Prominent Washington think tanks that routinely provide Congress with policy advice should refrain from taking foreign government donations, particularly from nations like Qatar that have been associated with financing extremist groups, a senior House lawmaker wrote this week in a letter to the president of the Brookings Institution.
The letter from Representative Frank R. Wolf, Republican of Virginia, was in response to an article on Sunday in The New York Times that examined the relationship between think tanks and foreign governments that have donated tens of millions of dollars in recent years to the nonprofit groups, often with an explicit goal of influencing American foreign policy.
A government watchdog denounced the company for adding new members to a credit-card-like scheme without making them aware of the fact. It also said PayPal had mishandled bill disputes, among other offences. The eBay-owned company has offered to settle the case, without admitting wrongdoing. A judge needs to approve the agreement for it to become legally binding.
ETHANOL: Initiative promotes corn-based fuel as boon to public health Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter Greenwire: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 Ethanol backers have launched a campaign to steer attention away from the corn-based fuel's potential impact on food prices and toward air quality and public health.
Calling itself the Urban Air Initiative, the ethanol coalition aims to tie its foes in the petroleum industry to air pollution from automobile tailpipes. Ethanol, the initiative says, can clean up dirty air and help automakers achieve climate change goals.
The initiative recently challenged a U.S. EPA model that ties ethanol to increased air pollution, weighed in on the Obama administration's ozone proposal and began a public awareness campaign centered in Nebraska's Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area.
"This is a different deal than just saying, 'Hey, we need jobs in rural America. Ethanol is great,'" said Doug Durante, executive director of the Clean Fuels Development Coalition. "It's a totally different kind of way we're looking at this."
Never before have German politicians so studiously avoided telling their countrymen the truth. That might be understandable given the troubled state of the world, but it’s still dangerous. VON BERND ULRICH
Public health experts outraged after world’s largest privately-held coal company, Peabody Energy, promotes its product in the fight against Ebola in Africa as part of a PR campaign to rebrand the fossil fuel as a solution to global poverty
Around 1.6 million premature deaths would be prevented annually if the world's governments stopped subsidising fossil fuels, a study by four researchers from the International Monetary Fund found. The most relative gains could be made in eastern Europe and Turkey, where 60 percent of the people who die as a result of air pollution are estimated could be saved.
The IMF study, published Monday (18 May), calculated the “true costs” of the widespread practice of giving tax benefits and other subsidies to companies in the fossil fuel industry (coal, oil, gas). It was a “shocking” figure, the authors themselves said: $5.3 trillion, or about €4.7 trillion. The figure is higher than what governments worldwide spend on public health.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has handed Deutsche Bank AG (Deutsche Bank) a £227 million ($340 million) fine, its largest ever for LIBOR and EURIBOR-related (collectively known as IBOR) misconduct. The fine is so large because Deutsche Bank also misled the regulator, which could have hampered its investigation.
Georgina Philippou, acting director of enforcement and market oversight, said:
“This case stands out for the seriousness and duration of the breaches by Deutsche Bank – something reflected in the size of today’s fine. One division at Deutsche Bank had a culture of generating profits without proper regard to the integrity of the market. This wasn’t limited to a few individuals but, on certain desks, it appeared deeply ingrained.”
The pathology of the rich white family is the most dangerous pathology in America. The rich white family is cursed with too much money and privilege. It is devoid of empathy, the result of lifetimes of entitlement. It has little sense of loyalty and lacks the capacity for self-sacrifice. Its definition of friendship is reduced to “What can you do for me?” It is possessed by an insatiable lust to increase its fortunes and power. It believes that wealth and privilege confer to it a superior intelligence and virtue. It is infused with an unchecked hedonism and narcissism. And because of all this, it interprets reality through a lens of self-adulation and greed that renders it delusional. The rich white family is a menace. The pathologies of the poor, w
The FBI breached its own internal rules when it spied on campaigners against the Keystone XL pipeline, failing to get approval before it cultivated informants and opened files on individuals protesting the construction of the pipeline in Texas.
Internal agency documents reveal for the first time how FBI agents have been closely monitoring anti-Keystone activists, in violation of guidelines designed to prevent the agency from becoming unduly involved in sensitive political issues.
The hugely contentious Keystone XL pipeline, which is awaiting approval from the Obama administration, would transport tar sands oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf coast.
It has been strongly opposed for years by a coalition of environmental groups, including some involved in nonviolent civil disobedience who have been monitored by federal law enforcement agencies.
The documents reveal one FBI investigation, run from its Houston field office, amounted to “substantial non-compliance” of Department of Justice rules that govern how the agency should handle sensitive matters.
One FBI memo, which set out the rationale for investigating campaigners in the Houston area, touted the economic advantages of the pipeline while labelling its opponents “environmental extremists”.
"Many people posting it wrote that the photo was taken during the recent Nepal earthquakes, and that it depicts 'a brother protecting his sister.' Pretty heartwarming, right? It’s the exact sort of thing your aunt would share on Facebook. A perfectly clear, resonant message about survival and empathy and inequality, all that good stuff. There’s only one problem: That picture is fake."
Individuals in a wide variety of species ranging from elephants, dolphins and whales to farmed animals like cows and pigs and companion animals like dogs, cats, and horses, may feel love for their relatives and friends. We scientists in the past often resorted to academic jargon (“animals experience a social bond with kin and others with whom they spend a majority of their time”). Now many of us call it what it is: a deep loving connection between two animals such that when the two are forced apart through death (or some other separation), the survivor may feel profound grief, visible to observers in new patterns of social withdrawal and/or disrupted life routines.
For the oil multinational BP, it was a historic moment – the signing of a joint venture to exploit the vast oil and gas reserves of Russia’s Arctic shelf with the Russian energy giant Rosneft. The deal was worth £10bn in share swaps.
The chief executive of Rosneft, Igor Sechin – then Russian deputy prime minister, key Putin ally and one of the most forbidding characters in the world of oil – would be coming to London to seal the agreement. Rosneft is majority owned by the Russian state, and BP urgently needed a senior British government figure to mark the alliance.
So, the night before the signing in January 2011, BP’s managing director Iain Conn picked up the phone to the then secretary of state for energy and climate change, Chris Huhne. It was awkward, for Huhne had a long-standing engagement – to give a speech at a Liberal Democrat dinner on the Isle of Wight to an audience that would include key representatives of the island’s renewable energy industry. There was, though, only ever going to be one winner.
The story Linda Jing tells in the video is slick and persuasive: she was a girl from a poor village forced to study by candlelight because there was no electricity until coal-fired power plants arrived, transforming her destiny and that of China.
“It’s not an easy life,” Jing says, whose school was an old temple. “We actually had to bring our own little oil lamp or homemade candles for some of the school sessions.” The children had to go there very early, often in the dark, she recalls.
In the three-minute video, ‘From Candles to Computers: Bringing Electricity to China’s Jing Jin village’, she says: “The coal industry is a major force in eliminating fuel poverty in China but, more importantly, it’s a critical driving force for the phenomenal economic growth China has experienced.”
No wonder Washington never changes – 79 members of Congress have been there since Bill Clinton’s first term in the White House. This list includes names such as Reid, Feinstein, McConnell, McCain, Pelosi, Boehner, Rangel and Boxer.
In this article, I am going to share with you a complete list of the members of Congress that have been “serving” us for at least 20 years. They believe that they are “serving” us well, but without a doubt most Americans very much wish that true “change” would come to Washington. In fact, right now Congress has a 15 percent approval rating with the American people, and that approval rating has been consistently below 20 percent since mid-2011. So of course we took advantage of the 2014 mid-term election to dump as many of those Congress critters out of office as we possibly could, right? Wrong. Sadly, incumbents were re-elected at a 95 percent rate in 2014. This just shows how broken and how corrupt our system has become. The American people absolutely hate the job that Congress is doing, and yet the same clowns just keep getting sent back to Washington again and again.
Our founders never intended for service in Congress to become a career, but that is precisely what it has become for many of our “public servants”. As of this moment, there are 79 members of Congress that have been in office for at least 20 years, and there are 16 members of Congress that have been in office for at least 30 years.
“Whether it’s the Koch brothers or Soros on the left or Sheldon,” former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich recently said, “if you’re going to have an election process that radically favors billionaires and is discriminating against the...
Congressman Darrell Issa, America’s richest Congressman with a net worth of nearly $500 million, says the nation’s poor are actually doing very well. Issa told CNN that “our poor are… the envy of the world.”
The world’s biggest and most profitable fossil fuel companies are receiving huge and rising subsidies from US taxpayers, a practice slammed as absurd by a presidential candidate given the threat of climate change.
A Guardian investigation of three specific projects, run by Shell, ExxonMobil and Marathon Petroleum, has revealed that the subsidises were all granted by politicians who received significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.
The Guardian has found that:
A proposed Shell petrochemical refinery in Pennsylvania is in line for $1.6bn (£1bn) in state subsidy, according to a deal struck in 2012 when the company made an annual profit of $26.8bn. ExxonMobil’s upgrades to its Baton Rouge refinery in Louisiana are benefitting from $119m of state subsidy, with the support starting in 2011, when the company made a $41bn profit. A jobs subsidy scheme worth $78m to Marathon Petroleum in Ohio began in 2011, when the company made $2.4bn in profit.
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