly consist of those for whom the legitimate economy has found no use, now make up a virtual brigade within the reserve army of the unemployed whose ranks have ballooned along with the U.S. incarceration rate. The Corrections Corporation of America and G4S (formerly Wackenhut), two prison privatizers, sell inmate labor at subminimum wages to Fortune 500 corporations like Chevron, Bank of America, AT&T, and IBM.
Children who experience severe forms of abuse are around three times as likely to develop schizophrenia and related psychoses in later life compared with children who do not experience such abuse, according to a study that has brought together psychiatric data from almost 80,000 people.
The results add to a growing body of evidence that childhood maltreatment or abuse can raise the risk of developing mental illnesses in adulthood, including depression, personality disorders and anxiety.
Prof Richard Bentall of the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, who led the study, showed that the risk of developing psychosis increased in line with the amount of abuse or trauma a child had gone through, with the most severely affected children having a 50 times increased risk compared with children who had suffered no abuse. He also showed that the type of trauma experienced in childhood affected the subsequent psychiatric symptoms later in life.
Schizophrenia occurs in around 1-3% of the population and is defined by psychiatrists as one of the most severe types of mental illness. It is characterised by hearing voices, bizarre beliefs and loss of motivation.
America’s plan B for Iran “will be successful,” promises US defense secretary, Leon Panetta. Reports suggest this is no sable rattling, as the US strike groups deployed to the Persian Gulf may be carrying some 430 Tomahawk missiles.
Washington has not yet dropped its “all options” stance towards Iran, who, they fear, may be building nuclear weapons. The confirmation was obtained by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer from Panetta on Thursday.
“We are prepared with all options on the table if we have to respond,” Panetta said, adding that “there are plans” to deal with Iran if the country does not give up its nuclear ambitions.
“I don’t think there is any question that if we have to implement that plan, it will be successful,” he added.
This practical approach sees two American aircraft carriers, their battle groups, several submarines and additional Marines deployed to the Gulf waters. Both the US Navy and the Pentagon say the commissions are “routine.”
Nevertheless, assessments made by Interfax news agency say that the group headed by the USS Enterprise alone has taken at least 130 Tomahawk missiles to the Persian Gulf.
The other group, which has the USS Abraham Lincoln as its flagship, has as many long-range cruise missiles of the same class. This group was last reported to be patrolling the Arabian Sea, where the US Navy says it is providing air support to NATO troops in Afghanistan.
The submarine USS Georgia, which is also navigating the waters, is estimated to be carrying 154 Tomahawks. Another submarine, assigned to an amphibious assault group, is reported to have 12 cruise missiles at its disposal.
All this gives a total figure of at least 430 Tomahawks with a range of 1,700 km on a routine voyage around the waters of the Persian Gulf. The missiles would be able to take out Iran’s air-defense system in its entirety and turn its military airfields into rubble, experts tell Interfax.
With all the military build-up in the area, Washington says the first round of nuclear talks with Tehran gave them “positive” feelings. However, no alleviating of sanctions against Iran’s economy has so far been debated in the White House, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared on Monday.
The USA seems to be between a rock and the hard place regarding the issue of Iran. On the one hand, Washington says they want Iran to drop nukes, but diplomacy comes first. On the other hand, the US has to restrain Israel as its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has branded the first round of talks with Iran an international “freebie” for the country. He also makes it a point of mentioning at least once a month that Tehran is “an existential threat” to Israel.
Iran denies it is trying to build nuclear weapons, saying also it is their right to produce nuclear energy and radioactive treatment for cancer patients.
David Cameron‘s father ran a network of offshore investment funds to help build the family fortune that paid for the prime minister’s inheritance, the Guardian can reveal.
Though entirely legal, the funds were set up in tax havens such as Panama City and Geneva, and explicitly boasted of their ability to remain outside UK tax jurisdiction.
At the time of his death in late 2010, Ian Cameron left a fortune of £2.74m in his will, from which David Cameron received the sum of £300,000.
Cameron and other cabinet members have recently suggested that they would be willing to disclose their personal tax filings amid growing scrutiny following the budget, but this would only shed light on annual sources of income rather than accumulated wealth or inheritance.
The structure employed by Cameron senior is now commonplace among modern hedge funds, which argue that offshore status can help attract international investors. UK residents would ordinarily have to pay tax on any profits they repatriated, and there is nothing to suggest the Camerons did not.
Nevertheless, the dramatic growth of such offshore financial activity has raised concerns that national tax authorities are struggling to pin down the world’s super-rich.
Ian Cameron took advantage of a new climate of investment after all capital controls were abolished in 1979, making it legal to take any sum of money out of the country without it being taxed or controlled by the UK government.
Not long after the change, brought in by Margaret Thatcher after her first month in power, Ian Cameron began setting up and directing investment funds in tax havens around the world.
Marijuana fans held mass rallies and pot parties in Canada and the United States, easing into the weekend with an annual celebration devoted to the feel-good weed.
Western Canadian metropolis Vancouver closed a major road in the financial district for the day-long demonstration, in which attendees are urged to light up, while the sweet-smelling smoke also wafted heavily over California.
Vancouver organizers and media said between 10,000 and 15,000 attendees made Vancouver’s the biggest of the so-called 4/20 events. A crowd of mostly young adults spent the day lounging in sunshine listening to bands, many of them smoking weed or munching snacks sold by street vendors.
A children’s slide has caused anger in Antrim in Northern Ireland. An entertainment park introduced an inflatable slide of a sinking ship on the anniversary of the Titanic tragedy.
Residents have complained to the City Council saying the slide was “in bad taste” and the timing couldn’t be worse, the BBC reports.
“They thought it was a wee bit in bad taste. It was fair criticism,” Adrian Watson, the local UUP councillor is quoted by BBC as saying.
Antrim authorities said neither the city council, nor the private contractor, who provided the entertainment facilities for the Lough Shore Park meant no offence.
The inflatable slide was installed in the Lough Shore Park on April 14, 2012. Similar Titanic-slides, apparently produced in China, are in entertainment parks in other parts of the world.
Japanese centenarian Jiroemon Kimura is proving that a sense of humor may truly be the secret to longevity.
On his 115th birthday, he faced reporters gathered at his home in Kyotango City west of Kyoto, with a smile and a brief message – in English.
“Thank you very much. You are very kind man,” Kimura said, as photographers gave out a collective “ohhh,” surprised by his language fluency.
The oldest living man in the world, Kimura is just 237 days shy of the oldest living person, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. That title belongs to supercentenarian Besse Cooper, who lives in Monroe, Ga.
Kimura was born in 1897, and worked at the local post office until he retired at the age of 65.
He has 5 children, 14 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren, and 13 great great grandchildren.
While Kimura has slowed down with age, his family says he continues to read the newspaper every day, and never misses a meal.
“It is all thanks to the grace of god,” Kimura said. “I have nothing but gratitude for the life I’ve been given.”
Japan has the world’s fastest aging population, and Kimura is just one of five Japanese who are on the list of 10 oldest people, according to Guinness.
A Sri Lankan woman is currently facing decapitation by sword on a witchcraft charge in Saudi Arabia, in accordance with Wahhabism, a strict form of Sunni Islam. The UN reports executions tripled in the kingdom in 2011.
A Saudi man complained that in a shopping mall his 13-year-old daughter “suddenly started acting in an abnormal way, which happened after she came close to the Sri Lankan woman,” reports the daily Okaz.
After the local man denounced the Sri Lankan for casting a spell on his daughter, police in the port city of Jeddah found it sufficient cause to arrest the woman.
Witchcraft and sorcery imply only one measure in Saudi Arabia – beheading. And it works this way in practice: last year in the kingdom at least two people – a woman in her 60s and a Sudanese man – were beheaded on witchcraft charges.
In the absolute monarchy that Saudi Arabia is, a criminal code does not exist per se. Court sentences are based on Islamic Sharia law on the interpretation of judges.
A startup evidently devoted to mining asteroids for metals is to make its public debut on Tuesday in the US northwest city of Seattle, seeking to redefine the term “natural resources.”
X Prize founder Peter Diamandis and a former NASA astronaut are slated to unveil Planetary Resources, which boasts an impressive list of backers including Google co-founder Larry Page and famed film maker James Cameron.
“The company will overlay two critical sectors — space exploration and natural resources — to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP,” Planetary Resources said in a brief release announcing the Tuesday press event in the Pacific Northwest city.
“This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of ‘natural resources.’”
An incensed Spain threatened swift economic retaliation against Argentina yesterday after it announced plans to seize YPF, the South American nation’s biggest oil company, in a move which pushed down shares in Spanish energy giant Repsol, the controlling shareholder.
Madrid called in the Argentine ambassador in a rapidly escalating row over the nationalisation order by Argentina’s populist and increasingly assertive president, Cristina Fernandez, a move which delighted many of her compatriots but alarmed some foreign governments and investors.
Promising action in the coming days, Spanish industry minister Jose Manuel Soria said: “With this attitude, this hostility from the Argentine authorities, there will be consequences that we’ll see over the next few days. They will be in the diplomatic field, the industrial field, and on energy.”
“Argentina has shot itself in the foot,” said Foreign Minister Jose Manual Garcia-Margallo.
Despite the rhetoric, Spain appeared to have little leverage over Buenos Aires – any action to be taken will be determined at a cabinet meeting on Friday – and Argentina has proven impervious to such pressure in the past.
Repsol said YPF was worth $18 billion as a whole and it would be seeking compensation on that basis, but the Spanish oil major’s shares fell by 7.5 percent in Madrid on Tuesday. The company said it could raise money in the bond market and sell some assets to help its cash flow.
THE CREDIBILITY of Greece’s political class has sunk so low that both main parties of the centre-right and centre-left have faced problems finding suitable candidates to stand for election early next month.
Politicians have been widely denounced as “thieves and traitors”, reflecting a populist view that their corrupt practices while in government were responsible for triggering Greece’s financial collapse.
One veteran political organiser for New Democracy, the conservative frontrunner, said: “The pool of potential candidates [for both main parties] has shrunk, especially in the provinces . . . Both respected professionals and prominent local government officials have been turning down offers.”
“There are fewer people than usual aspiring to run,” said a senior member of Pasok, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement that is in coalition with the centre-right under Lucas Papademos, the technocrat prime minister.
Campaigning has started for an election expected to take place on May 6th, even though the date will not be officially announced until midweek, after parliament has approved another package of structural measures.
Opinion polls at the weekend showed Pasok and New Democracy would together capture only 40-41 per cent of the vote, well short of the 50 per cent seen as critical for maintaining the reform process.
Berlusconi has reportedly paid €127,000 (£105,000) to three witnesses since his trial began last April. The trial centres on Moroccan runaway Karima el-Mahroug, known as Ruby the Heart Stealer, who attended so-called “bunga bunga” parties at Berlusconi’s mansion outside Milan in 2010.
A scandal is brewing in Estonia, where inmates are reportedly labeled according to how fluent they are in the national language. The practice is reminiscent of how Nazi Germany marked Jews, homosexuals and other categories of people in death camps.
Some Estonian inmates now bear the letters A, B or C on their clothes, representing the level of their language skills, says Director of the Institute of the Estonian Language Urmas Sutrop. Those barely able to communicate are labeled with “A”, “B” is reserved for those with average level, while fluent speakers are tagged with “C”.
Inmates who cannot speak Estonian at all are not marked in any way, Sutrop told the Postimees newspaper, citing a letter he had received from a prisoner.
The tags are an addition to the usual ID badges that inmates in Estonia have to wear.
Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Prague on Saturday for an anti-government rally as the centre-right ruling coalition was teetering on the verge of collapse.
Unions, pensioners, student associations and other groups angered by austerity cuts and graft scandals teamed up for what they said would be the biggest protest yet against the cabinet of right-wing leader Petr Necas.
The Washington Times newspaper said in a report that French Muslims, estimated at more than six million, are fed up with Sarkozy’s anti-immigrant and anti-Islam policies.
A sociologist with the Institute of Studies on the Arab and Muslim World has told the US daily that French Muslims are tired of debates about national identity, the Islamic veil or fundamentalism.
“[French] Muslims can’t stand it anymore. They are fed up with these debates about national identity, halal meat, the veil or fundamentalism all over the place,” said Francoise Lorcerie.
“The terms [Islam, immigration and fundamentalism] are being used interchangeably, without care, with people being targeted, denigrated and used for [votes],” Lorcerie added.
According to polls, front runner Socialist and Left Radical Party candidate Francois Hollande is ahead of the incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy — whose approval rating has diminished remarkably in the past months– and is likely to win the run-off vote.
If Sarkozy is defeated in the election he will be the first one-term French president since 1981.
The recent shooting of a Jewish rabbi and three children in Toulouse which led to the arrest of a number of Muslims further ignited the anti-Muslim campaign in France.
Sarkozy’s opponents believe that the shooting was set up as a scenario for him to win Jewish votes.
News organizations cultivate a reputation for demanding transparency, whether by suing for access to government documents, dispatching camera crews to the doorsteps of recalcitrant politicians, or editorializing in favor of open government.
But now many of the country’s biggest media companies 2014 which own dozens of newspapers and TV news operations 2014 are flexing their muscle in Washington in a fight against a government initiative to increase transparency of political spending.
The corporate owners or sister companies of some of the biggest names in journalism 2014 NBC News, ABC News, Fox News, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Politico, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and dozens of local TV news outlets 2014 are lobbying against a Federal Communications Commission measure to require broadcasters to post political ad data on the Internet.
As we have recently detailed, political ad data is public by law but is not widely accessible because it is currently kept only in paper files at individual stations. The FCC has proposed fixing that by requiring broadcasters to post on the Internet details of political ad purchases including the identity of the buyer and the price.
(ProPublica has been inviting readers and other journalists to send in the files to be posted as part of our Free the Files project.)
Over the past few months, several major media companies have dispatched top executives or outside lobbyists to the FCC to oppose the proposed rule or to push a watered down version, disclosure filings show. (The FCC is voting on the issue April 27.)