Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Guadeloupe: strike wins ---repression next?

A 44-day general strike in the French Caribbean department of Guadeloupe ended with an agreement signed March 4 by representatives of the French government and the Collective Against Extreme Exploitation (LKP), which led the strike. In the Jacques Binot Accord—named for a union leader killed the night of Feb. 17—the LKP won its basic demand for a raise of 200 euros a month (now about $253) for low-wage workers. The agreement's 165 articles also cover a wide range of economic demands: reductions in charges for school meals, in bank rates, in the price of water and auto fuel; lower real estate taxes; a 20% reduction in bus fares between towns; a rent freeze; and a freeze on the price of a loaf of bread.

The MEDEF—the Movement of Businesses of France, the most powerful French business association—refused to sign the accord. It is not clear how many workers local MEDEF members employ; estimates range as high as 30,000-40,000. But most Guadeloupeans seemed to consider the agreement a big win. Thousands of strike supporters celebrated with a demonstration in Pointe-à-Pitre, the departmental capital, on March 7; several hundred supporters also demonstrated in Paris. "The economy is on its knees," an activist said in Pointe-à-Pitre when the accord was signed on March 4, "but Guadeloupe will never be the way it was before."

On March 7 the local government announced it was starting an investigation of LKP spokesperson Elie Domota, secretary general of the General Union of Guadeloupe Workers (UGTG), for "provocation to discrimination, hate and violence against persons or categories of persons because of their origin." The investigation refers to two remarks Domota made during a television appearance on Télé Guadeloupe on March 5: "Either [the employers] will apply the accord, or they'll leave Guadeloupe" and "We won't let a band of békés reestablish slavery." Béké is a Creole term for the descendants of white slave owners.


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Israeli [arms dealer] Rafael's Indian promo



www.stratpost.com
The Israeli arms firm Rafael displayed this Bollywood dance number-based marketing video at the recently held Aero India 2009 in Bangalore. This video has been uploaded for the purpose of embedding on the Defense and Strategic Affairs Online News Magazine, StratPost with the permission of Rafael. Copyright rests with Rafael.

Political Leaders For 9/11 Truth launched

From The Centre for Research on Globalization

Political Leaders for 9/11 Truth (pl911truth.com) is today being launched as the latest formal group calling for a new investigation into the events of September 11, 2001. The organization is headed by Councilor (Senator) Yukihisa Fujita of Japan and former Senator Karen Johnson of Arizona.

This initiative is formed around a petition asking President Obama "to authorize a new, truly independent, investigation to determine what happened on 9/11."

Political Leaders for 9/11 Truth thus joins other concerned citizens' groups calling for a new investigation, including Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, Firefighters for 9/11 Truth, Lawyers for 9/11 Truth, Medical Professionals for 9/11 Truth, Pilots for 9/11 Truth, Religious Leaders for 9/11 Truth, Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice, and Veterans for 9/11 Truth.

Independent researchers from these professions have established beyond any reasonable doubt that the official account of 9/11 is false and that the official investigations have been cover-up operations.

Senator Yukihisa Fujita explains the new initiative: "Thus far there has been no response from political leaders in Washington or in other capitals around the world. Political Leaders for 9/11 Truth has been formed to encourage such a response."

The organization is being launched with 20 charter members, including a former US governor, a former US senator, former US representatives, and former and present members of the British, German, Japanese, Norwegian, and European parliaments.

Charter member Robert Bowman, former head of the "Star Wars" program, explains the continuing relevance of the issue: "The 9/11 Tragedy has been used as the excuse for two deadly wars of aggression, for taking away our rights, and for committing war crimes that have undermined America's reputation. Only by exposing the truth about 9/11 can we end this madness."

Political Leaders for 9/11 Truth invites other people who hold, or have held, a political office---whether elected or appointed, whether municipal, state, provincial, national, or international--- to sign the petition at pl911truth.com.

Senator Johnson sums it up: "The organization believes that the truth about 9/11 needs to be exposed now---not in 50 years as a footnote in the history books---so the policies that have been based on the Bush-Cheney administration's interpretation of the 9/11 attacks can be changed.


software engineer seeks alliance from good-looking working girl

From the Infinite Thought blog:

One of the hardest things to understand in India is the way in which caste and class relate, and how caste, in particular, still holds sway over the way in which individuals are perceived and treated. India is currently enormously optimistic, despite the world economic crisis, and aggressively aspirational posters for MBAs, English and computer classes adorn lampposts in even the smallest of beach towns. The immense gap between even basic infrastructure, religious tradition and cutting-edge technology seems to have been bridged with remarkable ease, so that it is not uncommon for places without clean drinking water to have broadband, and for trainee Brahmin priests to pray in temples while texting on their mobiles.

[ ... ]

If collective public projects are impossible, then it's every aspirational young man and woman for him or herself. Nowhere is this better reflected than in the astonishing organisation of the personal ads (or rather, 'Matrimonials', as marriage/alliance is the desired outcome rather than romantic distraction) in Indian newspapers. In the Sunday Times of India, appear the following categories, a mix of modern outlooks ('Cosmopolitan'), health conditions, jobs, qualifications, marital status, religion, eating habits, age and, above all, caste

[ ... ]

WANTED BRIDES

Cosmopolitan

- 36 Years old Vegan IIT mathematics professor with boyish good looks who hates dairy products seeks a suitable vegan girl (vegetarian who avoid milk products). Caste No Bar

- At 41 with one marital experience I trace the destined one proposing that I am discreetly on my conviction of serving best inclusive cause of humanity amid vice and virtue of ever mingling global values! Is it thou disposed so? Respecting element of secrecy I am at ... on Sundays (10-5)

- Prominent Industrial Hindu Family looking for very fair, extremely attractive only, convent educated girl, from cultured family with good values, for their '78 born, never married, 5'9" non-smoker, teetotaller, fair, very slim, good featured, Ivy League educated son.

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Canadian military units to undertake "domestic security"

Duties would include mass internment of citizens after terrorist attack, mirroring militarization of law enforcement in U.S. and Britain

The Canadian military is reorganizing its priorities to suit a “post 9/11-world,” by creating reservist units for each area of the country that would be tasked with providing “domestic security,” and involve roles such as the mass internment of citizens in the event of a terrorist attack.

“The Canadian military has embarked on a wide-ranging plan to turn its reserve soldiers into focused units trained and equipped to respond to a nightmarish array of domestic threats,” reports the National Post.

“The remodeling of the reserves will see the development of specialist units in four of the military's regional divisions — Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and the West.”

This is an open announcement that Canada has been subdivided into military units that will be policed by military reserves, who will take a “dominant role in domestic operations in the future,” according to the article.


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Report: 1 in 50 U.S. children face homelessness

(CNN) -- One in 50 children is homeless in the United States every year, according to a report released Tuesday.

 The report, by the National Center on Family Homelessness, analyzed data from 2005-06 and found that more than 1.5 million children were without a home.

"These numbers will grow as home foreclosures continue to rise," Ellen Bassuk, president of the center, said in a statement.

The study ranked states on their performance in four areas: the extent of child homelessness, the risk for it, child well-being and the state's policy and planning efforts.

The states that fared the poorest were Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, New Mexico and Louisiana.

Connecticut, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Rhode Island and North Dakota performed the best.

Homeless children have poor health, emotional problems and low graduation rates, the study found.

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Good deeds in bad times

Judy Keen reports in USA TODAY :

Bad times can bring out the best in people.

Mounting layoffs and tumbling stock prices are creating economic anxiety and forcing many people to cut back on charity, but the nation's woes also are inspiring people to make generous gestures to acquaintances, employees and even strangers.

Danny Cottrell, owner of the Medical Center Pharmacy in Brewton, Ala., and a health care store in Atmore, gave $16,000 to his 24 employees. Full-time workers each got $700 and part-timers got $300. Cottrell asked them to donate 15% to charity and spend the rest in local stores.

Cottrell wanted to show his appreciation to employees and help other businesses. When he gave out the cash, he says, "people at one store, they all cried, and at the other one, they just sat stunned. … It's been a blast."

Melissa Brown, associate director of research at The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, says there's "a tremendous impulse to altruism genetically in mankind."

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Govt plan will get bailout money back from Americans

Satire from CAP News :

WASHINGTON (CAP) - In the wake of the $700 billion financial market bailout plan approved by Congress last week, the U.S. government is working hard to figure out how to get the money from United States citizens.

"We were originally thinking of just sending out bills for $2,000 each to every man, woman and child in the country," said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. "Then we realized that people would probably just not pay them, like they don't pay their mortgages. That's how we got into this mess in the first place!" he laughed.

"Umm, that, and the complete deregulation of the trading of commodities futures," he added, more seriously.

With that in mind, the Treasury Department is mulling several different options. One is garnishing the wages of all U.S. employees, which would cost the average American "only $38.46 per week" for the next year, said Paulson. The problem with this plan is it exempts unemployed people - including the poor and the homeless - and children, who tend not to work.

"If we're going to hand over close to a trillion dollars to the Wall Street firms who almost ruined the U.S. economy, it really wouldn't be fair if the young and the homeless didn't pull their weight along with every other American," said Paulson.

But a more likely scenario, said Paulson, would involve raising income taxes and issuing an executive order that would electronically withdraw the amount of all Bush tax cuts from the bank accounts of every person who received them. "Let's face it, that money was like a gimmee," said Paulson. "We hate to be Indian givers, but desperate times and all that."

Though disappointed at the thought of people having to give up their tax cuts, President Bush reluctantly agreed, saying the move made sense during this time of economic turmoil. "Besides, we never said keepsies," he pointed out.

That plan will also reduce the level of manpower needed to go to people's homes to procure the money directly, should they not have bank accounts to raid. "That type of activity has to be targeted or else it becomes very expensive," noted Director of the United States Secret Service Mark Sullivan, whose agency will direct the newly created Bailout Fund Retrieval Task Force.

"It wouldn't make sense if it costs the government more to remove the money from a senior citizen's mattress or from a lockbox buried in her backyard than she actually has in there," said Sullivan. "The taxpayers deserve better planning than that."

Meanwhile, one thing the beneficiaries of the bailout want people to know is that they appreciate the taxpayers' sacrifice. "This has been a very humbling time for me," said Lehman Brothers CEO Richard S. Fuld, Jr., whose company declared bankruptcy last month. "Thanks to this bailout, I'll be able to start taking huge risks with other people's money again, and for that I am grateful."

Then he flew off on the private jet he bought with the $34 million bonus he received last year, before his company went under.

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