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Wed, 01 Dec 2021
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Will the 'Age of America' end in 2016?

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A house sits boarded up in Detroit where the population has declined 25% since 1910.

Is the "Age of America" drawing to a close? According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), its demise as the leading economic power is five years away and the next president of the United States will preside over an economy that plays second fiddle to China's.

The lender posted data on its World Economic Outlook that puts 2016 as Year Zero for China as the world's dominant economic power -- the year when China's growth trajectory intersects the decline of the U.S.'s share of world gross domestic product in terms of purchasing price parity.

According to the figures, the Chinese economy would grow from $11.2 trillion in 2011 to $19 trillion in 2016. Over the same period, the U.S. economy will rise from a dominant $15.2 trillion to a trailing $18.8 trillion.

Battery

USA: Washington State Proposes $100 Annual Fee for Gas-Dodging EV Owners

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© Unknown
Nissan Leaf
Owners of electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf (100-mile driving range) and the Tesla Roadster (211-mile driving range) have the advantage of traveling on America's roads without having to spend a penny on gasoline. And even though the Chevrolet Volt uses a gasoline engine when its battery pack is exhausted, some drivers have managed to average 1,000 miles between gas stops.

The State of Washington, however, isn't too keen on EV drivers skirting the state's gas tax, which helps to maintain the roads that EV drivers travel on every day. According to the Associated Press, Washington has a $5 billion dollar deficit, and hitting the pockets of EV owners is just one way to help close the gap.

Washington's gas excise tax is one of the highest in the nation at 49.4 cents per gallon [PDF] -- 31 cents of the total is from the state, while the federal tax is 18.4 cents. Assuming that the average driver travels about 12,000 miles per year, a Nissan Leaf driver (EPA rated 99 mpg) would only be skipping out on $38 of the state's portion of gasoline excise tax. For a Chevrolet Volt driver (EPA rated 93 mpg on battery power), the tax revenue lost by the state would amount to $40.

Handcuffs

Guantánamo Bay files: Children and senile old men among detainees

Canadian Omar Khadr was 15 when captured and is still there after nearly nine years, while men as old as 89 have been held


Footage from the interrogation of Omar Khadr, who was taken to Guantánamo Bay aged 15

The Guantánamo files reveal the often fragile physical and mental condition of Guantánamo's oldest and youngest residents, who have included an 89-year-old man and boys as young as 14.

In 2002 Guantánamo prisoners were described as "the worst of a very bad lot" by Dick Cheney, US vice-president. "They are very dangerous. They are devoted to killing millions of Americans, innocent Americans, if they can, and they are perfectly prepared to die in the effort."

But the internal files on some prisoners paint a very different picture. A 2002 assessment of Guantánamo's oldest prisoner, Mohammed Sadiq, who was then 89, revealed dementia, depression and sickness. "His current medical issues include major depressive disorder, senile dementia and osteoarthritis, for which he receives prescribed treatment." The Afghan national was also being assessed for prostate cancer.

Bad Guys

A Government of Monsanto, by Monsanto, and for Monsanto

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© Activist Post
With help from the FDA and USDA, the biotech industry is set to completely take over our food supply with genetically modified ingredients, irregardless of the wishes of "we the people." Through collusion, subterfuge, and a bit of back-door manipulation, Monsanto can write it's own ticket with the U.S. Federal Government's stamp of approval. If the rules get in the way, then change the rules, or at least their interpretation, to fit the situation.

Monsanto is now ready to grow soybeans that are genetically modified to produce omega-3 fatty acids. The fact that the company is doing this comes as no surprise, but the important thing to note is the process that the FDA goes through to approve these types of substances as Generally Recognized as Safe, or GRAS, is to simply rubber-stamp the Monsanto application, no questions asked.
The biotechnology firm Monsanto stands just one FDA approval away from growing soybeans that have been genetically modified to produce those omega-3 fatty acids that doctors are always recommending. (Forbes)

Evil Rays

UK: Every new pet dog must have a £35 microchip: Plan to control dangerous animals by putting all eight million pets on massive database

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© Alamy
Each puppy born and dog sold will have an electronic chip implanted under the skin. But the proposals have prompted criticism from MPs and animal experts
Every new pet dog will be microchipped under sweeping Government regulations to combat dangerous animals.

Each puppy born and dog sold will have an electronic chip implanted under the skin. Details will then be placed on a national database accessible by police and the RSPCA.

A confidential Whitehall document obtained by The Mail on Sunday says: 'The compulsory microchipping of dogs on change of ownership would affect anyone breeding dogs for sale or gifting to another person or persons.

This would apply to anyone breeding dogs, whether they are a breeder or a private person whose bitch has a litter, whether planned or not.'

Bell

America appears to be sleepwalking towards disaster - does no one care?

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© unknown
So let me get this straight. The Standard and Poor's rating agency last week took the historic step of putting the US government's AAA credit rating on "negative watch".

There is now, according to S&P, "at least a one in three chance" that American debt will be downgraded from its top-notch status over the next two years - which would be a first in modern times.

A New York Times/CBS News opinion poll has also suggested the US public is now more economically pessimistic than at any time since President Barack Obama's first two months in office in early 2009 - when the country was still caught in the "Great Recession".

Amid renewed talk of a "jobless recovery", the number of Americans who think the economy has deteriorated spiked by 13 percentage points over the past month. Congress, meanwhile, is locked in a bitter dispute over the federal government's ability to make ends meet.

These are the stark realities facing the world's largest economy. They are set, furthermore, against Europe's sovereign debt turmoil, Japan's nuclear crisis and ongoing violence in the Middle East.

Yet despite all this bad news, this veritable litany of woe, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended last week at a three-year high. US equities are now at levels not seen since mid-2008 - before the credit crunch really took hold. On top of that, despite S&P's announcement, the price of Treasuries kept rising, as their yield - the cost the US government must pay to borrow - fell to its lowest level in a month. Has the world gone mad?

Star of David

'Heinous act against Jewish worshipers', says Netanyahu

Netanyahu
© EPA
'Heinous crime.' Netanyahu
Details remain unclear hours after Palestinian police officers open fire on group of hasidim at Joseph's Tomb, killing one, injuring two others. PM Netanyahu urges PA to act with heavy hand against perpetrators, while Palestinian sources claim it is still uncertain whether shooting was intentional

Shooting attack or unintentional mishap?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned on Sunday evening the shooting incident at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus that killed 24-year-old Ben-Yosef Livnat and injured two other Hasidim, calling it a "terrorist attack."

In his statement, Netanyahu urged the Palestinian Authority "to take harsh steps against the perpetrators who committed this heinous act against Jewish worshipers who were on their way to prayer."

Bad Guys

Lobbyists who cleared 'Climategate' academics funded by taxpayers and the BBC

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A shadowy lobby group which pushes the case that global warming is a real threat is being funded by the taxpayer and assisted by the BBC.

The little-known not-for-profit company works behind the scenes at international conferences to further its aims.

One of its key supporters headed the official investigation into the so-called "Climategate emails", producing a report which cleared experts of deliberately attempting to skew scientific results to confirm that global warming was a real threat.

Another scientific expert linked to the group came forward to praise a second independent investigation into the Climategate affair which also exonerated researchers.

Set up with the backing of Tony Blair, then the Prime Minister, and run by a group of British MPs and peers the organisation, Globe International, started life as an All Party Group based in the House of Commons.

It is now run as an international climate change lobbying group flying its supporters and experts club class to international summits to push its agenda. Last year, it said, it spent around £500,000 flying its supporters to these meetings.

Vader

EU to invade Libya with ground troops

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© Red Ice Creations
European member states poised to send 1,000 soldiers to besieged rebel city of Misrata to assist relief effort

The EU has drawn up a "concept of operations" for the deployment of military forces in Libya, but needs UN approval for what would be the riskiest and most controversial mission undertaken by Brussels.

The armed forces, numbering no more than 1,000, would be deployed to secure the delivery of aid supplies, would not be engaged in a combat role but would be authorised to fight if they or their humanitarian wards were threatened. "It would be to secure sea and land corridors inside the country," said an EU official.

The decision to prepare the mission, dubbed Eufor Libya, was taken by the 27 governments at the beginning of April. In recent days, diplomats from the member states have signed a 61-page document on the concept of operations, which rehearses various scenarios for the mission in and around Libya, such as securing port areas, aid delivery corridors, loading and unloading ships, providing naval escorts, and discussing the military assets that would be required.

Bizarro Earth

One year since the BP oil spill

Part I - Covering up a catastrophe
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© offshoreinjuries.com

This article, the first of a four-part series marking the first anniversary of the BP Gulf oil disaster, reviews the systematic corporate and government cover-up of the BP disaster and its consequences.

One year ago today, on April 20, 2010, an explosion on the BP-run Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 workers, injured 17 more, and led to the greatest single ecological catastrophe in US history. By the time the blown out Macondo well was capped on July 15, 2010, some 206 million gallons of oil had gushed out from the wellhead located one mile beneath the ocean's surface and about 50 miles from Louisiana's southeast coast. Millions more gallons of highly toxic chemical dispersant were dumped on the Gulf's surface or released underwater.

The consequences of the disaster will be felt for decades. The spill directly impacted thousands of square miles of the Gulf of Mexico and coastline stretching from Texas to Florida, including estuaries, marshlands, and beaches. Hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast residents face financial hardship, including many thousands who lost their jobs as a result of damages to the fishing and tourism industries. Cleanup workers will suffer serious health problems as a result of acute exposure to toxins released by the oil and chemical dispersants. Numerous species of marine and coastal life may never recover.