Society's ChildS

Wall Street

Banks just too big to fail? Iceland shows otherwise

© APDemonstrators took to Reykjavik's streets in late 2008, demanding the resignations of those blamed for the financial collapse.

Decision to let banks go under looks smarter by the day, in contrast to Ireland's costly bailout.

On his second day as head of Iceland's third-largest bank, Arni Tomasson faced a crisis: the firm that regulators had asked him to run was out of cash.

It was October 8, 2008, at the height of the global financial meltdown and Iceland's bank assets in Britain had been frozen. Customers flocked to branches of Tomasson's Glitnir Banki to withdraw money, even though the Government had guaranteed their deposits. By the end of the day, the vaults were empty, says Tomasson, recalling the drama.

The only way Glitnir and other lenders could avoid a panic the next morning was to get more cash, which they were having trouble doing. A container of crisp kronur sat on the tarmac at Reykjavik's airport awaiting payment.

Eye 1

America's revolution grows, but where is Obama?

As thousands of outraged protesters are taking over Congress is Wisconsin in a fight to keep workers' rights -- why is the American President not stepping up and getting involved? RT's Anastasia Churkina brings the latest from inside the stormed Capitol Building.

Bad Guys

Paul Krugman: Shock Doctine, U.S.A.

Here's a thought: maybe Madison, Wis., isn't Cairo after all. Maybe it's Baghdad - specifically, Baghdad in 2003, when the Bush administration put Iraq under the rule of officials chosen for loyalty and political reliability rather than experience and competence.

As many readers may recall, the results were spectacular - in a bad way. Instead of focusing on the urgent problems of a shattered economy and society, which would soon descend into a murderous civil war, those Bush appointees were obsessed with imposing a conservative ideological vision. Indeed, with looters still prowling the streets of Baghdad, L. Paul Bremer, the American viceroy, told a Washington Post reporter that one of his top priorities was to "corporatize and privatize state-owned enterprises" - Mr. Bremer's words, not the reporter's - and to "wean people from the idea the state supports everything."


Now in Brooklyn, Homegrown Tobacco: Local, Rebellious and Tax Free

© Chang W. Lee/The New York TimesAudrey Silk, with Bingo, estimates she will save thousands of dollars by processing her own cigarettes.
The cigarettes Audrey Silk used to smoke - Parliament Lights - are made at a factory in Richmond, Va. The cigarettes she smokes these days are made and grown in Brooklyn, at her house.

Ms. Silk's backyard is home to raspberry and rose bushes, geraniums, impatiens and 100 tobacco plants in gardening buckets near her wooden deck. Inside her house, around the corner from Flatbush Avenue, in Marine Park, she has to be careful stepping into her basement - one wrong move could ruin her cigarettes. Dozens of tobacco leaves hang there, drying on wires she has strung across the room, where they turn a crisp light brown as they age above a stack of her old Springsteen records.

She talks about cartons and packs in relation to crops and seeds. Planted in 2009, her first crop - 25 plants of Golden Seal Special Burley tobacco - produced nine cartons of cigarettes. Ms. Silk would have spent more than $1,000 had she bought nine cartons in parts of New York City. Instead, she spent $240, mostly for the trays, the buckets and plant food.

Better Earth

In Search of an African Revolution

africa globe
Demonstrations are continuing across the Middle East, interrupted only by the call for prayer when protesters fall to their knees on cheap carpets and straw mats and the riot police take a tea break. Meanwhile, in 'darkest Africa', far away from the cameras of international mainstream media, reports have surfaced of political unrest in a host of sub- Saharan nations.

As international audiences watched 18 days of nonviolent protests topple longstanding president Hosni Mubarak this month, Egypt suddenly became a sexy topic. But, despite the fact that the rich banks of the Nile are sourced from Central Africa, the world looked upon the Egyptian uprising solely as a Middle Eastern issue.

Few seemed to care that Egypt was also part of Africa, a continent with a billion people, most of whom are living under despotic regimes and suffering economic strife and political suppression just like their Egyptian neighbours.

"Egypt is in Africa. We should not fool about with the attempts of the North to segregate the countries of North Africa from the rest of the continent," says Firoze Manji, the editor of Pambazuka Online, an advocacy website for social justice in Africa.


UPDATED: Fox Reverses Poll Results To Falsely Claim Most Americans Favor Ending Collective Bargaining

On Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed, along with an on-screen graphic, that a recent USA Today/Gallup poll found that "61 percent" of Americans are in favor of taking away collective bargaining rights from public unions. In fact, Fox aired the results of the poll completely backward: the Gallup poll found that 61 percent of Americans are opposed to taking away collective bargaining rights.


UK - Record number of young people not in education, work or training

© John Sturrock/AlamyAlmost one million young people in Britain are unemployed, according to the latest figures.
Figures show 15.6% of 16-24 year-olds were 'neets' at end of last year, as thinktank warns young people's unemployment likely to rise to 1.2m in next five years

The number of 16- to 24-year-olds not in education, work or training in England hit a record year-on-year high at the end of last year, official statistics show.

Some 938,000 young people in this age group were "neets" - not in education, employment or training - quarterly statistics from October to December reveal.

This is 43,000 more than the same point the year before and a year-on-year high since records began in 2005. It means 15.6% of all 16- to 24-year-olds in England were neets. This compares to just 13.1% in the last three months of 2007.

The latest statistics show the number of neets had fallen between the summer of last year and the end of the year. Between July and September, 1.03m 16- to 24-year-olds were neets - 17.1% of the age group.


Russia's chief whistleblower wants to jail the corrupt

© Agence France-PresseAlexey Navalny Russian blogger Alexey Navalny as he speaks in his office in Moscow.
Website has tracked down £2.6m in alleged government fraud, and volunteers examine state tenders for evidence

Alexey Navalny leaps out of his chair and draws five black circles on a whiteboard. The circles represent players in Russia's multibillion-dollar oil industry. With boundless energy and lightning speed, he draws lines and connects the dots, telling the story of what he calls classic Russian corruption.

In Russia, this is not done - at least not publicly. Navalny is speaking in a country that has seen its greatest government critics jailed, exiled and killed. But the 34-year-old lawyer, smart, self-confident and apparently fearless, has made a career of going after Russia's untouchables. As Russia's chief whistleblower - a one-man WikiLeaks - he has focused in the past three years on using the law to obtain information from the infamously secretive state-run corporations that fuel the country's economy and line the pockets of its highest officials.

"Everyone says corruption is everywhere, but for me it seems strange to say that and then not try to put the people guilty of that corruption away," Navalny said during an interview at his central Moscow office, adorned with little but stacks of papers and a gleaming silver MacBook.

For now, that is not his goal. Instead, he has focused on exposing the insidious corruption that even Russia's leaders acknowledge is the country's biggest problem.


Indian trade unions rally over food prices

Tens of thousands of trade unionists marched through the capital yesterday in protest at high food prices and corruption.

At least 40,000 people took part, according to Delhi police, though organisers put the number at about 100,000. Marchers came from trade unions linked both with the opposition Communist Party and with the governing Congress Party.


4,500 Chinese escape Libya by sea, Americans stuck

Foreigners escape Libya and disclose accounts of the "frightening situation" describing the violent scenes they witnessed

Two ships braved churning seas Thursday to whisk 4,500 Chinese workers away from strife-torn Libya to the island of Crete, while rough weather further west left hundreds of Americans stranded on a ferry in Tripoli.

As tens of thousands of foreigners sought to flee the turmoil in Libya, Britain pondered whether to send in its military to evacuate oil workers stranded in remote sites by fierce fighting in the North African nation.

Those who made it out of Libya described a frightening scene - with bodies hanging from electricity poles in Libya's eastern port of Benghazi and militia trucks driving around loaded up with dead bodies. One video showed a tank apparently crushing a car with people inside.