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Tue, 30 May 2023
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U.S. corn exports to China drop 85 percent after ban on GMO strains - industry report

© AFP Photo / Philippe Huguen
China's rejection of shipments of US corn containing traces of unapproved genetically modified maize has caused a significant drop in exports. According to a new report, US traders have lost $427 million in sales.

Overall, China has barred nearly 1.45 million tons of corn shipments since last year, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), an American industry association, said Friday.

The tally is based on data from export companies and is significantly higher than the previous numbers reported by the media, which said roughly 900,000 tons were affected. US corn exports to China since January are down 85 percent from the same period last year, the report says.

Heart - Black

Florida 'arbitrarily and unfairly' prosecuting children as adults - Human Rights Watch

© Screenshot from youtube video by HumanRightsWatch
Florida has been unfairly and arbitrarily trying children as adults, according to a new Human Rights Watch report. The research slams Florida for funneling thousands of children into the state's adult justice system more than any other US state.

"Florida's direct file law is not effectively serving public safety... [and] is having negative, at times devastating, effects on the lives of thousands of children and their families," the report's authors wrote.

The 110-page investigation, titled, "Branded for Life: Florida's Prosecution of Children as Adults under its 'Direct File' Statute" was released by New York-based Human Rights Watch on Thursday.

Researchers lambasted Florida for stamping children with the 'criminal' mark at a young age, despite most of the charges being for non-violent felonies.

"The children caught up in the 'direct file' law cannot legally vote, drink, or buy cigarettes in the state of Florida," Alba Morales, a HRW researcher and the author of the report, said in a statement released alongside the report. "Yet they can be tried as adults with no judge evaluating that decision, and branded as felons for life."


Outrageous! Gov. target taxpayers for their parents' decades-old debts

© Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post
Mary Grice of Takoma Park, MD, talks with her attorney Robert Vogel, at Vogel's home in Rockville Maryland, April 5, 2014.
A few weeks ago, with no notice, the U.S. government intercepted Mary Grice's tax refunds from both the IRS and the state of Maryland. Grice had no idea that Uncle Sam had seized her money until some days later, when she got a letter saying that her refund had gone to satisfy an old debt to the government - a very old debt.

When Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.


Cop "had no choice" to shoot and kill mentally ill boy because he left his taser home? Keith Vidal was only 90 lbs and five feet tall

Bryon Vassey "had no choice" to shoot the child because he left his Taser home?

Bryon Vassey entered the home of a family who called 911 for medical help after their schizophrenic child had an episode. Rather than helping officers de-escalate the situation, Vassey is reported to have said "We don't have time for this." Moments later he opened fire and executed the young boy, killing him as his parents screamed in shock.

Now, Vassey's attorney is saying the officer "had no choice" but to shoot the child.


Armed militia arriving in Nevada to support rancher


Word on the street from sources close to the militia movement is that up to 5,000 armed militia members will be arriving in Bunkerville, Nevada sometime today.
It is apparent that the Federal government was under the impression that they could simply move into the ranch land surrounding Bunkerville, Nevada and have their way with the property and livelihood of the Bundy family.

What they didn't count on was the outcry from Americans across the country. And now things may be headed to the next level. As Kim Paxton of The Daily Sheeple notes, citizen militias in several states have been called up. Many members of those organizations are taking up arms and are making their way to Nevada.

And it's not just the citizen militias that are preparing to take action. The governor of Nevada has officially condemned the federal government's actions, though he has yet to take any steps afforded to him under State law. Sheriff Richard Mack of Gilbert, Arizona has weighed in and calls the actions "terrorism."

At last count there were some 200 federal agents from various agencies on the ground in Nevada and it appears that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of armed militia members will soon arrive to confront them.


Facebook reveals 2,000 data requests from UK police

© Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images
Facebook says it looks at each individual request from police.
Law enforcement agencies in the UK made thousands of requests for data on Facebook users in the last six months of 2013, according to results published by the social network.

Between July and December 2013, there were 1,906 requests submitted to Facebook for user data related to criminal cases. These requests affected 2,277 different accounts, and Facebook revealed that more than 70% of these requests saw some data produced.

"We respond to valid requests relating to criminal cases. Each and every request we receive is checked for legal sufficiency and we reject or require greater specificity on requests that are overly broad or vague," said the report.


Police raid woman's home because she purchased organic plant food

DEA stormed home
© missellyrh
DEA agents stormed the home of Shorewood artist Angela Kirking at 5am on October 11th after an agent spotted her shopping at Midwest Hydroganics, an indoor garden center they had been staking out.

The Shorewood Patch reports: During the agent's stakeout, the agent noticed Kirking "exit the front door of the store carrying a green plastic bag containing unknown items."

The agent followed Kirking from Midwest Hydroganics back to her home in Shorewood, Illinois. The agent later acquired her electric bills from February 2013 through September. The agent then compared Kirking's bill to two of her neighbors, and noticed her bills were "consistently higher," according to the complaint for the search warrant.

An "investigative garbage pull" was performed at Kirking's residence three weeks later, at 4:15am, the complaint said. After scavenging through her trash, the agents allegedly reported finding "multiple green plant stems" that smelled strongly of "green cannabis."

Three days later agents and police pulled Kirking's husband over while leaving for work at 4:50 a.m., according to the police report. The husband was then presented with the search warrant and was asked to unlock this front door and give them access to the home.

Even though Kirking's husband cooperated agents entered the home with guns drawn according to his wife.


World Bank figure of 1 billion people in poverty 30% 'too low'

World's Poor
© AFP Photo/Rodger Bosch
The current international poverty line of $1.25 per day used by the World Bank is "too low" and "artificial," say researchers from Bristol University, adding that the total number of poor people worldwide would increase by 30 percent in future.

The World Bank's "estimates are flawed" as the organization hasn't used "different poverty measures" and only explores one angle of the problem - financial, says the study, called "The mis-measurement of extreme global poverty: A case study in the Pacific Islands," published in Journal of Sociology.

"There is considerable controversy surrounding the 'dollar a day' measure used to monitor progress against the Millennium Development Goals," adds the research, which was carried out together with specialists at the Australian National University, UNICEF Pacific and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

"Thus, the tighter definition of poverty used by the World Bank tends to lead to a better-looking poverty trend, because the poverty line is too low the trend it reports is too rosy," adds the study.

The paper urges the World Bank to examine "non-monetary forms of disadvantage and deprivation for families, adults and children." Researchers looked deeper at those living on the Pacific island state of Vanuatu by taking into account shelter, sanitization, water, information, nutrition, health and education to build up a more comprehensive picture of poverty, deprivation and inequality.

Stock Up

This is just the beginning; meat prices will continue to soar

The average price of USDA choice-grade beef has soared to $5.28 a pound, and the average price of a pound of bacon has skyrocketed to $5.46. Unfortunately for those that like to eat meat, this is just the beginning of the price increases. Due to an absolutely crippling drought that won't let go of the western half of the country, the total size of the U.S. cattle herd has shrunk for seven years in a row, and it is now the smallest that is has been since 1951. But back in 1951, we had less than half the number of mouths to feed. And a devastating pig virus that has never been seen in the United States before has already killed up to 6 million pigs in this country and continues to spread like wildfire. What all of this means is that the supply of meat is going to be tight for the foreseeable future even as demand for meat continues to go up. This is going to result in much higher prices, and so food is going to put a much larger dent in American family budgets in the months and years to come.

One year ago, the average price of USDA choice-grade beef was $4.91. Now it is up to $5.28, and the Los Angeles Times says that we should not expect prices to come down "any time soon"...


Climate change = violence

© Unknown
Social unrest and famine, superstorms and droughts. Places, species and human beings - none will be spared. Welcome to Occupy Earth

If you're poor, the only way you're likely to injure someone is the old traditional way: artisanal violence, we could call it - by hands, by knife, by club, or maybe modern hands-on violence, by gun or by car.

But if you're tremendously wealthy, you can practice industrial-scale violence without any manual labor on your own part. You can, say, build a sweatshop factory that will collapse in Bangladesh and kill more people than any hands-on mass murderer ever did, or you can calculate risk and benefit about putting poisons or unsafe machines into the world, as manufacturers do every day. If you're the leader of a country, you can declare war and kill by the hundreds of thousands or millions. And the nuclear superpowers - the US and Russia - still hold the option of destroying quite a lot of life on Earth.

So do the carbon barons. But when we talk about violence, we almost always talk about violence from below, not above.

Comment: For more insight on how humanity as a whole has contributed to the climate situation, read Comets and the Horns of Moses by Laura Knight-Jadczyk.