560, 15th Sep, 2006
557, 25th August, 2006
556, 18th August, 2006
555, 28th July, 2006
553-554, 2nd August, 2006
551, 14th July, 2006
549, 30th June, 2006
SchNEWS 548, 16th June, 2006 FOOD FOR THOUGHT To celerate African Fertilizer Summit in Nigeria we're having a look at the agriculture business around the world. Also fingerprinting and surveillance at UK schools, a Bhopal update and much more.
545, 26th May, 2006
544, 19th May, 2006
543, 12th May, 2006
542, 5th May, 2006
The government, who got a cool £22.5 billion from the mobile industry in 3G licence fees (and made the companies promise to provide at least 80% national coverage in return), defend themselves using the NRPB National Radiological Protection Board - who state that current exposures are well inside the ICNIRP guidelines, and that they are following the precautionary principle. These guidelines turn out to come from research on... the heating effect of radiation in microwave ovens. And this safe level is set at 3,300 units in Britain - compared to 100 units in Poland, 10 units in Italy and Russia and 6 units in parts of Canada. And allowing untold phone masts to remain next to childrens bedrooms, while busily installing more, is apparently following some sort of profitability, er, I mean precautionary principle.
Following the Harrogate ruling, few councils will stand up to the
operators and many that have find their decisions overturned on
appeal, forcing them to pay costs as well - something the phone
barons must enjoy reminding other councils about.
So, with government in bed with the operators, the independent
research facilities, protection boards and the media all bought
off and silent, and with local councils hands all but tied,
mobile phones have become the new symbol of hide- all-the-risks
and seek-maximum-profits. Symbols not of our trendy coolness and
social influence, but of our submission. And so many peoples
health will suffer regardless of whether they go mobile or not.
Roll over tobacco and get that 20 texts a day habit..
For wanting take-away food...
Two foraging dumpster divers* were recently sentenced to 6 months
imprisonment and were hit with a fine for 'stealing' food that had
been thrown out by a fruit shop in Colorado, US. This in a country
that wastes an estimated 43 million kilos of food every year!
* SchNEWS vocab watch: Dumpster diving, or skipping as its known here, is the act of reclaiming edible food that has been thrown away by shops. Extra thanks to supermarkets who take the time to spoil their waste by opening or covering in bleach etc. Well, perish anyone getting it free...
Presumably fed up with their icy reception in Iceland (See SchNEWS
506), our favourite aluminium company, Alcoa, are now getting
heated resistance in the sunnier climes of Trinidad & Tobago.
As we reported (in SchNEWS 512), they
are planning another giant smelting plant, somehow having 'convinced'
the government it would be a great thing for the island (perhaps
promising them a free supply of tin-pots?). Glossing over the associated
health risks and pollution to the fragile island eco-system, think
about all the cash and jobs it will bring! Oh, except that it's
a 100% owned Alcoa investment and all the workers in the plant are
going to be... er, Chinese.
Using familiar tactics, Alcoa's goons haven't waited for official
permission and public consultations before getting down to business
in the Cedros Penninsula, Trinidad. Well, the company had publicly
promised 'no construction' would start until official clearances
had been given but they didn't say anything about destruction
This week they have established an intimidating presence in the
agricultural lands of Chatham, moving people and equipment in, all
under heavy police guard naturally. They were faced with a human
blockade of around 80 residents, mainly women and children. One
baby was nearly run over by a tractor when his father fell during
the melee, and four protesters were arrested.
in Western Australia (WA) are celebrating a landmark Federal Court
decision this week. The ruling grants them 'native title'
acknowledging that they are in fact the traditional owners of a
UK-sized area of south-west WA which includes the city of Perth
and other main population centres. This comes after several other
native title claims in other parts of the country failed on the
grounds that aboriginal groups couldn't 'prove' a traditional connection
to the land, but now the Nyoongar victory could lead to more native
title claims in urban areas, including one by Melbourne's traditional
owners, the Wurundjeri people.
Native title does
not mean that suddenly all the land gets handed back to the people
it was stolen from (of course!) - as private and some leasehold
land is exempt - but it will lead to native title claims to thousands
of pieces of 'undeveloped' land, including state forests, Crown
land, and reserves. It gives the Nyoongar people access and rights
to carry out traditional activities including fishing, camping and
maintaining sacred sites in this huge area, and gives them a role
in the management of national parks and state forests.
This is a major
breakthrough, building on the landmark 'Mabo' High Court decision
in 1992 which for the first time acknowledged that when the British
invaded Australia, their declaration of 'terra nullius' (land belonging
to no one) was false, and that the Meriam people in Queensland had
'Native Title' to land on which they could prove their ancestors
lived prior to colonisation. The following year the Native Title
Act was introduced, opening the door to more claims, which was met
with a racist media backlash of the Is my backyard safe from
an Aboriginal land claim? type and a 1998 amendment protected
farmers to some extent in native title claims.
The WA state govt
is to appeal the decision, with Deputy Premier Eric Ripper telling
parliament that ...there had been too much disruption to Nyoongar
society for it to have survived in any meaningful way, and so its
native title claim was invalid. In fact it's amazing that
the Nyoongar society has survived at all, given the programme of
genocide which was inflicted on them. It's estimated that at the
time Captain Fremantle sailed up the Swan River to begin the colonial
centre of Perth in 1829, the Nyoongar population was in the tens
of thousands, who were then systematically wiped out by violence,
imprisonment and European diseases such as measles. The genocide
continued with the Native Welfare Act, which from 1890 to as late
as 1958 included two concentration camps which held a third of the
aboriginal population, and the forced removal of the children into
camps which has become known as the 'stolen generation'.
* For more see www.perth.indymedia.org
Best birthday wishes go out to Camp Bling in Southend, Essex, who
are celebrating a full year of occupation this Saturday 23rd Sept
(See SchNEWS 514). The camp will be holding
an 'open house' from 2.00pm till late, to thank the public for their
amazing support over the past 12 months.
The latest news of the 870 metre road-widening project is that
estimated costs have spiralled to £25 million excluding
security and eviction making it the most expensive stretch
of road ever planned. Naturally, the estimate at the time of contract
tendering was a more palatable £3.5 million just a
small margin of error then...
To date over 25,000 signatures and letters have been collected
in opposition. Just sixteen local people were found in favour of
the scheme during public consultation, and a recent newspaper poll
shows the majority still against the road. The campaign continues
to actually make that count
* More at www.dragonnetwork.org/campaigns/bling
As the nights start drawing in (whatever that means), how can we
fill those long evenings with wholesome fun? Worry no more, 'War
on Terror, the Boardgame' is about to be released. Previously just
a violent hobby for greedy imperialists, now everyone can join in!
Players liberate the world while bickering over control of oil,
funding and fighting terrorism, forcing regime changes and discovering
those elusive WMDs. All the time alliances waver: old enemies become
friends and allies turn bad guys with one casual flick of the Axis
of Evil spinner. Each set includes Suicide Bomber cards, Dirty Bombs,
Nuclear Weapons, piles of 'World Bank of Capitalism' cash and a
balaclava with the word Evil stitched across the forehead.
A perfectly tasteless gift for a the perfectly tasteless christmas
season. While the 30 quid price tag may be a bit steep, it's certainly
cheaper than the billions spent on the War on Terror, the
geo-political game for the world's ruling elite.
As the maker says, Some people suggest that turning the War on Terror into a board game is a tad insensitive. I always reply that starting a war is insensitive; a board game is just fun for all the family. For more see www.waronterrortheboardgame.com
SchNEWS advises all readers - the revolution will not be bluetoothed. Honest.
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