Tag Archives: Low

Australia – Regional unemployment hits 12-year high

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The unemployment rate in regional Australia has risen to 7.3 per cent, a 12-year high, as job demand shifts increasingly to major cities with the winding down of the mining construction boom.

Regional Australia has not experienced unemployment rates this high since March 2003, with regional NSW recording the largest increase in jobless rates in the past three months, particularly in the Hunter Valley and Newcastle – big coal-producing regions.

Regional Australia Institute (RAI) says analysis of this week’s Bureau of Statistics quarterly employment data shows the unemployment rate in regional Australia, in non-seasonally adjusted terms, remains structurally higher than in capital cities.

Read more » The Age
See more » http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/regional-unemployment-hits-12year-high-20150424-1msjaq.html

Russian Rouble falls further

UPDATE 3-Rouble falls further as central bank seen intervening

Rouble has tumbled more than 40 percent vs dollar in 2014

* Central bank seen intervening on Friday to halt slide

* Rosneft’s dollar buying adds pressure – traders (Updates prices, adds extension of FX swap limit)

By Vladimir Abramov and Vladimir Soldatkin

MOSCOW, Dec 12 (Reuters) – The Russian rouble dropped to a new low of almost 58 to the dollar, continuing a slide that traders said led the central bank to intervene in the market on Friday after a rate hike failed to break the currency’s fall.

Read more » REUTERS
See more » http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/12/russia-rouble-idUSL6N0TW0KE20141212

China’s Official Press Agency Calls For New Reserve Currency, And New World Order

by Tyler Durden

We assume it is a coincidence that on the day in which we demonstrate China’s relentless appetite for gold, driven by what we and many others believe is the country’s desire to have a call option on a gold-backed reserve currency when the time comes, just posted in China’s official press agency, Xinhua, is an op-ed by writer Liu Chang in which he decries the “US fiscal failure which warrants a de-Americanized world” and flatly states that the world should consider a new reserve currency “that is to be created to replace the dominant U.S. dollar, so that the international community could permanently stay away from the spillover of the intensifying domestic political turmoil in the United States.”

Of course, if China were serious, and if the world were to voluntarily engage in such a (r)evolutionary reserve currency transition ….

Read more » Zerohege,com
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-10-13/chinas-official-press-agency-calls-new-reserve-currency

Alternatives to Capitalism

There Are Good Alternatives to US Capitalism, But No Way to Get There

Jerry Mander’s new book explores the fatal flaws of the “obsolete” capitalist system and strategies for change.

By Jerry Mander

The following is an excerpt from Jerry Mander’s new book The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System (Counterpoint, 2013):

Which Way Out?

Let’s start with some good news. There is no shortage of good alternative ideas, plans, and strategies being put forth by activist groups and “new economy” thinkers in the United States and all countries of the world. Some seek to radically reshape the current capitalist system. Others advocate abandoning it for something new (or old). There is also a third option, a merger of the best points of other existing or proposed options, toward a “hybrid” economic model that can cope with modern realities.

Continue reading Alternatives to Capitalism

UK most unequal country in the West

Huge gap between rich and poor in Britain is the same as Nigeria and worse than Ethiopia, UN report reveals

By Geoffrey Lean and Graham Ball

Britain is now the most unequal country in the Western world, an authoritative new United Nations report reveals. The gap between rich and poor is as great as in Nigeria.

Detailed statistics in the Human Development Report published last week also demonstrate that inequality has grown sharply during Conservative rule and that the poor in Britain now have to live on much the same incomes as their equivalents in Hungary and Korea.

Read more > The Independent.co.uk
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk-most-unequal-country-in-the-west-1329614.html

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Via Facebook

UK – Homeless: More Young People Sleeping Rough

Statistics show more young people are being forced onto the streets as a new theatre play shines the spotlight on the crisis.

As statistics show more young people are becoming homeless in the UK, a new play questions why more is not being done to help those forced onto the streets.

Government figures show the number of people sleeping rough in England has increased by a third since 2010.

In London alone, 6,437 people slept rough during 2012-13, a 62% rise in two years.

Campaigners say there is a risk this trend could continue, given youth unemployment, the economic downturn and the pressures on low income families, combined with changes within welfare reform, reduction of public services and the general squeezing of housing supply and affordability of accommodation.

The official figures do not account for the hidden homeless.

Three months after his 18th birthday, Leo was forced to sofa surf for nine months until he received help from Centre Point.

He told Sky News: “I feel lonely and like I don’t really have a voice. I’m not really accountable for anything despite going to college. I don’t feel like a real person.”

Read more » Sky News
http://news.sky.com/story/1124291/homeless-more-young-people-sleeping-rough

New blasphemy low – downs syndrome girl arrested!

We have received reports of a new and appalling low in the ongoing abuse of blasphemy laws. Allegedly, a Quran was found with some of its pages burned by Muslims in a Christian area of Islamabad – in previous cases the burning has nearly always shown to have been done by Muslims, or by mentally unstable people – and worse, they have had an 11 year old Christian girl with downs syndrome called Rimsha Masih arrested and charged with the crime.

Continue reading New blasphemy low – downs syndrome girl arrested!

Corporate Profits at All-Time High; Wages at All-Time Low: Can We Call it Class War Yet?

By Sarah Jaffe

The middle class is being hollowed out; increasingly, there are the super-super-rich, and there are the rest of us.

This week, David Segal at the New York Times broke the news to America that not only was Apple — the computer and gadget manufacturer formerly seen as a symbol of good old American ingenuity — making its profits on the backs of abused factory workers in China, but also on poorly paid store employees here in the US.

Apple store workers, he wrote, make up a large majority of Apple’s US workforce—30,000 out of 43,000 employees in this country—and they make about $25,000 a year, or about $12 an hour.

Lawrence Mishel at the Economic Policy Institute notes that that’s just a dollar above the federal poverty level. This for a company that paid nine of its top executives a total of $441 million in 2011. ….

Read more » Alternet

http://www.alternet.org/story/156042/corporate_profits_at_all-time_high%3B_wages_at_all-time_low%3A_can_we_call_it_class_war_yet?page=entire#disqus_thread

Impact of OWS

– Finally, Higher Taxes for the 1% — Is Occupy Behind Governors’ Moves to Make the Wealthy Pay Their Share?

By Sarah Jaffe

Is the narrative around taxes finally shifting? Thanks to heavy public pressure, Governors Cuomo and Brown propose taxing their states’ ultrarich. …

Read more » AlterNet

Pakistan: Nuclear Road Rage – By Mark Thompson

Fascinating peek inside the latest Atlantic (in a cover story shared with sister pub National Journal) on the perilous security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Payoff grafs:

…instead of moving nuclear material in armored, well-defended convoys, the [Pakistani government] prefers to move material by subterfuge, in civilian-style vehicles without noticeable defenses, in the regular flow of traffic…according to a senior U.S. intelligence official, the Pakistanis have begun using this low-security method to transfer not merely the “de-mated” component nuclear parts but “mated” nuclear weapons. Western nuclear experts have feared that Pakistan is building small, “tactical” nuclear weapons for quick deployment on the battlefield. In fact, not only is Pakistan building these devices, it is also now moving them over roads.

What this means, in essence, is this: In a country that is home to the harshest variants of Muslim fundamentalism, and to the headquarters of the organizations that espouse these extremist ideologies…nuclear bombs capable of destroying entire cities are transported in delivery vans on congested and dangerous roads. And Pakistani and American sources say that since the raid on Abbottabad, the Pakistanis have provoked anxiety inside the Pentagon by increasing the pace of these movements. In other words, the Pakistani government is willing to make its nuclear weapons more vulnerable to theft by jihadists simply to hide them from the United States, the country that funds much of its military budget.

Flood relief by caste, creed!?

– By Zofeen T. Ebrahim

Excerpt;

…. But, Ram saw something in the camps which left him disturbed. “The school I teach in has been turned into a camp for the flood-affected people, but when three Hindu families from the Kohli caste sought refuge there, they were denied it.

When the Kohli families insisted on staying, one of the men from the displaced Muslim community began contemptuously urinating in full view of the Kohli women and they had little choice but to leave,” said Ram. “They treat dogs better than they treat us human beings,” said Ram in anger and helplessness.

Moolchand Sakromal, a Hindu government official who tried to give refuge to the Kohlis, says low-caste Hindus are probably the “most neglected” of Pakistan’s minorities.

“It’s a double whammy for them – they are poor and then they belong to the scheduled caste,” says Vikio Rajwani, a Hindu and head master at the government primary school. …

To read full report → DAWN.COM

Hopelessness to doom: Pakistan’s journey

Pakistan

by Malik A. Rashid

BBC reported, “The US is so concerned about security in Pakistan that it is considering plans to enter the country to prevent extremists getting hold of nuclear material”. According to Senator McCain, Pakistan’s ISI has connections with the Haqqani network. In his confirmation hearing Lt. Gen. John Allen said he is aware that explosive devises used against American forces in Afghanistancome from Pakistan. Adm. McRaven thinks Pakistanis know where Mulla Omar is. So, the US-NATO has enemies in Pakistan in their cross-hair.

But the war is not the root cause of the predicament Pakistan finds itself in. Declared #12 on the list of failed nations, Pakistan is the 3rd most dangerous country for women. Out of 70 million between 5 to 19 year old Pakistanis, only 30 million go to school. On education and health care together, government spends about 1% of the GDP. Pakistan’s rulers prescribed a low quality education for their public school system to keep commoners from joining the ranks of army officers and bureaucrats.

US have cut aid to Pakistan. Installment of IMF’s loan was declined because the government could not raise taxes. Pakistan’s economy grew by 2.4% in 2010-11, slower than Somalia’s economy which grew 2.6%. Population of the cities continues to rise; so does joblessness.

Since 75% of supplies to US and NATO troops in Afghanistan will be re-routed through North of Afghanistan by the end of this year, not only the war has turned unrewarding for Pakistan’s rulers, it challenges their power and state’s existence.

Army relied heavily on proxy-warriors to influence other countries in the region and manipulated international aid through terrorism, while the generals indulged in enriching themselves. The business empire of the Military Inc. continued to grow at the expense of dwindling electricity supplies while millions of citizens fell below the poverty line. A conflict with the world-powers has shaken the brazen and brutal power structure of Pakistan. …

Read more → ViewPoint

Anti-American Coup in Pakistan?

By Stanley Kurtz

The Washington Post and New York Times today feature above-the-fold front-page articles about the deteriorating situation in Pakistan. Both pieces are disturbing, the Times account more so because it explicitly raises the prospect of an anti-American “colonels coup” against Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. With all the bad news coming out of this part of the world, and plenty of trouble here at home, it’s easy to ignore stories like this. Yet these two reports are among the most alarming and important we’ve seen in a long string of bad news from Pakistan and the Middle East.

Both articles make plain the extraordinary depth and breadth of anti-American sentiment among the commanders and the rank-and-file of Pakistan’s army. While America’s insistence on keeping the bin Laden raid secret, as well as our ability to pull it off without Pakistani interference, are the immediate causes of the anger, it’s obvious that a deeper anti-American sentiment as well as some level of sympathy for al-Qaeda are also at work.

Even now Pakistan’s army is forcing American operations out of the country. They have blocked the supply of food and water to our drone base, and are actively “strangling the alliance” by making things difficult for Americans in-country.

Unfortunately, it’s now time to at least begin thinking about what the United States should do in case of either an overt anti-American coup within Pakistan’s army, or in case Kayani himself is forced to effectively break relations. Although liberation from Pakistan’s double-game and reversion to honest hostility might come as a welcome relief to some, I see no good scenario here.

Should anti-American elements in Pakistan’s army displace Kayani, they would presumably hold our supply lines to Afghanistan hostage to a cessation of drone attacks. The step beyond that would be to cut off our Afghanistan supply lines altogether. Our minimum response to either of these moves would likely be a suspension of aid (on which Pakistan’s military is now dependent) and moves to provide India with technology that would give them major advantages over Pakistan. Pakistan may run eagerly into the arms of China at that point.

These developments would pose many further dangers and questions. Could we find new supply lines, and at what geo-strategic price? Should we strike terrorist refuges in Pakistan, perhaps clashing with Pakistan’s own forces as we do so? Would Pakistan actively join the Taliban to fight us in Afghanistan? In short, would the outcome of a break between America and Pakistan be war–whether low-level or outright?

There is no good or easy answer here. If there is any single spot it would be hardest for America to walk away from conflict, Pakistan is it. Bin Laden was not alone. Pakistan shelters our greatest terrorist enemies. An inability to strike them there would be intolerable, both in terms of the danger posed for terrorism here in the United States, and for the safety of our troops in Afghanistan.

Yet the fundamental problem remains Pakistan’s nuclear capacity, as well as the sympathy of many of its people with our enemies. Successful clashes with Pakistan’s military may only prompt sympathizers to hand nuclear material to al-Qaeda. The army is virtually the only thing holding Pakistan together. A military defeat and splintering of the army could bring an Islamist coup, or at least the fragmentation of the country, and consequent massive expansion of its lawless regions. These gloomy prospects probably explain why our defense officials keep counseling patience, even as the insults from Pakistan grow.

An important question here is just how Islamist the anti-American elements of Pakistan’s military now are. Is the current trouble primarily a matter of nationalist resentment at America’s killing of bin Laden, or is this a case of outright sympathy for al-Qaeda and the Taliban in much of the army?

The answer is probably a bit of both. The difficulty is that the precise balance may not matter that much. We’ve seen in Egypt that a secular the military is perfectly capable of striking up a cautious alliance with newly empowered Islamist forces. The same thing could happen in Pakistan in the advent of an anti-American military coup. Pakistan may not be ethnically Arab, but it’s continued deterioration may be the unhappy harbinger of the so-called Arab Spring’s outcome, I fear.

At any rate, it’s time to begin at least gaming out worst-case scenarios in Pakistan.

Courtesy:  National Review Online

Via Wichaar

Mukhtaran Mai: Pakistan betrayed you once again

By Raza Rumi

April 21, 2011 will be remembered as a black day in Pakistan’s history. Not because this was the day when the Supreme Court acquitted the alleged rapists of a poor, marginalised woman. It will be marked as the day when, once again, Pakistan’s colonial criminal justice system failed to protect the vulnerable, thereby rendering a heinous crime such as gang rape almost unpunishable.

Nine years ago, a misogynistic panchayat of south Punjab ordered the gang rape of a woman for no sin of hers. It was her (then 12-year-old) brother who was sodomised and then accused of illicit relations with the sister of the powerful rapists. This low-caste family had to be ‘fixed’. Thanks to the media frenzy, the state had to act when what happens in subaltern Pakistan was exposed. Suo motu notices by the courts, police investigation and faulty prosecution ultimately led to no justice. At every step of the legal process, powerful men obstructed the cause of justice. …

Read more : The Express Tribune

While the Security Establishment is blowing up money on F-16s and tanks, here is the current status of Education in Pakistan

Pakistan plans to buy more F-16s

By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON: Pakistan is trying to purchase used F-16 fighter jets from the United States to enhance its air capabilities, diplomatic sources told.

“We will take as many as they are willing to give,” said a diplomatic source when asked how many of these aircraft Pakistan was seeking.

In 2006, the US Congress agreed to give Pakistan 28 F-16C/Ds under its EDA or excess defence articles initiative. Fourteen of these aircraft have already been delivered. …

Read more : DAWN

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While the Security Establishment is blowing up money on F-16s and tanks, here is the current status of Education in Pakistan – Click here