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Date: Mon, 8 Jun 2015 21:46:08 +0100
Subject: "Blue is apparently the world's favourite colour


Yup, as they say some `backward' countries are superstitious about colours (England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland for example - re: "red and green should never be seen" etc. and anti-green stuff in general [maybe because it "belonged" to the little people], while other more realistic folk in desert countries actually revere and admire green, and tastefully add it to their clothing and building decorations whenever possible.

Whereas blue may be seen as the sky and freedom so it's understandable that people generally like it.
Ray


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/weird-news/blue-is-apparently-the-worlds-favourite-colour-10305057.html
Blue is apparently the world's favourite colour

People polled in ten countries across the world said blue was their favourite colour over any other
DOUG BOLTON | Monday 08 June 2015

At least the world agrees on one thing - our favourite colour.

Blue was revealed to be the world's favourite colour in a series of surveys covering 10 countries across four continents.

The polls took place in the UK, Germany, USA, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia - in all of them, blue convincingly came out on top.

33 per cent of Britons surveyed said it was their favourite colour, the highest level out of all countries listed. Even in Indonesia, where it had the fewest fans, at 23 per cent, it came top by a wide margin.

The colour's all-encompassing popularity is interesting, considering that some countries on the list see different colours as lucky, or auspicious. (more at page ...)







Date: Mon, 8 Jun 2015 08:41:47 +0100
Subject: "Two Canadians barred from leaving Malaysia


Serves them right.  Basic rule for travellers abroad: "When in Rome ..."
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=when+in+rome

Actually lived on a mountain-top in N Borneo for a few months (operating a mobile radio station linking Labuan and Jesselton air-bases) in a large-ish Army tent.

We (me and one, sometimes two, other guys working shifts) got along fine with our only neighbours, Ali and Ayesha, a young couple who lived in a bamboo hut about fifty yards away.  Ali would help us out by building extensions to our tent, using big-bamboo, cut and trimmed with his razor-sharp parangs and machetes - and Ayesha would send the two kids (boy about 6, girl about 8) to bring water up from the stream in the valley so we could have a shower occasionally (otherwise we had to wait for heavy rain).

And the kids were always giving us wild fruits from the jungle, like large bunches of those tiny sweet bananas which you have to eat straight away or they all go soft together.

All told, they were nicer folk than you would meet in more "civilized" places.

Don't recall discussing religious stuff with Ali but think he advised us to give a wide berth to an old cemetery we'd pass when going down the mountain to the coast - seems there'd been a Chinese village or trading post there a long time ago and the local folk thought it might be haunted.

[All the grave markers were of carved wood and it was was surrounded by a (knee-high) sort-of fenced enclosure - I never got too close].

Ray


http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/canadian-sisters-who-allegedly-posed-naked-on-mount-kinabalu-barred-from-leaving-malaysia
TORONTO - Two Canadians barred from leaving Malaysia, amid reports they could be charged after allegedly posing naked atop Mount Kinabalu, the country's highest peak, are getting assistance from The Department of Foreign Affairs.

Spokesman Nicolas Doire says the department is aware two Canadians have been prevented from leaving the country, adding that Canadian consular officials in Malaysia are in contact with authorities.

Foreign Affairs could not confirm the identity of the Canadians, citing privacy concerns, but Malaysia's foreign affairs ministry identified them as Canadian siblings Lindsey Petersen and Danielle Petersen.

A magnitude 5.9 earthquake Friday sent rocks and boulders raining down the trekking routes on 4,095-metre-high Mount Kinabalu in eastern Sabah state on Borneo island.
(more ...)
---






Date: Sun, 7 Jun 2015 18:57:46 +0100
Subject: "Killing of innocent Brazilian by UK police reaches Strasbourg


Yup, for the unaware, the first thing the Met Police did was lie about Jean Charles' actions (claiming he was carrying a back-pack - he wasn't / that he jumped over ticket barrier - he didn't (he paid by oyster-card) / that he ignored multiple police warnings - he didn't, because the police hit-men gave no warnings - being intent on killing (testified by other passengers).

The next thing the Met did was try to frame-up Jean Charles as a `suspicious individual' worthy of tracking and assassination.  In reality he was a respectable chap on his way to work.

Eerily this routine is the same as in many Met cover-ups - like their (or MI-5's) assassination of Jill Dando because she knew too much about the elite homo-pedo network which contained (and still contains) senior politicos, BBC bosses, churchmen, aristos (+maybe royalty?) and some senior policemen.

Things don't change much - at the time of Jack the Ripper the same homo-pedo network was operating (and it also was rumoured to contain royals) - see http://www.perceptions.couk.com/promise.html and links.

Cheers
Ray D


http://rt.com/uk/265183-demenezes-police-killing-7-7/
RT NEWS | Published time: June 05, 2015 11:12
`Shot 9 times in the head': Killing of innocent Brazilian by UK police reaches Strasbourg

The case of Jean Charles de Menezes, who was repeatedly shot in the head by police at a London tube station in the wake of the July 7, 2005 bombings, an incident for which no officer was prosecuted, will be heard at the European Court of Human Rights.

De Menezes, a 27-year-old Brazilian electrician, was pinned to a seat by an officer and shot in the head by two other policemen at point blank range, police say, after being mistaken for a terrorist.

The case is to be heard next week in the upper chambers of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

Ten years on from the killing, the court will review the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) not to charge any of the officers involved in the killing.

In December 2008, an inquest jury rejected the official version of the shooting, recording an open verdict. No charges were brought against the officers involved.

The case is being brought by Patricia Armani da Silva, De Menezes' cousin who was living with him at the time.

An application to judicially review the decision not to charge the officers has already been rejected by the UK courts.

Solicitor Harriet Wistrich of the law firm Birnberg Peirce, representing the Menezes family, told The Guardian: "The officers who shot Jean Charles have a defense if they had an honest belief that they were under imminent threat, even if they were mistaken and their mistake was wholly unreasonable."

De Menezes' family maintains the use of lethal force was unnecessary, because of a lack of evidence that the victim presented a threat.

"The killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, a totally innocent man who was given no chance to surrender before being shot nine times in the head, caused great public concern, as has the fact that no officer was prosecuted or even disciplined for any [offense] arising from the tragic circumstances surrounding his death," Wistrich said.

"The failure to hold any individual to account in relation Jean Charles's killing and the unlawful killings of other members of the public has arguably led to a crisis in confidence that state agents in the UK who abuse their power will not be held to account," she added. " The killing took place on July 22, 2005, a fortnight after the 7/7 London bombings that killed 52 people.
---







Date: Sat, 6 Jun 2015 20:13:00 +0100
Subject: BBC Lies (re: The War Game Files


BBC Lies (re: The War Game Files)

Ha!  It's been said before, but most folk don't get to know:

"Like all cultural dictatorships the BBC was more important for what it silenced than for what it achieved"
quote from A.J.P Taylor (historian) p 139

"It should never be forgotten that George Orwell would base his Ministry of Truth in `Nineteen Eighty-Four' on the BBC as he saw and experienced it."
p 164, `The Climate of Treason' by Andrew Boyle ISBN 0-340-25572-2

The BBC and other brain-washing media ruled by TPTB rely on folk being too busy (and having too short an attention span and too short a memory) to detect their lies and long-term propaganda (maybe check www.perceptions.couk.com/crapbbc.html if you think you can stand the shock!)
Ray
PS - don't forget the BBC is still covering up its collusion in the elite pedophile network - to the extent it has (IMHO) connived in the murders of its own staff (see death of Jill Dando et al at laworjustice.html) to maintain the news black-out still persisting - RD


http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05xcktx
The War Game Files
Michael Apted investigates previously secret Cabinet Office files revealing how the BBC's Director General and its Chairman collaborated with Whitehall to ban The War Game film.

In 1965, the transmission of the BBC's The War Game, directed by Peter Watkins, was stopped at the eleventh hour with an official announcement that it was too shocking for public viewing. The BBC's Director General, Sir Hugh Carleton-Greene, claimed it had been the Corporation's decision alone - but this programme reveals the part played by senior figures in Whitehall and members of Harold Wilson's government.

Peter Watkins's groundbreaking film went on to win an Oscar and influenced a generation of film makers. The film suggested that the government's Civil Defence plans were hopelessly inadequate and would leave millions of UK citizens to die in the event of a Soviet nuclear attack.

Interviewees in this programme include: former BBC Chairman of Governors Sir Christopher Bland who is "astonished" to see the files; campaigning journalist Duncan Campbell on the factual accuracy of Watkins's film; Hugh Greene's official biographer Michael Tracey; Bruce Kent of CND; and Derek Ware, the stunt co-ordinator on the film.

The programme also includes Professor John Cook, who obtained the previously secret files under a Freedom of Information request.

Michael Apted is perhaps best known for directing the "Up" series of TV programmes, but is also the director of 26 movies including James Bond in The World Is Not Enough, Gorillas In The Mist and Enigma.

Producer: David Morley
A Bite Media production for BBC Radio 4.
---







Date: Wed, 3 Jun 2015 10:24:35 +0100
Subject: "Manhattan investment banker falls 24 stories to death in latest Wall St. suicide


Well, looking at the recentish backstory of dozens of `suicides' in international banking (usually of death by fall from high buildings) in USA, UK, Europe and Asia, one could suspect that there's a _very_ large scandal being covered-up - by brutally getting rid of the evidence and warning-off potential whistle-blowers.
Ray D
PS - exactly same thing seems to've happened in UK over last two decades in UK's elite pedophile scandal (still covered-up) - see assassination of Jill Dando and others. - RD


http://rt.com/usa/264337-suicide-wall-street-banker/
Published time: June 02, 2015 18:19

Manhattan investment banker falls 24 stories to death in latest Wall St. suicide

An investment banker jumped 200 feet to his demise in lower Manhattan late last week, according to reports. The death marks yet another apparent suicide among financial industry employees.

Thomas J. Hughes, 29, who worked for the investment bank Moelis & Company, fell 24 stories in an apparent suicide. His body was found on Thursday morning.

Police found one plastic bag filled with cocaine and residue on four bags in his lower Manhattan luxury apartment at the Ocean Luxury Residences.

"The only explanation is that I know he's been working very hard and has been under a lot of pressure," his father, John Hughes, told The Daily Mail.
A spate of apparent suicides among financial sector employees in early 2014 raised concerns that the stress and high-stakes environment on Wall Street (as well as in London and Hong Kong) may be taking a toll on the industry.

According to the National Occupational Mortality Surveillance, financial sector workers are 1.5 times more likely to commit suicide than the average person in the US.

Describing the atmosphere on Wall Street, Linette Lopez of Business Insider wrote in February 2014 - when financial sector suicides were in the news often - of the "alpha male," hard-partying scene among bankers.

"Instead of seeking out the treatment that Wall Street firms may offer - often outside psychologists to whom the bank can connect them - bankers more often than not turn to drugs and alcohol," she wrote.

"It's a cultural thing. Asking for help makes you seem weak. Talking to your colleagues about your stresses makes you seem weak. No one on Wall Street - a place where 'you eat what you kill' is written on every heart - wants to seem weak."

According to a count attributed to beforeitsnews.com, at least 36 bankers across the world died of dramatic or mysterious causes - including suicides - in 2014.

The New York Times noted that the rash of Wall Street suicides in recent years has pushed top firms to institute policies to lighten workload on weekends.

"Goldman, for example, has required that analysts take Saturdays off," wrote Andrew Ross Sorkin. "Credit Suisse, too, has made employees take Saturdays off, with employees instructed to avoid even email. Bank of America has instituted a policy that requires analysts to 'take four days off a month' on the weekends. And JPMorgan Chase has said that one weekend a month should be protected."

John Hughes, Thomas' father, said his son was a jovial person, yet the long hours he worked may have worn on him.

"His work did not leave much time for enjoyment but that's the nature of the assignment that he chose," he said of his son.

"At a time when he was under stress he probably resorted to illegal drugs, causing this incredibly poor judgement, is probably the best I can say."

Where Hughes' body was found in New York was a grisly scene, according to reports. Hughes had hit his head on a guardrail while falling, decapitating him before he hit the ground, a witness told The Daily Mail.

"I got close, but when I looked, all I saw were body parts ... guts everywhere," Mario Mroczkowski said.

Tourists on an open-air bus soon passed by, as some took pictures of the scene with their phones, according to other witnesses.

The younger Hughes had worked for UBS and Citibank before joining Moelis & Company, a place he called a "great firm, a great place to work," according to his father, a Westchester, New York lawyer.

Though Thomas said he was "enjoying his work," John Hughes said his son's long hours were "all encompassing."

"If you met him you would say this is the opposite person who would seem like the kind of person who was considering taking this type of action," John Hughes said.

Moelis & Company said: "We are saddened by the news of Tom's death and send our sincere condolences to his family and friends at this very sad time.

"Tom was a talented and valued team member and a positive force in our firm. He will be greatly missed."
---







Date: Tue, 2 Jun 2015 15:34:53 +0100
Subject: Shock - "three-quarters of male officers and staff in the Met overweight or obese"


Ha!  That "new annual physical fitness test" is a joke;  it's less than a four minute run - apart from the fact that only junior cops will _have_ to do it (once in a while maybe) - the others will excuse themselves.

The Brit Army fitness tests I recall were of three kinds, each taken annually under PTI supervision:

1) 2 mile run, wearing boots (pass time around 15-20 mins IIRC);
2) 10 mile march/run*, followed by assault course (at the double), followed by a "carry" (by `fireman's lift' over your shoulder) of a heavier colleague for 100 yards at the double;
3) gymnasium test consisting of bar-lifts, press-ups, sit-ups, with heart-rate-recovery checks incorporated.

And, because our boss was SAS, my own unit also did the 2 mile run every week (or so) if we were in UK.
Ray
* IIRC, the ten miler could be a march in full webbing and pack plus a weapon, or a run wearing army boots.


http://www.independent.co.uk/incoming/porky-pcs-who-waddle-to-crime-scenes-should-be-sacked-says-met-commissioner-10290205.html
Overweight Police officers who `waddle' to the scene of a crime will be sacked, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, has promised.

With three-quarters of male officers and staff in the Met overweight or obese according to one study, the head of the force pledged to toughen up the new annual physical fitness test.

The 15-metre `bleep test' requires police to run at an average speed of 5.5mph for 3mins 35secs. A Scotland Yard review recommended that officers take the test every year and suffer a pay cut if they fail three times.

PHOTO [of two porky cops] -
http://www.independent.co.uk/incoming/article10290430.ece/alternates/w620/v2-Overweight-Policemen-Rex.jpg
(more at page ...)







Date: Sat, 23 May 2015 13:58:34 +0100
:Subject: FWD - "Abandoned Luxury Cars from Dubai


Ha!  Twenty or more years ago you could see the same thing happening in and around Riyadh, but not caused by debt, quite the opposite.  Rich Saudis (i.e. royals and their relatives) were buying Rolls Royces and other top range luxury cars and, soon as one got scratched or dented (they were all lousy drivers those days) they'd leave it by the roadside - beneath their dignity to ride in a scratched car.
Ray


http://www.listsandnews.com/abandoned-luxury-cars-from-dubai/
Abandoned Luxury Cars from Dubai
"... And then you have Dubai, which for the last several years has been facing the unusual problem of high end sports cars being abandoned and left to gather thick layers of dust at airport car parks and on the roadside across the city. Once the hub of the oil economy and the centre of a booming property market, foreigners, mostly British, invested in the red hot market. Newly wealthy ex-pats bought the lastest Italian and German sports cars to compliment their millionaire lifestyles - and then the global economic crisis came along and burst everybody's bubble.
Thousands of the finest automobiles ever made are now being abandoned every year since Dubai's financial meltdown, left by expatriates and locals alike who flee in a hurry because they face crippling debts. With big loans to repay to the banks (unpaid debt or even bouncing a cheque is a criminal offence in Dubai), the panicked car owners make their way to the airport at top speeds and leave their vehicles in the car park, hopping on the next flight out of there, never to return.
(more ... with pics, at page)
---







Date: Sat, 23 May 2015 13:40:07 +0100
Subject: "... we won't be able to feed people in 50 years'


Yup, another example of short-term profits leading to long-term ruin - happens in all areas, politics, NHS, banks, town-planning, urban retail, and of course in our own personal experiences.
Ray


http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/soil-association-if-we-dont-take-care-of-our-soil-we-wont-be-able-to-feed-people-in-50-years-10269593.html
ZACHARY DAVIES BOREN - Friday 22 May 2015
Soil Association: 'If we don't take care of our soil, we won't be able to feed people in 50 years'

Around 40% of land is degraded, and that could have a major impact on food production, the charity has claimed

If the world doesn't take better care of its land then "we won't be able to feed people in 50 years," the head of the Soil Association has warned.

Appearing on Desert Island Discs, Helen Browning said the ultimate purpose of organic farming is take care of the soils upon which food production relies.

"We've already degraded about 40 per cent of our soils internationally, and that's happening here as well. If we don't take care of our soils, we won't be able to feed people in 50 years."

It has been estimated that around 12 million hectares of land have been abandoned around the world due to degradation - that's an area equivalent to the combined size of England and Wales' agricultural land.

Though evidence on the extent of the impact soil degradation has impacted world food production is scarce, some experts think it is responsible for the loss of around 20 million tonnes of grain crops every year.

And a study from the University of Sheffield last year found there may only be 100 harvests left in the UK.

[INSET]
Food peak production
Maize: reached its peak-rate in 1985; Rice: reached its peak-rate in 1988; Fish (caught): reached its peak-rate in 1988; Dairy: reached its peak-rate in 1989; Eggs: reached its peak-rate in 1993; Meat: reached its peak-rate in 1996; Vegetables: reached its peak-rate in 2000; Wheat: reached its peak-rate in 2004; Milk: reached its peak-rate in 2004; Poultry: reached its peak-rate in 2006; Sugacane: reached its peak-rate in 2007; Soybeans: reached its peak-rate in 2009
[END INSET]

Browning also expressed concern at the energy inefficiency of conventional food and farming systems. "It's crazy," she exclaimed.

"You put about 10 or 12 calories in for every calorie of food you get out the other end. That can't continue."

The system, she said, is "very reliant on cheap fossil fuels."

The organic food and drinks industry is growing again, last year bringing sales back to 2009 levels, before the great recession saw the sector contract.

Organics in the UK brought in £1.86 billion last year, up 4 per cent from 2013.

Browning said: "Organic food sales and farming have had relatively mixed fortunes since the recession. I can understand that people, when they're squeezed financially, aren't going to be thinking [the environment] is their highest priority."

Organic foods are "more expensive, sometimes much more expensive," Browning conceded.

"But I think if you have the option to support a way of farming that is much better for the environment and much better for animal welfare then it's a great thing."
---







Date: Wed, 20 May 2015 22:06:33 +0100
Subject: "Inequality Street: UK most unequal country in EU, worse than US


Yup, we've seen, most of all in UK and USA, a concerted campaign to "kill off the middle classes" partly to flatten most folk into "the undeserving poor" but more significantly to massively increase the wealth of the 1%.
Ray
[ Maybe check this realistic appraisal - text copy ]


http://rt.com/uk/259893-inequality-britain-worst-eu/
Inequality Street: UK most unequal country in EU, worse than US
Published time: May 19, 2015 12:37
Edited time: May 20, 2015 07:03

Britain has been labeled the "European capital of inequality" after a report found it is the most unequal country in the EU.

As part of a progressive study, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) analyzed wages across the EU.

The report, titled Recent Developments in the Distribution of Wages in Europe, scrutinized data from 2004 to 2011 - the period before and after the onset of the Great Recession.

It found that the UK has the highest Gini coefficient of any EU member state - higher than that of the US. The coefficient is a widely used measure of income distribution within a nation, and is often used to calculate inequality.

According to analysts at Eurofound, Britain has a Gini coefficient of 0.404, while the US' is 0.4.

Portugal and Latvia followed the UK with Gini coefficients of 0.358 and 0.357, respectively. The average Gini index for the EU as a whole in 2011 was 0.346.

The report, which was published last week, says: "The evolution of inequality in the EU as a whole seems to have been significantly affected by the economic crisis of 2008 [onward]."

"Between 2004 and 2008, there was a clear reduction in EU wage inequality, reflected in a fall in the overall Gini index from 0.368 to 0.336 (a 10 percent decrease in four years). This fall came to a halt in 2008, and the trend started to slowly reverse, growing to 0.346," it adds.

British economist Michael Burke said Eurofound's study proves previous claims by Prime Minister David Cameron that Britain's economy is recovering from the recession were false.

Speaking to RT on Tuesday, Burke said: "The Tory government is fond of making spurious claims about Britain being the strongest economy in Europe. But the reality is that Britain under the Tories is the European capital of inequality."

"All of the deterioration in the Gini coefficient in the EU is caused by the worsening of inequality," he added.

"The jobs machine that David Cameron [is referring to] is in reality low-paid jobs, many of them providing unproductive services to the ultra-rich."

In its conclusion, the report found inequality to be increasing across the EU.

"The Great Recession changed the trend of overall EU wage inequality.

"Between 2004 and 2008, EU wage inequality, decreased; after 2008, it increased," it said.

Globally, the authors said that inequality has been growing within developed nations since the late 1970s.

Beginning with Anglo-Saxon countries, the growth of inequality eventually reached "traditionally low inequality countries" such as the Nordic countries during the 2000s.

Following the financial crisis of 2007-08 the UK became an outlier in the EU, as income equality began growing "very rapidly."

The overall increase in EU inequality since 2008 was "to a large extent driven by developments in the UK," the report said. "Without which the overall EU within-country component of inequality remained more or less stable as a result of rather diverse developments at the country level."

A YouGov survey conducted this month and published Monday found that most UK voters believe the government should prioritize reducing the gap between rich and poor over faster economic growth.

Some 50 percent of residents polled said inequality was more important, while 43 percent favored rapid economic growth.

Conservative supporters had the least concern about income inequality, while the majority of Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green voters said it should be prioritized by the government.
---







From: Mark Mc****
Date: Wed, 20 May 2015 16:29:29 -0500
Subject: Re: "Record fines for currency market fix


I was just thinking about this on the way home from the movies this afternoon, listening about the "big" fines on the radio.  Criminal charges, yet not one banker is going to do time.  These fucks knew they were doing wrong.  I just don't understand why they would cheat to make more when they're rolling in dough!  Uncle Sam would bend the average citizen over to get his dime, then chuck him in prison?.

I also heard about the US going after UBS now because of new crimes they've committed since the last time they got caught and made a deal.  I guess it's just the cost of business.

Mark
-
Date: Wed, 20 May 2015 19:51:52 +0100
Subject: "Record fines for currency market fix


Ha!  Another rip-off of us taxpayers and bank customers.  Ask yourself  "Who will pay these fines?" and the answer is "Us - the banks' customers and shareholders, and us taxpayers in the UK and USA who've been forced - by corrupt politicos - to bail-out all these bent banks".

So the authorities issuing these fines are cynically betraying us again.  I'd warned against this some years ago - maybe see laworjustice.html#fake-f and call.html#greed-incomp

Until politicos are made to live on the average workers wage - and pay all their own living expenses as we do, and until bankers are jailed when they commit fraud or open theft - as most of our biggest bankers have done over the last ten years or so, we can have no confidence in the banks OR the political system.

At the moment there's one law for them - giving NO punishment for crime, and another law for us - punishing US for the crimes of the politicos and bankers.

Cheers
Ray D


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32817114
Record fines for currency market fix
33 minutes ago 19:00 on Wed. 20th May 2015

Five of the world's largest banks are to pay fines totalling $5.7bn (£3.6bn) for charges including manipulating the foreign exchange market.

Four of the banks - JPMorgan, Barclays, Citigroup and RBS - have agreed to plead guilty to US criminal charges.

The fifth, UBS, will plead guilty to rigging benchmark interest rates.

Barclays was fined the most, $2.4bn, as it did not join other banks in November to settle investigations by UK, US and Swiss regulators.

Barclays is also sacking eight employees involved in the scheme.

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that "almost every day" for five years from 2007, currency traders used a private electronic chat room to manipulate exchange rates.

Their actions harmed "countless consumers, investors and institutions around the world", she said.

Separately, the Federal Reserve fined a sixth bank, Bank of America, $205m over foreign exchange-rigging. All the other banks were fined by both the Department of Justice and the Federal Reserve.

Cartel threat


Regulators said that between 2008 and 2012, several traders formed a cartel and used chat rooms to manipulate prices in their favour.

One Barclays trader who was invited to join the cartel was told: "Mess up and sleep with one eye open at night."

Several strategies were used to manipulate prices and a common scheme was to influence prices around the daily fixing of currency levels.

A daily exchange rate fix is held to help businesses and investors value their multi-currency assets and liabilities.

'Building ammo'
Until February, this happened every day in the 30 seconds before and after 16:00 in London and the result is known as the 4pm fix, or just the fix.

In a scheme known as "building ammo", a single trader would amass a large position in a currency and, just before or during the fix, would exit that position.
Other members of the cartel would be aware of the plan and would be able to profit.

"They engaged in a brazen 'heads I win, tails you lose' scheme to rip off their clients," said New York State superintendent of financial services Benjamin Lawsky.

The fines break a number of records. The criminal fines of more than $2.5bn are the largest set of anti-trust fines obtained by the Department of Justice.

The £284m fine imposed on Barclays by Britain's Financial Conduct Authority was a record by the regulator.

Meanwhile, the $925m fine imposed on Citigroup by the Department of Justice was the biggest penalty for breaking the Sherman Act, which covers competition law.

The guilty pleas from the banks are seen as highly significant as banks have settled previous investigations without an admission of guilt.

The Attorney General warned that further wrongdoing would taken extremely seriously: "The Department of Justice will not hesitate to file criminal charges for financial institutions that reoffend.

"Banks that cannot or will not clean up their act need to understand - it will be enforced."

Analysis: Kamal Ahmed, BBC business editor
If anyone in the City thought that the latest multi-billion pound fines for the banks meant that they were now out of the regulatory woods, they should think again.

The New York State Department of Financial Services is still investigating Barclays, for example, over other aspects of the foreign exchange market including electronic trading.

Barclays is also being investigated in the UK over its Qatari fund raising during the financial crisis and in America over the operation of its "dark pool" electronic trading business.

Other allegations include manipulating the energy markets in California and the US precious metal market.

For the Royal Bank of Scotland it is not a much rosier picture. The bank is facing a class action from major investors over whether it gave the correct information to the market during the financial crisis and is also facing an investigation into its mortgage business in the US.

Civil legal actions on foreign exchange manipulation are also in the offing for both banks.

It looks like the major global banks are going to face many more "we deeply regret this behaviour" days ahead.

'Regain trust'
Royal Bank of Scotland will pay fines totalling $669m (£430m) - $395m to the Department of Justice and $274m to the Federal Reserve - to resolve the investigations. Ross McEwan, chief executive of RBS, said: "The serious misconduct that lies at the heart of today's announcements has no place in the bank that I am building. "Pleading guilty for such wrongdoing is another stark reminder of how badly this bank lost its way and how important it is for us to regain trust."

Antony Jenkins, Barclays chief executive, said: "The misconduct at the core of these investigations is wholly incompatible with Barclays' purpose and values and we deeply regret that it occurred.

"I share the frustration of shareholders and colleagues that some individuals have once more brought our company and industry into disrepute."
Shares in Barclays gained 3.4% and RBS rose 1.8%.

The fines are "much lower than expected," said Chirantan Barua, an analyst at Bernstein Research in London. "No retroactive massive Libor fine for Barclays is a big positive, as is no reopening of the NPA (non-prosecution agreement).

"The fine came in £270m better than we expected for RBS, £850m better in the case of Barclays," he said.
---







Date: Mon, 18 May 2015 15:21:16 +0100
Subject: "Moscow, Beijing will seek reconstruction of current world order


Well we can guess who this is `aimed at' - or rather, who will take violent offence.  And that's part of UK as well as USA's rulers, as English `hawks' (ruling elite) don't consider themselves to be European, they dream of UK being near Cape Cod maybe?
Ray


http://rt.com/politics/257821-russia-china-challenges-military/
Published time: May 12, 2015 13:49
Moscow, Beijing will seek reconstruction of current world order together - deputy DM

Military cooperation between Russia and China will be aimed against mono-polar world and double standards, the Russian deputy defense minister told reporters after talks with a Chinese official.

"Our Chinese colleagues have emphasized that we have similar positions on the problem of challenges and threats. They noted the necessity of reconstruction of the current world order, moving away from double standards and strengthening of equal and mutually profitable relations between all countries in the world," General Anatoly Antonov said after talks between Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and the deputy chairman of China's Central Military Council General, Fan Changlong.

Antonov said that the two military officials agreed that Russia and China will conduct naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea and Sea of Japan in the nearest future. He noted that last year's exercises in the East China Sea yielded "practical results," as did the ground training of Russia and China forces within the framework of the `Pace Mission 2014' exercises in northern China.

Antonov said the two nations would prioritize the coordinated position on the global missile defense program.

Read more
Putin: Russia & China worst affected by WW2, reject rehabilitation of Nazism & militarism

He also told reporters that the Chinese delegation was taken on a tour on Russia's newest top-security, fortified facility in Moscow dubbed the "wartime government HQ."

The talks between Russian and Chinese defense officials came just days after the Moscow summit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping during which the sides signed a decree on cooperation in tying the development of the Eurasian Economic Union with the `Silk Road' economic project.

In subsequent press comments Putin labeled the integration of the Eurasian Economic Union and Silk Road projects as "a new level of partnership" and noted that it was implying the common economic space on the whole continent of Eurasia.
---







Date: Thu, 14 May 2015 10:08:32 +0100
Subject: "Asia tops biggest global school rankings


Interesting, and it gives more information than the headlines say.

The article and first INTERACTIVE map gives the ratings of knowledge levels, but, in addition, if you mouse-over countries on the second INTERACTIVE map you can see how far each country has gotten in maximising education of the population:  i.e. the figure you'll see [growth potential] is bigger for the least advanced countries, and smaller for the most advanced countries.

So Finland, which already had best education system in Europe, also has smallest growth potential of only 70% - while Ghana, although it's not the worst in Africa (they didn't supply figures) has a massive growth potential of 3881%, if only it would educate all its children equally.

Cheers
Ray D

PS - due to my background in tech/sci edu have been advocating more efficient, student-friendly (non-alienating) teaching for some years, much against the fashionable trend (in UK) of "learning enabling" which I think is just a cover for incompetent (clueless) teachers and edu-administrators; maybe see ed4.html - RD


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32608772
By Sean Coughlan | Education correspondent | 13 May 2015
Asia tops biggest global school rankings

The biggest ever global school rankings have been published, with Asian countries in the top five places and African countries at the bottom.

Singapore heads the table, followed by Hong Kong, with Ghana at the bottom.

The UK is in 20th place, among higher achieving European countries, with the US in 28th.
...
INTERACTIVE
Overall rankings
Rankings based on maths and science, at age 15

1. Singapore
2. Hong Kong
3. South Korea
4. Japan
4. Taiwan
6. Finland
7. Estonia
8. Switzerland
9. Netherlands
10. Canada
11. Poland
12. Vietnam

The top performer, Singapore, had high levels of illiteracy into the 1960s, said Mr Schleicher, showing how much progress could be made.

In the UK, the study shows about one in five youngsters leave school without reaching a basic level of education - and the OECD says that reducing this number and improving skills could add trillions of dollars to the UK economy.
...
The analysis, based on test scores in maths and science, is a much wider global map of education standards than the OECD's Pisa tests, which focus on more affluent industrialised countries.

This latest league table, ranking more than a third of the world's nations, shows how countries such as Iran, South Africa, Peru and Thailand would appear on an international scale.

It shows once again the poor performance of the United States, slipping behind successful European countries and being overtaken by Vietnam. It also highlights the decline of Sweden, with the OECD warning last week that it had serious problems in its education system.

INTERACTIVE
Economic growth potential
GDP increase if all 15 year olds achieved basic level of education (%)

1. Ghana, 3881
2. South Africa, 2624
3. Honduras, 2016
4. Morocco, 1591
5. Oman, 1427
6. Botswana, 1303
7. Macedonia, 1137
8. Peru, 1076
9. Qatar,1029
10. Saudi Arabia, 975
11. Albania, 929
12. Colombia, 910

...
"Poor education policies and practices leave many countries in what amounts to a permanent state of economic recession," says the report.

Millennium targets
Improving education would produce "long-term economic gains that are going to be phenomenal", says Mr Schleicher.

If Ghana, the lowest ranked country, achieved basic skills for all its 15-year-olds, the report says that it would expand its current GDP by 38 times, over the lifetime of today's youngsters.

Only a minority of countries in Africa had sufficient test data to be included in these rankings - and it could be that countries such as Ghana are among the higher achievers in the continent, performing better than the majority for which there are no comparable figures.

Education standards are a "powerful predictor of the wealth" says the OECD's report
...
Countries ranked on maths and science
1. Singapore
2. Hong Kong
3. South Korea
4. Japan (joint)
4. Taiwan (joint)
6. Finland
7. Estonia
8. Switzerland
9. Netherlands
10. Canada
11. Poland
12. Vietnam
13. Germany
14. Australia
15. Ireland
16. Belgium
17. New Zealand
18. Slovenia
19. Austria
20. United Kingdom
21. Czech Republic
22. Denmark
23. France
24. Latvia
25. Norway
26. Luxembourg
27. Spain
28. Italy (joint)
28. United States (joint)
30. Portugal
31. Lithuania
32. Hungary
33. Iceland
34. Russia
35. Sweden
36. Croatiab
37. Slovak Republic
38. Ukraine
39. Israel
40. Greece
41. Turkey
42. Serbia
43. Bulgaria
44. Romania
45. UAE
46. Cyprus
47. Thailand
48. Chile
49. Kazakhstan
50. Armenia
51. Iran
52. Malaysia
53. Costa Rica
54. Mexico
55. Uruguay
56. Montenegro
57. Bahrain
58. Lebanon
59. Georgia
60. Brazil
61. Jordan
62. Argentina
63. Albania
64. Tunisia
65. Macedonia
66. Saudi Arabia
67. Colombia
68. Qatar
69. Indonesia
70. Botswana
71. Peru
72. Oman
73. Morocco
74. Honduras
75. South Africa
76. Ghana
---







Date: Wed, 13 May 2015 22:13:48 +0100
Subject: Thicko bureaucrats


Ha!  Thicko `political' bureaucrats thought they would get away with plagiarising other people's work without acknowledgement.

It's reported at Steven Aftergood's `Federation of American Scientists' SECRECY page:
http://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/2015/05/manual-withdrawn/ (or see text below)

That seems to back up my own opinion of `dumbed-down' public officials (in UK with me, but USA seems pretty close), theoretically outlined in `Power-of-Zero' page:
http://www.perceptions.couk.com/power-of-zero.html#probs

and more recently pointed-up at:
http://www.perceptions.couk.com/answers036.html#tvtax

Seems we're ruled by double-thicko `powers-that-be:  firstly they're thicko because they commit the most stupid (and selfish) actions,  [then] double thicko because they then lie, smear or even frame-up (or murder) others, trying to escape the (eventually) inevitable consequences of their own actions.

Cheers
Ray D


http://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/2015/05/manual-withdrawn/
ARMY MANUAL WITHDRAWN IN PLAGIARISM FLAP

Last month, the U.S. Army issued a new doctrinal publication entitled Cultural and Situational Understanding. This month, the publication was officially withdrawn by the Army after numerous instances of plagiarism were identified throughout the document.

Prof. Roberto J. Gonzalez authored a blistering critique of the publication (The US Army's Serial Plagiarists, Counterpunch, May 1), providing one example after another of pilfered text that had been incorporated without acknowledgment or attribution to the source.

"As I began reading, I found the sections to be oddly disjointed; grammatical structures varied wildly.  Perhaps my teaching experience made me suspicious," wrote Prof. Gonzalez, who teaches at San Jose State University. "I decided to investigate."

"Within half an hour I discovered four plagiarized passages.  Soon after, I found ten more instances in which sentences or entire paragraphs were snatched from books, articles, or online sources without quotation marks or citations."
Upon inspection of the document, it is not hard to confirm and extend Gonzalez's analysis by doing an online search for some of the distinctive phrases or formulations that appear in the text.

So, for example, paragraph 1-57 of Cultural and Situational Understanding begins: "When cultures evolve into civilizations, one of the systems of social organization that typically develops and grows in complexity is government."

A search for this sentence yields a nearly identical source in an online publication from 1997 called "What is Culture?": "As cultures evolve into civilizations, one of the systems of social organization that typically develops and grows in complexity is government."

It might be argued that an Army manual is not an academic publication, and that it is exempt from the canons of scholarly ethics, such as acknowledgment of sources. But probably not even the manual's authors believe that. By taking the trouble to make insignificant word changes in many of the plagiarized passages (such as replacing "when" with "as" in the sentence cited above), they indicate an awareness of what they are doing, and perhaps also a bad conscience about having done it.

The Army document "disrespects the scholars whose work it has expropriated," wrote Prof. Gonzalez. "It disrespects those peoples and cultures that appear as little more than means to the military's ends. It disrespects American taxpayers who unwittingly finance such work. And it disrespects countless soldiers who rely upon its 'expert' knowledge."

To its credit, however, the Army has now recognized the problem and it has acted on that recognition.

Last week, Gonzalez noted that Cultural and Situational Understanding -- designated as report number ATP 3-24.3, and formerly posted here -- had been taken offline.

This week, an Army spokesman confirmed that it had been formally withdrawn.

"After taking a closer look at the content in ATP 3-24.3, we have pulled the ATP from circulation and it is no longer an approved doctrine publication," said Bill Ackerly, a public affairs officer for the US Army Combined Arms Center.

"The ATP will not be re-released until the content issue has been resolved," he said via email yesterday.

An archived copy of the original, now-disavowed text of Cultural and Situational Understanding, ATP 3-24.3, remains available on the Federation of American Scientists website.
---







Date: Wed, 13 May 2015 14:16:31 +0000
Subject: Campaign criticises government veto proposals


Press release: 13 May 2015

Campaign criticises government veto proposals

The Campaign for Freedom of Information today criticised the government's statement that it would seek to strengthen ministers' powers to veto decisions under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. The announcement was made in a lobby briefing in the run up to today's publication of Prince Charles' correspondence with government departments. The material had been sought by the Guardian newspaper under the FOI Act.

The Supreme Court's ruling on the Prince Charles' correspondence made clear that ministers could not overrule decisions of the courts or tribunals merely because they disagreed with them: they needed particularly strong reasons for a veto.

The Campaign's director Maurice Frankel said:
"When the FOI Bill was passed, parliament assumed the veto could be used against decisions of the Information Commissioner in certain circumstances. The possibility of it being used against a court or tribunal decision, as in the Prince Charles case, was never debated. In that case the Supreme Court ruled ministers must show they are relying on new evidence, an error of law or, at least, have proper grounds for rejecting a court or tribunal's factual findings, if that was what they were doing. It couldn't meet any of these tests.

Ministers are now suggesting that they should be able to overturn a judicial decision under the FOI Act simply because they prefer their own view, disregarding the fact that the court may have tested the arguments rigorously and persuasively justified its findings. That is too much power for ministers to have. They should appeal against decisions they disagree with, not simply overturn them."


The Campaign also pointed out that the Supreme Court had ruled that the ministerial veto could not be used to block the release of environmental information as a veto was incompatible with the EU legislation which underpin that right of access. In the ruling Lord Neuberger, the President of the Supreme Court, also pointed out that there was "a powerful case" for saying that it would be a misuse of the veto to use it against a decision of the Information Commissioner where there was already a right of appeal to the Tribunal.

Our mailing address is:

Campaign for Freedom of Information
Unit 109 Davina House
137-149 Goswell Road
London, EC1V 7ET
United Kingdom






Date: Sun, 10 May 2015 13:37:53 +0100
Subject: "Fears rising Iran deal may kill dollar


It's not clear what the attitude of the writer is;  he seems almost as worried as the US media he quotes.
Ray


http://www.iran-daily.com/News/117216.html
News ID:117216 Publish Date: Sun, 03 May 2015 20:25:44 GMTService: Iran
Fears rising Iran deal may kill dollar

Concerns are rising in US media over a much-feared shock to the dollar once Iran and P5+1 reach a deal over the Iranian nuclear energy program.

The dollar is getting perilously close to losing its status as the world's reserve currency, and the nuclear deal with Iran could push it over the edge, warned the Patriot Post journal on its website on Sunday.

Iran and P5+1 are working on the draft of a final agreement over the Iranian nuclear energy program. The agreement - that has a deadline of June 30th - envisages the removal of certain sanctions against Iran in return for certain steps by the country to limit its nuclear energy activities.

The prospects for the removal of the anti-Iran sanctions have already encouraged global businesses to look for potential areas of investment in Iran - what many believe could eventually strengthen the Iranian economy, boost the rial and at the same time undermine the dollar.

"For years much has been written about the risks from debasing our currency as a result of deficit-spending, debt-accumulation and reckless money-printing. What's vital to grasp now is that Americans will experience an abrupt decline in living standards once the dollar loses its status as the world's reserve currency," the Post added in its article.

It further warned that the dollar's demise would also precipitate a new financial crisis - one that would make the 2008 collapse look like a summer storm.

"The US is a relatively benign economic world power. No one knows what it would be like if, say, the Chinese yuan becomes the reserve currency for global trading. But it's apt to be far less benevolent than the dollar norm we all now just take for granted," it added.

The article further echoed concerns by market analysts that an emerging preference of nations to trade in non-dollar currencies is already jeopardizing the world's largest economy.

This follows an announcement by Tehran that it is working on a mechanism to trade with Turkey in the local currencies of the two countries.

"If other nations follow suit in abandoning the dollar for trade, the dollar would face an avalanche of pressure, with central banks world-wide dumping excess dollar holdings they no longer need," it said.

"Its demise as the reserve currency could happen overnight, be irreversible, and produce a new financial crisis that would hit Americans disproportionately - causing a collapse in bond prices and a spike in interest rates that would make servicing US debt unaffordable."
---







Date: Thu, 7 May 2015 15:27:15 +0100
Subject: Re: "World War 1 - The Great War - BBC Documentary.


Thanks George - had a look and see what you mean.  Mind you, will have to wait before embarking on viewing;  too much of that sort of thing at one time can be wearying of one's spirit.
Ray

-
-----Original Message-----
From: George ****
] Sent: Wednesday, May 06, 2015 6:34 PM
Subject: Re: "World War 1 - The Great War - BBC Documentary.


For those, that find war history interesting... The word is to check out the video "Hellstorm" on YouTube...
-
Date: Wed, 6 May 2015 18:00:56 +0100
Subject: "World War 1 - The Great War - BBC Documentary.


When their production teams can get out from under the control of upper-BBC liars and pervs (who usually rule), those producers can do a great job.

Here, because it's a matter of record, usual BBC liars + pervs can't interfere - and the result so far (at pt 5 of 26) is pretty damn good.  Don't know where they got all that film footage from but it really covers things.  [BTW - viewer discretion advised: some of it is not for the squeamish.]
Ray


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXhiagFG8KE
The Great War - S01E01 - On The Idle Hill of Summer

World War 1 - The Great War - BBC Documentary.
Episode 1/26 + 2 bonus episodes.
Narrated by Sir Michael Redgrave, this series features the best archive footage from one million feet of film and 20,000 photographs collected from 37 individual sources worldwide. There are interviews with war veterans and extracts from diaries, letters and reports from the war"







Date: Sun, 3 May 2015 11:05:28 +0100
Subject: For folk who want "Living green and efficiently


Just found this in my backlog, hadn't got round to posting it - so this is for anyone wanting the info right now
Ray D


Date: Thu, 30 Apr 2015 09:05:48 +0100 Subject: Living green and efficiently
Hi,
Living green and efficiently is a way to help ourselves save money while also saving the environment in the long run.

As someone who's dedicated herself to making information accessible - starting with students, but really extending through the public at large - I feel very strongly about empowering people with knowledge.  I've been gathering energy efficiency & green living resources, which I'm sharing below, and I'd like to ask you to please share these with your audience (perhaps here: [suggested page]?).

Recycling Basics
http://www2.epa.gov/recycle/recycling-basics

Conserving Water
http://www.epa.gov/greenhomes/ConserveWater.htm

Easy Energy-Saving Tips for Your Pool and Hot Tub
http://blog.poolcenter.com/article.aspx?articleid=6330

Greening Advisor: Transportation and Accommodation
http://www.nrdc.org/enterprise/greeningadvisor/ta-transportation.asp

Reduce Waste and Save Money At Home
http://www.homeadvisor.com/article.show.Reduce-Waste-and-Save-Money-at-Home.17328.html

40 Tips To Go Green At Home
http://theartofsimple.net/tips-to-go-green-at-home/

If you'd prefer I not reach out in the future, please do reply and let me know (and sorry!).  However, my hope is that these resources help your audience, and that together we can make a difference.

All the best,
Jasmine

Jasmine Dyoco | information@educatorlabs.org
http://educatorlabs.org/ | Cultivating. Connecting. Curating.
2054 Kildaire Farm Rd. #204 | Cary, NC | 27518
---
[Just told Jasmine it's posted, so she'll be expecting your mails - RD]






Date: Wed, 6 May 2015 07:54:59 +0100
Subject: Re: UK's "TV Licensing"


Hi Jim, don't get me wrong.  I last had a TV about thirty-plus years ago (had owned one for a few years, mainly for a girlfriend who was at home while I was travelling).  Then left UK for quite a while, only coming back to live and work after finishing a civilian contract (for M.o.D) in Saudi Arabia - but still continue, even now, to get occasional "TV License" requests, latest the other day.

[BTW - it's pointless speaking/writing to them;  like most everything else, the TV License collection has been out-sourced to a private firm of glorified bailiffs - and bailiffs, like most modern UK cops, are not intellectually gifted.

[UK police's intelligence has been dropping for forty years or more; most modern cops would NOT pass the earlier entrance tests - that's OFFICIAL]

Ray
PS regarding `penalty' - IIRC it's an automatic fine, something like £5,000 I think

-
-----Original Message-----
From: jim h****
Sent: Wednesday, May 06, 2015 6:09 AM
Subject: Re: UK's "TV Licensing"

RAY, WHAT IS PENALTY FOR NOT PAYING A TV TAX ?

YOU COULD WRITE AND 'GET A REPLY IN WRITING' . YOU MIGHT LIKE TO SEND THEM A 'THANK YOU LETTER' FOR THE PAST MANY NOTICES,

WHAT IF YOU SENT THEM A CHEQUE FOR ONE PENNY, 'ON ACCOUNT' WITH A PROMISE TO SEND MORE IF YOU FEEL YOU AGREE WITH THE TV TAX AND YOU HAVE A BALANCE OWING.

IF THEY CASH IT, YOU CAN HAVE THE CANCELLED CHEQUE FRAMED AND MOUNTED.

YOU MIGHT LIKE TO WRITE A SEPARATE LETTER THAT JUST SAYS ' NO, I HAVE HAD ENOUGH. I AM NOT GOING TO PAY THIS TAX ANYMORE'.

SOMEONE MAY SHOW UP TO TAKE AWAY YOUR PRETEND TV.

HAVE FUN - WE ALL NEED A BIT OF HUMOUR SOMEDAYS ;-))

LOVE ALL - JIM

-

Date: Sat, 2 May 2015 12:08:28 +0100
Subject: UK's "TV Licensing"


Just got another discourteous letter from TV Licensing (who collect UK's corrupt TV-tax), despite them knowing for years that I don't have a TV or intend to have one in the future (unless I'm suddenly struck brain-dead and join the apparent majority).

Funny enuff, I started getting these "reminders" when I was stuck in the jungles of Central America (the Army Post Office forwarded it) and they've continued on and off ever since - occasionally tell them to read my NO-TV page at self.html#codicil but, perhaps like UK's bent senior cops (maybe see answers034.html#bad-polx), they seem somewhat intellectually challenged and don't get it.

Ray







Date: Thu, 30 Apr 2015 07:42:43 +0100
Subject: "MPs expenses must be published in full, court rules


Ha!  They were trying to keep secret their ill-gotten gains (taken from UK taxpayers) and are still kicking and screaming about the ruling, while saying they are "committed to openness and transparency"!  That's what you get when you allow a professional caste of politicos to rule (some have several generations of liars + thieves in the same families - all living off us taxpayers).  Maybe check #crim-pol for recent few years' background.
Cheers
Ray D


http://rt.com/uk/254133-mps-expenses-published-court/
Published time: April 29, 2015 15:41
MPs expenses must be published in full, court rules
MPs will no longer be able to keep their expenses claims private, after a court ruling on Wednesday stating receipts and invoices submitted by politicians must be made public.

The ruling was made after the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), the regulatory body set up to monitor MPs' expenses following the 2009 expenses scandal, challenged the order that it must publicly release documents.

IPSA has been given the option of taking the case to the Supreme Court if they wish, as the implications of the ruling could affect many more public authorities, including government departments, councils and quangos.

The court case centered around the inquiries of a Telegraph journalist, who requested specific receipts submitted by three MPs but was provided with only a transcript of the transactions.

Ben Leapman complained to the Information Commission that he wanted original copies, and the court subsequently ruled in his favor in 2012. IPSA has since lost its case at two tribunal hearings.

IPSA was set up after the 2009 MPs' expenses scandal, which resulted in a number of MPs being sent to prison after it was revealed they were secretly making illegal expenses claims.

In a move to restore public trust in MPs, the authorities published more than one million receipts online, but did not reveal the personal details of the claimants.

IPSA has previously claimed there is "insufficient public benefit" to routinely publish receipts of expenses claims.

"Primarily, a trial of extracting and redacting receipts and invoices for the purposes of publication showed that the cost would be in excess of £1 million for additional staffing and IT costs alone, compared to the approximate £250,000 cost under the chosen model," IPSA wrote in a letter to the Information Commissioner in 2010.

The letter added that releasing receipts or invoices would be "disproportionate in terms of costs, insufficiently beneficial in terms of transparency and represented a higher risk in terms of data protection."

Speaking after the ruling, an IPSA spokesperson said: "We need to study the judgment carefully. The court made clear that this is an important test case with implications not just for IPSA but for all other public bodies.

"We were right to test the point of law through an appeal to see whether images of receipts add anything additional to all the information about MPs' expenditure that we already release.

"We remain completely committed to openness and transparency and already publish a detailed breakdown of every claim made by every MP."
---







Date: Thu, 30 Apr 2015 06:31:06 +0100
Subject: "What matters most to people around the world?


Interesting - just mouse-over a country's marker to bring up their `most important' topic (Germany UK + USA want "life satisfaction" while France, Russia, Canada worry more about "health" and Brazil (and other more realistic folk?) say it's "education".  [Double-click for full breakdowns and comparison tools]
Ray


What matters most to people around the world?
http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/responses/

More than 80 000 users of the Better Life Index around the world have shared their views on what makes for a better life. Explore the interactive map and find out what well-being topics are rated highest and where. Of course this is a small share of the world's population - so why not share your vision of a better life and help us reach 100 000 (or even more) by the end of 2015.







Date: Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:57:36 +0100
Subject: HSBC (Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank Corporation) and its plans


Just heard a banking commentator (re HSBC's threat to relocate to Hong Kong) and she noted that Income Tax in Hong Kong starts at 2% (yes that's TWO per cent) and only rises as far as 17%.

That's in sharp contrast with UK, where the lowest grade is about 20% plus another 22% `National Insurance' which the rich DON'T PAY
- (they get to make a small fixed payment, about 20 dollars per month IIRC) - rising to 40% for millionaire income levels - which is still lower than the poorest workers have to pay because the rich get huge `allowances' against tax, and so can claim living, housing, transport and energy expenses as `business costs' and can even establish a tax-free pension payment package up to maybe two million £s.

All in all, Hong Kong taxes sound pretty fair.

Cheers
Ray D







Date: Date: Thu, 23 Apr 2015 12:18:15 +0100
Subject: "Pope Francis must do more to protect children from Catholic church abuse


Ha!  Our Francis has a big problem - he probably realizes that legally all bishops (and even popes) who fail to report pedo-abuse are actually ACCOMPLICES who could and SHOULD be jailed.

But he has a long-term nazi-pedo accomplice hiding in the Vatican!

Cheers
Ray


http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/23/pope-francis-must-do-more-to-protect-children-from-catholic-church-abuse
The Guardian | Thursday 23 April 2015 09.30 BST
Pope Francis must do more to protect children from Catholic church abuse
The Vatican should not have been soft on a bishop convicted of failing to report a priest who took pornographic images of children

Date: Fri, 24 Apr 2015 22:42:22 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Re: "Pope Francis must do more to protect children from Catholic church abuse


Hey Ray,
Please explain this:
"But he has a long-term nazi-pedo accomplice hiding in the Vatican!"

Also, the Vatican is an interesting issue...

How do you think, that members are dealing with all of the information coming out to the public and world...???
George

Date: Sat, 25 Apr 2015 00:39:21 +0100
Subject: Re: "Pope Francis must do more to protect children from Catholic church abuse


Hi George,
Right, it seems the ex-pope Benedict had fairly strong reasons:
a) to stop working and travelling outside of the Vatican, therefore having to `retire' from being Pope
b) couldn't go back to being a `civvie' in Germany - because he needed protection from the law, for the nazi-coverups of the past, and the pedophile coverups extending to the present day.

So he's lurking inside the Vatican (where he can't be arrested or even questioned) - a situation which must be highly uncomfortable for the present pope.

In fact I wouldn't be surprised if one of them [Francis or Benedict] had a fatal illness or accident in the near future.
Ray


Date: Sat, 25 Apr 2015 00:06:37 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Re: "Pope Francis must do more to protect children from Catholic church abuse


Hi Ray,
There is some new information from behind closed doors on, how ex-pope Benedict had to resign...
Because there was a quiet law suit in the International Court against ex-pope Benedict and Elizabeth Windsor (a false queen)...

The ex-pope did resign to protect the ASSETS of the church...

This suit found both guilty and if anyone has noticed both do NOT travel around the world, now...

Of course, any such information is being suppressed by major news media...
George

-
Footnote:
did some searching and found some apparent confirmations of George's report - see Ccrjustice.org / Survivorsvoice-Europe.org and TheInternetPost.net.
Ray D







Date: Sun, 12 Apr 2015 19:43:54 +0100
Subject: "Mapping religion, earnings and unemployment in England and Wales


Interesting - for two reasons:
a) the relative sparseness of all religious groups compared to the "formal" national religion (supposedly Xtian), and the non-religious groups - which are wider-spread (horizontal axis);

b) put your cursor over the "top income" marker on each graph (you get a pop-up of the location).  Guess what?  It's Westminster in every case - where the politicos live.
Ray


http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/interactive/2012/dec/11/census-religion-earnings-deprivation-unemployment-correlations-data
http://tinyurl.com/k538lwb
Mapping religion, earnings and unemployment in England and Wales: which faiths are for the rich?

Census data on religious beliefs has allowed us to explore correlations between faith group and socioeconomic status.

The most Christian parts of England and Wales tend to be those with the lowest earnings, but also the lowest unemployment.

Buddhist communities tend to be larger in areas with higher earnings. Deprivation scores paint a rather different picture, with the largest Christian populations found in less deprived local authorities.

Unemployment echoes deprivation, and one of the strongest correlations shows that local authorities with high Muslim populations tend also to have high jobless rates.

You can explore the different patterns in the three tabs of the visualisation below.
---







Date: Thu, 9 Apr 2015 15:03:34 +0100
Subject: Masochist Humanity


Thanks Mark, just got round to really reading these.  Putting aside all the talk of "gods" (probably just modern assumptions), the research can equally be read to mean that basic grass-roots `morality' existed worldwide in even "uncivilized people" (i.e. before any groupings that we later call `civilizations').  And various signs have told me that already, here's a few:

Koutroulou Magoula, Greece:-
Recent excavations of this `town' dates it to to c. 7,300 to 7,800 years old.
Archeologists find "no evidence of a central authority".  I.e. - no palaces, no barracks, no prisons, no slave quarters, BUT equally good-quality housing for all.
-
Indus Valley Civilization :- (Indus - Sarasvati Valleys)
A high civilization existed from 7,000 - 8,000 years ago (or earlier)
"It is most extraordinary that in 80 years of excavation in the Indus Valley no solid evidence of militarism has turned up, either in the building or the art (including the seal imagery).  The contrast with the ancient Middle East, Egypt, Greece, Central America and China, is stark.  Maybe - many archaeologists cannot help but wonder - the Indus Valley dwellers were the spiritual forebears of the non-violent tradition epitomized in modern times by Mahatma Gandhi, who was born in the region."
`Lost Languages' by Andrew Robinson (2002)
-
Çatalhöyük, Turkey:-
Interestingly, the archeological excavations of this `city' - up to 9,500 years old at lowest levels - also show the people led egalitarian lives (wiki) "with no apparent social classes".  Once again - no kings, no priests, no soldiers, no slaves!
-
Professor McLeish wrote - "Scientific studies show that non-literate societies throughout the world and throughout history, have worked from a common base of values, superstition, folklore and calendar-linked custom and behavior which is unaffected by geographical, social and historical boundaries and if superstitious belief and ritual are transmitted in this way, why should not factual, correct and even advanced scientific information travel by similar unseen means?"
`Number' - by John McLeish - HarperCollins, London 1992 ISBN 0-00-654484-3
---

Cheers
Ray


-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Mc****
Sent: Friday, March 06, 2015 6:14 AM
Subject: Masochist humanity

http://phys.org/news/2015-03-belief-supernatural-big-gods-religion.html







Date: Thu, 9 Apr 2015 15:03:34 +0100
Subject: WRONG: "Genetics can make people more likely to commit sex offenses


Crap!  Another case of "correlation NOT causation".

I.e. there are three sex determinants:  libido (amount of sexual drive);  direction (toward a particular gender) of that drive;  type or `quality' of sex drive (cherishing or abusive).

Multiple examples, over thousands of years (strangely ignored by bent psychiatrists and `authority') say that only the first, libido, is genetically based  (< 50% - basic evolutionary logic should show you why this must be so).

Coincidentally, had recently cited how the other two determinants (both abusive pedo/homo - in the `Laconians' of 2,500 yrs ago, and the modern `English Elite) were and still are caused by social conditioning.  That's at www.perceptions.couk.com/answers035.html#evil

And this latest study only shows (again) that people reared in the same family/social settings can have the same tendencies.  I.e. nothing to do with genes at all.

Cheers
Ray D


http://edition.cnn.com/2015/04/09/europe/sex-offenders-genetic-predisposition/
Genetics can make people more likely to commit sex offenses, study says
By Don Melvin, CNN
Updated 1416 GMT (2116 HKT) April 9, 2015

London (CNN)A new study has concluded that genetics as well as environment can influence the likelihood that a person will become a sexual offender.

Titled "Sexual offending runs in families: A 37-year nationwide study," the paper was published Thursday in the International Journal of Epidemiology. It was written by five experts from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, the University of Ottawa in Canada, and Oxford University in the UK. It was based on nationwide Swedish data about 21,566 men convicted of sexual crimes between 1973 and 2009.

One of the authors, Seena Fazel of the Oxford University Department of Psychiatry, said realizing that genetics can increase the risk that someone will commit a sex crime could help governments target those most in need of help.

Half-brothers show different degrees of risk
In an interview with CNN.com, Fazel acknowledged that isolating genetic factors can be difficult. But he said comparisons -- including of half-brothers who grew up in the same environment but had different mothers -- showed that the biological sons of offenders had a higher risk of becoming offenders themselves.

The biological sons of a sex offender were five times more likely than the norm to commit sex offenses, the study found. But their maternal half-brothers were only twice as likely to do so, the paper said.

"There is a genetic component," Fazel said. "It's not insignificant. It hasn't really be shown before in this field."

The study concludes that genetics accounts for 40% of the risk. But Fazel said that was perhaps too precise a figure, and it would be better to think of it as anywhere between 20% and 50%.

Information might help social services help families
Fazel described the study as an incremental step in increasing understanding of the factors that contribute to the risk of sexual crime. And considering that genetics influences people's sexuality in general, he said, the finding should not come as a complete surprise.

"We shouldn't discard the genetic component," he said. "It isn't all about environment."

One use of the information, he said, would be to help social services that might already be attending to a particular family to work more closely with a person at greater risk regarding relationships, boundary setting and problem solving.

He stressed that a genetic predisposition did not by any means indicate that a person was bound to become a sex offender and said the risk of any particular person committing sexual offenses was small.
---







Date: Wed, 8 Apr 2015 20:05:39 +0100
Subject "The world's happiest jobs


Admit to wondering if `soldier' would be on the list, then, after reading, realized my military life was a lucky one, being mostly an engineer (fixing problems), plus perforce being a construction worker a lot of the time, then later accepting a teaching job, first in Italy, then Saudi (had steadfastly refused earlier, because it sounded boring).
Ray D


http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/apr/07/going-to-work-with-a-smile-on-your-face
The world's happiest jobs
We looked at nine different surveys conducted to find the occupations that make us happiest, and then did our own survey of these surveys, looking for the professions that appeared most often in the top 10 of each study.
...
Interestingly, we didn't discover a link between a high salary and happiness, with occupations such as gardeners, personal assistants and construction workers also making it on to our list.
...
Engineer
Appears in: six out of nine surveys.
Highest rank: second.
Typical salary: around £40,000.

Teacher
Appears in: five out of nine surveys.
Highest rank: first.
Typical salary: around £30,000.

Nurse
Appears in: five out of nine surveys.
Highest rank: sixth.
Typical salary: around £26,000.

Medical practitioner
Appears in: four out of nine surveys.
Highest rank: first.
Typical salary: around £70,000.

Gardener
Appears: three times.
Highest rank: first.
Typical salary: around £18,000.

Construction worker
Appears: three times.
Highest rank: second.
Typical salary: around £27,000.

Personal assistant
Appears: three times.
Highest rank: fifth.
Typical salary: around £20,000.
---







Date: Mon, 6 Apr 2015 11:38:51 +0100
Subject: "Fear of spiders in our DNA, according to new study


These folk are too limited in their thinking.

Several years ago realized that our distant ancestors were small - either the recentish small monkey-like ones or the more distant tiny shrew-like ones - while nearly all insect life was relatively huge.  So the biggest and most dangerous predators hunting our ancestors would've been giant spiders!
[By `hunting' I mean giant spiders were both chasing-down and biting [and paralyzing / eating - our ancestors], and laying web-traps of all kinds.]
Ray D


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/11516966/Fear-of-spiders-in-our-DNA-according-to-new-study.html
Fear of spiders in our DNA, according to new study

Researchers claim our ancestors developed an ability to spot and identify spiders quickly as part of a necessary survival instinct
Arachnophobia could be sown into our DNA as a result of survival instincts
By Martin Evans3:38PM BST 05 Apr 2015

A fear of spiders could be something we are born with rather than something we learn, according to a new scientific study.

Research suggests that arachnophobia could be sown into our DNA as a result of survival instincts developed by our ancestors millions of years ago in Africa.

The research suggests that spiders presented such a powerful threat to the survival of the first humans that the ability to spot them became an evolutionary necessity.

According to scientists this might explain why people have such a deep rooted and seemingly irrational fear of harmless household spiders today.

A study conducted at Columbia University in New York tested how quickly people were able to identify a spider when dealing with a range of other stimuli. More than 250 people were asked to study computer screens containing abstract shapes and data and then images known to induce fear or disgust were introduced to test reaction speed.

The study found that people were able to pick out spider shapes uniquely quickly.

One theory is that some of the most dangerous spiders would have been species like the black widow, which are small and difficult to spot, so being alert to the danger became a part of an early human's survival instinct.

Mr New said: "A number of spider species with potent, vertebrate specific venoms populated Africa long before hominoids ... and have coexisted there for tens of millions of years.

"Humans were at perennial, unpredictable and significant risk of encountering highly venomous spiders in their ancestral environments.

"Even when not fatal, a black widow spider bite in the ancestral world could leave one incapacitated for days or even weeks, terribly exposed to dangers."

He added: "Detection, therefore, is the critical arbiter of success in such encounters - any improvements to the sensitivity, vigilance, reliability and speed of faculties for their detection would have been of significant selective advantage."
---







Date: Sat, 4 Apr 2015 05:44:06 +0100
Subject: "From Britain to Beijing: how governments manipulate the internet


Ha!  None of this is really "new", only the technology.

BTW regarding the "Orwellian" reference - not many folk know that Orwell actually based his `Ministry of Truth' on the BBC where he worked for a while - and saw their continual re-writing of "history" to suit their masters (greedy and pervy politicos).
Ray


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/02/russia-troll-factory-kremlin-cyber-army-comparisons
From Britain to Beijing: how governments manipulate the internet
The Kremlin's `cyber army' is gaining increasing notoriety, but similar tactics are used to influence opinion around the world

Moscow has been accused of financing an `army of trolls' to post pro-Russian opinions across the internet, The Kremlin, however, is not the only government intent on using the web to promote a particular point of view. Here is what some of the others are doing:

Britain
In files leaked by Edward Snowden last year, GCHQ was shown to have developed tools to influence online debates, change the outcome of polls, "amplify" sanctioned messages on YouTube and send spoof emails from registered accounts.

First Look Media, which published the leaks, described it as the UK spy agency's weapon in mastering the dark arts of the internet, a `hacker's buffet for wreaking online havoc'.

It claimed that GCHQ staff were encouraged to "think big" about what they could build to help facilitate "internet deception".

GCHQ said that their programs, with codenames such as Warpath, Silver Lord and Rolling Thunder, were all "in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework" subject to "rigorous oversight", a claim queried by Glenn Greenwald, the former Guardian journalist who set up First Look Media.

The database holding the programs had been accessed more than 20,000 times, but there is no evidence that they have ever been deployed for use beyond GCHQ staff.

Ukraine
Ukraine also employs internet manipulation as a tactic, albeit a little more publicly.

In December 2014 the information ministry was launched to counter Russian propaganda, and it was quickly dubbed the `ministry of truth' by those making allusions to its Orwellian nature.

A few months later the information minister, Yuriy Stets, set up an "information army", recruiting online Ukrainians to fight on the most important front of all - the information front. In an interview with Radio Free Europe, Stets said that more than 20,000 people had agreed to devote their time to the "daily struggle".

The BBC reported that one of the first tasks for the project, also known as the i-Army, was to create social media accounts and amass friends posing as residents of eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine is playing catch up with Russia, which has mastered both covert and overt tactics - from investing in Russia Today's global expansion to the Sputnik news agency, set up to counter "aggressive propaganda" from the west. The Economist has described the effort as "a new art" for Ukraine of which "the learning curve is steep".

India
In the run up to India's 2014 elections, both the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) and the Congress party were were accused of hiring "political trolls" to talk favourably about them on blogs and social media.

The Times of India said that people with good online capital were approached to participate, including those who had had their opinions featured in mainstream media. The Indian press has also written about a group of Twitter trolls fiercely defending the BJP and its leader and Indian prime minster, Narendra Modi.

China
The Chinese government is also believed to run an army of netizens to reinforce favourable opinion towards it and the Communist Party of China (CCP), dubbed the "50-cent army" in reference to how much they are said to paid.

The human rights watchdog Freedom House described the effort as "a comprehensive CCP policy, accompanied by a vast system of trainings and rewards."

Government officials don't refer to the 50-cent army by name, but in 2010 an editorial in the state-backed Global Times discussed the "invisible commenters" of the web. Various people claiming to be former lieutenants have spoken out and last year a bunch of hacked emails described in detail how internet commenters in the small town of Ganzhou were instructed to guide conversations on the web.

In 2013 an `internet opinion analyst' became an officially recognised occupation in China, and the Beijing Morning Post estimated that 2 million people were being employed to monitor and analyse public opinion for decision makers.

As is the case with Russia, it has been a challenge for analysts to distinguish between people working for the government in an official capacity, paid trolls and those active on message boards who genuinely hold nationalist sentiments.
---







Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2015 07:00:40 +0100
Subject: WRONG : "Antarctica just experienced its warmest day ever"


Wrong!  Am getting tired of these purposeful `misquotes'.  Ask for clarification and they'll say "We meant `since accurate records began'" (maybe much less than 100 years ago).

And they're even wronger than they try to hide:  At 3,000 yrs ago, and again at about 7,000 yrs ago it was much warmer than now - all over the world.  And if you look a bit further back (between 10 and 20 million yrs ago, both the Antarctic and the Arctic were ice-free!

Even earlier (before about 35 million yrs ago) the Earth has mostly been a lot warmer than now, with steamy tropical jungles almost everywhere.

"Warmest day ever"?  Ha!
Ray
PS can check the real data at www.perceptions.couk.com/glacials.html

-
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2015 01:58:12 -0600
Subject: RE: WRONG : "Antarctica just experienced its warmest day ever"


You're right.  Among several very remarkable stones that were given to me from a friend who worked in Antarctica and found them, I have a big chunk of petrified wood from there - there are no trees there now, but there were a very long time ago... the feel of it is quite different from other petrified wood I've seen.

It has a 'wilder, more primitive' energy to it, which may or may not make sense to some of you... then there are the ancient conch shells found in the Himalayas, on the high Tibetan plateau. There hasn't been ocean there recently, either.

janis

-
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2015 09:52:33 +0100
Subject: Re: WRONG : "Antarctica just experienced its warmest day ever"


That's interesting - just now was listening to Jane Francis, Director of British Antarctic Survey talking (on BBC R4's `Life Scientific' at 9 a.m.) about the tropical forest remains she'd seen there.
Ray

-

Date: Wed, 1 Apr 2015 12:26:26 +1100
Subject: Re: WRONG : "Antarctica just experienced its warmest day ever"


Doesn't surprise me - Gore prolly paid for the Headlines - Summer here 2013 stated "hottest ever - Victoria has 2 days over 45'C"  When in fact in 2009 we had 10 days over 45 ... just testing to see how well the fluoride in the water is going in reducing memory capacity in the general population ...

Jane





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