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Fri, 07 May 2021
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Dollar Gold

Coca-Cola and Nestle are sucking us dry without our even knowing, effectively privatizing water supplies

The droughts currently ravaging California, which will likely send food pricesgh soaring down the road, have highlighted the importance of available freshwater supplies. As 17 communities in California are within 60 days of running out of drinking water, the ability of companies like Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) and Nestle (NASDAQOTH: NSRGY) to effectively privatize water supplies feels awfully disconcerting. While the rains that just began to fall out west may bring some measure of relief, the fact remains that the world is coming up hard against a water crisis.

Water, water, everywhere ... right?

Most people view water as an infinite, inexhaustible resource, much like air. After all, it's part of a whole natural cycle, right? For most practical purposes, though, water -- especially clean, safe drinking water -- is resolutely finite and exhaustible. It's getting worse as the global population hurtles toward the 9-billion mark, as agricultural and fuel extraction guzzle more and more water, and as climate change adds growing stress to existing supplies.

Consider a few alarming indicators:
  • One in seven people around the world lack access to safe drinking water.
  • The Global Economic Forum identifies water crises as the third most serious risk the world faces in 2014.
  • The poorest 20% of households in El Salvador, Jamaica, and Nicaragua spend up to 10% of their income on water.
  • From 2003 to 2010, parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran lost 144 cubic kilometers of stored freshwater -- about the same amount of water as there is in the Dead Sea. Many scholars draw a solid line between water scarcity and the recent conflicts in those regions, and the U.S. director of national intelligence sees global water overuse as a potential threat to national security.
  • NASA data from Jan. 17 showed California's backup groundwater reserves to be so depleted that the losses could be detected from satellites 400 kilometers above the earth's surface.

Star of David

Ultra-Orthodox Jews mass-protest in Jerusalem over army-service draft law

 Ultra-Orthodox Jews holding a placard
© AFP Photo / David Buimovitch
Ultra-Orthodox Jews holding a placard that reads in english "Military service will not be imposed upon us" take part in a mass prayer vigil in Jerusalem on March 2, 2014.
Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews have paralyzed most of Jerusalem as men, women and children took to the streets to protest an army service bill that would require many of them to serve in the military.

Local media called the protest "a million man march" and put a number of participants between 250,000 to 400,000 people, while organizers said nearly 500,000 Haredi - ultra-Orthodox men as they are called in Israel - attended the rally.

The police could not give an exact number, but spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that undoubtedly hundreds of thousands men, women and children were present.

Dressed in black hats and long black jackets, members of the Haredi community waved signs in Hebrew and English accusing the government of attempting to suppress religion.

Some of the banners read: "Military service will not be imposed on us" and "Jews cannot survive without the Torah."

Many wore sackcloth as a symbol of grief because of the draft law which may oblige ultra-Orthodox Jews to join the military after decades of being granted rights not to serve in the army, unlike all non-Haredi Jewish men and women.

As the men were rallying, women and children, due to the community's standards of modesty, stood on separate streets, praying.

Black Magic

Rise in satanic crimes among black youth in South Africa

Satanic Crimes
© Flickr

Johannesburg - Occult-related crimes are on the increase across Gauteng, and now police are warning parents to be on the lookout for the telltale signs that their children are dabbling in the dark arts.

The provincial Harmful Religious Practices (Occult Crimes) Unit of the SAPS said it had 78 occult-related enquiries in the past three months, 48 of which were connected to a crime.

Investigator Lieutenant-Colonel Hennie de Jager said his unit had seen an increase of occult-related crimes in Gauteng, particularly among black youth.

"Occult-related crimes are increasing, especially in black areas where boys and girls are promised fame and riches."

He said his unit had recently received calls from parents who had told investigators their children were drinking blood.

"It's all over Gauteng. It pops up, goes down and then appears again," De Jager said.

He was addressing journalists at an SAPS news briefing on Wednesday.

The unit is involved in the investigation into the murder of two Dobsonville girls, Thandeka Moganetsi, 14, and Chwayita Rathazayo, 15, who were killed in a suspected satanic ritual.

The teenagers were discovered in a field in Dobsonville, Soweto, dressed in their school uniforms, with cuts to their hands and necks. Black candles were found at the scene.


Russian flags fly in Ukraine: Thousands rally against 'illegitimate govt'

© AFP/Alexander Khudoteply
A line of police stand guard as pro-Russian protesters wave Russian flags during a rally in front of the regional administration building in the industrial Ukrainian city of Donetsk on March 1, 2014.
Thousands of pro-Russian demonstrators across eastern Ukraine and Crimea are protesting against the new government, with administration buildings being seized in several cities. Gunshots have been reported as anti- and pro-Maidan protesters clash.

Protesters in Kharkov and Donetsk stormed local government offices and removed Ukrainian flags, replacing them with the Russian tricolor on Saturday.

Between 7,000 to 10,000 demonstrators gathered in the center of Donetsk, a large industrial city in eastern Ukraine. Reportedly, protesters seized the regional administration building. While a group of demonstrators were storming the building from the central entrance, a crowd in Lenin Square in front of it kept chanting "Russia!"
Донецк. Площадь Ленина #Крыму #Украины #Ukraine #антимайдан #майдан #малороссия #евромайдан #новороссия pic.twitter.com/5uIxIJwND5

- Антимайдан (@anti_maydan) March 1, 2014
The participants of the rally were demanding to hold a referendum on the future of the region, and particularly, on the status of Russian language.


Reading Ukraine in Iran

"Kyiv's historic day" or "Dem-wreck-cracy!"
© Vatan-e Emrouz
The way Iranian media have portrayed Ukraine's turmoil depends on which side of Iran's political divide they stand.

Hard-line media have given readers the impression that the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych following months of antigovernment protests is a cause for mourning. Those skimming through the reformist press were likely to become excited about the developments in the eastern European country.

The differences highlighted the stances and world views of the two sides: on the one hand hard-liners' wariness of the West and popular protests, and on the other, a hunger for change among reformists who have been increasingly pushing for the release of Iranian opposition leaders.

Comment: How great is this hunger in reality? From the article Iran's real 'nuclear' revolution we can read:
Meanwhile, on Tuesday last week, millions of people hit the streets in Tehran in a massive rally celebrating the 35 years of the Islamic revolution. How come?

For all its economic mismanagement, Iran's illiteracy rate has been reduced to near zero. Women are active, participative voters (try even raising the issue in the House of Saud's paradise). There has been remarkable scientific progress, even under harsh sanctions. Pursuing a civilian nuclear program is a matter of national consensus.


U.S. Army is giving away 13,000 MRAPs to patrol America

MRAP Vehicles
© Cudahy Now
Last year we saw colleges beginning to acquire MRAP vehicles. Now, according to Bloomberg, the United States Army is giving away 13,000 military grade armored trucks for free, which tax payers purchased for $500,000 each.

The 20-ton MRAPs, or Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected trucks, were built with the intention to save U.S. soldiers from roadside bombs during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Light Saber

Ukrainian troops dispatched in Crimea switch sides

© RT
Ukrainian armed forces dispatched to Crimea have switched to the side of local authorities and are expected to take military oath soon, Russian news agencies report.

"Today the majority of the Ukrainian armed forces deployed in Crimea passed to the side of the authorities of the Crimean autonomous region. The transition was absolutely peaceful, without a single shot fired either by the military or by the forces of self-defense," an unnamed source told RIA Novosti news agency.

The source added that some of the servicemen also ran away, while some submitted letters of resignation.

The local military have not been paid for many months, the source also told RIA Novosti.

Earlier, Ukrainian troops in Crimea were said to be resigning on a massive scale. Living quarters, weapons and ammunition have all been left under the protection of the so-called 'self-defense forces.'

Letters of resignation have been coming in since early morning, as the self-defense forces continue to preserve order on the streets of Simferopol, RIA Novosti said citing own reporters on the ground.


German media making U-turn on Ukraine

Crowds rally in front of the Crimea's regional parliament in Simferopol, Ukraine
Radio listeners across Germany have reportedly woken up to a surprise turnaround in the media coverage of the escalating Ukrainian crisis following the February regime change and the ensuing uprising of Ukraine's Russia-leaning east and south.

German blogosphere and social networks are abuzz with the new stance of several state-run radio stations that have opted - in a moment of truth-seeking - to go against the massive tide of pro-West reporting and get to the root of the crisis that is tearing the ex-Soviet republic in two.

Bloggers are discussing the programs aired by the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), a member of German ARD consortium, which is now explaining to its German audience the difference between Ukraine's western and eastern populations.

Eye 1

Punishing the Victims: Thousands of young people go without food after sanctions by DWP in UK


The under-24s are bearing the brunt of a punitive new system that stops payments without warning
Thousands of young people have been forced to go without food or other essentials after their benefits were wrongly stopped under a draconian new sanctions regime, research suggests.

Since the Coalition introduced more punitive benefit sanctions in October 2012, more than 45,000 young people have been hit with an incorrect penalty, according to IoS analysis of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) figures.

A sanction can mean having welfare payments cut off entirely for a minimum of a month and as much as three years for "repeat offenders". The hardline system, which means people can end up cast adrift for accidentally missing an appointment, is thought to be one of the reasons behind the vast numbers turning to food banks.

Experts say young people are being unfairly singled out by the strict new system of penalties. Despite making up only 27 per cent of Jobseeker's Allowance claimants, 18- to 24-year-olds have accounted for 42 per cent of all sanctions handed out.


Humanitarian disaster in Ukraine inevitable, 675,000 citizens fled to Russia

© RIA Novosti
More than 675,000 Ukrainian citizens have arrived in Russia since the beginning of this year, Russia's border guard service reported.

"The Russian authorities are fixing clear evidences of a coming humanitarian catastrophe," the report reads.

"During two months only /January-February/ Ukraine's 675 thousand citizens have entered Russia. If the "revolution chaos" continues in Ukraine, hundreds of thousands refugees will gush into bordering Russian regions," the border authority says.