Shoplifting has become something of a lifeline for Japan’s elderly population. As Bloomberg reports, nearly one in five women in prison is 65 or older. These elderly women commit minor crimes in order to escape poverty and solitude. Often, women are repeat offenders so that they can return to prison once they are released. To…
by Nina Golgowski via huffingtonpost.com
The Salvation Army is adding healthy grocery shopping to its list of charitable endeavors. The nonprofit opened its first full-service grocery store in Baltimore on Wednesday in what it hopes will be the first of many stores to help combat the nation’s number of “food deserts,” which are disadvantaged neighborhoods lacking stores that sell fresh meats and produce.
DMG Foods, which is named after the organization’s promise of “doing the most good,” opened in northeast Baltimore with the goal of providing local residents with nutritious, low-cost food as well as nutrition guidance, meal planning and job training. “If this works, Baltimore wants us to open two or three more stores,” Maj. Gene A. Hogg, the Salvation Army’s Central Maryland area commander, told HuffPost on Monday.
Politics, Power and Pipelines – Europe and Natural Gas
This documentary concerns Russia’s controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, due for completion by the end of 2019. The EU, the UK and the US have been working hard to shut down Nord Stream 2, and various commentators believe the current Novichok psyops is an effort to pressure Germany to back out of their agreement with Gazprom.
The Nord Stream 2 project is a partnership between Russian state-owned Gazprom and five private energy companies from Britain, Germany, France and Netherlands. It will transport natural gas directly across the Baltic Sea to Germany. The existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline system transports Russian gas to western Europe mainly via Ukraine.
Since the 2014 US-sponsored coup in Ukraine, there has been considerable conflict between Russia and Ukraine over Nord Stream 1 – involving Ukraine’s non-payment of fuel charges, their failure to maintain the pipeline and illegal diversion of gas supplies. Russia totally shut down gas supplies to Ukraine in 2009 and 2014 for non-payment, resulting in very cold winters for Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary at the other end of the pipeline.*
Two prominent Germans are part of the Nord Stream 2 consortium, former German Chancellor and Social Democratic Party leader Gerhard Schroder and former Stasi member and Putin friend Mattias Warning. The latter serves as the company’s Managing Director.
Despite their determination to become more independent of Russian gas and oil, Poland and other Eastern European states are dismayed that Nord Stream 2 will bypass them. Ukraine is distraught because it stands to lose $2 billion annually in transit fees.
The EU is trying to stop Nord Stream 2 by claiming regulatory authority, **which Russia and German dispute, as both Nord Stream 1 and 2 are external pipelines.
The US also opposes the pipeline, as it prefers both EU countries to buy its more costly fracked LNG (liquified natural gas). They have threatened economic sanctions on countries that sign new energy agreements with Russia.
The US also opposed Nord Stream 1 (completed in 1973), fearing it might lead to a closer relationship between West Germany and Russia. Former German chancellor Willy Brandt strongly championed Nord Stream 1, over US objections. He believed trade and detente*** were a preferable strategy for bringing down the Iron Curtain. It now appears he was right.
The filmmakers raise legitimate concerns about Russia investing so heavily in yet more fossil fuel pipelines (Gazprom is also building a pipeline via Turkey to Italy and Greece) in a period when the planet urgently needs to end fossil fuel use altogether.
*On March 3, 2018, Russia announced it was ending fossil fuel contracts with Ukraine altogether, raising grave concerns for countries at the other end of the pipeline. See Russia’s Gazprom to Terminate Gas Contracts with Ukraine
**Detente is a cold war term referring to the easing of strained relations.
Australia’s surge in renewable energy production pushes down power prices.
No longer ‘alternative’, mainstream renewables are pushing prices down
Simon Holmes à CourtFri 16 Mar 2018 13.40 AEDT
On the first day of autumn tens of thousands of Victorians received a welcome surprise from their power company — their electricity bills were going down.
Prices were cut 5% because the retailer increased their investment in renewable energy.
This will likely come as a surprise to many.
Since the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and the energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, decided that bashing renewables would play well for them — perhaps more so in the party room than in the electorate — hardly a day goes by without claims that renewables have made our grid unreliable and have pushed prices sky high.
As we emerge from a hot summer without even one second of generation-related blackouts, the dissonance is high.
The Australian Energy Market Operator has demonstrated their ability to…
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Since confirmation requires a simple majority vote of the Senate, and Republicans only control 51 seats, Paul said his vote “may be enough,” but “it depends on the solidarity of the Democrats.”
President Trump will face opposition in the Senate when it comes to the confirmation of his newest picks for secretary of state and CIA director. A large part of that opposition will come from Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who said Wednesday that he will work to “block” both Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel from being confirmed for those appointments.
The president announced Tuesday that with the firing of Rex Tillerson, he was nominating Pompeo to head the State Department. Since that would leave Pompeo’s current slot as CIA director empty, Trump also nominated Haspel to head the spy agency. Senator Paul said on Wednesday, “My announcement today is that I will oppose both Pompeo’s nomination and Haspel’s nomination,” adding, “I’m going to do everything I can to block them.”
As this writer reported previously, Haspel has a record of practicing torture. When she…
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