Archive | July 1, 2015

How German and French Banks Helped Bankrupt Greece*

How German and French Banks Helped Bankrupt Greece*

By Pratap Chatterjee

Alexander Tsipras, the prime minister of Greece, has called a national referendum this Sunday to call the bluff of the European Union and International Monetary Fund who are trying to force his country to accept severe austerity in return for effectively rolling over much of the countries’ debt.

Today Greece owes its creditors €323 billion ($366 billion), some 175 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. How did it end up owing so much money?

“We should be clear: almost none of the huge amount of money loaned to Greece has actually gone there,” Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank and a Nobel Prize winner in economics, wrote in the Guardian newspaper today. “It has gone to pay out private-sector creditors – including German and French banks.”

A recent CorpWatch report – The EuroZone Profiteers –  can help shed further light on this matter. While it’s true that corrupt Greek politicians borrowed billions for shaky government schemes from these banks, there was a very good reason that the financiers made these rash loans: they were under pressure from European Union bureaucrats to compete in a global marketplace with U.K. and U.S. banks.

Take the German banks. While Anglo-American banking is dominated by many branches of a few major banks, Germany had some 4,000 unique institutions in 1990 that made up a three-pillar system of savings banks, co-operative banks, and private banks. These banks lived modestly on miniscule profits of one percent in comparison to Britain’s four mega-banks, which boasted returns as high as 30 percent on equity. Under pressure from Brussels, the German government agreed to push some of the bigger banks to become more “market oriented” by withdrawing state guarantees known as “anstaltslast” and “gewährträgerhaftung” to back them up in times of failure.

Likewise Prime Minister Jacques Chirac began a process of privatizing French banks in the late 1980s to “shoulder its responsibilities to the business community.” (The banks that had been nationalized over time by General Charles de Gaulle in 1945 and by President Pierre Mauroy in 1982) Like the Germans, the French banks enjoyed state protection, and thus were easily able to raise money to lend out.

The European Union was firmly behind this since they wanted European entities to compete on a global stage. “Sometimes it is said that competition is not to the benefit of all: It can favor larger firms, but hurt smaller businesses. I do not share this view,” Mario Monti, the European competition commissioner, said in October 1997. “Naturally, competition will reward greater efficiency. It will put pressure on less-performing companies and on sectors already suffering from structural problems.”

But French banks knew that they could not make billions by competing in Germany, nor were German banks expecting to vanquish the French. They looked instead to a simpler and easier market to loan out the plentiful supply of cash they had – the poorer, mostly southern European states that had agreed to take part in the launch of a common currency called the Euro in 1999.

The logic was clear: In the mid-1990s, national interest rates in Greece and Spain, for example, hovered around 14 percent, and at a similar level in Ireland during the 1992–1993 currency crisis. So borrowers in these countries were eager to welcome the northern bankers with seemingly unlimited supplies of cheap cash at interest rates as low as one to four percent.

Take the case of Georg Funke, who ran Depfa, a German public mortgage bank. Depfa helped Athens get a star credit rating, raised €265 million for the Greek government railway, helped Portugal borrow €200 million to build up a water supplier, and gave €90 million to Spain to construct a privately operated road in Galicia. For a while, the middle class in Greece like the middle classes in Spain and Ireland, benefited from the infrastructure spending stimulus. When Depfa nearly collapsed in 2008, Funke was fired.

Or take the case of Georges Pauget, the CEO of Crédit Agricole in France, who bought up Emporiki Bank of Greece for €3.1 billion in cash in 2006. Over the next six years, Emporiki lost money year after year, blowing money on one foolish venture after another, until finally, Crédit Agricole sold it for €1 – not €1 billion or even €1 million – but a single euro to Alpha Bank in October 2012. Crédit Agricole’s cumulative loss? €5.3 billion.

Money poured in from other banks like Dexia of Belgium. Via Kommunalkredit, Dexia loaned €25 million to Yiannis Kazakos, the mayor of Zografou, a suburb of Athens, to buy land to build a shopping mall. It made similar loans to other Greek municipal authorities including Acharnon, Melisia, Metamorfosis, Nea Ionia, Serres, and Volos.

“The tsunami of cheap credit that rolled across the planet between 2002 and 2007 … wasn’t just money, it was temptation,” financial writer Michael Lewis wrote in Vanity Fair. “Entire countries were told, “The lights are out, you can do whatever you want to do, and no one will ever know.”

Bloomberg took a look at statistics from the Bank for International Settlements, and worked out that German banks loaned out a staggering $704 billion to Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain before December 2009. Two of Germany’s largest private banks—Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank—loaned $201 billion to Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, according to numbers compiled by BusinessInsider. And BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole of France loaned $477 billion to Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

There is a very good parallel to this situation of cheap and easy money in the recent sub-prime mortgage crisis in the U.S.

In a recent book, A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home, author Laura Gottesdiener explains that 30 years ago, African Americans were unable to borrow money to buy houses because of a practice called redlining—where banks drew fictitious red lines around neighborhoods they would not lend to even if the borrowers had good credit and good jobs.

Today, redlining is illegal, but the reverse has happened. In the 1990s, poor people around the U.S. were offered 100 percent loans to buy houses at low rates with virtually no collateral.

“The mortgage market for white Americans was flush. There was no more money to be made from issuing mortgages to white Americans. The banks needed new consumers,” Gottesdiener told Corporate Crime Reporter magazine. “So, they moved into the minority market. But they weren’t selling the conventional loans. They were selling these incredibly exploitative predatory loans.”

The EuroZone Profiteers

Summary

Introduction

We know how the sub-prime crisis ended in 2008 – and it almost brought down the global economy.

What happened after the creation of the Euro was very similar. The Greek government is in debt today to Germany and France not just because they borrowed money for unwise projects, but also because the bankers pushed them to take money that they would never have been able to approved under normal circumstances.

But as Stiglitz has noted, these German and French banks have now been rescued. An ATTAC Austria study showed that 77 percent of the €207 billion provided for the so-called “Greek bail-out” went to the financial sector and not to the people.

How the Greeks will vote on the European Union austerity package this Sunday is hard to predict, but more must be done – it is time to investigate the bankers who created the EuroZone crisis and hold them accountable.

But the bankers are not the only ones. There must be repercussions for the European Union bureaucrats and politicians who promoted the idea that free-market competition in financial services would benefit everyone. And not least of all, there should be a serious debate on how to reverse many of the policies that were used to create the European single market in financial services.

Source*

Related Topics:

Germany, where’s the Reparation for Greece?*

Russia Opens Door To Greece As Sixth Member Of New BRICS World Bank: Russian Oil Makes Athens Europe’s Energy Hub!

Greece’s New Left Government Better be Prepared for a Battle with the Oligarchy*

European Central Bank Forcing Greece into Perpetual Debt*

Greece Prepares for Humanitarian Aid for Greeks*

Freedom in Ramadhan*

Freedom in Ramadhan*

By Aqeela Naqvi

The door to a spiritual journey is always open...For millions of Muslims around the world, it is now the most wonderful time of the year. The Month of Ramadhan is the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar and marks the occasion when the Holy Qur’an was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and his family. Not only is it the holiest month of the Islamic year, it is also one of the most anticipated. You might be thinking,

“Wait…isn’t this the month where Muslims fast for 30 days? Why would anyone look forward to that?”

Contrary to what might be expected, most Muslims await this month with excitement, each with their own uniquely beautiful way of spending it. My own memories involve waking in the dark hours of the morning to the warm glow of a kitchen; gathering around the table to eat Suhoor, the meal before dawn; praying Fajr, the Morning Prayer, then crawling back into the arms of an inviting bed; waking to the stomach’s faint grumbling, a hunger which is suppressed throughout the day as one focuses on building patience and awareness; the echoing call to Maghrib prayer at dusk signalling the completion of the fast; the sitting down to enjoy a beautifully prepared meal, Iftaar.

The fast of the Month of Ramadhan is not just the fast of the body—it is the fast of every sense. The tongue, eyes, ears, and hands, must all fast from doing anything that would cause harm to the self or others. Not only would eating or drinking break the fast, but so would lying, becoming angry, emotionally or physically hurting someone, etc. Through the repeated practice of refraining from certain habits, it is believed that those who fast will eventually be able to free themselves from the grip of the material realm, while transcending into the spiritual realm in order to attain Taqwa, or God-consciousness.

The question arises: if this month contains so many restrictions, why do those who fast find it so liberating?

Throughout the year, we get so caught up in the humdrum of daily life that unknowingly, brick by solid brick, we build around ourselves a prison that cages us and our potentials. We limit our vision to the glimpses of sky we can see between the bars; we make ourselves prisoners to our egos and grudges, notions of pride and self-importance. Instead of making our desires the mounts upon which we ride, we make ourselves the mounts, and hand our passions the reins. Our bodies curl inward, bowing down to the illusions of life. We forget that the world was made for us, not the other way around, and by giving it this superiority, we allow it to tell us, “Jump,” while asking, “How high?”

And then the Month of Ramadhan comes around and tells us—be the master of your desires, not the slave. Through fasting, we do not engage in “doing,” but rather, constantly engage in “undoing.” We untie knots of anger, envy, impatience; untangle ropes of lust, jealousy, ingratitude; unchain ourselves from every fetter that chains by prioritizing the body over the spirit. When our eyes seek to see that which would harm our intellectual development, when our hands seek to do that which would harm our fellow humans or ourselves, when our tongues seek to speak or our ears seek to hear the hidden faults of a brother or sister—we refrain and reflect.

We reflect and understand the sacredness of the intellect and mind of the individual, and the sanctity of the body and character of every human being (no matter their race, nationality, or creed), and understand why they must be protected at all costs.

The Month of Ramadhan reminds us that we are not bodies carrying souls; we are souls inhabiting bodies. It brings us back to our core—a reminder that, if we are able to shake off our earth-bound chains, each of us is capable of reaching unfathomable heights. The idea that there is something greater to live for than ourselves is something that resonates with both the conscious Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Through its physical restrictions on food and drink, the fast urges us that we were not made for a meek existence which is dependent on the limitations of the body. But more importantly, through its spiritual restrictions, it opens our eyes to the elevation that awaits when we are able to break free from the desires which we see as nourishing us, but which are, in actuality, slow and painful poisons.

Through the physical suffering of hunger, we are also reminded to look at the suffering of our soul. When all the distractions are removed, we see it shivering in the corner, being suffocated by the walls we have built around it, thinking we were fortifying it and making it strong, when we were actually caging it in and crushing it.

Day-by-day, our bodily hunger motions us to remember the hunger of our spirit, and helps us to realize that the truest satisfaction does not come when, every evening, we sit down to break our fasts with delicious food (no matter how amazing those kebabs taste); rather, it comes when the spirit breaks free of earthly limitations and is able to taste the essence of the Divine.

Through the hunger of the body, we go on strike against the prison of the mind. Like lights in a too-long darkened house, we switch on our consciousnesses, becoming increasingly aware of our physical, social, moral, and intellectual responsibilities—a silent, yet utterly important revolution.

The Month of Ramadhan asks us many things, but perhaps the most important question it raises is this:

“Do I have what it takes to be free?

Do I have what it takes to walk out of the seeming security of my cell, to blink my unaccustomed eyes against the brightness of the sun?

Can I dismantle the walls while asking myself—why lean against the unforgiving strength of bricks for support, when I can unfurl my wings and rest against the gentle strength of the wind?”

Thai Women Pray at Pattani MosqueThis month forces us to discard the physical for that which transcends it, and ask ourselves: “Knowing that the key is in my hands, do I have the strength to unlock my chains and journey to a swaying field that rests under an open sky; though my muscles strain from being unused for so long, do I have the motivation to run, to walk, to crawl, to keep moving towards that golden place of spiritual exaltation?

“When I walk out the door of that prison, will I ever turn back? Once I smell freely moving, constantly changing air, can I ever return to the taste of stagnation? After this month ends, will I come to hate my shackles, exchanging them for the weightlessness of the sky—or have I become so used to their weight, that I will miss their heaviness on my arms, the security of being chained to the earth?”

The Month of Ramadhan arrives every year like an old friend for millions around the world. Its days are spent in fasting and its nights are spent in prayer, and though it seems like it comes with many restrictions, those who truly understand its purpose know that its provisions do not constrict, but liberate. It is a closing of the doors of the meagre dining halls of this world, and an opening of the ones to the banquet of the Divine. It says: be hungry and feel the fullness of spirit. Refrain, and become nourished. Transcend the body, its desires. Starve the ego, feed the soul.

It takes us by the hand and smiles while saying: Every time you hear your stomach grumble and feel yourself to be weak, remember the strength to persist that lives in the hollows of your bones, remember the potential to change the world that pulses through the crevices of your palms. Every time you feel your senses begin to be pulled towards darkness, remember the glorious light that dances through your veins, remember the lion’s roar that blazes through your soul.

Remember:

Have the courage to shake off your fetters. You were not born to be enslaved. You were born to be free.

Source*

Related Topics:

What’s Keeping You?*

Surprising Benefits of Eating at Night*

The Last Illusion

The Right of Fasting

The Inner Technology of Islam

Sexuality Beyond the Veil 

A Season for Forgiveness

From the Symbolic Ascension to the Ascension of Our Lives

Ramadhan Re-Runs With Baba ‘Ali

Islam is Not a Religion

Letter to the Self #4: Laziness!

Distractions of Life vs. God

The Charity of Love

The Brain Connection: Prayer and Meditation 

The First Black Female Principal Dancer*

The First Black Female Principal Dancer*

At 32, Misty Copeland has already emerged as a bona fide star of the ballet world by many measures—she was a soloist at the American Ballet Theatre, has taken on the career-framing role of Odette/Odile in her company’s recent production of “Swan Lake” and she has become something of a household name.

On Tuesday, she added a big feather to the already impressive plumage in her proverbial cap: Copeland was named the ABT’s first African-American female principal dancer in the company’s 75-year history. The New York Times brought details about her history-making news that day:

Her promotion — after more than 14 years with the company, nearly eight as a soloist — came as Ms. Copeland’s fame spread far beyond traditional dance circles.

She made the cover of Time magazine this year, was profiled by “60 Minutes” and presented a Tony Award on this year’s telecast. She has written a memoir and a children’s book, and has more than a half-million followers on Instagram. An online ad she made for Under Armour has been viewed more than 8 million times, and she is the subject of a documentary screened this year at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Over the past year, whenever Ms. Copeland, 32, danced leading roles with Ballet Theater, her performances became events, drawing large, diverse, enthusiastic crowds to cheer her on at the Metropolitan Opera house, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. After she starred in “Swan Lake” with Ballet Theater last week — becoming the first African-American to do so with the company at the Met — the crowd of autograph seekers was so large that people had to be moved away from the cramped stage door area.

[…] Ms. Copeland, who declined to be interviewed for this article, was unusually outspoken about her ambition of becoming the first black woman named a principal dancer by Ballet Theater, one of the nation’s most prestigious companies, which is known for its international roster of stars and for staging full-length classical story ballets.

“My fears are that it could be another two decades before another black woman is in the position that I hold with an elite ballet company,” she wrote in her memoir, “Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina,” published last year. “That if I don’t rise to principal, people will feel I have failed them.”

This put an unusual public spotlight on Ballet Theater as it weighed the kind of personnel decision that, in the rarified world of ballet, is rarely discussed openly. If the company had not promoted Ms. Copeland, it risked being seen as perpetuating the inequalities that have left African-American dancers, particularly women, woefully underrepresented at top ballet companies.

Clearly, Copeland’s “outspoken” approach to clinching the ABT’s top spot worked well. Watch her Under Armour ad, “I Will What I Want,” in full below (via YouTube):

Source *

 

 

Related Topics:

Stepping Back to Afrika!

A Dance into the Sublime

If ISIS Had Burned Down Four Churches, It Would Have Been Headline News*

If ISIS Had Burned Down Four Churches, It Would Have Been Headline News*

By Juan Cole

Seven African-American churches have burned down in the past week and at least four of these southern Black churches were victims of deliberate arson, and possibly six were.

This news is being reported tentatively and in the passive mood.  The churches burned or were burned.  But that arson directed at an African-American church in the South after the Roof murders is likely the work of white supremacists is only hinted at.  The ambiguity of thunderstorms is typically brought in, quoting local authorities.  But there are lots of thunderstorms all the time in the South and churches have lightning rods.  Why would a church that had stood for decades suddenly succumb to a single storm?

Shouldn’t the headline be:

“Suspected White supremacists burn down at least four African-American churches”?

Shouldn’t there be an agent, a doer, involved?

Compare how the press handled Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) attacks on Christians and churches.  It was front page news!  And the active voice was used, even though these events happened thousands of miles away amidst a fog of war and there were no Western eyewitnesses.

Source*

Related Topics:

Bishops Denounce Horrific Desecration of Christian Images in ‘Gay Pride’*

Charlestown Massacre: There Is Something Seriously Wrong With not only American Society*

People’s Power Defends Detroit Homeowners*

Black Wall Street*

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

UK Bishop Warns Of ‘A Slide Towards Ever Greater State Control’ as Pressure Mounts On Christians*

Vatican Speaker Push for Massive Depopulation under New ‘Earth Constitution’ and ‘World Government*

African Bishops against the Vatican Move to Destroy the Family*

Democrats Hope to Bury Black Lives Matter in the Elections*

Eugenics in the United States Today*

Discovering Black Identity*

Pentagon Admits 60,000 Black Soldiers Used in Human Experiment*

Lancashire Rejects Fracking Deal*

Lancashire Rejects Fracking Deal*

By Adam Vaughan

Lancashire county council has rejected a planning application by shale gas explorer Cuadrilla to frack in the county, in a major blow to what would have been the U.K.’s biggest round of fracking so far.

Hundreds of anti-fracking campaigners outside the county hall in Preston, where the verdict was announced, reacted with delight and cheers, and people in the council chamber applauded.

The surprise rejection regards a site at Preston New Road, near Little Plumpton on the Fylde, where Cuadrilla had hoped to drill four wells and undertake exploratory fracking for shale gas.

Nine of the councillors on the 14-strong development control committee voted in favour of a motion to reject the application on grounds of visual impact and unacceptable noise, and also rejected a related application for an array to monitor seismic activity.

The long-delayed decision by councillors follows their rejection last week on traffic grounds of a bid by Cuadrilla to frack at another site, Roseacre Wood, between Preston and Blackpool.

Planning officers had earlier this month recommended the council reject Roseacre Wood but approve Preston New Road.

Councillors said the grounds for refusing the application for a monitoring array at Preston New Road was that it ran contrary to planning policy EP11, in the respect that “the cumulative effect of the proposal would lead to the industrialisation of the countryside and adversely affect the landscape character.”

They were earlier told that rejections were likely to be appealed by Cuadrilla, which is the only company to have fracked in the U.K. to date. In a statement, the company said it was “surprised and disappointed” at the decision, and it remained committed to extracting shale gas in Lancashire.

“We will now take time to consider our options regarding an appeal for Preston New Road, along with also considering appeals for the planning applications recently turned down, against officer advice, for monitoring and site restoration at Grange Hill, and last week’s decision to refuse the Roseacre Wood application,” the statement said.

Centrica, which has a 25% stake in Cuadrilla, said it was extremely disappointed by the decision. “It has taken a significant amount of investment to get us where we are today so we will be working closely with our partners at Cuadrilla before making any decisions on our next steps.”

Ken Cronin, chief executive of Ukoog, which represents the shale industry, called on the government to review the planning process. “This after 15 months of a long, drawn-out process cannot be right, and I urge the government to urgently review the process of decision-making.”

Alister Scott, professor of environmental and spatial planning at Birmingham City university said an appeal was certain. Professor Andy Aplin, director of the Centre for Research in Earth Energy Systems at Durham University, said a legal challenge was likely.

Environmentalists gave the decision a warm welcome.

Liz Hutchins, a senior campaigner at Friends of the Earth, spoke from outside the town hall where she said the atmosphere was “absolutely electric” and a “massive celebration.”

“This is a bigger win than anyone was expecting, it shows the huge strength of feeling here. There was no way councillors could go against feelings of local people. This is a real blow for Cuadrilla and government.

“Obviously Cuadrilla will try to appeal, and that will go to the national planning inspectorate, and we want a commitment from David Cameron that they won’t intervene in the wishes of local people here.”

Daisy Sands, Greenpeace UK energy and climate campaigner, said

“This decision is a Waterloo for the fracking industry and a triumph for local democracy.

The Green party MP Caroline Lucas described the decision as a fantastic victory and said: “The decision proves that, in spite of all the government’s efforts to force through fracking, local communities can prevent it from going ahead.”

Around 500 people were protesting outside the town hall, according to organisers. More than 50,000 people signed a petition calling for the fracking applications to be rejected. The share price of iGas, the U.K.’s biggest shale company, dropped sharply after the council’s announcement.

Several councillors on Monday morning said coming to the decision had been extremely difficult, with one saying it had been “one of the most difficult decisions of our lives.” One member of the committee last week said they had faced intolerable pressure on the case.

Marcus Johnstone, a member of the development control committee, said the application had been of the biggest it had ever considered:

“The decision to refuse this application has been reached by a vote of the committee, which is composed of elected councillors, and each member of the committee has ultimately cast their vote based on the evidence they have heard and whether they think the proposal is acceptable in planning terms, and to the people they represent.”

David Cameron has said the Conservatives are “going all out for shale,” and the energy and climate secretary Amber Rudd promised after being appointed that she would “deliver shale”.

Andrea Leadsom, energy minister, said the decision was disappointing.

“However, shale gas has huge potential in the U.K., and is an opportunity to develop a new, homegrown energy source that would displace foreign imports and create tens of thousands of jobs. I’m confident that potential will be realised – and the government will back it.”

Both frontrunners for the leaderships of the Labour party and the Lib Dems support a ban on the controversial technique for extracting shale gas, which involves pumping large volumes of water, sand and chemicals underground to fracture shale rock and release gas.

Lucy Powell, the Labour MP for Central Manchester, said she was pleased by the result and that “much more evidence [was] required on [fracking’s] impact.”

Management consultancy Poyry said the decision was a big surprise and “a serious setback for shale gas in the U.K. and many must be wondering if it can ever reach production phase.”

Prof Jim Watson, research Director at the U.K. Energy Research Centre, said: “Today’s decision illustrates yet again that shale gas is highly controversial, and that has implications for how quickly the shale gas can be developed. Whilst this shows that local decision making about our energy choices will continue to matter, this particular decision is likely to be challenged.”

Any appeal by Cuadrilla could land on the desk of Greg Clark, secretary of state for communities and local government, if he decides to “call in” the appeal.

Source*

Related Topics:

Prince Charles Accused of Bullying so He Could Mine Under Villager’s Homes*

Fracking Companies Free to Use 70 Million Gallons Of Clean Water in the Midst of U.S. Record Drought*

Fracking Company Must Pay $3 Million To Sickened Family*

Obama Delivers the U.S. on TPP Platter*

Obama Delivers the U.S. on TPP Platter*

On Monday President Obama signed into law the so-called “fast-track” bill, setting the stage for approval of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership.

555c1-tpp-food-safety-twitter-partyThe fast-track bill, officially known as the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), was one of two bills signed by Obama. The president also signed the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) act which is supposed to extend aid to workers who might lose their jobs as a consequence of the TPP or other so-called free trade deals.

Following the signing, Darlene Superville, White House reporter for The Associated Press,tweeted:

@POTUS at trade bill signing: ‘I thought I’d start off the week with something we should do more often, a truly bipartisan bill signing’

Despite the bipartisan nature of the bill, President Obama acknowledged the hurdles that remain for the TPP.

“We still have some tough negotiations that are going to be taking place. The debate will not end with this bill signing,” Obama said.

CNET reports that an Australian parliamentary committee has released a “Blind Agreement” report warning of an impending “attack [on] internet freedoms,” and criticizing the negotiations as lacking “oversight and scrutiny.”

The joint-Parliamentary report stated that, “Parliament is faced with an all-or-nothing choice” and is being “kept in the dark.

“Parliament should play a constructive role during negotiations and not merely rubber-stamp agreements that have been negotiated behind closed doors,” the report reads.

With the passing of the TPA and TAA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is possibly only weeks away from approval. The trade agreement has been notoriously secret, with the public only viewing chapters of the text which have been leaked by WikiLeaks.

TruthInMedia previously reported on the growing opposition to the TPP:

As the trade agreement nears completion both the Anglican and Catholic churches of New Zealand are demanding the government be more transparent about the negotiations. Radio NZ reports that bishops from the churches are concerned with the lack of openness and that corporate interests are influencing the agreement while the people are being excluded. The churches also called on the New Zealand government to make the draft text of the agreement public.

In early February,  doctors and health professional representing seven countries released a letter warning that the TPP will lead to higher medical costs for all nations. The letter, published in The Lancet medical journal, states that, “Rising medicine costs would disproportionately affect already vulnerable populations.” The doctors called on the governments involved in the trade deal to publicly release the full text of the agreement. They also demanded an independent analysis of the impacts on health and human rights for each nation involved in the deal.

Also in February, an analysis by The Washington Post revealed the US government’s numbers on expected job increases from TPP are not factually correct. The Fact Checker examined several quotes from government officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Both Kerry and Vilsack claimed the international trade agreement would create 650,000 new jobs. However, these numbers do not take into account income gains and changing wages. According to the government own sources imports and exports would increase by the same amount resulting in a net number of zero new jobs.

Source*

Related Topics:

Corporation vs. State: Sweeping TPP Powers Strip Sovereignty*

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

Is Obama Confused about the Feudalistic Nature of TPP?*

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

Criminalizing Healthy Food Paves Way for TPP*

TPP Preparedness: EU Drops Pesticide Laws*

TPP Preparedness: New Bolivian Law Forces Investor Disputes to Be Settled Locally*

Detroit: Your World under TPP*

French Court Rules It Unconstitutional to Cut Anybody off from Water!*

U.K. Doctors Want NHS Out of TTIP Now*

Ramadhan in Kenya*

Ramadhan in Kenya*

Filmmaker: Yasser Ashour

Muslims have lived in Kenya for centuries and today make up about 11% of the country’s population. These communities live on the coast in cities like Mombasa – where nearly half of the city’s inhabitants are Muslim – and in the country’s northeast.

Ramadan in Kenya meets Muslims living in Mombasa, Kisumu and Nairobi and captures their lives and culture in their homes, at work and in their places of worship.

They talk about what aspects of Ramadhan mean the most to them.

Aseef Akram is a 25-year-old halal butcher living in Mombasa. He talks about the “spirit of Ramadhan ” in the city, the culture of openness towards those who are fasting, and about breaking that fast with the coconut dishes of the region.

“For me [during Ramadhan], I tend to be most spiritually connected to my God, my creator,” says Akram.

In the western city of Kisumu, Fauza Asya Kombo picks and sells bananas for a living and is raising five children on her own after her husband died.

Although earning a livelihood can be a struggle, she says,

“When we’ve finished [iftar], we give any leftover bread to our neighbours. Food doesn’t go to waste … Wasting leads to non-belief.”

Arafat bin Taleb, a sixth grader at a shelter for orphans, says the month of Ramadhan acts like a guide [Al Jazeera]

Arafat bin Taleb is, a sixth grader at a shelter for orphans, talks about the peace he gains from his  Qur’anic  studies  and the importance of his faith in his life.

“To me, the month of Ramadhan acts like a guide. If I’ve made mistakes before Ramadhan, I’ll avoid making them once Ramadhan starts,” he says.

From the Qur’an memorisation competitions which attract children studying in madrassas in Tanzania and Uganda – to Akram’s family using the opportunity to eat together to break their fast, Ramadan in Kenya experiences the spirituality, traditions and significance of the holy month through the eyes of individuals who observe it.

Source*

Related Topics:

Prophet Muhammed (SAW) on Ramadhan

Many Forms Of Fasting*

What’s Keeping You?*

Surprising Benefits of Eating at Night*

The Last Illusion

The Right of Fasting

Musician and Bollywood Actress Convert to Islam

Alchemy of the Heart

Generosity in Islam

The Inner Technology of Islam