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Brazil bans Chevron, might jail recent oil spill culprits

brazil,oil spill

Giant oil spill off the coast of Brazil was caused by Chevron.

Non-renewable energy continues to violate Earth and human rights everywhere it's drilled

Although cover-ups of the causes of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico "spill" and the recent Brazil spill are similar, unlike U.S. government treatment of the companies involved in the nation's largest eco-disaster that began with the April 20 deep sea oil rig explosion, Brazil has banned California-based Chevron from the nation and jail terms for officials are expected due to Big Energy's involvement with the oil spill that leaked some 2,400 barrels of oil into the sea off Rio de Janeiro on Nov. 8.

"The company's treatment of the regulatory agency and the Brazilian government was unacceptable," director of the ANP Magda Chambriard told Bloomberg.

"We had to go aboard the platform to search for the original images even after the company was notified to provide us with the video."

Attention

US: Students Protest Debt While These Companies Rake in Money

Student Loans
© Minyanville
What price education?

Last week, a group of students gathered at Zuccotti Park dressed in graduation robes and covered in chains to protest heavy college debts. Meanwhile, according to Salon.com, a Hunter College student burned his Sallie Mae loan bill in protest.

While burning a bill may not have quite the symbolic significance of burning a draft card, rumblings of a student debt revolt have been in the air for a little while. In perhaps the most blatant example, the chain wearing Zuccotti students announced the formation of the Occupy Student Debt Campaign. One campaign organizer, quoted by Fast Company, believes that her entire life has been destroyed by student loan debt.

Meanwhile, several prominent US companies are making a ton of money off of student loans. The Salon.com article lists the five biggest student lenders, starting with Sallie Mae, who currently own $151.4 billion in loans. They're followed by Wells Fargo, Discover, Nelnet, and JP Morgan Chase, all of whom own at least $10 billion dollars worth of debt.

More damningly, these lenders have been accused of engaging in several predatory practices. For example, its been suggested that Sallie Mae has made subprime loans to students attending for profit schools with high dropout rates. Wells Fargo has recently begun offering fixed rate loans but the percentages go as high as 14% for "those attending community colleges or trade schools, or in other words, for lower-income borrowers."

Vader

US: Having More Than 7 Days Of Food Makes You A Suspected Terrorist


Pirates

Central banks move to shore up financial system

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that it joined some of the world's major central banks in a coordinated action to inject liquidity into the global financial system as the euro zone's financial crisis threatens to squeeze credit worldwide.

Joining in the move were: the Fed, The Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank, the Fed said.


"The purpose of these actions is to ease strains in financial markets and thereby mitigate the effects of such strains on the supply of credit to households and businesses and so help foster economic activity," the Fed said in a statement.

The central banks agreed to lower the pricing on current temporary U.S. liquidity swap arrangements by 50 basis points from Dec. 5. The move makes more dollars available to banks at a cheaper rate, thereby easing worries about the availability of funds to banks.

Comment:
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© Monte Wolverton/Cagiecartoons



Chart Pie

Bank of America shares slide again, down 62% this year

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© Unknown
Another trading day and another low for Bank of America's stock.

Shares of Bank of America dropped more than 3 percent Tuesday, hitting a new 52-week low of $5.03 -- its lowest level since March 12, 2009.

It's been a tough year for the troubled bank, which has seen its share price decline roughly 62% from the start of the year.

Among other challenges, Bank of America has struggled under mounting issues related to its mortgage business.

The bank's rapidly declining share price is likely to increase pressure on the bank to slim down and sell assets. Bank of America has already said it plans to lay off 30,000 workers over the next several years.

Back in September, when that layoff announcement was made, investors worried about Bank of America's stock falling below a psychologically jarring level of $6. It dropped below that level on Oct. 3.

The bar keeps being lowered to new, more precarious thresholds. As Bank of America's shares hover near $5, they're still relatively far from the stock's all-time intraday low of $2.53 hit on Feb. 20, 2009.

A spokesperson for Bank of America said the bank does not comment on its share price.

Despite a rally in the stock market Tuesday, shares of most other major banks including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan Chase fell.

Dollar

Banks hit hard by S&P downgrades

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© Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty
People walk past a Bank of America branch in New York in this 2009 file photo.
Banks face a double hit to costs and revenues from a spate of credit rating downgrades, another burden for a sector already struggling because of Europe's failure to deal decisively with its financial crisis.

Standard & Poor's on Tuesday cut its ratings on 15 big banks such as Bank of America Corp. and Morgan Stanley, as it seeks to give more insight into its methods and repair its reputation after the credit crisis.

But while the downgrades were driven by a revision of the agency's internal models and not because of a change in the banks, they will have a real impact on funding costs for the sector, already on edge because of Europe's debt crisis.

"It will likely raise concerns about their short term funding because they will be sidelined by money market funds who are the traditional buyers of that short-term paper," said Andrew Fraser, investment director at Standard Life.

Megaphone

George Galloway vs. war mongering parrot: The case against war with Iran


Laptop

Violent Games DO Alter Your Brain - and the Effect is Visible in MRI Scans in Just a Week

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© Ubisoft
Games such as Assassin's Creed feature a huge amount of physical violence - and MRI scans demonstrate that playing such games DOES have an effect on the brain.
Violent video games and other computer entertainment have long been criticised for damaging youngsters' brain.

But activists such as Oxford Professor Baroness Greenfield have often presented little science to back up their allegations.

However, extensive research into the subject has now provided worrying results that support her claims.

'Screen technologies cause high arousal which in turn activates the brain system's underlying addiction,' the neurologist said last month in an attack that accused games of causing 'dementia' in children.

'This results in the attraction of yet more screen-based activity.'

And now the first genuinely scientific attempt to analyse the emotive subject has thrown up astonishing results that suggest she is right.

Differences in brain activity between young men who played violent games and ones who didn't were visible in a randomly assigned sample in just one week.

Attention

Norway: Anders Behring Breivik 'not accountable for attacks'

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© The Associated Press
Breivik has admitted setting off a car bomb outside the government offices in Oslo on July 22, killing eight people, before going on a shooting rampage on the nearby island of Utoya
Psychiatrists have found that Anders Behring Breivik was insane at the time of his attacks on downtown Oslo and Utoya Island.

The finding by the two forensic psychiatrists will help determine whether Breivik is sentenced to prison or psychiatric care. Prosecutor Svein Holden says the report shows Breivik was "psychotic" during the attack.

If that assessment is upheld by the court then Breivik cannot be sentenced to prison for the attacks.

"The conclusion is ... is that he is insane," Holden told a news conference. "He lives in his own delusional universe and his thoughts and acts are governed by this universe."

The two psychiatrists, Synne Serheim and Torgeir Husby, delivered their finding to the Oslo district court on Tuesday morning.

"We have no doubt when it comes to our conclusions," Husby told reporters as he submitted the report.

Info

Horses Could Soon be Slaughtered for Meat in US

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© The Associated Press/Sue Ogrocki
Cheri White Owl, founder of Horse Feathers Equine Rescue, is pictured with a horse recently dumped at her sanctuary in Guthrie, Okla., Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011.
Horses could soon be butchered in the U.S. for human consumption after Congress quietly lifted a 5-year-old ban on funding horse meat inspections, and activists say slaughterhouses could be up and running in as little as a month.

Slaughter opponents pushed a measure cutting off funding for horse meat inspections through Congress in 2006 after other efforts to pass outright bans on horse slaughter failed in previous years. Congress lifted the ban in a spending bill President Obama signed into law Nov. 18 to keep the government afloat until mid-December.

It did not, however, allocate any new money to pay for horse meat inspections, which opponents claim could cost taxpayers $3 million to $5 million a year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture would have to find the money in its existing budget, which is expected to see more cuts this year as Congress and the White House aim to trim federal spending.

The USDA issued a statement Tuesday saying there are no slaughterhouses in the U.S. that butcher horses for human consumption now, but if one were to open, it would conduct inspections to make sure federal laws were being followed. USDA spokesman Neil Gaffney declined to answer questions beyond what was in the statement.