Welcome to Sott.net
Thu, 24 Jun 2021
The World for People who Think

Puppet Masters
Map

Newspaper

Sorry, New York Times: GMOs Still Won't Save the World

Image
© John Malta
With all due respect, Nina Federoff's New York Times op-ed reads like it was written two decades ago, when the jury was still out about the potential of the biotech industry to reduce hunger, increase nutritional quality in foods, and decrease agriculture's reliance on toxic chemicals and other expensive inputs that most of the world's farmers can't afford.

With more than 15 years of commercialized GMOs behind us, we know not to believe these promises any longer.

Around the world, from the Government Office for Science in the U.K. to the National Research Council in the United States to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N., there is consensus: In order to address the roots of hunger today and build a food system that will feed humanity into the future, we must invest in "sustainable intensification" - not expensive GMO technology that threatens biodiversity, has never proven its superiority, even in yields, and locks us into dependence on fossil fuels, fossil water, and agrochemicals.

Bad Guys

Study: High Food Prices Driving Unrest

Image
© Barry Malone/Reuters
The researchers point to two main factors driving the increase in food prices
The waves of social unrest and political instability seen recently around the world have coincided with large peaks in global food prices, US researchers have found.

They warn that unless something is done urgently to address rising food prices, it could trigger more widespread trouble in the near future.

Professor Yaneer Bar-Yam, president of the New England Complex Systems Institute, and colleagues, correlated the dates of riots around the world with data from the United Nations that plots changes in the price of food.

They found evidence that episodes of social unrest in North Africa and the Middle East coincided closely with peaks in the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's Food Price Index.

Dollar

The Scramble for Access to Libya's Oil Wealth Begins

 A truck carrying rebel fighters driving toward the oil refinery in Zawiyah, Libya, last week.
© Bob Strong

A truck carrying rebel fighters driving toward the oil refinery in Zawiyah, Libya, last week.

Houston, Texas - The fighting is not yet over in Tripoli, but the scramble to secure access to Libya's oil wealth has already begun.

Before the rebellion broke out in February, Libya exported 1.3 million barrels of oil a day. While that is less than 2 percent of world supplies, only a few other countries can supply equivalent grades of the sweet crude oil that many refineries around the world depend on. The resumption of Libyan production would help drive down oil prices in Europe, and indirectly, gasoline prices on the East Coast of the United States.

Western nations - especially the NATO countries that provided crucial air support to the rebels - want to make sure their companies are in prime position to pump the Libyan crude.

Foreign Minister Franco Frattini of Italy said on state television on Monday that the Italian oil company Eni "will have a No. 1 role in the future" in the North African country. Mr. Frattini even reported that Eni technicians were already on their way to eastern Libya to restart production. (Eni quickly denied that it had sent any personnel to the still-unsettled region, which is Italy's largest source of imported oil.)

Libyan production has been largely shut down during the long conflict between rebel forces and troops loyal to Libya's leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

Coffee

US: Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion From Fed

Rolling Stone Bankers
© Illustration by Victor Juhasz
Citigroup Inc. (C) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) were the reigning champions of finance in 2006 as home prices peaked, leading the 10 biggest U.S. banks and brokerage firms to their best year ever with $104 billion of profits.

By 2008, the housing market's collapse forced those companies to take more than six times as much, $669 billion, in emergency loans from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The loans dwarfed the $160 billion in public bailouts the top 10 got from the U.S. Treasury, yet until now the full amounts have remained secret.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke's unprecedented effort to keep the economy from plunging into depression included lending banks and other companies as much as $1.2 trillion of public money, about the same amount U.S. homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages. The largest borrower, Morgan Stanley (MS), got as much as $107.3 billion, while Citigroup took $99.5 billion and Bank of America $91.4 billion, according to a Bloomberg News compilation of data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, months of litigation and an act of Congress.

"These are all whopping numbers," said Robert Litan, a former Justice Department official who in the 1990s served on a commission probing the causes of the savings and loan crisis. "You're talking about the aristocracy of American finance going down the tubes without the federal money."

Arrow Up

Gold Vaults To New Record High, Shy Of $1,900

gold bars
Gold ended at a new record high amid growing speculation the U.S. won't be able to resist another round of stimulus and broader worries about the global economy.

Meanwhile, a six-month-long civil conflict in Libya is drawing towards a conclusion, re-igniting concerns about political instability in the region.

The most actively traded contract, for December delivery, gained $39.70, or 2.1%, to settle at a record $1,891.90 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract touched an intraday record of $1,899.40.

Thinly traded August-delivery gold settled at a record $1,888.70 a troy ounce, up $39.80, or 2.2%, after touching an intraday record of $1,895.00.

Dollar

Americans Don't Realize Just How Badly We're Getting Screwed by the Top 0.1 Percent Hoarding the Country's Wealth

With an unprecedented sum of wealth, tens of trillions of dollars, held within the top one-tenth of one percent of the US population, we now have the most severe inequality of wealth in US history. Not even the robber barons of the Gilded Age were as greedy as the modern-day economic elite.

As American philosopher John Dewey said, "There is no such thing as the liberty or effective power of an individual, group, or class, except in relation to the liberties, the effective powers, of other individuals, groups or classes."

In my report, The Economic Elite vs. the People, I reported on the strategic withholding of wealth from 99 percent of the US population over the past generation. Since the mid-1970s, worker production and wealth creation has exploded. As the statistics throughout this report prove, the dramatic increase in wealth has been almost entirely absorbed by the economic top one-tenth of one percent of the population, with most of it going to the top one-hundredth of one percent.

If you are wondering why a critical mass of people desperately struggling to make ends meet are still not fighting back with overwhelming force and running the mega-wealthy aristocrats out of town, let's consider two significant factors:

Evil Rays

BBC Admits Role in 1953 Iranian Coup

Iranian coup
The BBC Persian TV channel has at last acknowledged the role of the BBC Persian radio in the toppling of the democratically elected government of Iran in the 1953 coup.

The coup overthrew the government of the then Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh leading to the restoration of absolute monarchy under dictator Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi who was later toppled in the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

In a documentary aired on August 18 on the anniversary of the coup, BBC Persian channel admitted for the first time to the role of the BBC Persian radio as the propaganda arm of the British government in Iran.

Question

Mayan Secrets to Be Revealed by Mexican Government in '2012' Doc

The Mexican government is releasing state-held secrets about the end of the Mayan calendar to the makers of a documentary, Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and Beyond, TheWrap has learned.

The information -- protected for 80 years -- is expected to reveal Mayan beliefs in future catastrophes and wisdom characterized as "shocking," producer Raul Julia-Levy, son of actor Raul Julia, told TheWrap.

Raul Julia-Levy
© The Wrap
Raul Julia-Levy
The end of the Mayan calendar in December 2012 has long given rise to theories and speculation about the end of the world.

The agreement will allow Julia-Levy to film in never-before-seen locations.

"The Mayans used to construct one pyramid over another," tourism minister for the Mexican state of Campeche Luis Augusto Garcia Rosado told TheWrap. "In the site at Calakmul (pictured below right), workers for INAH [the National Institute of Anthropology and History] have discovered rooms inside the pyramid that have never been seen or explored before.

"And we're letting this documentary film there, to see what has been discovered inside the pyramid.

Light Sabers

Tit for tat? Straus-Kahn's successor at IMF comes under fire for corruption in Sarkozy government

Image
A French court which is investigating International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has cited "anomalies and irregularities" in her decision to approve a huge payment to a businessman when she was finance minister, a French news website said.

Mediapart published a 9-page court document explaining the legal reasoning behind an August 4 ruling that Lagarde should be placed under investigation for approving the 285 million euro payment to Bernard Tapie, a friend of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The document by a commission of three judges at the Court of Justice of the Republic, which has special powers to judge ministers, states that Lagarde appeared to have contributed to events whose legality was uncertain.

"The minister seems to have personally contributed to the events, notably by giving voting instructions to the State's representatives" in the arbitration procedure, the court document published on Mediapart read.

Padlock

Iran sentences US spies to 8 years in jail

Image

US detainees Shane Bauer (L) and Joshua Fattal
Iran has sentenced each of two American nationals detained in the country on charges of illegal entry and espionage to eight years in prison, a top judiciary official says.

"The Branch 15 of Tehran's Revolutionary Court has sentenced Shane Michael Bauer and Joshua Felix Fattal each to eight years in prison," Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi told reporters on Sunday.

He added that the two US detainees have 20 days to appeal against the verdict, ISNA reported.

Tehran prosecutor also noted that the case of Sarah Emily Shourd, who was released in September 2010 on a $500,000 bail, is still open and will be investigated later.

Although Shourd has announced she will not attend the court session, her trial will not run counter to the law, he said.