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Daily Archives: October 15, 2013

Former Labour minister accuses spies of ignoring MPs over surveillance | UK news | The Guardian

Former Labour minister accuses spies of ignoring MPs over surveillance | UK news | The Guardian. (FULL ARTICLE)

A former Labour cabinet minister has warned that GCHQ and Britain’s other intelligence agencies appear to be undertaking mass surveillancewithout parliament’s consent because the coalition failed to get the so-called “snoopers’ charter” passed into law after Liberal Democrat opposition.

Nick Brown, a former chief whip who sat on the parliamentary committee scrutinising the draft communications data bill, said there was an “uncanny” similarity between the GCHQ surveillance programmes exposed by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden and proposals in the first part of the bill.

The communications data bill – dubbed the “snoopers’ charter” by critics – would have given GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 much greater powers to gather and save information about people’s internet activities but it was shelved in the spring amid Lib Dem fears that it intruded too much into privacy.

Brown, a Labour MP, said that it “looks very much like this is what is happening anyway, with or without parliament’s consent” under GCHQ’s secret Tempora programme, which was revealed by the Guardian in July in reports based on files leaked by Snowden. Tempora allows GCHQ to harvest, store and analyse millions of phone calls, emails and search engine queries by tapping the transatlantic cables that carry internet traffic….


Radioactivetyphoonado: Watch As “Once In A Decade Storm” Batters Fukushima | Zero Hedge

Radioactivetyphoonado: Watch As “Once In A Decade Storm” Batters Fukushima | Zero Hedge. (FULL ARTICLE)

While the broader public’s attention continues to be distracted by the circus that America’s legislative and executive branches have become (an expected development at a time when the monetary branch reigns supreme), the real, non-scripted and truly devastating catastrophe continue to unfold in Japan, and specifically in Fukushima, where both TEPCO and the government have long since lost control of the worst nuclear disaster in history. However, in addition to the now usual daily spills of hundreds of tons of radioactive coolant into the environment, a potentially far more dangerous situation which may lead to an even greater loss of containment is taking place right now as both the destroyed nuclear plant and soon Tokyo are about to be buffeted by Typhoon Wipha – a “once in a decade storm.

Reuters reports:

 Typhoon Wipha is moving across the Pacific straight towards the capital, Tokyo, and is expected to make landfall during the morning rush hour on Wednesday, bringing hurricane-force winds to the metropolitan area of 30 million people. The center of the storm was 860 km (535 miles) southwest of Tokyo at 0800 GMT, the Japan Meteorological Agency said on its website. It was moving north-northeast at 35 kph (22 mph).

The storm had weakened as it headed north over the sea but was still packing sustained winds of about 140 kph (87 mph) with gusts as high as 194 kph (120 mph), the agency said. The agency issued warnings for Tokyo of heavy rain, flooding and gales, and advised people to be prepared to leave their homes quickly and to avoid unnecessary travel.

A spokesman for the meteorological agency said the storm was a “once in a decade event”….


Canadian Dollar Overvalued By 10 Per Cent, World Economics Says

Canadian Dollar Overvalued By 10 Per Cent, World Economics Says. (FULL ARTICLE)

The Canadian dollar is suffering from overvaluation, according to a new measure of global currencies’ value.

The loonie is 10.1 per cent stronger than it should be when comparing the cost of a basket of goods here and in the U.S., according to analysts at World Economics who are testing out a new measure to compare prices worldwide.

What this means is that the loonie would have to be 10 per cent lower for goods to cost the same in Canada as they do in the U.S.

The estimate agrees almost perfectly with an analysis from BMO Capital Markets, released last week, that shows prices in Canada are about 10 per cent higher than they are in the U.S. However, that actually marked a narrowing of the gap, from around 14 per cent in May of 2012.

But Canada’s high-flying dollar is still not as overvalued as currencies in some other countries. The euro in France is overvalued by 28 per cent, when looking at the cost of goods in that country. At the other end of the spectrum is India, whose rupee is undervalued by about 45 per cent, the survey found….


Algae blooms on Lake Erie getting ‘difficult to control’ – Canada – CBC News

Algae blooms on Lake Erie getting ‘difficult to control’ – Canada – CBC News. (FULL ARTICLE)

A scientist at the International Joint Commission said massive algae blooms on Lake Erie are becoming “very difficult to control.”

Algae blooms are caused by an elevated level of phosphorus in the water.

Phosphorus is used in farm fertilizer, lawn fertilizer and everyday products like shampoo and toothpaste.
It gets in the water through a variety ways, including:

  • Blown there by the wind.
  • Soaking through the soil, entering the ground water and flowing into rivers and lakes.
  • Rain washes it off the top of the soil and directly into rivers and lakes.

Raj Bejankiwar is the lead on the Lake Erie Ecosystem Priority, a branch of the International Joint Commission that is studying algae levels in Lake Erie.

In April, he predicted Lake Erie would see near-record algae levels, and he was right. He called this summer “a classic example” of how and why algae blooms flourish.

“We have more intense storms, so we have more intense runoffs. And because we have more big storms, the phosphorus runs off and ends up in the lake.  So that’s the reason it’s becoming very difficult to control,” he said….


ECB’s Draghi: Knowing Too Much About Our Big Banks Could Set Off A Panic | Zero Hedge

ECB’s Draghi: Knowing Too Much About Our Big Banks Could Set Off A Panic | Zero Hedge. (FULL ARTICLE)

European banks, like all banks, have long been hermetically sealed black boxes. If someone managed to pry open just one tiny corner, the reek of asset putrefaction that billowed out was so strong that the corner would immediately be resealed. In cases where the corner didn’t get resealed fast enough and too much of the reek spread, the whole bank collapsed, only to be bailed out by taxpayers, often in other countries; it’s easier that way.

The only thing known about the holes in the balance sheets of these black boxes, left behind by assets that have quietly decomposed, is that they’re deep. But no one knows how deep. And no one is allowed to know – not until Eurocrats decide who is going to pay for bailing out these banks. How do we know? ECB President Mario Draghi said that on Friday in Washington.

And today, the Eurogroup of 17 finance minister had a huddle in Luxembourg to try to decide that issue.

The IMF, which can only sniff around the surface of the banks, determined that the Spanish and Italian banks alone would have to recognize an additional €230 billion ($310 billion) in losses over the next two years. As we have seen time and again, bank losses are always much larger when the truth finally seeps out, and that doesn’t happen until after the bank collapses and someone from the outside counts what’s left over….


Tower of Babel Moment « The Burning Platform

Tower of Babel Moment « The Burning Platform. (FULL ARTICLE)

This week over in China, the Chinese had to SHUT DOWN Beijing due to SMOG problems.  This is pretty radical, since far as I know not even Los Angeles ever got shut down due to Smog, and it was pretty nasty there particularly before CA Greenies went big time into emissions restrictions on the plethora of Carz that started hitting the LA Freeways in the 60s and 70s.

From Bloomberg:

China started reopening roads and airports in Beijing and surrounding areas that were shut byheavy smog, allowing millions of travelers to return from a week-long holiday.

Air quality index readings for half of Beijing’s 12 urban areas fell below 200, the level dividing medium and heavy pollution, as of 12 p.m. today, according to data on the website of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center.

Tennis fans wear masks to watch the women’s semi-final match of the 2013 China Open during severe pollution at the National Tennis Center in Beijing on Oct. 5, 2013. Photographer: Feng Li/Getty Images

“Beijing will see light rain tonight, which will make it easier for air pollutants to dissipate,” Beijing Meteorological Bureau said today in its official microblog. The bureau lifted a yellow alert on smog at 8:50 a.m., predicting that visibility will improve….


CBC News – Canada’s Electric Power Generating Stations

CBC News – Canada’s Electric Power Generating Stations. (FULL ARTICLE)

This map shows the types of power plants each region uses and how Canada’s power supply is expected to evolve between 2011 and 2020, based on changes the provinces plan to make to their generating capacity.

The map’s default display shows the power plants across Canada that generated 50 megawatts or more in 2010. Use the tabs along the bottom edge of the map to turn the display of specific types of plants on or off. Use the “satellite” view in the top right corner and the plus-minus zoom bar on the left side of the map to zoom in on an aerial view of a plant.

Clicking on a plant’s icon provides a description of the plant and links to related features about power generation technology, issues and provincial strategies.

Use the Year slider below the tabs to see how the mix of generating stations is expected to change from year to year between 2010 and 2020 as old plants are taken off-line and new ones are built. Use the Capacity slider to adjust the view to show the power stations with a specific generating capacity….


NSA collects millions of e-mail address books globally – The Washington Post

NSA collects millions of e-mail address books globally – The Washington Post.

The National Security Agency is harvesting hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal e-mail and instant messaging accounts around the world, many of them belonging to Americans, according to senior intelligence officials and top-secret documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The collection program, which has not been disclosed before, intercepts e-mail address books and “buddy lists” from instant messaging services as they move across global data links. Online services often transmit those contacts when a user logs on, composes a message, or synchronizes a computer or mobile device with information stored on remote servers.

Rather than targeting individual users, the NSA is gathering contact lists in large numbers that amount to a sizable fraction of the world’s e-mail and instant messaging accounts. Analysis of that data enables the agency to search for hidden connections and to map relationships within a much smaller universe of foreign intelligence targets.

During a single day last year, the NSA’s Special Source Operations branch collected 444,743 e-mail address books from Yahoo, 105,068 from Hotmail, 82,857 from Facebook, 33,697 from Gmail and 22,881 from unspecified other providers, according to an internal NSA PowerPoint presentation. Those figures, described as a typical daily intake in the document, correspond to a rate of more than 250 million a year….


Scores dead in Philippine earthquake – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English

Scores dead in Philippine earthquake – Asia-Pacific – Al Jazeera English. (FULL ARTICLE)

At least 93 people have been killed and more than 100 others injured by falling buildings islands popular with tourists in the central Philippines after an earthquake measuring 7.2 hit the region, according to radio reports.

Tuesday’s earthquake was centred 56km deep below Carmen town on Bohol Island, about 400km southeast of the capital, Manila, and was felt across the region. The Philippine seismology agency reported at least 110 aftershocks.

Local radio stations also reported fatalities in nearby Cebu province, across a strait from Bohol.

Tuesday is a national holiday and that may have reduced casualties because schools and offices are closed….



If Hitler Didn’t Exist, the Pentagon Would Have to Invent Him | Washington’s Blog

If Hitler Didn’t Exist, the Pentagon Would Have to Invent Him | Washington’s Blog. (FULL ARTICLE)

When video of the October 14th edition of Thom Hartmann’s TV show appears online (here) it will include him asking me to justify not attacking Hitler.  Thom has asked me this repeatedly during multiple appearances on his show, each time a little differently, and each time provocatively.  He’s right to ask it, and he’s been right in some of the answers he’s helped provide in the asking.

Without Hitler, the U.S. military would collapse.

For 68 years, wars on poor countries have been justified by the pretended discovery of Hitler’s reincarnation.  Each time it has turned out to be a false alarm.  Every post-WWII war looks disastrous or at least dubious in retrospect to most people.  And yet, the justification of the next war is always ready to hand, because the real, original Hitler remains alive in our memories, and he just might come back — who’s to say?

Actually, I think anyone vaguely aware of basic facts about the current world ought to be able to say that Hitler is gone for good.

How do I justify not going to war with Hitler, beyond explaining that Assad isn’t Hitler, Gadaffi isn’t Hitler, Hussein isn’t Hitler, and so on?…


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