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Old grudge between Honduras football fans sparks riot that kills three
« Reply #13755 on: August 18, 2019, 07:23:12 AM »
TEGUCIGALPA/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Three people were killed and at least 10 injured in riots Saturday night before a football match between rival teams after suspected fans attacked a bus carrying one of the two teams to the game, wounding three players, officials and the team said.

Fans of the Olimpia and Motagua football teams, bitter local opponents, rioted outside Tegucigalpa’s National Stadium after a crowd of people believed to be rival supporters intercepted and vandalized a bus transporting Motagua players, police said.

“Three people died and seven were shot and stabbed. One of them is a boy. Three of the injured adults are in critical condition,” Laura Schoenherr, a spokeswoman for the state University School Hospital, told Reuters.

The riot broke out after crowds threw stones at the bus carrying members of the Motagua team, sending shards of window glass at the players inside, according to the Motagua club, which blamed members of the Ultra-Faithful Olimpia fan club.

“This has to be severely sanctioned by the corresponding authorities,” the Motagua club said in a tweet. “Reprehensible and lamentable,” it added in another tweet.

Three of the players - Emilio Izaguirre, Roberto Moreira and Jonathan Rougier - were transferred to hospital with facial wounds, the Motagua club said.

Accompanying video purported to show players in blue uniforms standing in the still-moving bus beside smashed windows and a glass bottle rolling on a seat. “A rock! A rock! There! There!” someone shouts as a siren blares.

A statement from the Ministry of Security confirmed the bus attack and said its perpetrators wore the uniforms of the rival Olimpia team. The ministry added in the statement that it had set up “five rings of security” ahead of the game.

The National Football League suspended the game after the incident. It had expected some 20,000 fans to attend.

The president of Olympia club, Rafael Villeda, told local press that he would meet with the leadership of the National League and Motagua to decide on the future of the game.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-soccer-honduras/old-grudge-between-honduras-football-fans-sparks-riot-that-kills-three-idUSKCN1V802J
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Islamic State claims bombing at Kabul wedding that killed 63
« Reply #13756 on: August 18, 2019, 07:25:38 AM »
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The suicide bomber stood in the middle of the dancing, clapping crowd as hundreds of Afghan children and adults celebrated a wedding in a joyous release from Kabul’s strain of war. Then, in a flash, he detonated his explosives-filled vest, killing dozens — and Afghanistan grieved again.

The local Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack in the capital this year, with 63 killed and 182 wounded, while outraged Afghans questioned just how safe they will be under an approaching deal between the United States and the Taliban to end America’s longest war.

Stunned families buried the dead, some digging with their bare hands. One wounded survivor, Mohammad Aslim, still wore his bloodied clothes the day after the blast late Saturday. He and his friends had already buried 16 bodies, among them several close relatives, including a 7-year-old boy.

Aslim looked exhausted, and said he was waiting to bury more. Nearby, a man named Amanullah, who lost his 14-year-old son, said in anguish that the explosion had mangled the boy’s face so badly he could no longer recognize it.

“I wish I could find the pieces of my son’s body and put them as one piece into the grave,” he cried.

The emergence of the Islamic State affiliate in recent years might be the greatest threat to Afghan civilians as the U.S. and Taliban seek an agreement to end nearly 18 years of fighting. While the U.S. wants Taliban assurances that Afghanistan will no longer be used as a launch pad for global terror attacks, there appear to be no guarantees of protection for Afghan civilians.

The Taliban, which the U.S. hopes will help curb the IS affiliate’s rise, condemned Saturday’s attack as “forbidden and unjustifiable.”

The blast took place in a western Kabul neighborhood that is home to many in the country’s minority Shiite Hazara community. IS, which declared war on Afghanistan’s Shiites nearly two years ago and has claimed responsibility for many attacks targeting them in the past, said in a statement that a Pakistani IS fighter seeking martyrdom targeted a large Shiite gathering.

The wedding, at which more than 1,200 people had been invited, was in fact a mixed crowd of Shiites and Sunnis, said the event hall’s owner, Hussain Ali.

Ali’s workers were still finding body parts, including hands, in the shattered wedding hall, its floor strewn with broken glass, pieces of furniture and victims’ shoes.

“We have informed the police to come and collect them,” he said.

The bomber detonated his explosives near the stage where musicians were playing and “all the youths, children and all the people who were there were killed,” said Gul Mohammad, another witness.

Survivors described a panicked scene in the suddenly darkened hall as people screamed and scrambled to find loved ones.

“I was with the groom in the other room when we heard the blast and then I couldn’t find anyone,” said Ahmad Omid, who said the groom was his father’s cousin. “Everyone was lying all around the hall.”

The blast at the wedding hall, known as Dubai City, shattered a period of relative calm in Kabul.

On Aug. 7, a Taliban car bomb aimed at Afghan security forces detonated his explosives on the same road, a short drive from the hall, killing 14 people and wounding 145 — most of them women, children and other civilians.

Kabul’s huge, brightly lit wedding halls are centers of community life in a city weary of decades of war, with thousands of dollars often spent on a single evening.

Messages of shock poured in on Sunday. “Such acts are beyond condemnation,” the European Union mission to Afghanistan said. “An act of extreme depravity,” U.S. Ambassador John Bass said. A deliberate attack on civilians “can only be described as a cowardly act of terror,” U.N. envoy to Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto said.

The explosion came just ahead of Afghanistan’s 100th Independence Day on Monday. The city, long familiar with checkpoints and razor wire, has been under heavier security. A planned event in Kabul marking the anniversary was postponed because of the attack, the president’s office said.

The attack also comes at a greatly uncertain time in Afghanistan as the U.S. and the Taliban appear to be within days of a deal on ending the war after several rounds of talks this year. Afghanistan’s government has been sidelined in those talks as the Taliban refuse to negotiate with what it calls a U.S. puppet.

Top issues in the talks have included a U.S. troop withdrawal and Taliban guarantees they would not allow Afghanistan to become a launching pad for global terror attacks. In that, the Islamic State affiliate’s increasingly threatening presence is the top U.S. concern. Other issues include a cease-fire and intra-Afghan negotiations on the country’s future.

Many Afghans fear that terror attacks inside the country will continue, and their pleas for peace — and for details on the talks — have increased in recent days. Few appear to believe that the Taliban will step in to protect civilians from IS or anyone else after years of killing civilians themselves.

“Taliban cannot absolve themselves of blame, for they provide platform for terrorists,” President Ashraf Ghani said on Twitter, declaring a day of mourning and calling the attack “inhumane.”

Frustration at the authorities was evident, as well amid a fresh wave of grief.

“We want the government to stop arguing about power and act like a human being to bring peace to this country,” one worker at the wedding hall, Hajji Reza, said. Several of his colleagues remained missing.

https://apnews.com/b5ceb0cfb33d4d73aaaadf5eee19fe9d
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Head of America’s largest organic food fraud scheme sentenced to 10 years
« Reply #13757 on: August 18, 2019, 07:30:12 AM »
A judge on Friday sentenced the mastermind of the largest known organic food fraud scheme in U.S. history to 10 years in prison, saying he cheated thousands of customers into buying products they didn’t want.

U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams said Randy Constant orchestrated a massive fraud that did “extreme and incalculable damage” to consumers and shook public confidence in the nation’s organic food industry.

Williams said that, between 2010 and 2017, consumers nationwide were fooled into paying extra to buy products ranging from eggs to steak that they believed were better for the environment and their own health. Instead, they unwittingly purchased food that relied on farming practices, including the use of chemical pesticides to grow crops, that they opposed.

“Thousands upon thousands of consumers paid for products they did not get and paid for products they did not want,” Williams said. “This has caused incalculable damage to the confidence the American public has in organic products.”

Williams said the scam harmed other organic farmers who were playing by the rules but could not compete with the low prices offered by Constant’s Iowa-based grain brokerage, and middlemen who unknowingly purchased and marketed tainted organic grain.

Williams ordered Constant, a 60-year-old farmer and former school board president from Chillicothe, Missouri, to serve 122 months in federal prison, as his wife and other relatives sobbed.

Earlier in the day, Williams gave shorter prison terms to three Overton, Nebraska, farmers whom Constant recruited to join the scheme. Williams described the three as largely law-abiding citizens, including one “legitimate war hero,” who succumbed to greed when Constant gave them the opportunity.

Michael Potter, 41, was ordered to serve 24 months behind bars; James Brennan, 41, was sentenced to 20 months; and his father, 71-year-old Tom Brennan, was given a three-month sentence. Williams said the shorter sentence for the elder Brennan reflected his heroism as a decorated platoon leader in the Vietnam War.

All four farmers sentenced Friday had pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges and co-operated with a two-year investigation that isn’t over. A fifth farmer has also pleaded guilty in the case and is awaiting sentencing.

The farmers grew traditional corn and soybeans, mixed them with a small amount of certified organic grains, and falsely marketed them all as certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Most of the grains were sold as animal feed to companies that marketed organic meat and meat products.

The farmers reaped more than $120 million in proceeds from sales of the tainted grain. The scheme may have involved up to 7 per cent of organic corn grown in the U.S. in 2016 and 8 per cent of the organic soybeans, prosecutors said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program requires crops to be grown without the use of fertilizers, sewage sludge and other substances.

The Cornucopia Institute, an organic industry watchdog group, has been critical of the USDA for being too lenient with producers who flout its standards. Violations are typically handled through USDA enforcement action that can bring fines, revocations and bans. But federal criminal charges are rare, said the group’s director, Mark Kastel.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacob Schunk said that under the scheme, consumers paid at least $250 million for fraudulent organic products _ and perhaps $1 billion or more. He said that Constant for years exploited an organic certification system that relies on the honesty of farmers and private certifiers.

“He saw the weakness in the system and he exploited it over and over again,” Schunk said.

He noted that Constant had admitted in a court filing to spending some of the money on vacations and repeated trips to Las Vegas. Constant, whose wife of 39 years was in the courtroom Friday, acknowledged in the filing that he spent $2 million supporting three women there with whom he developed relationships.

Constant said that he took full responsibility for his crime and he apologized to his family and the grain merchants, farmers, ranchers and consumers whom he ripped off.

“The organic industry in this country is built in trust and I violated that trust,” he said.

Constant’s lawyer, Mark Weinhardt, described his client as a pillar of the community in Chillicothe, where Constant was known as generous with his money and time.

But Williams said that Constant was similar to the grain that he marketed.

“He is not what is advertised,” the judge said. “Below the surface, he was lying and cheating.”

https://globalnews.ca/news/5778147/organic-food-fraud-scheme/
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Pot Found Buried in Jalapeño Pepper Shipment, Border Officials Say
« Reply #13758 on: August 18, 2019, 07:36:29 AM »
Even though voters in California legalized recreational marijuana in 2016, the sale of illegal marijuana is still rampant throughout the state


An image shows the shipment of illegal narcotics surrounded by peppers.

The head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is congratulating federal officials along the U.S.-Mexico border in Otay Mesa, California, for seizing a large amount of marijuana smuggled in a shipment of jalapeño peppers.

The officers found 7,560 pounds of marijuana in a shipment of jalapeño peppers, according to Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan.

"Very proud of our CBP officers in Otay Mesa," said Morgan as he shared a photo of the seizure on Twitter.

Even though voters in California legalized recreational marijuana in 2016, the sale of illegal marijuana is still rampant throughout the state.

Last month, NBC 7 shared a recent report suggesting an underground economy is cutting into the profits of legal businesses.

New Frontier Data, a Denver-based company that studies cannabis trends, estimates there are $70 billion in illegal sales nationally — seven times the size of the legal market.

https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Marijuana-Jalapeno-Shipment-Smuggling-Pot-Peppers-549451351.html
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How Slave Owners Dictated the Language of the 2nd Amendment
« Reply #13759 on: August 18, 2019, 07:41:04 AM »
Southern aristocrats wanted armed militias mainly to control their slaves. So they wanted language in the new nation's constitution protecting that right.

Mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, have highlighted once again the importance of the Supreme Court’s 2008 landmark decision District of Columbia v. Heller declaring that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a gun.

Writing for the Court’s conservative majority, Justice Antonin Scalia held that a Washington, D.C., gun law banning handguns and requiring that even lawful guns in a home be kept nonfunctional violated the Second Amendment.

That part of Scalia’s decision is clear, but what his decision fails to acknowledge, as criticism of it has pointed out, is how the Second Amendment in providing for slave control played a crucial role in the willingness of the influential state of Virginia to ratify the Constitution.

On its surface the Second Amendment seems straightforward. In 27 words it declares, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” But interpretative problems arise when we try to figure out the relationship the two parts of the Second Amendment have with each other.

In his ruling Scalia made a point of dividing the amendment into separate halves. He contended that while the militia or “prefatory” clause introduced the Second Amendment, it did not curtail the second or “operative” clause’s assertion of the right to bear arms. “The former does not limit the latter grammatically, but rather announces a purpose,” Scalia observed on his way to concluding, “Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.”

By contrast, James Madison, the author of the Second Amendment, wrote his amendment with his eye firmly fixed on practical politics. He introduced the amendment during Virginia’s debate over the ratification of the Constitution because Virginia Governor Patrick Henry saw danger lurking in Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution, which gives Congress the power to provide for “organizing, arming, and disciplining” militias.

Henry feared that without checks upon it, Congress could undermine the ability of militias in Virginia and elsewhere in the South to suppress slave uprisings and pursue runaway slaves.

The militia issue was important enough for Henry to see it as grounds for opposing ratification of the Constitution. The positive power Congress had over militias, Henry reasoned, could easily be turned into restrictive power. “By this sir, you see that their control over our best defence is unlimited,” Henry warned his fellow Virginians.
“Only the white men in the Virginia militia had the right to bear arms.”

It took Madison two drafts to get the Second Amendment into the single sentence it is today. His careful wording was deliberate. In drawing a connection between militias and the right to bear arms rather than simply defending the right to bear arms, Madison, a slave holder himself, was speaking to his state’s ruling powers. Only the white men in the Virginia militia had the right to bear arms. Free African-Americans could join the militia, but they were limited to being drummers or buglers.

The case for seeing the Second Amendment as part of the early debate over slave control and militias has been made with great persuasiveness by former Pennsylvania Assistant Attorney General Anthony F. Picadio in both the 2019 Pennsylvania Bar Quarterly and Transpartisan Review and by law professor Carl T. Bogus in the University of California, Davis Law Review of 1998.

And in addition to such books as Professor Sally Hadden’s 2003 study, Slave Patrols: Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas, and Brennan Center for Justice President Michael Waldman’s 2014 history, The Second Amendment: A Biography, there are also strong op-eds on this subject.

But the link between slave control and the Second Amendment has not become a feature of today’s debate over gun control. That is good news for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-slave-owners-dictated-the-language-of-the-2nd-amendment?via=rss
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Scientists bid farewell to the first Icelandic glacier lost to climate change...
« Reply #13760 on: August 18, 2019, 07:49:34 AM »
If more melt, it can be disastrous

Scientists say they are bidding farewell to Okjökull, the first Icelandic glacier lost to climate change, in a funeral of sorts.
Researchers will gather Sunday in Borgarfjörður, Iceland, to memorialize Okjökull, known as Ok for short, after it lost its status as a glacier in 2014. The inscription, titled "A letter to the future," on the monument paints a bleak picture.
"Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier. In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and know what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it," the plaque reads in English and Icelandic.


The memorial plaque for Iceland's Okjökull glacier contains a dire warning.

From the ice sheet in Greenland to the towering glaciers in West Antarctica, Earth's enormous masses of ice are melting fast. And though sea levels have risen and fallen throughout history, scientists say it's never happened at a rate this fast.

If glaciers continue to melt at the current rapid rate, it will pose a number of hazards for the planet, geologists say. Here are some of the potential hazards:

By 2100, up to 2 billion people -- or about a fifth of the world's population -- could be displaced from their homes and forced to move inland because of rising ocean levels, according to a 2017 study.
Bangladesh is particularly at risk. About 15 million people in the country could become climate refugees if sea levels rise 1 meter, or about 3 feet. And more than 10% of the country would be underwater.
Some of the people who are displaced might not have anywhere to go. They're not protected by international laws, so industrialized countries aren't legally obligated to grant them asylum.

If sea levels continue to rise at a rapid rate, some remote island nations would be at risk of disappearing, including Tuvalu, the Maldives and the Marshall Islands.

Millions of people depend on glaciers for drinking water, particularly in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region and the Andes Mountains.
In dry climates near mountains, glaciers collect precipitation and freshwater and store it as ice during colder months. When summer comes along, the ice melts and runs off into rivers and streams, providing drinking water.
A world without glaciers would threaten that water supply and potentially have devastating effects, Jason Briner, a geologist at the University of Buffalo, told CNN.

Melting glaciers also threaten the food supply.
Rising sea levels contribute to warmer global temperatures, changing what kinds of crops farmers can grow. Some climates will become too hot for what farmers are growing now. Other climates will see more flooding, more snow or more moisture in the air, also limiting what can be grown.
As a result, food will become scarcer, grocery prices will spike and crops will lose their nutritional value, as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted in a report earlier this year.

As sea levels rise, coastal communities are more susceptible to flooding.
One particularly gross consequence of that flooding is the impact on sewage treatment plants, which are often built at low elevations close to the oceans.
Floods can cause massive amounts of untreated sewage to flow into rivers, streams, streets and even homes. That pollutes sources of water, harms wildlife and helps spread diseases.
"A lot of times when people think about sea level rise, they think about inundation of land," Andrea Dutton, geology professor at the University of Florida, told CNN. "They think that 'If my house isn't in the area that's flooded, I don't need to worry about it,' which is a complete misconception."

More than 90 percent of the world's trade is carried by sea, according to the United Nations. So, there's a good chance that most of the things you buy have passed through at least two ports: one during export and one during import.
Ports are critical to the global economy, providing jobs in industries like shipbuilding, fishing, seafood processing and marine transportation. Rising sea levels could damage the infrastructure of many ports and disrupt all kinds of processes, creating a ripple effect throughout the economy.
"[Melting glaciers] will affect people's access to food, water and energy, which are fundamental, critical things that we need to survive," Dutton said.

The large ice sheets in the Arctic and Antarctic are part of Earth's energy balance, Briner said.
Those massive white surfaces work to reflect rays from the sun back into the environment, keeping temperatures mild. As more and more glaciers melt, energy from the sun will instead be absorbed into the ocean. As the oceans get warmer, global temperatures become hotter and cause even more glaciers to melt. That creates a cycle that amplifies the climate crisis, Briner said.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/18/health/glaciers-melting-climate-change-trnd
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NYPD commissioner: I'm scared this will happen again

The sister of a New York City Police officer who died by suicide -- the ninth this year -- says she told the department that her brother was a danger to himself and others multiple times over the past seven years.
Twice, she says, the department took his weapons away. Twice, she says, they gave them back.
Eileen Echeverria said her most recent communications with the department's Internal Affairs Bureau in June led to her brother being relieved of his weapons. But she says they were returned within days.
Officer Robert Echeverria, 56, a 25-year veteran of the force and member of the Strategic Response Group -- an NYPD rapid-reaction unit -- died by suicide on Wednesday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, law enforcement sources told CNN.

'He is unraveling'
In an email sent by Eileen Echeverria to the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau -- and provided by Echeverria to CNN -- she refers to her brother as "suicidal," adding, "I really am concerned about guns in the house." She asked the department to contact her.

In an interview with CNN, she said she spoke with internal affairs officers. "I called and said, 'my brother is threatening to kill me or himself. He is unraveling.'"
Her efforts led to a psychiatric evaluation, she said, during which her brother's guns were taken away. Echeverria said they were returned shortly afterward.
"Two days later, he had his guns back," she said. "Two months later, he's dead."
The June call to IAB was not Echeverria's first. She said she called the department in 2012 after an altercation between her brother and his son. Officer Echeverria's guns were taken away for a month that time, she said.
"I've called half a dozen times since 2012," she said.
The NYPD did not address Echeverria's claims specifically when asked about them Friday, but Sgt. Mary Frances O'Donnell, a police spokeswoman, told CNN that the department is investigating.
'The Rubber Gun Squad'
Echeverria said her brother was worried that seeking help would get him assigned to desk work -- what he called "the rubber gun squad" -- and mean the end of any overtime hours, exacerbating what she characterized as his difficult financial situation.
That's precisely the stigma that the department has been trying to address. Speaking in June after the sixth NYPD suicide of the year, Chief of Department Terence Monahan said he wanted to provide assistance to officers with an eye toward getting them back on the job.
"We have to look at, how do we get them back to service, get them back out there, doing what they signed on to do, doing what they love to do?" he said.
Asked at the time about officers who feared that seeking help would mean losing their jobs, Monahan said, "Well, if you come here today, you'll have it (your job) tomorrow."
'Reach out for help'
Echeverria's death came less than two days after the department's eighth suicide. Following that death, Monahan took to Twitter in what has now become a somber recurrence, sharing phone numbers for officer helplines and department chaplains.
"Please reach out for help -- on the job or off," he tweeted. "You're never alone."
Echeverria said she doubted officers like her brother would pick up the phone to call the department for help. She said all officers should have mandatory mental health check-ins.
Since the spate of suicides this summer, the NYPD has been developing a plan to help troubled officers. Eight hundred members of executive New York Police Department staff will begin retraining this month with experts on mental health, stress and suicide, with the goal to eventually train the entire department, Police Commissioner James O'Neill told CNN during a recent interview.

NYPD staffers also went to Los Angeles to observe its police department peer support system, which includes clinicians who spend time with officers, and psychologists who make rounds, visiting every command.
The goal is to have a peer representative in every precinct and every command that's specifically trained to help an officer step back from the brink and find a trained professional to help.

Echeverria said she hoped speaking publicly about her brother's suicide would help save the lives of other officers who might be contemplating suicide.
"There are nine officers dead, and many more before this (year)," she said. "This is 1,000% avoidable."

https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/18/us/nypd-suicide-sister-voiced-concerns/index.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_latest+%28RSS%3A+CNN+-+Most+Recent%29
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Radiation Levels Big Concern as Japan Preps for 2020 Olympics
« Reply #13762 on: August 18, 2019, 04:50:05 PM »
The 2020 Olympics are set to take place in Japan, but there is a growing concern about the safety of those heading overseas. In the time following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan saw the release of harmful radioactive pollutants or radionuclides, such as iodine‑131, cesium‑134, cesium‑137, strontium‑90, and plutonium‑238.

This resulted in radioactive contamination throughout northeastern Japan, but after eight years, members of the local and central government have said that the radiation is no longer a concern. Unfortunately, that's not entirely accurate. The steps taken by the government to make the environment safer are viewed as effective by some, but there is far more to the story. According to The Diplomat, the radiation hasn't entirely disappeared from the environment. Instead, it's been moved to other locations.

One such process of decontamination has actually consisted of collecting and removing radioactive pollutants. The radionuclides are then placed in black vinyl bags, which, in theory, should impede the risk of rescattering residual radioactivity. The report continues by providing evidence of this process. There are currently mountains of black plastic bags, filled with contaminated soil or debris, that can be seen in many parts of Fukushima.

Unfortunately, this fix of sticking the radionuclides inside the bags only appears to be a temporary solution that will ultimately need to be addressed once again. For example, some of the vinyl bags are now starting to break down due to the build-up of gas released by rotten soil. Plants and flowers have also started to grow inside the bags. With nowhere to expand, these plants are breaking through the bags and exposing the radioactive materials to the atmosphere. At this point, it is far more likely that the weather will distribute the radionuclides once again.

Additionally, there have been countless monitoring posts installed throughout Fukushima, which display the current atmospheric level of radiation. Measurements are taken from different locations and then combined to create an average level for the city. According to these posts, the levels of radiation have significantly fallen.
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That being said, The Diplomat reports that there are currently no monitoring posts in the forests and mountains. These areas make up 70 percent of the Fukushima prefecture, but the radiation levels are not being monitored. The other concern is that the monitoring posts only measure gamma rays and ignore radionuclides, which are very harmful if swallowed or ingested.

With the Olympics approaching, the belief is that the radiation is lowering and that the athletes will not be in danger. However, reports by The Diplomat paint a far more troubling picture. Will the events proceed as planned, or will adjustments have to be made as 2020 nears?

https://popculture.com/sports/2019/08/13/radiation-levels-big-concern-as-japan-preps-for-2020-olympics/
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Pitbull fights off a shark to save his fisherman friend after predator bites man
« Reply #13763 on: August 18, 2019, 05:02:03 PM »
It sounds like a fishy tale but if one man's dog did not take on a shark, he may have lost his leg - or his life.

The drama unfolded when fisherman James White landed a 180cm shark which managed to bite down on his ankle as it thrashed around on the ground.

It would not let go and its teeth quickly sank deep into his flesh. White was worried.

But then his one-year-old, 45kg pitbull Darby leapt into action.

“The first time I told somebody this, they were like, ‘You’re out of your mind, there’s no way that happened’,” the Californian man said.

“Then I showed him the pictures and I’m like, ‘No it absolutely happened’.”

White was fishing from the shore at Bodega Bay in Sonoma County California last month when he felt a pull on his line and spent the next 10 minutes trying to reel it in.

He finally landed the aquatic beast - a 180cm long ( about 6 ft. ) sevengill shark.


Saving his master was all in a day's work for Darby.

White went to remove the hook from the shark when it twisted, fell to the ground, and sank its teeth into White’s ankle.

“Immediately there was blood everywhere, the first bite punctured an artery,” he said.

“The pressure was intense."

He has left Darby in the car a short walk away, but White's loyal canine heard his human friend yell and struggle and leapt through the car window, raced down the hill to the shore and tore into the shark.

He into the shark’s gills, causing the shark to sink its teeth even deeper into White.

“And I told him, ‘No back off’ and then [Darby] repositioned and grabbed it by the tail,” White said.

“He literally ran up the hill with it and pulled it off my leg.”

White tossed the shark back into the water and it swam away.

He says Darby saved his leg from more damage, possibly severing the artery it had already punctured.

"He’s been a part of the family from day one. Just now a little more. If it wasn’t for him I would have been a lot worse,” said.

https://7news.com.au/news/animals/pitbull-fights-off-a-shark-to-save-his-fisherman-friend-after-predator-bites-mans-leg-c-405144
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Just two months before lawmakers grilled executives from Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google at a hearing held as part of a broader antitrust probe, some of Amazon’s top executives made donations to the chair of the subcommittee leading the investigation.

Over a three-week period starting in late May, five senior executives from Amazon made individual contributions to Rep. David Cicilline, the Democrat from Rhode Island who’s leading the House antitrust investigation into major tech companies, public filings show. Cicilline became the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee in January, when Democrats regained control of the House.

The executives include Amazon’s CEO of worldwide consumer Jeff Wilke, CFO Brian Olsavsky, general counsel David Zapolsky, SVP of worldwide operations Dave Clark, and SVP of North America consumer Doug Herrington. They all contributed the max $2,800 allowed, except for Olsavsky, who donated $1,500.

No executive from other companies under the House antitrust investigation — Apple, Facebook, and Google — made individual contributions to Cicilline’s campaign this year, filings show.

The donations serve as an example of how companies and executives work behind the scenes with lawmakers to try to advance their corporate interests -- albeit with mixed effectiveness. Corporate officers have always made individual campaign donations, but experts say the timing of Amazon executives’ payments likely reflects the company’s heightened urgency over growing regulatory scrutiny.

“It suggests a greater sense of pressure or threat of regulation from Congress, especially given the growing bipartisan attention being directed to this issue,” said Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, a political science professor at Columbia University.

Amazon’s spokesperson declined to comment for this story. Cicilline’s representative told CNBC in an email that, on the day the subcommittee launched its antitrust investigation, the chairman put in place “a formal policy of refusing campaign contributions from companies and executives that may be subject to scrutiny.” The donations by Amazon executives were made before the antitrust probe announcement, and before the July hearing was scheduled.

Amazon executives have other reasons to support him. Cicilline introduced the Equality Act, which prohibits employee discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or medical condition, and was a key supporter of raising the federal minimum wage -- two initiatives the company supports. Those are the only two issues that all of Amazon’s registered lobbyists have lobbied for in the past, according to a person familiar with the matter.

At the same time, filings show that only one Amazon executive has donated to Cicilline in the past: Vice President of Public Policy Brian Huseman contributed $250 in 2012.
‘Secure access’

Hertel-Fernandez noted that while these individual corporate donors are common, the contributions aren’t typically intended to change the lawmakers’ minds on a particular issue.

Rather, they are used as an “important means to secure access” to the members, so the company could make their case against tighter regulation in person, he said.

In fact, several researchers have found that campaign contributions could help get more face time with lawmakers. A 2015 report by two political science professors, Joshua Kalla and David Brookman, wrote that senior policy makers were three and four times more likely to meet with their political donors than those who were not.

“Our experiment suggests that campaign finance rules allow those who can afford to donate to political campaigns a special advantage to obtain this coveted opportunity,” the report said.

For Amazon, there’s a lot at stake. Regulators have stepped up their efforts to scrutinize Amazon’s expanding market power in recent months. Alongside the House investigation, both the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department are looking into Amazon’s potentially anticompetitive behavior, while the EU has also launched a similar probe recently. On top of that, Amazon is facing a growing number of lawmaker complaints over its business practices.

Amazon’s most senior executives made contributions to other lawmakers as well. In May and June, eight different Amazon executives, including its policy and communications chief Jay Carney and VP of public policy Brian Huseman, made donations to Mark Warner, a Democratic senator of Virginia, where Amazon’s second headquarters is located, according to public filings. In recent years, Amazon executives have also contributed to Congress members in different states, like Colorado, Utah, and Washington.
Questionable effect

Perhaps the bigger question is how individual donations influence policy decisions.

President Trump faced a similar question when he signed an executive order supporting the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline project, shortly after the election. Oil companies and the broader energy sector were major contributors to his campaign.

Researchers, however, question how effective these efforts are. While it’s almost impossible to find the exact correlation between corporate donations and policy decisions, a 2017 study by political science professors at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University concluded that the quid-pro-quo narrative is hard to establish. One of the main findings was that large corporate donors saw little stock price increases when their preferred candidates won the election.

“I would suspect, given our evidence, that these donations do not meaningfully distort policy or the positions of candidates,” Anthony Fowler, one of the authors of the report, told CNBC.

Cicilline, at least for now, doesn’t seem to favor Amazon. Following the July antitrust hearing, Cicilline said in a statement that he wasn’t happy with the company’s testimony during the hearing, citing “lack of preparation” and “purposeful evasion.”

“I was deeply troubled by the evasive, incomplete, or misleading answers received to basic questions directed to these companies by members of the subcommittee,” Cicilline said in the statement.

David Primo, a political science professor at the University of Rochester, said that the company’s political interest should be measured by its lobbying efforts, not just through individual donations. Apple, for example, doesn’t even have a political action committee (PAC) and CEO Tim Cook is known for not donating to political candidates. Meanwhile, every major tech company has significantly increased their lobbying spend, with Google, Amazon, and Facebook all ranking among the top 20 corporate spenders on lobbying last year.

“The real influence in Washington comes from making sure your ideas get in the hands of the right people — and that is what lobbying does,” Primo said.

One person noticeably missing from all Amazon contributions is CEO Jeff Bezos. His only donation this year was the $5,000 to his space company Blue Origin’s PAC. The only two policymakers that received his donations in the past three years were Republican Colorado Senator Cory Gardner, and Democratic Washington Senator Maria Cantwell.

Jorg Spenkuch, a political science professor at Northwestern University, said it’s hard to know the motives of individual executives, but Bezos’s absence could help avoid any unwanted attention from Trump, a frequent critic of Amazon’s CEO.

“Giving to Democratic candidates might make Bezos even more of a target for Trump than he already is,” Spenkuch said.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/18/amazon-executives-donated-to-rep-cicilline-antitrust-probe-leader.html
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Hong Kong protests: Rival demonstrations spread across globe
« Reply #13765 on: August 18, 2019, 05:18:33 PM »

Pro-Beijing demonstrators are separated from supporters of the Hong Kong protestors in London

Protests over the Hong Kong democracy movement have spread across the globe, with rallies taking place in the UK, France, US, Canada and Australia.

In Vancouver, Toronto and London, demonstrators were confronted by pro-Beijing rallies.

Hundreds also protested in Sydney's Belmore Park on Sunday.

Some wore facemasks due to fears of alleged Chinese state surveillance of citizens who support Hong Kong from abroad.

On Sunday hundreds of thousands of people took part in pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong despite increasingly severe warnings from the Chinese central government.

Supporters of the Hong Kong protests demonstrated in central London on Saturday

Pro-Beijing demonstrators confronted them

There were also rival demonstrations in Sydney - here, pro-Beijing activists march through the city

Some clashed with a pro-democracy demonstrator holding a Taiwanese flag

Supporters of the Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters called for solidarity in the face of "tyranny"

In Paris there were heated exchanges between those supporting the Hong Kong protests and those supporting the Beijing government

New York's Chinatown area also saw rival demonstrations

In Vancouver, a pro-Hong Kong democracy supporter wore a patch on one eye and a drawing depicting salt poured on the wound - a reference to a demonstrator in Hong Kong who was allegedly wounded in one eye by police firing a projectile

Pro-Chinese government supporters were also out

Some demonstrators dressed like protesters in Hong Kong

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-49388822
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Worls largest EV never has to be recharged
« Reply #13766 on: August 18, 2019, 05:28:41 PM »


A quarry in Biel, Switzerland, is operating the world's largest electric vehicle, a 110-ton dump truck, to haul lime and marl off the side of a mountain to a cement factory. Perhaps best of all, it consumes no energy doing it.

How is that possible, you ask?

The dump truck, at 45 tons, ascends the 13-percent grade and takes on 65 tons of ore. With more than double the weight going back down the hill, the beast's regenerative braking system recaptures more than enough energy to refill the charge the eDumper used going up.

The Elektro Dumper—eDumper for short—made by Kuhn Schweitz, is based on a Komatsu HB 605-7: 30 feet long, 14 feet wide, and 14 feet tall. The tires are six feet high, and the dump bed reaches to more than 28 feet, fully raised.

4 pic slide  show

Kuhn Schweitz adds a 600 kilowatt-hour battery pack—big enough for six, long-range Tesla Model Ses—from Lithium Storage that weighs 9,000 pounds.

CNN recently brought Formula 1 driver Lucas DiGrassi along to test drive the machine, owned by Swiss cement company Ciments Vigier SA. He reported reaching the top of the grade with 80 percent, then recovering battery charge to 88 percent on the way down (not unlike our writer's experience with a Chevrolet Bolt EV in the Rockies.)

Marking that trip around 20 times a day, Kuhn Schweitz says the eDumper produces 200 kwh of surplus energy every day, or 77 megawatt-hours a year. A typical dump truck uses between 11,000 and 22,000 gallons of diesel fuel a year. That saves up to 196 metric tons of global-warming carbon-dioxide gas a year.

https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1124478_world-s-largest-ev-never-has-to-be-recharged


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90-year-old husband charged with murder of his wife
« Reply #13767 on: August 18, 2019, 05:34:52 PM »

Edwin Nelson, Jr.



DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A man arrested and charged with the murder of his wife in Dorchester County is scheduled to face a bond court judge Sunday morning.

Edwin Nelson, Jr., 90, was taken into custody without incident and charged with murder and according to officials.

Sarah M. Nelson, 83, of Ridgeville, SC died at the scene after being fatally shot on Saturday morning, according to Dorchester County Coroner Paul Brouthers.

According to officials, around 5:20 a.m. deputies responded to 1768 Highway 61 in Ridgeville after dispatch received a call from a man who said he shot his wife.

Once on scene, deputies made entry to the home and located the victim and suspect.

Nelson will have a bond hearing on Sunday at 9 a.m.

This is an ongoing investigation.

https://www.live5news.com/2019/08/17/coroner-victim-fatal-dorchester-county-shooting-identified/
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Palestinian Authority bans LGBTQ activities in West Bank
« Reply #13768 on: August 18, 2019, 05:38:38 PM »
 The Palestinian Authority banned members of the Palestinian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community from carrying out any activities in the West Bank.

The ban came after the grassroots group Al-Qaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society (Arabic for “the bow”), which engages and supports Palestinians who identify as LGBTQ, was planning to hold a gathering for its members in Nablus at the end of the month. The group operates both in the West Bank and among Arab-Israelis.
Earlier this month, Al-Qaws held an event in Nablus about sexual and gender diversity in Palestinian society. The PA police, however, learned about the event only days after it was held.

Al-Qaws is a civil society organization established in 2001 with the goal of “fighting for vibrant Palestinian cultural and social change, building LGBTQ communities and promoting new ideas about the role of gender and sexual diversity in political activism, civil society institutions, media, and everyday life.”

The group has offices only in east Jerusalem and Haifa.

Explaining the decision to ban the LGBTQ group from operating in PA-controlled areas, Luay Zreikat, spokesperson for the PA Police, said that such activities are “harmful to the higher values and ideals of Palestinian society.”

Zreikat said that the group’s activities were completely “unrelated to religions and Palestinian traditions and customs, especially in the city of Nablus.”

He accused unnamed “dubious parties” of working to “create discord and harm civic peace in Palestinian society.”

The PA police will chase those behind the LGBTQ group and see to it that they are brought to trial once they are arrested, Zreikat warned. He further appealed to Palestinians to report to the police about any person connected to the group.

In response, Al-Qaws condemned the police threat as “incitement,” and vowed to continue its work despite the serious challenges.

“The Palestinian police announcement about our activities is very unfortunate,” the group said. “It’s very strange that they are accusing us of being a suspicious entity working to take apart Palestinian society. Al-Qaws is a Palestinian organization that has been operating since 2001, and is carrying out educational and professional programs on sexual and gender diversity. We totally reject the attempt to create an atmosphere of prosecution and intimidation, as well threats of arrest.”

A member of Al-Qaws said that since the police announcement, he and his friends have received hundreds of threats and hate messages from Palestinians, especially through Facebook. “The attack on us is unprecedented,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “They are calling us traitors and corrupt people and many are calling for our execution. We are afraid for our lives.”

https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/PA-bans-LGBT-activities-in-West-Bank-598980
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The end of capitalism has begun
« Reply #13769 on: August 18, 2019, 05:54:07 PM »

Without us noticing, we are entering the postcapitalist era. At the heart of further change to come is information technology, new ways of working and the sharing economy. The old ways will take a long while to disappear, but it’s time to be utopian

The red flags and marching songs of Syriza during the Greek crisis, plus the expectation that the banks would be nationalised, revived briefly a 20th-century dream: the forced destruction of the market from above. For much of the 20th century this was how the left conceived the first stage of an economy beyond capitalism. The force would be applied by the working class, either at the ballot box or on the barricades. The lever would be the state. The opportunity would come through frequent episodes of economic collapse.

Instead over the past 25 years it has been the left’s project that has collapsed. The market destroyed the plan; individualism replaced collectivism and solidarity; the hugely expanded workforce of the world looks like a “proletariat”, but no longer thinks or behaves as it once did.

If you lived through all this, and disliked capitalism, it was traumatic. But in the process technology has created a new route out, which the remnants of the old left – and all other forces influenced by it – have either to embrace or die. Capitalism, it turns out, will not be abolished by forced-march techniques. It will be abolished by creating something more dynamic that exists, at first, almost unseen within the old system, but which will break through, reshaping the economy around new values and behaviours. I call this postcapitalism.

As with the end of feudalism 500 years ago, capitalism’s replacement by postcapitalism will be accelerated by external shocks and shaped by the emergence of a new kind of human being. And it has started.

Postcapitalism is possible because of three major changes information technology has brought about in the past 25 years. First, it has reduced the need for work, blurred the edges between work and free time and loosened the relationship between work and wages. The coming wave of automation, currently stalled because our social infrastructure cannot bear the consequences, will hugely diminish the amount of work needed – not just to subsist but to provide a decent life for all.

Second, information is corroding the market’s ability to form prices correctly. That is because markets are based on scarcity while information is abundant. The system’s defence mechanism is to form monopolies – the giant tech companies – on a scale not seen in the past 200 years, yet they cannot last. By building business models and share valuations based on the capture and privatisation of all socially produced information, such firms are constructing a fragile corporate edifice at odds with the most basic need of humanity, which is to use ideas freely.

Third, we’re seeing the spontaneous rise of collaborative production: goods, services and organisations are appearing that no longer respond to the dictates of the market and the managerial hierarchy. The biggest information product in the world – Wikipedia – is made by volunteers for free, abolishing the encyclopedia business and depriving the advertising industry of an estimated $3bn a year in revenue.

Almost unnoticed, in the niches and hollows of the market system, whole swaths of economic life are beginning to move to a different rhythm. Parallel currencies, time banks, cooperatives and self-managed spaces have proliferated, barely noticed by the economics profession, and often as a direct result of the shattering of the old structures in the post-2008 crisis.

You only find this new economy if you look hard for it. In Greece, when a grassroots NGO mapped the country’s food co-ops, alternative producers, parallel currencies and local exchange systems they found more than 70 substantive projects and hundreds of smaller initiatives ranging from squats to carpools to free kindergartens. To mainstream economics such things seem barely to qualify as economic activity – but that’s the point. They exist because they trade, however haltingly and inefficiently, in the currency of postcapitalism: free time, networked activity and free stuff. It seems a meagre and unofficial and even dangerous thing from which to craft an entire alternative to a global system, but so did money and credit in the age of Edward III.


Sharing the fruits of our labour.

New forms of ownership, new forms of lending, new legal contracts: a whole business subculture has emerged over the past 10 years, which the media has dubbed the “sharing economy”. Buzzwords such as the “commons” and “peer-production” are thrown around, but few have bothered to ask what this development means for capitalism itself.

I believe it offers an escape route – but only if these micro-level projects are nurtured, promoted and protected by a fundamental change in what governments do. And this must be driven by a change in our thinking – about technology, ownership and work. So that, when we create the elements of the new system, we can say to ourselves, and to others: “This is no longer simply my survival mechanism, my bolt hole from the neoliberal world; this is a new way of living in the process of formation.”

...

Long history of money....

Today, the thing that is corroding capitalism, barely rationalised by mainstream economics, is information. Most laws concerning information define the right of corporations to hoard it and the right of states to access it, irrespective of the human rights of citizens. The equivalent of the printing press and the scientific method is information technology and its spillover into all other technologies, from genetics to healthcare to agriculture to the movies, where it is quickly reducing costs.

The modern equivalent of the long stagnation of late feudalism is the stalled take-off of the third industrial revolution, where instead of rapidly automating work out of existence, we are reduced to creating what David Graeber calls “bullshit jobs” on low pay. And many economies are stagnating.

The equivalent of the new source of free wealth? It’s not exactly wealth: it’s the “externalities” – the free stuff and wellbeing generated by networked interaction. It is the rise of non-market production, of unownable information, of peer networks and unmanaged enterprises. The internet, French economist Yann Moulier-Boutang says, is “both the ship and the ocean” when it comes to the modern equivalent of the discovery of the new world. In fact, it is the ship, the compass, the ocean and the gold.

The modern day external shocks are clear: energy depletion, climate change, ageing populations and migration. They are altering the dynamics of capitalism and making it unworkable in the long term. They have not yet had the same impact as the Black Death – but as we saw in New Orleans in 2005, it does not take the bubonic plague to destroy social order and functional infrastructure in a financially complex and impoverished society.

Once you understand the transition in this way, the need is not for a supercomputed Five Year Plan – but a project, the aim of which should be to expand those technologies, business models and behaviours that dissolve market forces, socialise knowledge, eradicate the need for work and push the economy towards abundance. I call it Project Zero – because its aims are a zero-carbon-energy system; the production of machines, products and services with zero marginal costs; and the reduction of necessary work time as close as possible to zero.

Most 20th-century leftists believed that they did not have the luxury of a managed transition: it was an article of faith for them that nothing of the coming system could exist within the old one – though the working class always attempted to create an alternative life within and “despite” capitalism. As a result, once the possibility of a Soviet-style transition disappeared, the modern left became preoccupied simply with opposing things: the privatisation of healthcare, anti-union laws, fracking – the list goes on.

f I am right, the logical focus for supporters of postcapitalism is to build alternatives within the system; to use governmental power in a radical and disruptive way; and to direct all actions towards the transition – not the defence of random elements of the old system. We have to learn what’s urgent, and what’s important, and that sometimes they do not coincide.

...

The power of imagination will become critical. In an information society, no thought, debate or dream is wasted – whether conceived in a tent camp, prison cell or the table football space of a startup company.

As with virtual manufacturing, in the transition to postcapitalism the work done at the design stage can reduce mistakes in the implementation stage. And the design of the postcapitalist world, as with software, can be modular. Different people can work on it in different places, at different speeds, with relative autonomy from each other. If I could summon one thing into existence for free it would be a global institution that modelled capitalism correctly: an open source model of the whole economy; official, grey and black. Every experiment run through it would enrich it; it would be open source and with as many datapoints as the most complex climate models.

The main contradiction today is between the possibility of free, abundant goods and information; and a system of monopolies, banks and governments trying to keep things private, scarce and commercial. Everything comes down to the struggle between the network and the hierarchy: between old forms of society moulded around capitalism and new forms of society that prefigure what comes next.

...

Is it utopian to believe we’re on the verge of an evolution beyond capitalism? We live in a world in which gay men and women can marry, and in which contraception has, within the space of 50 years, made the average working-class woman freer than the craziest libertine of the Bloomsbury era. Why do we, then, find it so hard to imagine economic freedom?
It is the elites, cut off in their dark-limo world, whose project looks forlorn

It is the elites – cut off in their dark-limo world – whose project looks as forlorn as that of the millennial sects of the 19th century. The democracy of riot squads, corrupt politicians, magnate-controlled newspapers and the surveillance state looks as phoney and fragile as East Germany did 30 years ago.

All readings of human history have to allow for the possibility of a negative outcome. It haunts us in the zombie movie, the disaster movie, in the post-apocalytic wasteland of films such as The Road or Elysium. But why should we not form a picture of the ideal life, built out of abundant information, non-hierarchical work and the dissociation of work from wages?

Millions of people are beginning to realise they have been sold a dream at odds with what reality can deliver. Their response is anger – and retreat towards national forms of capitalism that can only tear the world apart. Watching these emerge, from the pro-Grexit left factions in Syriza to the Front National and the isolationism of the American right has been like watching the nightmares we had during the Lehman Brothers crisis come true.

We need more than just a bunch of utopian dreams and small-scale horizontal projects. We need a project based on reason, evidence and testable designs, that cuts with the grain of history and is sustainable by the planet. And we need to get on with it.

Postcapitalism is published by Allen Lane on 30 July. Paul Mason will be asking whether capitalism has had its day at a sold-out Guardian Live event on 22 July. Let us know your thoughts beforehand at theguardian.com/membership.

https://amp.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/17/postcapitalism-end-of-capitalism-begun?__twitter_impression=true&fbclid=IwAR1necgu-86iKM5J2DPpdxRfii7u-v7KGqT8-3wxH4UPaPaRvcykUwX3SMs

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