Archive | June 9, 2015

Animal Testing Becomes Illegal in New Zealand*

Animal Testing Becomes Illegal in New Zealand*

By Zoe Melnyk

New Zealand recently passed a bill banning animal testing and other types of animal cruelty. Talk of banning animal testing around the world has posed as a controversial debate for decades between two different interpretations of the words “mankind was delegated to have dominion over the animals.” On one hand are cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies who believe that animals should be surrogates for human suffering, and on the other are those who realize that humans have the responsibility to protect the freedom and safety of anything living that cannot speak for itself.

According to an article from Humane Society International, there’s an estimated 115 million animals that are used for testing and research purposes globally each year. This includes placing animals under physical pain and distress, with results that may or may not be applicable to people. The regulations on animal testing are also blurry and undefined, so the exact number of animals and the experiments used are often times unknown and undocumented.

Acknowledging this injustice, New Zealand officially passed the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill last month.

The bill, complete with 61 new rules and policies that are split up into two different sections, covers all the new ways animals will be protected from abuse and it also allows easier prosecution against anyone committing animal cruelty.

Aside from just banning animal testing, the bill also includes a number of ways to protect animals, establishing when surgical procedures are appropriate, specific areas allotted for hunting, and the proper treatment of wild animals.

Animal cruelty, for example, can be broken down into two different categories: wilful and reckless.

Willfully, or intentionally, hurting animals or causing an animal serious distress can result in up to five years in prison or as much as a $100,000 fine for a single individual, or $500,000 for a group or corporation.

Recklessly, or accidentally, committing the same crime can result in up to three years in prison or a $75,000 fine for an individual, or $350,000 for a group.

Other than the blatant unethical morals behind animal testing, the reasoning behind passing the bill is due to New Zealand’s recent assertion that animals are “sentient,” feeling emotional distress and pain similar to a human.

In the past, it was believed that animals couldn’t feel compassion or sympathy, because for humans those emotions are not innate but rather imbedded in our society. However, according to researcher Frans de Waal, animals are actually born with a number of human-like characteristics like sympathy, altruism and sociability.

In this case, the animals worst enemy is not the hunters and scientists testing on them, it’s the apathy from everyone else doing nothing to protect them. It’s obvious to see the evil in animal testing and unnecessary hunting, but like any injustice, eradicating the issue requires a collective effort from everyone—not just government officials—to shift the societal perspective for good.


Related Topics:

All-Female Militia who Hunt African Rhino Poachers*

Occupy World: Iranian Hunters Decided to Stop Killing Wildlife*

Conscientious Scientists want a Ban on Editing the Human Genome*

US Vaporized and Experimented on the Indigenous of Marshall Islands*

Eugenics: The Genetic Engineering of Ebola in the 1980s*

Standing up against Forced Vaccinations in the Balkans*

Doctors on Trial in 9th Circuit Court*

The U.S. has Mandated Drug Research on Children*

European Parliament Vote on TTIP Postponed*

European Parliament Vote on TTIP Postponed*

A vote on the US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has been delayed at the last minute in the European Parliament due to divisions within the two major party groups, forcing the president of the assembly, Martin Schulz, to postpone it.

The reasons for the last minute delay were allegedly the many amendments to the proposal that meant MEPs needed more time to consider the deal, which opponents say will only benefit big corporations rather than citizens.

Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now has says the delay shows just how controversial and toxic the TTIP deal is.

“The TTIP vote being postponed as a result of the large number of amendments reflects just how controversial and contested this toxic trade deal has become.

“MEPs know that the people of Europe do not want the introduction of secret corporate courts and do want to protect vital public services as well as environmental and labour restrictions.”

According to a tweet by the European Parliament’s press office, the TTIP vote “has been postponed due to many amendments and requests for split or separate votes (according to Rule 175).”

Meanwhile, the campaign group Stop TTIP has reached a record number of signatures with two million signing up to stop the deal. According to Global Justice Now,

“this is the largest European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) since the introduction of the instrument in 2012, even though the EU Commission has tried to block it.”

Speaking ahead of the vote, senior figures in the European Parliament warned that they would block a secretive trade pact unless the deal guarantees states’ rights to regulate over climate, health and social laws.

The warning comes after WikiLeaks published secret documents detailing negotiations on the global Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), involving the US, the EU and 23 other countries. All the BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are absent from the negotiations.


Related Topics:

Corporation vs. State: Sweeping TPP Powers Strip Sovereignty*

TPP Preparedness: EU Drops Pesticide Laws*

Over 1,000 Plaintiffs File Lawsuit to Keep Japan out of TPP*

This is what TPP Looks Like: World Bank Demands Argentina Pay French Company*

Detroit: Your World under TPP*

Is Obama Confused about the Feudalistic Nature of TPP?*

EU Gives Countries Two Months to Adopt New Banking Rules*

Rothschild’s Summit Fine-tuning Capitalism into Global Economic Tyranny*

132 Nations Want Out of the Cabal’s Global Banking System*

People’s Power Defends Detroit Homeowners*

People’s Power Defends Detroit Homeowners*

By Patrick Sheehan

“I just want to say thank you for joining us in the fight for our lives.”

Antoinette Talley stands on a makeshift podium in the common area of a gray stone church on Detroit’s east side. The room’s walls are a dark, varnished wood. Fluorescent lighting illuminates an imposingly large wood-framed image of The Last Supper over the door.

If it weren’t for the plastic over the windows, Talley’s generous smile, and body heat – there are at least sixty people in attendance – the room would be as cold as Detroit’s battered streets.

As she addresses the audience, Talley is flanked by several of her neighbours, each of them recent homeowners in the new Gratiot-McDougall housing development just a few blocks north of the church. She and her neighbors have been fighting a dubious eviction notice from the project’s developer for months now. Today they are guests of honour at a fundraiser held on their behalf by the activist organization Detroit Eviction Defense.

“Those houses are a part of us,” Talley tells the supporters,

“That’s our family. And it would destroy me to have to leave my family behind and go somewhere else. You have all warmed our hearts, so thank God for fighting with us day in and day out.”

The battle to keep residents in Gratiot-McDougall homes is the most recent of dozens of housing-related struggles that Detroit Eviction Defense (DED) has taken on over the last three years. A spin-off working group of Detroit’s Occupy movement, DED has grown into a diverse and dynamic coalition of activists of all shapes and sizes – tonight’s crowd is a blur of beanie-sporting hipsters, retired steelworkers, single mothers and housing lawyers. Through horizontal organizing and a smattering of legal and extra-legal tactics, DED has kept dozens of Detroiters from being evicted.

Even in one of the country’s empties cities, housing is no guarantee. The Motor City has been hit particularly hard by the housing crisis. Between 2004 and 2006, nearly three-quarters of mortgages written in the city were subprime. Detroit has faced one of the highest mortgage and tax foreclosure rates in the country since. This year some 50,000 Detroiters are facing foreclosures and eviction over property taxes.

Access to water is almost as tenuous as that to housing and the two are connected.

A housekeeping chore in the city’s bankruptcy filing, the city shut off water to more than 10,000 bill-delinquent Detroiters last summer. Many unpaid water bills, already inflated by the city’s leaking water system, get transferred to the home’s property tax where they grease the slippery slope towards foreclosure.

Organizers at DED have developed a diverse array of tactics to keep Detroiters in their homes – from funding legal battles to inundating courtrooms during foreclosure hearings to physically standing guard over homes targeted for eviction.

Local attorney and DED member Vanessa Fluker put it this way.

“I learned this a long time ago: courts are fine, but that’s not necessarily your justice avenue,” she said.

“If you want to get justice you have to have a parallel – while you’re fighting in court, you have to be fighting out in the streets.”

A large portion of Detroit Eviction Defense is made up of people who have themselves had their housing threatened, like Jerry Cullers.

“My situation happened in 2012,” he said.

“The day before Halloween was when they put the dumpsters outside of my house. From that day until this day, I’m still jumping when I hear loud noises on my street.”

When a friend recommended he call DED, the group sent a cohort immediately. Diane Feeley, a retired union autoworker recalls their first interaction,

“When I first met Jerry, he was looking for boxes to pack up his things,” she said.

“Then we saved his house.”

With DED’s legal, financial and emotional support, Cullers was able to negotiate a modification on his mortgage.

“Hey, protest works,” he said.

“You’ve got to stand up for something.”

Cullers went on to become a stalwart of the organization. He now coordinates activist actions with community groups across the country that are resisting foreclosures.

“Once you go through a situation like that, there is just something inside you,” he said.

Detroit Eviction Defense has seen a number of other victories in its years of operations. It helped Urealdene Henderson, a thirty-six year Steelworkers union member, win the right to buy back her home from foreclosure by running a smear campaign on the company trying to strong-arm her out of her home. As the Huffington Post reported, a weeklong DED-organized vigil successfully defended Jennifer Britt’s home long enough for her to win a mortgage modification. This winter, DED helped Daryl and Lula Burke stand up to the investor who swooped up their home from foreclosure. With their support, the couple was able to bargain hard enough to buy back their property.

For life-long activist, Jim Dwight, work with Detroit Eviction Defense has been some of the most rewarding.

“We actually have victories here,” he said.

“In other issues, like the wars…there weren’t any ‘wins’ you could see. In this work, we actually get to help people, who would otherwise be on the street, stay in their homes.”


Related Topics:

Zapatista Resistance Festival Sheds Light on Those Above who Destroy while Those from Below Build*

Celebrating a decade of Zapatismo in New York*

Water as a Weapon in Baltimore*

The Watery Road to Serfdom: After Detroit, Baltimore*

Chevron and Exxon: The Criminals Behind Katrina*

Black Wall Street*

Five Hundred Strangers Prevent Bailiffs from Evicting Man Dying of Cancer*

A Petition of 15,000 against Water Tax Hikes Ignored by Irish Officials*

They say #WeRise to Reclaim Government for the People*

The Indigenous of Maine Claim Sovereignty*

Indicted for Murder, Police Officer Faces 30 to Life for Killing Walter Scott*

Indicted for Murder, Police Officer Faces 30 to Life for Killing Walter Scott*

A white former North Charleston police officer was indicted on a murder charge Monday in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man who was running away from the officer after a traffic stop.

The shooting April 4 was captured on video by a bystander and showed officer Michael Slager firing eight times as 50-year-old Walter Scott ran away. The shooting rekindled an ongoing national debate about the treatment of black people at the hands of white officers.

Slager was charged with murder almost immediately after the video surfaced. Prosecutor Scarlett Wilson announced the indictment.

“The jury will make up its own mind after it sees the video and hears the other testimony,” Wilson said of Slager’s trial. No trial date has been set.

Wilson said the state law enforcement agents had the video and could have shown it to the grand jury, but she is not sure if they did. In South Carolina, the investigating agency typically presents the case to a grand jury, not the prosecutor.

Wilson said earlier the death penalty does not seem to apply because there were no aggravating circumstances such as robbery or kidnapping as required under South Carolina law.

The 33-year-old Slager faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted. He has been jailed without bond since his arrest.

Slager told authorities that he fired his Taser at Scott as he ran, but the stun gun didn’t work. Then during a scuffle over the weapon, Slager said, he shot Scott with his handgun in self-defense. The video appeared to show the men briefly scuffling in a vacant lot, but it also shows Scott clearly running away when the officer starts firing his handgun.

Family members have said Scott may have started running after the traffic stop because he was fearful of returning to jail over about $18,000 he owed in late child-support payments.

As word of the shooting spread, many feared police would close the case without taking any action against the officer. But days later, the video shot by a man walking to work surfaced, and Slager was fired from his job and arrested, easing tensions in the community.

The video added fuel to the national debate about race and aggressive police tactics that intensified in August with the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In that case, there was no video of the shooting and Officer Darren Wilson was not indicted.

In Baltimore, six officers were indicted in the death of Freddie Gray, who was critically injured during an arrest there and later died at a hospital.

In South Carolina, prosecutors have sought felony charges against Slager and two other officers in the past year for shooting at unarmed black men following traffic stops. Two of the men were killed, while a third was seriously injured.

None of the cases has gone to trial.


Related Topics:

Man Who Recorded Freddie Gray Video Arrested*

Six Baltimore Officers Indicted for Freddie Gray’s Death, but…*

Baltimore Charged with Hope, as 6 Killer Cops are Charged with Murder*

Falling Profits and Desperate Junk Food Companies Make Fun of Healthy Diets*

Falling Profits and Desperate Junk Food Companies Make Fun of Healthy Diets*

By John Vibes

In a recent advertisement for Pepsi Max, a version of the soda that is even more unhealthy than the original, healthy people drinking smoothies are mocked and assaulted. In the commercial, an actor talks up Pepsi while making fun of healthy drinks. He even throws one of the smoothies across the room at a “hipster”.

The 30-second ad is an obvious temper tantrum of a dying beast.

McDonald’s also made an advertisement recently that was subtly mocking people who choose to eat healthier. However, after the backlash the company announced that they would soon be serving kale and other healthy alternatives.

In recent months, we have been paying close attention to how McDonalds and other popular junk food brands are falling out of favor as people become more conscious about their diets. GMO food in general is also quickly losing trust among consumers.

Several months ago, it was reported that organic food sales in the United States had risen to over $35 billion per year. This number is expected to climb as interest in organic food continues to grow exponentially.

Junk-soda giant Coca-Cola is facing major financial challenges as sales steadily decline. Some fast food restaurants, such as Burger King, have been removing sodas from their kids meals, in an attempt to seem more concerned with health.

Related Topics:

Consumer Activism Bringing down Monsanto and the Likes*

Monsanto Reports $156 Million Loss in Q4 as Farmers Abandon GM Crops*

TPP Preparedness: EU Drops Pesticide Laws*

The Depletion of your Nutritional Food Content is Intentional*

The American Food Hoax*

One Hospital Uses Organic Food as Medicine*

Iraqi Forces have been Busy doing what U.S. Fails to Do*

Iraq Recaptures Baiji from ISIL*

Iraqi volunteer forces battling ISIL militants fight alongside government forces on the outskirts of Iraq’s Baiji oil refinery, on May 25, 2015. (AFP photo)

The Iraqi Defense Ministry says army soldiers and volunteer forces have gained control over the country’s northern oil refinery city of Baiji from ISIL militants.

The Defense Ministry made the announcement on Sunday.

“Forces have cleansed and are in control completely of government complex, city center, Fatah mosque (main mosque) and surrounding neighborhoods,” Brigadier General Tahseen Ibrahim, a spokesman for the Iraqi Defense Ministry, said.

The commander of the Interior Ministry’s Quick Reaction Forces, Brigadier General Nassir al-Fartousi, also said the Iraqi flag has been raised on a local government building in the city in Salahuddin Province.

Representatives of volunteer forces fighting with the Iraqi army have also confirmed that the entire city has been liberated.

Reports say ISIL militants have fled toward Mosul.

Baiji, which lies north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, is located on a main road to the northern ISIL-held city of Mosul, the country’s second largest city.

Baiji fell to ISIL terrorists last year, but Iraqi forces later managed to regain control over parts of the city and the oil refinery.

The northern and western parts of Iraq have been witnessing unrest since ISIL militants started their campaign of terror in early June 2014. Iraq’s army has been joined by Kurdish forces, as well as Shia and Sunni volunteers in operations to drive the ISIL terrorists out of the areas they have seized.

ISIL militants have been committing atrocities against all minority groups in the region. They currently control some areas of Iraq and neighboring Syria.

The Takfiri group has been using oil facilities in the region to help finance its deadly operations.

Iraqi Volunteer Forces Destroy ISIL Base in Nineveh*

The Iraqi volunteer forces destroyed a strategic base of the Takfiri terrorists in a special operation in Nineveh province.

A group of special forces of Iraqi resistance troops raided and destroyed ISIL’s main base in Nineveh province in Haman al-Alil district in the city of Nineveh.

Tens of ISIL terrorists, including their commander, were killed in the Iraqi forces’ raid on Hamam al-Alil.

Nineveh is an ancient Mesopotamian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River in Nineveh province.

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control shrinking swathes of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Ezadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.

Senior Iraqi officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in their country.

ISIL has links with Saudi intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime.

Pishmarga Forces discovered and destroyed a Chemical Bomb*

The Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s Pishmarga forces discovered and destroyed a chemical bomb of the ISIL terrorist group near Makhmour, 50 kilometers Southwest of Erbil.

“The bomb was abandoned by the ISIL insurgents when the Kurdish forces drove them back from the area.” Pishmarga Spokesman for the Makhmour frontline Ahmad Anwar told BasNews.

“The Pishmarga and foreign experts destroyed the bomb safely,” he said.

“It is believed that the bomb contained chlorine gas, which was manufactured to target the Kurdish forces,” the spokesman further added.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop previously warned that the ISIL fighters were capable of building chemical weapons which had the potential to cause a humanitarian disaster.

Related Topics:

Official: Most US Warplanes Never Attack ISIS/ISIL*

Iraqi Forces Take Down ISIS’s #2 Abu Ala’a al-Afri*

Under Israeli Air Cover, and U.S. Stand down, ISIS took Palmyra*

Iraqi Forces Arrest ISIL’s US, Israeli Military Advisors*

Iraq: The Battle for Tikrit*

25,000 Shia Gather for the Battle of Ramadi*

Syrian Army and Hezbullah Push back al-Qaeda as Christian Militia Mobilizes*

Syria Eliminates Al-Nusra Leadership*

Syrian Army and Kurdish Fighters Seize ISIL’s Main Stronghold*

The Anti-Christ and Armageddon around Damascus*

Are ISIS Backers Attempting to Revive the Ailing Beast?*

ISIS/L and European Neo-Nazis United under Pentagon’s 5th Generation Warfare*

Princes Fleeing Saudi after Yemen Missile Attacks*

CIA + Contractors = ISIS in Afghanistan*

Humanity before Religiosity*

The Butcher of Bahrain is British*