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by Editors — last modified Nov 16, 2014 01:32 PM
Contributors: Faiz Ahmed, JBB, Graham H. Cox, R. Dubois, JA Cox

Israel acknowledges it is helping Syrian rebel fighters | Times of Israel

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Jun 30, 2015 11:24 AM
"Israel has provided humanitarian assistance to wounded Syrian fighters located near the shared border since the civil war stated, the defense minister said."

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Joseph Stiglitz: how I would vote in the Greek referendum | The Guardian

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Jun 30, 2015 11:04 AM
"Economists around the world have condemned [the economic targets imposed on Greece] as punitive, because aiming for it will inevitably result in a deeper downturn. Indeed, even if Greece’s debt is restructured beyond anything imaginable, the country will remain in depression ... We should be clear: almost none of the huge amount of money loaned to Greece has actually gone there. It has gone to pay out private-sector creditors – including German and French banks. Greece has gotten but a pittance, but it has paid a high price to preserve these countries’ banking systems. ... I know how I would vote."

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Academic publishers reap huge profits as libraries go broke | CBC

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Jun 29, 2015 02:29 PM
"Aside from the costs of switching itself, the digital age has made publishing even cheaper for scientific journals, which already have a business model that sounds too good to be true. Unlike other authors, researchers don't get paid for the papers they write, and peer reviewers don't get paid either. ... This model originally existed because it was necessary for sharing research in the age of print. It's no longer a practical necessity in the digital age. But it continues to exist because researchers' funding and career advancement are tied to the number of papers they publish in top journals."

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The way forward for universal access to internet is through public ownership | What's Left

by Editors (What's Left) last modified Jun 29, 2015 11:56 AM
Access to the internet should, arguably, be a right for everyone. That includes people living in rural areas, in low-income neighbourhoods and in other regions where giant telecommunications companies are not interested in providing high-speed access.

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An interesting fight is shaping up in the United States. An increasing number of states are caving to pressure from powerful telecom monopolies like AT&T, Comcast, and T-Mobile – corporations who have more concern for their profit margins than for their commitments to the public. These companies have been pushing for laws that make it all but impossible for municipalities to establish their own, and in many cases faster and more affordable, internet service.

This fight has its roots in legal commitments several cable and telecommunications companies made previously. In return for commercial monopoly rights in many parts of the country, these corporations promised to roll-out high speed access to millions of Americans ... a promise that many have not kept.

As a result, some municipalities have taken it upon themselves to make wifi as publicly available as possible – recognizing that it is a challenge for any citizen to navigate today's world without being able to plug-in. Many cities own local electricity distribution companies that provide most of the infrastructure to offer cheap, non-profit, ultra-fast internet to residents.

More: How States Are Fighting to Keep Towns From Offering Their Own Broadband

More: 22 years after Verizon fiber promise, millions have only DSL or wireless

More: Nearly half of Canada's lowest income earners don't have broadband access

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Co-op Atlantic sells-out to Sobeys | What's Left

by JA Cox last modified Jun 29, 2015 12:00 PM
On June 25, Co-op Atlantic (a collectively owned consumers' cooperative found throughout the Maritimes) announced that it was selling its grocery and gas business to Sobeys. As part of the sale, 400 jobs will be eliminated along with the closure of several Co-op Atlantic Distribution Centres.

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In the deal (approved by Co-op delegates and the central board with no communication to members), Sobeys (a subsidiary of Empire Company Ltd.*) acquired Co-op's wholesale business and several Co-op grocery stores. The day following the acquisition, workers at the newly purchased stores were told to prepare for inventory liquidation and search for new jobs. Locally-owned Co-op locations that were not sold have been informed that they will now have to deal exclusively with Sobeys as their wholesaler.

The principles of the Co-op have been under attack increasingly over the past 20 years. Eighteen years ago the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce complained about Co-op's pricing of jeans, followed by several suppliers withdrawing their brands from store shelves. Co-op was also not allowed to provides member discounts for gas and had to give members Co-op cash instead (in contrast, Costco was given approval to provide gas discounts to its members).

Despite the declaration on the Co-op membership card that members own and control the business to benefit their communities, and that co-operation represents democracy in action, members have not been allowed any say in the sale. The Co-op board is behaving with the same ideology as any corporation – focusing on larger profits at the expense of smaller shareholders and workers.

*Empire Company Ltd. is a multi-billion dollar corporation that owns a dozen other food chains including: Food Town, Foodland, FreshCo, IGA, Price Chopper, Thrifty Foods, Target's Grocery business, Safeway, and up until 2013 it also ran almost 80 movie theatres.

More: Co-op Atlantic votes to sell grocery business to Sobeys

More: Co-op distribution centre on Keltic Drive to close; 40 layoff notices issued

More: Co-op Atlantic closing Charlottetown grocery store on Queen Street

More: Co-op Atlantic stores flying new banner

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Fracking application rejected by Lancashire county council

by JA Cox last modified Jun 29, 2015 10:22 AM
"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 UK’s biggest round of fracking so far. 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.”

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Top CEOs Make 300 Times More than Typical Workers | Economic Policy Institute

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Jun 26, 2015 04:33 PM

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Public schools more segregated now than 40 years ago | The Washington Post

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Jun 26, 2015 04:22 PM
"Other socioeconomic hardships that powerfully affect student achievement also remain unacceptable for black students: Housing for many remains inadequate; the black unemployment rate remains today, as then, more than twice that for whites. While the minimum wage has been extended to some occupations in which black workers predominate, its level today is below that established in 1967, inflation-adjusted and in relation to national average wages. A discriminatory criminal justice system today incarcerates many more black young adults than it did 50 years ago."

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The Snowden papers and the Saudis | Mid-day India

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Jun 26, 2015 03:36 PM
"There is considerable interest in the latest Wikileaks disclosures of 60,000 Saudi diplomatic files that have been published and a million more will follow. These are expected to include reports from the Saudi state bodies, and email communication between the foreign office and other countries. It is still early days as experts, analysts and linguists pore over these documents. Disclosures that Saudis want to undermine Iran and dislike Israel or the extravagant lifestyles of Saudi royals, are no surprises, but the highly secretive regime must be having anxious moments about what [will] finally emerge. ... Revelations about Saudi’s relationship with the US and with several European leaders and countries would be confirming and embellishing what is mostly known. Also of interest globally, and especially in India, would be the Saudi-Pakistan nuclear links and their military arrangements."

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The Social Construction of Race | Jacobin

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Jun 25, 2015 10:56 AM
"Here’s a thumbnail sketch of the history of the invention of “race.” Race is a new development. If human history were a two hundred page book, “race” begins on the last line of the last sentence of the last page. And it starts in the United States ... For the first time in human history, the color of one’s skin had a political significance. It never had a political significance before. Now there was a reason to assign a political significance to dark skin — it’s an ingenious way to brand someone as a slave. It’s a brand that they can never wash off, that they can never erase, that they can never run away from. There’s no way out. That’s the ingeniousness of using skin color as a mark of degradation, as a mark of slavery."

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