Los planes de EUA / OTAN de derrocar al gobierno sirio y reconocer a un régimen disfuncional de colaboradores imperialistas han sufrido un serio revés.Bajo el pretexto de luchar contra la fuerza terrorista llamada Estado Islámico, el Pentágono ha involucrado a otros 13 países para efectuar bombardeos y acciones militares en Siria. Con la coordinación de EUA, aviones bombarderos de los miembros de la OTAN Gran Bretaña, Francia, Turquía, Canadá, Bélgica y Países Bajos, han llevado a cabo acciones militares en Siria el pasado año.Además, Israel, Qatar, Emiratos Árabes Unidos, Arabia Saudita, Jordania, Bahréin y Australia, también han utilizado sus aviones para bombardear adentro de Siria.Todos estos países se encuentran frustrados ante el continuo crecimiento del Estado Islámico. Todos están decididos a derrocar al gobierno de Siria. Mientras tanto, el pueblo sirio ha quedado devastado por esta guerra impuesta desde el exterior, con 12 millones de los 23 millones de habitantes de Siria desplazados y sin hogar.Ha habido intensas discusiones sobre la imposición de una zona de exclusión aérea y también de acciones en el terreno, pero ambas se han encontrado con intensa oposición en los países imperialistas de Europa y EUA.Sin embargo, la destrucción apenas comienza. Combatientes de 80 países, incluyendo mercenarios, organizados en 1000 grupos armados de oposición y que alcanzan más de 100.000 combatientes reaccionarios y fanáticos, están ya operando en Siria.El que el dinero saudita los equipa y les paga no es un secreto. Unidades operan abiertamente desde bases en Turquía y Jordania. Caravanas de cientos de camiones abastecen a estas unidades. Sin embargo, a pesar de toda esta asistencia durante más de cuatro años, estas fuerzas mercenarias no han logrado derrocar al gobierno sirio.Las zonas de exclusión aérea en discusión tenían la intención de crear una zona de seguridad para que un ejército de oposición organizado por EUA se reforzara. Decenas de miles de refugiados sirios serían conglomerados en esta “Zona Protegida”.En el 2011, la máquina guerrista del Pentágono y sus conspiradores de la OTAN declararon una zona de exclusión aérea en Libia con el fin de autorizar siete meses de bombardeo incesante contra ese país, lo que llevó al brutal derrocamiento del gobierno libio. Han sido incapaces de repetir esto en Siria.Ayuda de Rusia e Irán, cambio de juegoEn medio de toda esta intervención externa, la intervención de Rusia e Irán y los ataques aéreos de Rusia contra el Estado Islámico, repentinamente han levantado protesta y gritos entre los imperialistas. Esto se debe a que Rusia e Irán, junto con las fuerzas del Hizbolá del Líbano, tienen como objetivo defender la soberanía de Siria, no de derrocar al gobierno de Bashar al-Assad. La entrada de Rusia a la guerra ha cerrado los planes occidentales de crear una zona de exclusión aérea en Siria.Un artículo publicado el 8 de octubre en el New York Times, expone el pensamiento de Washington y la UE detrás de la publicidad masiva dada a la crisis de las/os refugiados y su enorme frustración ahora con la ayuda de Rusia a Siria. “En primer lugar, [el presidente ruso Putin] ha cerrado las opciones occidentales que podrían haber amenazado al actual régimen en Damasco, la capital siria.El gran flujo de refugiadas/os este verano procedentes del conflicto sirio, había comenzado a centrar las mentes europeas sobre cómo resolver el problema de fondo. Bretaña, Francia, Jordania, Turquía y Washington habían empezado a hablar en serio sobre la creación de las llamadas zonas de exclusión aérea sobre Siria. “Esas zonas fueron pensadas para crear zonas de seguridad dentro de Siria para las fuerzas de la oposición y para miles de personas desplazadas, reduciendo el flujo de refugiados. La táctica fue pensada para evitar que la fuerza aérea siria atacara a los rebeldes y sus partidarios opositores al presidente Bashar al-Assad, quien iba perdiendo terreno mientras sus funcionarios admitían la escasez de personal.“La presencia de sofisticados aviones de combate rusos y personal ruso en el terreno, hace que sea casi imposible para los EUA y sus aliados arriesgar tal zona de exclusión aérea”.¿Qué puede estar más claro?Este artículo expone el pensamiento cínico de Washington y los planes militares de la OTAN. Esto también pone en perspectiva el aluvión de medios corporativos que repentinamente se compadecían de la ola de desesperadas/os refugiados. El flujo de refugiadas/os pretendía romper la resistencia en Europa y promover la participación de la OTAN.El drástico recorte de la magra asistencia alimentaria de la ONU a las/os refugiados de guerra en los campamentos en Jordania, Turquía, Irak y Siria también impulsó a la desesperada gente a la peligrosa huida hacia Europa. La agencia de la ONU necesitaba solo $236 millones para mantener el programa financiado hasta noviembre, pero no los consiguió. Según NationalPriorities.org, el gobierno estadounidense ha gastado esa cantidad en las guerras en Irak, Afganistán y Siria cada 28 horas desde el año 2001.¿Tenía este recorte prevenible en los alimentos a las/os refugiados también la intención de provocar la migración con el fin de “centrar las mentes europeas… a hablar en serio sobre la creación de las llamadas zonas de exclusión aérea sobre Siria”?A pesar de las palabras de los diplomáticos estadounidenses que instan cooperación con las fuerzas rusas e iraníes, es poco probable cualquier tipo de cooperación, porque los objetivos de las dos partes son diametralmente opuestos. Las fuerzas estadounidenses y occidentales todavía están decididas a conseguir “cambiar el régimen” en Siria; Rusia e Irán saben que su propia soberanía y la estabilidad de toda la región están conectadas a la capacidad de Siria para defenderse de la subyugación de estilo colonial.La respuesta de Estados Unidos ha sido aumentar el envío de equipo militar a las diversas fuerzas reaccionarias y escalar la creciente confrontación.La única manera de resolver este conflicto es que ¡EUA, la OTAN – incluyendo Turquía – y las monarquías del Golfo, salgan de Siria y permanezcan fuera!FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this
A poll of UK company secretaries has shown support for strengthening The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) powers to block takeovers to protect pensions.In the poll, carried out by ICSA: The Governance Institute and recruitment specialist The Core Partnership, 64% of company secretaries surveyed said they were in favour of this, with only 15% opposed to the idea, and 21% undecided.Simon Osborne, chief executive at the ICSA: The Governance Institute, said: “With FTSE 100 pension deficits soaring in the last year and the BHS pension debacle still fresh in people’s minds, it is little wonder we are seeing calls for more powers to be handed to The Pensions Regulator.”However, he said the organisation itself would advise some caution, arguing that it would stifle corporate transactions if pension members had the ability to block all deals. This, in turn, would drive investment out of the UK at a time when it was much needed, he said.“It might be more sensible to ensure there are robust safeguarding provisions in place in any takeover agreement so the TPR can ensure pensions’ interests are adequately protected,” Osborne said.The poll also puts more responsibility on directors to look after a company’s pension fund.Some 55% of respondents said directors’ duties should be expanded to include a specific duty of care for a company’s pension fund, while 14% were uncertain about this, and 31% opposed.The acronym ICSA stems stems from the Institute of Company Secretaries and Administrators, out of which the current form of the organisation has grown.In other news, the Transparency Taskforce – an organisation campaigning for greater transparency in financial services around the world – is proposing to call on the Work & Pensions Select Committee to open an inquiry into pension charges.Andy Agathangelou, founding chair of the organisation, said: “I can’t think of anything better for the cause of wanting greater transparency in the UK’s pensions and investment system, particularly in relation to costs and charges, than if the Work & Pensions Committee were to open an inquiry into the matter.”He said he thought the public interest in such an inquiry would be enough to warrant the time, effort and expense involved, and it would represent a very good use of government resources.“I say this because a 20 year old, saving £100 per month into a pension until age 65, will lose 24.6% of the value of the fund in charges if the total charges amount to 1% per annum, and the gross market return is 5% per annum,” he said.At 2% a year, total charges for the pension saver would amount to 42.55% of the value of such a fund, he said.Agathangelou said he would write an open letter to the chair of the Work & Pensions Committee, asking his committee to think about opening an inquiry.
The UK could face a bill of between €7.7bn and €10bn for its share of the EU officials’ pension and benefits funds, according to a comprehensive study of European finances.However, EU officials may have been underfunding the pension scheme due to discrepancies between discount rates used to calculate liabilities and staff contributions, the study by Brussels-based think tank Bruegel said.The figures are likely to be a major sticking point of the UK’s negotiations to exit the European Union.Authors Zsolt Darvas, Konstantinos Efstathiou, and Inês Goncalves Raposo made the pension estimates as part of a broader study of the UK’s likely financial obligations towards the EU. The UK’s estimated contributions relate to unfunded defined benefit plans for EU staff and a Joint Sickness Insurance Scheme, with combined liabilities of €63.8bn at the end of 2015.Staff are expected to contribute one-third of annual pensions costs, with member states paying the balance. Based on this, the study’s authors estimated the UK’s bill for future pension payments at between €7.7bn and €10bn, depending upon whether the calculations take into account rebates from the EU to the UK.However, the authors noted that the liability figures were “rather uncertain” – largely due to the discount rate issue. The 2015 liability figure was based on a 0.6% discount rate, an average of one-year interest rates across the euro-zone.At the same time, staff contributions were measured using a discount rate based on a much longer-term average. This went from a 12-year historical moving average until 2012, when it moved to an 18-year average. This is set to increase gradually to a 30-year average by 2021, two years after the UK’s exit talks are expected to have concluded.“Since nominal and real interest rates have fallen in many advanced countries in the past 30 to 40 years,” the authors wrote, “there was a big decline in the balance sheet discount rate after the euro crisis abated after 2012. This decline pushed up the present value of pension/sickness insurance liabilities. In contrast, since the length of the historical moving average used for the staff contribution calculations has gradually increased in recent years, that discount rate has in fact increased, contrasting with the global decline in interest rates.”The authors argued the use of a long-term moving average was “unjustified”, as it had resulted in staff collectively contributing less towards annual pension costs than the one-third they are supposed to.“This implies that EU staff have been underfinancing their pensions relative in the past years and will continue to underfinance for more than a decade to come, compared to the theoretical requirement,” the authors said.If liabilities were calculated using a risk-free rate, as is common practice in the UK, then the figures could increase “substantially”, the authors added.UK prime minister Theresa May officially served notice of the country’s intention to leave the EU yesterday.EU leaders have made clear that the UK will have to pay its fair share of bills and obligations before it leaves. Newspaper reports have referred regularly to a rough estimate of €50bn in total, but the Bruegel study said the total bill could be more than double this figure.“Depending on the scenario, the long-run net Brexit bill could range from €25.4bn to €65.1bn,” the authors said. “Upfront UK payments could reach €109bn, followed by significant subsequent EU reimbursements.”Bruegel’s board is chaired by former European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet, and includes academics, investment professionals, and current and former government ministers from across Europe.
Maritime industry stakeholders all over the world are increasing their contribution to the reduction of carbon footprint. While shipping companies decided to modify their vessels in order to comply with the upcoming 2020 Sulphur Cap regulation, the port industry took their own measures to cut pollution.One of these is India’s second-largest, private-sector port and terminal company by capacity and throughput, Essar Ports, that has a total operational capacity of 110 MTPA in India.Speaking to World Maritime News, the company’s CEO & MD, Rajiv Agarwal, said that Essar Ports believes that green ports “are truly the future of the industry.”Rajiv Agarwal, CEO & MD, Essar PortsAgarwal explained that the company took numerous steps and has invested in reduction of the carbon footprint at all of its four terminals by implementing technologies such as cold-fog system, sprinkling systems for dust and pollution control, completely mechanized handling facilities ensuring zero spillage and covering the entire conveyor system.He added that these measures “have been pivotal in our vision of developing environmentally friendly facilities.”Additionally, developing deeper draft ports and terminals enabled operations with larger parcel size “which further the initiative lowering carbon footprint. We will continue to invest in modern technologies which ensure cargo handling through environmentally friendly means.”Essar Ports’ terminals are focused on bulk and dry bulk cargoes that are primarily used as raw material in core sector industries, like steel, power and cement.So far, the company has invested more than USD 1.6 billion in the development of port terminal facilities in India. Essar Ports said that its terminals are not only capable of handling the biggest ships sailing today “but also provide one of the best turnaround times of India,” contributed by the modernization and development of the company’s Vizag iron ore handling complex.The iron ore handling complex can now berth Super Capesize vessels up to 200,000 dwt, with a depth of 20 metres. The 24-million-tonne terminal has seen a growth rate of 45% in overall cargo throughput driven by a sharp increase in new customers, the company explained.Speaking about Essar Ports’ future plans, the CEO noted that the company is always on the lookout for opportunities to grow its businesses as the four terminals have further expansion possibilities.“Our target is to grow at a rate of more than 20% in the near future. To achieve this growth we have put a strategy in place to expand our customer base in the near future. The focus is now on increasing revenue, diversifying cargo base, optimizing costs, and improving our operational and financial performance.”During the first quarter of the year, Essar Ports reported a 17.4% growth in cargo volumes across its four terminals. The combined throughput stood at 13.5 million tonnes, up from 11.5 million tonnes in the same period of 2018.Of the four terminals, the Salaya and Vizag terminal showcased a strong performance in cargo handling with a striking increase in third-party cargo utilization thereby helping the company achieve its target of handling 60 million tonnes of cargo by the end of the current financial year.World Maritime News Staff; Image Courtesy: Essar Ports (Hazira Port)
APTN National NewsOver 47 First Nations in Alberta would have been part of the Alberta First Nations Energy Center, and would have stood to gain a significant amount of income from the $6.6-billion dollar, First Nations-owned bitumen refinery project that was rejected by the Alberta government this week.Many are not happy with the government’s decision, and they share their reactions with APTN National News reporter Noemi LoPinto.
YOKOHAMA, Japan — Nissan is showing the beefed up version of its hit Leaf electric car as the Japanese automaker seeks to distance itself from the arrest of its star executive Carlos Ghosn.The event at Nissan Motor Co.’s Yokohama headquarters, southwest of Tokyo, had been postponed when Ghosn was arrested Nov. 19.Ghosn has been charged with underreporting his income. Tokyo prosecutors have extended his detention through Friday, adding breach of trust allegations.Ghosn made his first public appearance since his arrest Tuesday, and denied each allegation in the Tokyo District Court.The new 4.16 million yen ($38,000) Leaf e+ is about the same size as the model on sale, but gets more power and cruise range. The bestselling electric car competes against Tesla models and General Motors’ Bolt.The Associated Press
The researchers say that a number of creatures, probably Homo sapiens, made the tracks while moving down a dune surface. This is the first reported hominid tracksite in the world from this time period and adds to the sparse global record of early hominid tracks. The trackway site also represents the largest and best-preserved archive of Late Pleistocene hominid tracks found to date.The narrow confines of the cave, often with a space of 50 cm or less between floor and ceiling, made for significant challenges in the documentation. However, thousands of photographs of the track-bearing surface were taken. Dr. McCrea then used the photographs to develop 3D photogrammetric models of the trackway. Combined with a track map, the digital data will make it possible to create exact replicas of the track-bearing surface. A similar technique has been used in the Peace Region to document dinosaur trackways.The full article can be read at: www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-22059-5 TUMBLER RIDGE, B.C. — Two Peace Region-based palaeontologists have made important scientific discoveries on dinosaurs in the past, but this time Drs. Charles Helm and Richard McCrea were researching creatures that lived much more recently.An international team of researchers led by Dr. Helm has published an article today in the open-access journal Scientific Reports which draws attention to a Late Pleistocene hominid trackway site that was identified two years ago on the south coast of South Africa. Up to forty hominid tracks were found on the ceiling and side walls of a ten-metre long cave. The tracks are thought to have been made approximately 90,000 years ago when the nearby shoreline would have been about 2 kilometres away. A 3D image of a portion of the northern trackway surface. Photo by Dr. Richard McCrea Tracks on the southern surface, with 10 cm bars for scale. Photo by Dr. Charles Helm Dr. Charles Helm examining the northern track-bearing surface, which forms the ceiling of the confined inner part of the cave. Photo by Guy Thesen.
Mayor Ackerman wants the report to look at any actions that can be taken on behalf of the City to motivate those with illegal suites and as the Mayor said, “know darn well they have that suite, to rectify that.”Mayor Lori Ackerman shared other actions are required by the City to motivate people with illegal suites. “I think on the principle of safety, this needs to be dealt with,” said Ackerman in terms of the congestion in neighbourhoods that have several vehicles that block sidewalks and roads, causing visibility and safety issues.Council agreed this report was necessary to know what it will take to equip Bylaw officers with the tools they require for their toolbox to end this problem. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – At Monday’s Council meeting Councillor Grimsrud on behalf of Councillor Bolin put forward a resolution to help improve enforcement and parking issues due to neighbourhoods that have illegal suites.Grimsrud asked that Council direct staff to provide a report on the current staffing hours of Bylaw enforcement employees and to look at when vehicles are allowed to park on the street.Mayor Ackerman said she heard the public’s concerns at the recent Trade Show as well as receiving an email regarding specifically 104 A Avenue.
Delhi HC seeks Ayush Ministry reply on plea against decision on Aadhaar-based attendance in colleges
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has sought the response of the Ministry of Ayush on a plea challenging its decision to install Aadhaar-based biometric attendance system in colleges.Justice C Hari Shankar asked the ministry and Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) to file their counter affidavits on the plea and listed the matter for further hearing on May 23. The petition filed by Uttarakhand-based Uttaranchal Ayurvedic College sought quashing of the January 9 minutes of the meeting by which the ministry directed CCIM to conduct surprise inspections of all colleges possessing five-year permission claiming it is in contravention of the ministry’s July 2012 notification and the law laid down by the Supreme Court. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!It said the apex court has held that the inspection may be done on a complaint or otherwise by a team appointed by central council only. The petition, filed through advocate Amit Sahni, said a decision was also taken in the January meeting for implementation of Aadhaar enabled geo-location based biometric attendance system for staff and faculty of the colleges. It claimed that the minutes of meeting are bad in law and liable to be quashed as this attendance system is in violation of the apex court constitution bench judgment in the K S Puttaswamy case in which it was held that Aadhaar and its usage cannot be forced upon any individual. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killed”The minutes of meetings were not sent to all ayurvedic colleges and also the same was not uploaded on the official website of the Ministry of Ayush. “The authorities may proceed with the decision taken in minutes of meeting dated January 9, 2019, therefore the present petition,” it said. During the hearing, the court made it clear that if any action is taken by the authorities before the next date of hearing, on the basis of the decision which has been challenged in the petition, they would abide by the outcome of these proceedings. It also issued notice to the authorities on the plea to stay the minutes of meeting and listed it for March 27. The plea also alleged that the ministry has passed several directions which are contrary to law viz, to conduct inspections even in Ayurvedic, Homoeopathic, Unani and Siddha colleges, which were granted permission for five years. The minutes of meeting also stated that the colleges shall have to recruit faculty or staff registered in that particular state, it said.