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Sun

Brazil power company orders rolling blackouts due to increased demand in record breaking heat

© Eletronuclear.gov.br
Admiral Álvaro Alberto Nuclear Power Station
Rolling blackouts swept across parts of Brazil on Monday as the grid operator ordered select power cuts to avoid a larger crisis, drawing attention to a fragile electric system that is buckling under the strains of record-breaking heat and dryness.

Grid operator ONS said it orchestrated 2,200 megawatts of controlled outages in eight states as the hottest day of the year in Sao Paulo, where the temperature hit 36.5 Celsius (97.7 Fahrenheit), and other southeastern cities led to surging demand from air conditioners and other power-hungry appliances.

Eletronuclear, a unit of state-run power company Eletrobras , said nuclear reactor Angra I powered down automatically at 2:49 p.m. local time (1649 GMT) due to a drop in frequency on the national grid. The company said there were no risks to workers or the environment due to the stoppage.

Brazilian officials have repeatedly denied the need for energy rationing, even as the driest spell in more than 80 years drains hydropower reserves and forces the use of more costly thermal plants. The drought has also raised the specter of water rationing in Sao Paulo, Brazil's business hub and South America's largest metropolitan area.

Shares of electric companies tumbled on the Sao Paulo stock exchange, dragging an industry index nearly 5 percent lower as news of the power cuts spread. CPFL Energia SA fell more than 7 percent, while AES Eletropaulo, Light SA and Copel each lost around 6 percent.

A privately run subway concession in Sao Paulo, ViaQuatro, said it suffered an electric failure at 2:35 p.m. After 90 minutes ViaQuatro said it had restored service to part of the subway line, but two downtown stations remained closed.

ONS said the national grid was back to normal by 3:45 p.m. after controlled outages affecting less than 5 percent of the system's total demand.
Stock Down

Plunging oil prices could hurt sales of electric and hyrbid cars

© AFP Photo / ANP / Lex Van Lieshout
Gas-guzzling cars are gaining favor once again, as low oil prices are cheapening petrol, driving consumers away from more economic and expensive eco-friendly models.

Both Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude have fallen below $50 per barrel, greatly cheapening the cost of refined products such as gasoline and petroleum.

In the US, gasoline for cars is selling for about $2 per gallon according to the Automobile Association of America (AAA). In Dallas, Texas, a nationwide record was set on Saturday of $1.30 per gallon.

Last week oil prices fell to six year lows, with Brent and WTI both dropping below $45 a barrel for the first time since 2009.
Snakes in Suits

Wall Street banks cut 50,000 jobs and reduce bonuses and expenses as profits continue to dry up


Cuts: In a move that has shocked many pundits, a number of banks on Wall Street including Bank of America, Citigroup and JP Morgan have cut thousands of jobs, as well as bonuses and expenses money
It is home to the world's largest stock exchange.

But now, Wall Street in New York has seen nearly 50,000 jobs slashed by its biggest banks.

In a move that has shocked many pundits, a number of banks including Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan have cut thousands of jobs, as well as bonuses and expenses money.

The changes, announced last week, come as as profits opportunities are increasingly drying up.
Magic Hat

Middle class has been decimated under Obama, yet now he plans to help?

During his State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening, Barack Obama is going to promise to make life better for middle class families. Of course he has also promised to do this during all of his other State of the Union addresses, but apparently he still believes that there are people out there that are buying what he is selling. Each January, he gets up there and tells us how the economy is "turning around" and to believe that much brighter days are right around the corner. And yet things just continue to get even worse for the middle class. The numbers that you are about to see will not be included in Obama's State of the Union speech. They don't fit the "narrative" that Obama is trying to sell to the American people. But all of these statistics are accurate. They paint a picture of a middle class that is dying. Yes, the decline of the U.S. middle class is a phenomenon that has been playing out for decades. But without a doubt, our troubles have accelerated during the Obama years. When it comes to economics, he is completely and utterly clueless, and the policies that he has implemented are eating away at the foundations of our economy like a cancer. The following are 27 facts that show how the middle class has fared under 6 years of Barack Obama...

#1 American families in the middle 20 percent of the income scale now earn less money than they did on the day when Barack Obama first entered the White House.

#2 American families in the middle 20 percent of the income scale have a lower net worth than they did on the day when Barack Obama first entered the White House.

Comment: Despite Obama's propaganda, the global economy appears to be reaching a tipping point due largely to the corruption and rampant greed of the elites. While they continue to spew their rhetoric about the changes planned to help the 'little guy', you can be sure that nothing is likely to change. Taking control of your destiny in whatever way possible while beginning to prepare for a future that few are anticipating would be a wise choice.

Light Saber

Economists: Pay workers a living wage to increase productivity

poverty
Under what circumstances can raising the pay of low-skilled workers at large corporations lead to general improvements in productivity? Last month, Aetna informed the Institute of its plan to raise wages of its lower-paid workers. With this natural experiment in mind, Justin Wolfers and Jan Zilinsky decided to explore literature and theory on how pay increases influence productivity. The following note summarizes their findings for major private-sector companies in the United States in general (and does not address the implications for Aetna itself or for any specific company or sector).

Economists have long argued that increases in worker pay can lead to improvements in productivity - indeed, that it can actually be profitable to pay workers higher wages. As Alfred Marshall, the father of modern economics, argued almost 125 years ago, "any change in the distribution of wealth which gives more to the wage receivers and less to the capitalists is likely, other things being equal, to hasten the increase of material production." Since then, economists have compiled rich data validating Marshall's hypothesis that paying higher wages generates savings:

Comment: Economists and corporate CEO's rarely comprehend the costs to society of forcing people to work for slave wages, so they need to couch their recommendations in terms that make sense to them, i.e. how a living wage would benefit them. The idea that humans deserve to be treated equitably and with respect, and that excessive wealth inequality ultimately leads to the destruction of nations does not seem to concern these wealthy corporate psychopaths. Normal human beings, capable of empathy would not have allowed the poverty that we are currently witnessing to have reached such extremes.

Bulb

Charlie Hebdo co-founder says murdered editor 'dragged' staff to their deaths by repeatedly publishing provocative cartoons


The founder of Charlie Hebdo said he advised the editor Stéphane Charbonnier (pictured) to not publish Prophet cartoons
A founder of the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo has accused its editor, who was killed by masked gunmen last Wednesday, of "dragging the team" to its death by publishing provocative cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed.

Henri Roussel, 80, who contributed to the first issue in 1970 when the magazine was known as Hara-Kiri Hebdo, had written to editor Stéphane Charbonnier - who goes by the name "Charb" - to say of the divisive drawings: "I really hold it against you."

Referring to the editor's decision to print a drawing of Prophet Mohamed on the front cover in 2011, Mr Roussel - who publishes under the pen name Delfeil de Ton - wrote in this week's French magazine Nouvel Obs: "What made him feel the need to drag the team into overdoing it?", The Telegraph reported.
Handcuffs

UK convict two men for inciting racial hatred online, for mocking Holocaust

tales holohoax

Simon Sheppard (left) and Stephen Whittle now serving prison sentences in Britain
A racist man has lost his appeal against the UK's first conviction for inciting racial hatred online. But the Court of Appeal in London did reduce Stephen Whittle's sentence of two years and four months by six months. Another man, Simon Sheppard, who was also convicted of inciting racial hatred, had his term of four years and ten months cut by a year. Whittle, 42, and Sheppard, 52, were jailed at Leeds Crown Court in July last year after they were charged, under the Public Order Act, with publishing racially inflammatory material, distributing racially inflammatory material and possessing racially inflammatory material with a view to distribution. Whittle, from Preston, was found guilty of five offences and Sheppard, of Selby, North Yorkshire, was found guilty of 16. During their first trial in 2008, they skipped bail and fled to California, where they sought asylum claiming they were being persecuted for their right-wing views, but were deported. The police investigation began after a complaint about a leaflet called Tales of the Holohoax, which was pushed through the door of a Blackpool synagogue and traced back to a post office box in Hull registered to Sheppard.

Comment: What?! Conviction for inciting racial hatred? For publishing cartoons ridiculing ethnic groups? But that is free speech! That is exactly what the world is protesting for by defending Charlie Hebdo and chanting "je suis Charlie"! Where is free speech if folks cannot publish offensive cartoons inciting racial hatred against minority groups?

Please excuse the sarcasm. But by these standards, the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo should have been arrested long ago and convicted of incitement to hatred for their garbage. Now, instead, many of them are dead. Julius Streicher was executed for his involvement of inciting hatred against the Jews in Germany. His work was fair game in Germany in the '30s. CH's work is fair game now, in a time when Muslims are routinely demonized and we are heading to a repeat of the Holocaust. Only this time, it won't be Jews (ravings from nutty people like Netanyahu notwithstanding), it will be Muslims.

Family

Question police authority -- lose your Facebook friends

me gusta - facebook
© Desconocido
I'm gonna lose friends. I realize now it's inevitable.

Not real friends. The real stuff is forged from memories and adamantium. I'm not worried about that. No, the friends I'm destined to lose are the type that can simply click a button and disappear me from their timeline.

I've been on Facebook since Christmas - as in three weeks ago. I'm sure that's hilarious to some. But it was always a conscious decision not to partake, and I stand by it. In the end there were two reasons that finally got me to pull the trigger. One was the very simple fact that I've been homesick lately and Facebook seemed like the best way to get a fix. The other reason was much more analytical: I've been writing so much about social media I figured I owed it to myself to fully explore it.
Ambulance

3 killed in Charlie Hebdo protests in Niger

At least three people were killed on Saturday in protests in Niger against French newspaper Charlie Hebdo's cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, police sources said, bringing the death toll from two days of violence in the West African country to eight.

Police fired teargas at crowds of stone-throwing Muslim youths who set fire to churches and looted shops in the capital Niamey after authorities banned a meeting called by local Islamic leaders. A police station was attacked and at least two police cars burned.

The police sources said two charred bodies were found inside a burned church on the outskirts of Niamey on Saturday, while the body of a woman was found in a bar. She was believed to have been suffocated by teargas and smoke, they said.

Comment: This is exactly what the puppet masters in the West want. If the Paris attacks hadn't been carried out, this would probably not be happening, but the attacks did, giving the CH issue all the publicity it needed to spread the racist message around the world, insulting and angering more Muslims. That said, we wouldn't be surprised if even this protest was infected with agents provocateur. Niger may have avoided armed Islamist uprisings for this long, but that is probably seen as unacceptable by those who pull the strings.

Cow

'Pork or nothing': French mayor makes Muslim kids go meatless at French school

 Marcel Mortreau
© islamophobiawatch.co.uk
A secularism scandal is raging in France, after a mayor in a northwestern town introduced a "pork or nothing" principle at school, even for 27 students who will get no meat substitute.

The rule will apply starting from January 1 in the town of Sargé-lès-Le Mans, and may apply to Jewish pupils as well - though there aren't any in this particular school.

Mayor Marcel Mortreau bases his decision on the "principle of Republican neutrality."

"The mayor is not required to provide meals that respond to religious requirements. This is the principle of secularism," Mortreau told Europe1 radio.


Comment: This is not religious secularism.


The move was backed up by the Town Hall on the grounds that the food providers face extra work if they have to deliver meat substitutes, the Local reported.

Comment: Whatever you call this, this type of attitude is disastrous for any nation. History repeats...

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