Monday 4th of May 2015

Recent Comments

by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2015-05-04 10:29

 

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says Labor is willing compromise with the government on a Renewable Energy Target of 33,000 gigawatt hours of annual renewable energy production by 2020.

Signalling a shift in Labor's position that could end a months-long stand off between the two major parties over the RET, Mr Shorten said the sector needed investment certainty and jobs in the sector needed to be protected.

"We will work towards a deal, we've said 33,500, if it's the last issue on the table and the government wants to save face by saying 33,000 gigawatt hours as opposed to 33,500, ok," he told ABC Radio National.

"This game has gone on too long, the government is killing the renewable energy industry. We will have a look at it, if they say 33,000, if they are serious and whether industry could live with it, and we will take it to our caucus."

Mr Shorten said that, in the longer term, Labor's view was that renewable energy target should continue to rise to stimulate investment in the clean energy sector.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bill-shorten-signals-labor-willing-to-compromise-on-renewable-energy-target-20150504-1mz51v.html

 

Please Billy, refrain from using terms such as "game"... Use other words such as "situation" or go back into the annals of Labor history...

by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2015-05-04 07:40

 

The Federal Government is set to sink $14 billion deeper into deficit next financial year, according to an independent budget analysis.

The Deloitte Access Economics report likened the 2015-16 deficit figure to the work of horror writer Stephen King and Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, who is internationally famous for his tortured artwork The Scream.

Deloitte said the retreat of the Chinese commodity boom could be a "budget bust" for Australia.

It also identified the pressures in Australia's domestic political climate, and the resulting gridlock for the Government in the Senate on a range of significant savings measures.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-04/budget-deficit-figures-likened-to-stephen-king-novel/6441346

 

 

Meanwhile as China's economy cools:

The amount borrowed by investors to purchase stocks has quadrupled from a year earlier, fuelled by a recent surge in margin trading, which, in turn, is often funded by China's infamous shadow lending sector.

Investors continue to pile in at an increasing rate. Five million new trading accounts were opened in March. And, just last week, another 3.3 million new share accounts were created; 10 times more than normal.

Many economists and demographers point to the lack of a comprehensive social welfare net in China as a key reason for its people's stereotypical streak of conservatism and a high savings rate.

However, the inverse is also true, and many, especially younger Chinese, are entrepreneurial, willing to take risks, particularly when there is fast money to be made.

Anecdotes run rife of ordinary Chinese investors selling their homes (as the housing market cools) or quitting their jobs to speculate in – or, as it's known colloquially in Mandarin, to "stir-fry" – stocks.

Every significant sharemarket move is reported on the front pages of not just the financial dailies, but often on the more widely read city tabloids.

However, perhaps best encapsulating the sharemarket craze's mass appeal was a photo that went viral on Chinese social media this week of a street vendor selling bananas, engrossed on his laptop with share price graphs clearly visible on the screen. It evoked the famous anecdote of the "roaring twenties" just before the Great Depression hit, where famed US investor Joe Kennedy's shoeshine boy offered him a stock tip: "Buy Hindenburg."

Instead, Kennedy sold all his holdings, thinking: "You know it's time to sell when shoeshine boys give you stock tips. This bull market is over."

However, far from ringing alarm bells, even typically bearish China analysts consider it feasible that the sharemarket will continue its phenomenal run; for the simple reason that the Chinese government wants it to.

read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/share-trading-frenzy-grows-as-chinas-economy-slows-20150503-1myq9r.html

 

by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2015-05-04 06:57

 

All but one member of the editorial advisory committee for Australia's top medical journal have resigned following the sacking of its eminent editor. 

Stephen Leeder, an emeritus professor of public health at the University of Sydney and chair of the Western Sydney Local Health District Board, was sacked as editor of the prestigious Medical Journal of Australia after he raised concerns about a decision by the journal's publisher AMPCo to outsource the journal's production to Elsevier. AMPCo is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Australian Medical Association.

Professor Leeder said he was "bereaved" by his departure from the MJA, but said that working with Elsevier was "beyond the reach of my ethical tolerance".

"I feel deeply deeply bereaved," he said. "I loved the job, I loved the journal."

Leading doctors from around the country are outraged at the decision and appalled at the treatment of Professor Leeder, saying they share his concerns about Elsevier which has published "fake medical journals".

Nineteen of the Medical Journal of Australia's 20 editorial advisory committee members co-signed a letter of resignation over the appointment of Elsevier, saying they could see no point "in continued involvement with this tragedy, particularly as our advice is neither sought nor apparently considered". 

One of the signatories, Professor Gary Wittert, the head of medicine at Adelaide University, said AMPCo's track record in sacking editors, including Annette Katelaris in 2012, and its commercial arrangements with Elsevier "does not inspire confidence in editorial independence". 

read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/medical-journal-editor-sacked-and-editorial-committee-resigns-20150503-1myr8q.html

 

 

If I was sarcastic, I would suggest the AMA has fallen into the clutches of the big pharma industry as well as been infiltrated by doctors in CONservative politics, but then I don't know.... From wikipedia:

 

Resignation of editorial boards[edit]

In November 1999 the entire editorial board (50 persons) of the Journal of Logic Programming (founded in 1984 by Alan Robinson) collectively resigned after 16 months of unsuccessful negotiations with Elsevier Press about the price of library subscriptions.[15] The personnel created a new journal, Theory and Practice of Logic Programming, with Cambridge University Press at a much lower price,[15]while Elsevier continued publication with a new editorial board and a slightly different name (the Journal of Logic and Algebraic Programming).

In 2002, dissatisfaction at Elsevier's pricing policies caused the European Economic Association to terminate an agreement with Elsevier designating Elsevier's European Economic Review as the official journal of the association. The EEA launched a new journal, the Journal of the European Economic Association.[16]

At the end of 2003, the entire editorial board of the Journal of Algorithms resigned to start ACM Transactions on Algorithms with a different, lower priced publisher,[17] at the suggestion of Journal of Algorithms founder Donald Knuth.[18] The Journal of Algorithms continued under Elsevier with a new editorial board until October 2009, when it was discontinued.[19] The ACM Transactions on Algorithms is still in circulation.

The same happened in 2005 to the International Journal of Solids and Structures, whose editors resigned to start the Journal of Mechanics of Materials and Structures. However, a new editorial board was quickly established and the journal continues in apparently unaltered form with editors D.A. Hills (Oxford University) and Stelios Kyriakides (University of Texas at Austin).[20][21]

On August 10, 2006, the entire editorial board of the distinguished mathematical journal Topology handed in their resignation, again because of stalled negotiations with Elsevier to lower the subscription price.[22] This board has now launched the new Journal of Topology at a far lower price, under the auspices of the London Mathematical Society.[23] After this mass resignation, Topology remained in circulation under a new editorial board until 2009, when the last issue was published. The journal was discontinued in 2012.[24][25]

The French École Normale Supérieure has stopped having Elsevier publish the journal Annales Scientifiques de l'École Normale Supérieure[26] (as of 2008).[27]

Parent organisation links to weapons industry[edit]

An editorial in the medical journal The Lancet in September 2005 sharply criticized the journal's owner and publisher, Reed Elsevier, for its participation in the international arms trade.[28] Specifically, Reed Exhibitions organized the Defence Systems and Equipment International Exhibition (DSEi), a large arms fair in the U.K. The authors, appealing to the Hippocratic oath, called for the publisher to "divest itself of all business interests that threaten human, and especially civilian, health and well-being."[29]

In the 24 March 2007 issue of the The Lancet, leading medical centers including the UK Royal College of Physicians[30] urged Reed Elsevier to sever weapons ties. Doctors spoke out against Reed's role in the involvement of the organizing of exhibitions for the arms trade.[31] Reed Elsevier’s chief executive responded in June 2007 with a written statement agreeing to do so,[32] welcomed by authors of the petition[clarification needed],[33] announcing that it would sell the part of the company which handled military trade shows. The sale was completed in May 2008.[34]

Action against academics posting their own articles online[edit]

Digimarc, a company representing Elsevier, recently told the University of Calgary to remove articles published by faculty authors on university web pages; although such self-archiving of academic articles may be legal under the fair dealing provisions in Canadian copyright law, the university complied. Harvard University and the University of California, Irvine also received takedown notices for self-archived academic articles, a first for Harvard, according to Peter Suber.[35][36]

Chaos, Solitons & Fractals[edit]

There was speculation[by whom?] that the editor-in-chief of Chaos, Solitons & FractalsMohamed El Naschie, misused his power to publish his work without appropriate peer review. The journal had published 322 papers with El Naschie as author since 1993. The last issue of December 2008 featured five of his papers.[37] The controversy was covered extensively in blogs.[38][39] The publisher announced in January 2009 that El Naschie had retired as editor-in-chief.[40] As of November 2011 the co-Editors-in-Chief of the journal were Maurice Courbage and Paolo Grigolini.[41] In June 2011 El Naschie sued the journal Nature for libel, claiming that his reputation had been damaged by their November 2008 article about his retirement, which included statements that Nature had been unable to verify his claimed affiliations with certain international institutions.[42] The suit came to trial in November 2011 and was dismissed in July 2012, with the judge ruling that the article was "substantially true", contained "honest comment" and was "the product of responsible journalism". The judgement noted that El Naschie, who represented himself in court, had failed to provide any documentary evidence that his papers had been peer-reviewed.[43]Judge Victoria Sharp also found "reasonable and serious grounds" for suspecting that El Naschie used a range of false names to defend his editorial practice in communications with Nature, and described this behavior as "curious" and "bizarre". [44]

[edit]

Main article: Australasian Journal of Bone & Joint Medicine

At a 2009 court case in Australia where Merck & Co. was being sued by a user of Vioxx, the plaintiff alleged that Merck had paid Elsevier to publish the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine, which had the appearance of being a peer-reviewed academic journal but in fact contained only articles favourable to Merck drugs.[45][46][47][48] Merck has described the journal as a "complimentary publication", denied claims that articles within it were ghost written by Merck, and stated that the articles were all reprinted from peer-reviewed medical journals.[49] In May 2009, Elsevier Health Sciences CEO Hansen released a statement regarding Australia-based sponsored journals, conceding that these were "sponsored article compilation publications, on behalf of pharmaceutical clients, that were made to look like journals and lacked the proper disclosures." The statement acknowledged that this "was an unacceptable practice."[50] The Scientist reported that, according to an Elsevier spokesperson, six sponsored publications "were put out by their Australia office and bore the Excerpta Medica imprint from 2000 to 2005", namely the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine (Australas. J. Bone Joint Med.), the Australasian Journal of General Practice (Australas. J. Gen. Pract.), the Australasian Journal of Neurology (Australas. J. Neurol.), the Australasian Journal of Cardiology (Australas. J. Cardiol.), the Australasian Journal of Clinical Pharmacy (Australas. J. Clin. Pharm.), and the Australasian Journal of Cardiovascular Medicine (Australas. J. Cardiovasc. Med.).[51] Excerpta Medica was a "strategic medical communications agency" run by Elsevier, according to the imprint's web page.[52] On October 7, 2010, Excerpta Medica was acquired by Adelphi Worldwide.[53]


"Adelphi is unique in the world of pharmaceutical consultancy and service provision. Adelphi's offer spans the lifecycle of pharmaceutical development," etcetera...

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2015-05-03 18:40

A profound sense of cognitive dissonance lies at the center of American politics: one that even our most elite journalists and pundits refuse to recognize. In virtually all of our political debate and news coverage, the competition between the two parties is treated as one of personalities and ideas. As with any democracy, the guys who are the most popular, whether for reasons of charisma or appealing policy proposals, emerge as the winners. The job of journalists and pundits is to illuminate the candidates’ character and beliefs and track their respective successes, dividing themselves between “substance” and “horse-race” coverage however they see fit.

But this is nonsense. In fact, American political life revolves around two mutually reinforcing truths. The first is that our democracy has been severely corrupted by money; the second is that the conservative movement, and hence the Republican Party, is dominated by ideological extremists who demonstrate zero interest in the problems of actual governance. Taken together, these truths not only define our political debate; they ensure that virtually nothing is decided on its merits—up to and including our national elections.

Catch a bigfoot journalist or pundit at a social event or private gathering, and he or she will likely admit these truths. Scan the editorials and opinion pages of most major newspapers, and you’ll see the power of money decried on a fairly regular basis. But in the news stories, where it matters most, even our best reporters feel the need to put forth a fairy-tale narrative in which the United States enjoys a fully functioning democracy and our elections and laws accurately represent the genuine will of the people.

read more: http://www.thenation.com/article/205713/why-do-political-reporters-refuse-show-us-money

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2015-05-03 17:55

Australian workplaces are not equipped to deal with the growing numbers of employees with dementia despite an ageing population and a possible "tsunami" of future cases, advocates have warned.

Dementia affects 340,000 Australians, with 25,000 of them under the age of 65 and the numbers are set to increase by a third in less than 10 years.

Yet despite a delayed retirement age of 70 by the year 2035, there is no national blueprint to cope with the increasing concern.

Alzheimer's Australia chief Carol Bennett warned the figures were a cause for alarm and said she was keen to work with the Federal Government and workplaces to address the issue.

"If we ignore this issue, it's at our peril," Ms Bennett said.

"We've seen the numbers that have increased, and you know, we're going to see an increasing prevalence of the condition, we can't afford to ignore it.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-03/australia-not-ready-for-tsunami-of-dementia-cases/6440668

 

See toon at top...

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2015-05-03 17:48

 

CAIRO — The Saudi-led military coalition fighting a rebel group in Yemen has in the past few weeks used cluster munitions supplied by the United States, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Sunday. 

The report said video, photographs and other evidence showed that the coalition had used cluster bombs near villages in Yemen’s northern Saada Province. The group, which said it had found evidence that the weapons had been deployed on at least two separate occasions, has not been able to establish whether any casualties had resulted from their use, according to the report. 

Cluster munitions, which are banned by much of the world, though not by the United States, Saudi Arabia or Yemen, are considered imprecise weapons that spread ordnance over a wide area and pose a long-term danger to civilians because of the unexploded bomblets they leave behind. 

read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/03/world/middleeast/saudi-led-group-said-to-use-cluster-bombs-in-yemen.html?_r=0

Meanwhile:

Air strikes by the US-led coalition targeting Islamic State militants have killed more than 50 civilians in northern Syria, activists say.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based group, says Birmahle village was hit on Friday and that some people were still trapped in rubble.

A spokesman for US Central Command it had "no information to corroborate allegations that coalition air strikes resulted in civilian casualties".

But he said it was investigating.

Earlier this month, the Observatory said the US-led air campaign had killed more than 2,000 people in total, including at least 1,922 IS fighters.

"Air strikes by the coalition early on Friday on the village of Birmahle in Aleppo province killed 52 civilians," Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP news agency.

Seven children were killed, and 13 people were still unaccounted for, the group said.

read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32563662#

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2015-05-03 17:33

 

They may have never seen her face but hundreds of strangers will gather in western Sydney on Monday night to remember Linda Locke, another victim in what advocates say is a deepening national domestic violence crisis. 

Two NSW women have allegedly been killed by their partners in the past week, marking one of the worst weeks for domestic violence in the state.

Experts fear that strong pre-election rhetoric is not yet translating into action, with the state government moving a key agency further away from the Premier's department despite promising to put domestic violence "front and centre".

Domestic violence survivors and members of the local community will hold a vigil in Blacktown on Monday to remember Ms Locke, 51, and the 33 other female victims of violence in Australia this year.

Ms Locke, a grandmother of five, died in hospital on Tuesday after her de facto partner, Jamie Walker, allegedly bashed her in their Quakers Hill home.

Two days earlier, an 18-year-old mother was allegedly killed by her ex-boyfriend, reportedly in front of up to 40 people gathered at a home in the western NSW town of Brewarrina. 

Darryl Biles, 22, has been charged with murdering the young woman, whose family have requested she not be identified due to indigenous tradition.

Trish Frail, from the Brewarrina Aborginal Integrated Childcare Centre, said 80 people marched down Brewarrina's main street on Thursday to pay tribute to the woman and take a stand against domestic violence.

"We've noticed there has been a change in the domestic violence," she said. "Nowadays when the perpetrator is addicted to ice, the violence they put their women through is a lot more horrific and savage than what it was 10 years ago."

read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/nsw-domestic-violence-deaths-2-women-dead-in-7-days-20150503-1mypxd.html

 

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2015-05-02 19:46

It is only a matter of time before the stock market plunges by 50% or more, according to several reputable experts.

“We have no right to be surprised by a severe and imminent stock market crash,” explains Mark Spitznagel, a hedge fund manager who is notorious for his hugely profitable billion-dollar bet on the 2008 crisis. “In fact, we must absolutely expect it."

Unfortunately Spitznagel isn’t alone.

“We are in a gigantic financial asset bubble,” warns Swiss adviser and fund manager Marc Faber. “It could burst any day.” 

Faber doesn’t hesitate to put the blame squarely on President Obama’s big-government policies and the Federal Reserve’s risky low-rate policies, which, he says, “penalize the income earners, the savers who save, your parents — why should your parents be forced to speculate in stocks and in real estate and everything under the sun?”

Billion-dollar investor Warren Buffett is rumored to be preparing for a crash as well. The “Warren Buffett Indicator,” also known as the “Total Market Cap to GDP Ratio,” is breaching sell-alert status and a collapse may happen at any moment. 

So with an inevitable crash looming, what are Main Street investors to do? One option is to sell all your stocks and stuff your money under the mattress, and another option is to risk everything and ride out the storm.

But according to Sean Hyman, founder of Absolute Profits, there is a third option.

“There are specific sectors of the market that are all but guaranteed to perform well during the next few months,” Hyman explains. “Getting out of stocks now could be costly.”


Read Latest Breaking News from Newsmax.com http://www.newsmax.com/Finance/MKTNews/Stock-Collapse-Crash-Alert/2014/09/23/id/596321/

 

See toon at top...

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2015-05-02 19:41

 

Amid Russia's economic woes, billions of dollars continue to disappear in offshore havens. The net outflow of capital from Russia reached $32.6 billion during the first quarter of 2015, according to the nation's Central Bank. 

The bank is now forecasting that capital flight may reach $131 billion by the end of the year. In reporting first quarter numbers, the Central Bank also upwardly revised the 2014 figure for net capital outflow to $154.1 billion from the previously reported $151.5 billion. That figure marks the highest annual total of capital flight since the Central Bank started tracking the trend back in 1994. 

Financial experts say most of the money now fleeing Russia ends up in offshore accounts, beyond the reach of tax inspectors and other prying eyes. The budgetary implications for Russia are significant: according to Andrei Makarov, chairman of the Russian Duma's Committee on Budget and Taxation, back in 2013, when the capital flight rate was dramatically lower than it is now, capital flight cost the Russian treasury at least $22 billion in lost tax revenue.

"Capital outflow abroad leads to losses that are at least comparable to internal tax revenue losses," state-owned news channel Russia 24 reported, citing data from KPMG, a large international audit, tax and advisory firm.

The problem is not limited to tax revenue losses. "Capital flight weakens the national economy, starving it of investment funding, which further worsens the economy's development prospects," wrote economists Mikhail Gelvanovskiy and Vladislav Ovchinskiy in an academic paper that examined the economic damage done by capital flight amid the 2008 economic crisis.

read more: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/russia-massive-capital-flight-continues/520112.html

 

See also: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/four-celebrities-who-secretly-wish-they-were-russian/520104.html

 

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2015-05-02 19:29

 

Sham and Shame: Saudi-US Slaughter in Yemen Shows Truth of Terror War


 

Last week, the United States sent an armada to Yemen, to help enforce a blockade of the poverty-ridden country as it groans under the mass slaughter of Saudi Arabia’s American-backed war of aggression. Now the Saudis, employing the bombs they procured from U.S. war profiteers, have shut down aid shipments by air with a bombing raid on the capital, Sana’a. The result will be more hunger, suffering and death in one of the world’s poorest countries. — But hey, wasn’t Obama so funny at that media dinner thing!

While aiding the Islamic extremists of Saudi Arabia to help al Qaeda in Yemen — who have made great gains while their mortal enemies, the Houthis, are being pounded by the Saudis — Obama and the American military machine has also been busy joining hands with al Qaeda in Syria, helping them make huge advances and capture key cities. It now looks increasingly likely that the Syrian government will not be able to withstand the onslaught of Islamic extremists (oh, and the “moderate” rebels, which also include al Qaeda elements). The fall of the secular Syrian state will open up an abyss of chaos which will be filled by the extremists armed and bankrolled by the United States and Saudi Arabia — just as the American destruction of the secular government in Iraq has led to murderous nightmare for millions of people.

What’s more, Israel has also joined the fight with al Qaeda, launching airstrikes on positions in Syria to clear the way for Islamic extremists to keep up their offensive. Robert Parry is on the case:

The Saudi-Israeli alliance, in league with other hard-line Sunni countries, is helping Al-Qaeda affiliates advance toward gaining either victory or at least safe havens in Syria and Yemen, highlighting unresolved contradictions in President Barack Obama’s policies in the Middle East. Fueled by a surge of support from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey – and with Israel striking at Syrian government allies – Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and Al-Qaeda’s hyper-brutal spinoff, the Islamic State, are making major advances in Syria with some analysts now predicting the likely collapse of the relatively secular government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Read more: http://www.chris-floyd.com/Articles/2496-sham-and-shame-saudi-us-slaughter-in-yemen-shows-truth-of-terror-war.html

 

See toon at top...

Note should the Syrian government collapse, its weaponry will fall into the hands of "terrorists" and religious extremists... One can only foresee trouble.