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Electric vehicles: SA Labor proposes no stamp duty, free rego for zero emissions cars

Renew Economy - 1 hour 7 min ago
SA Labor promises to waive stamp duty, five years of registration costs, on purchase of zero emissions cars, if it wins election.
Categories: Renewable Energy

National Energy Guarantee leaves no guarantees

Renew Economy - 1 hour 43 min ago
There are some significant issues still to be resolved around the NEG – complexity and potential costs are concerning.
Categories: Renewable Energy

Renewables, not natural gas, are cutting US power sector emissions

Renew Economy - 1 hour 45 min ago
In the past, switching from coal to natural gas has driven US power sector emissions cuts. In 2017, it was declining load and greater renewable generation.
Categories: Renewable Energy

How do you solve a problem like fixed charges?

Renew Economy - 1 hour 49 min ago
Everyone hates the fixed charges on their electricity bills, so why do they keep going up? Is it because retailers take us for mugs?
Categories: Renewable Energy

Battery storage: Are Australian households about to charge into market?

Renew Economy - 2 hours 9 min ago
Further rises in Australia's already ridiculously high grid prices, South Australian incentives, and the first battery storage manufacturing plant in the country suggest the battery storage market is about to take off.
Categories: Renewable Energy

Micallef on Tesla big battery: Is it cruel to store electrons?

Renew Economy - 2 hours 19 min ago
Comedian Shaun Micallef sends up opponents to battery storage and wind farms in the best skit on energy matters since Clarke and Dawe.
Categories: Renewable Energy

Two Simple Laws Could Solve America's Epidemic of Violence

Organic Consumers Association - 2 hours 24 min ago

Two simple changes to U.S. law, both things based in other laws that we already know and like, could solve most of America’s gun violence problem:

1. Treat all semi-automatic weapons in a similar way under the same laws as fully-automatic weapons.

2. Regulate gun ownership and usage the same way we regulate car ownership and usage.

Categories: Food and Farming

Overmedicating Our Elders

Organic Consumers Association - 2 hours 24 min ago

More than half of American adults are regularly taking prescription medications; nursing home residents are frequently prescribed antipsychotic drugs to control dementia-related behavior. Although inappropriate use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing home residents has decreased by nearly 30 percent since 2012, the Human Rights Watch believes more can be done to strengthen the effort. Elderly are at risk for overmedication, including narcotic painkillers, significantly increasing their risk for adverse effects that may lead to further disability or death.

Categories: Food and Farming

86 Percent of Teens Are Loaded With Gender-Bending Chemicals

Organic Consumers Association - 2 hours 24 min ago

BPA is a chemical created in 1891 and not used in manufactured products until the 1950s when it was incorporated to produce resilient and transparent plastics. Data demonstrates blood and urine samples from children and adolescents contain toxic chemicals, including endocrine-disrupting BPA, which increase their risk of heart disease, obesity, asthma and reproductive problems. Endocrine disrupting chemicals compete with natural hormones by mimicking, or partially mimicking, hormones to produce overstimulation, or interfere or block the way hormones are made or controlled.

Categories: Food and Farming

New Study Links Cellphone Radiation to Heart and Brain Tumors

Organic Consumers Association - 2 hours 24 min ago

In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization, declared cellphones a Group 2B “possible carcinogen”. Two government-funded studies bring renewed attention to this link. The studies, in which 3,000 animals were exposed to the type of radiation emitted by 2G and 3G cellphones, are said to be the most extensive to date. Male rats were more likely to develop heart tumors, while female rats and newborns exposed to high levels of radiation during pregnancy and lactation were more likely to have low body weight.

Categories: Food and Farming

Monsanto Hits Avaaz with Subpoena for All Data from Glyphosate Campaigns

Organic Consumers Association - 2 hours 24 min ago

Global campaign movement Avaaz has been served with a 168-page subpoena demanding almost a decade’s worth of internal campaign communications and member data be turned over to Monsanto. Avaaz, with 46-million members around the world, has been part of the movement to regulate glyphosate from the US to the European Union – glyphosate is the cornerstone chemical in Monsanto’s $50 billion empire. Avaaz’s members have voted to fight the subpoena.

Categories: Food and Farming

These Citizen-Regulators In Arkansas Defied Monsanto. Now They're Under Attack

Organic Consumers Association - 2 hours 24 min ago

In Arkansas, there is a kind of David vs. Goliath battle underway over a weedkiller.

On one side, there is the giant Monsanto Company. On the other, a committee of 18 people, mostly farmers and small-business owners, that regulates the use of pesticides in the state. It has banned Monsanto's latest way of killing weeds during the growing season.

Categories: Food and Farming

Study: Low Income, Rural Areas Most Vulnerable to Drinking Water Violations

Organic Consumers Association - 2 hours 24 min ago

Low-income, rural areas are the most vulnerable to drinking water quality violations that could affect people’s health, according to a new nationwide study. Maura Allaire is the lead author of the study, and an assistant professor of urban policy and public planning at the University of California-Irvine. She says the Flint water crisis inspired her to do this work.

Categories: Food and Farming

Just How Natural Are 'Natural' Beauty Products? Legally, It's Hard to Tell.

Organic Consumers Association - 2 hours 27 min ago

Just how natural are your “natural” beauty products? It is difficult to say. Really difficult, actually. While it is undeniable that natural cosmetics and beauty goods are surging in popularity and profitability – as “consumers, increasingly wary of products that are overly processed or full of manufactured chemicals, are paying premium prices for natural goods,” as the New York Times put it recently – it is far less clean cut as to just how natural “natural” really is.

Categories: Food and Farming

Zimbabwe resumes diamond sales, expects to auction 1.56 million carats

Mining.Com - 2 hours 41 min ago

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Mines, Winston Chitando, held a press conference this week to announce that, following its one-year break, the country has resumed diamond auctions and expects to sell 1.558 million carats of diamonds over the next two months.

According to Chitando, the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company will conduct separate auctions in March and April to sell all the diamonds it has stockpiled since last year. Known as ZCDC, the state-owned corporation was created in 2016 after the consolidation of seven firms that were mining gems in the Marange diamond fields, located in the eastern part of the country. In 2017, sales were halted as the company underwent a restructuring process that, in the words of government officials, was aimed at aligning its marketing and sales framework to international standards.

But a test sale was conducted two weeks ago and, according to the minister, it was a total success. It made $829,067, was attended by buyers from European, Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian and African countries, and one single rock sold for $1,888. Seeing these results, the ZCDC is expected to host regular tenders throughout 2018.

Chitando also told reporters that the tenders will be conducted on the basis of a reserve price and that the ZCDC and the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe will work on a sales calendar to enable diamond buyers to plan in advance.

The post Zimbabwe resumes diamond sales, expects to auction 1.56 million carats appeared first on MINING.com.

Categories: Coal and Mining

Flying taxi, anyone? Solar Impulse co-pilot launches new electric aviation venture

Renew Economy - 3 hours 2 min ago
Co-pilot of world's first solar plane to circle globe starts new company, to drive “new aviation solutions” including flying cars, drones and vertical take-off and landing aircraft.
Categories: Renewable Energy

Tesla big battery results suggest local storage better than “monster” projects

Renew Economy - 3 hours 8 min ago
New analysis says performance of Tesla big battery shows advantages of distributed storage rather than a single "monster" project like Snowy 2.0.
Categories: Renewable Energy

Mandalay’s coffers suffered from Cerro Bayo’s downtime

Mining.Com - 3 hours 41 min ago

The President and CEO of Canada’s Mandalay Resources (TSX:MND), Mark Sander, dubbed 2017 as a challenging year for his company.

In a press release outlining Mandalay’s unaudited 2017 fourth quarter and full-year financial results, Sander said that the company generated 12 per cent lower revenue last year compared to 2016. Suspension of production at its Cerro Bayo underground silver-gold complex in Chile, following a flooding that took place on June 9 and killed two workers, was the main cause behind the reduced earnings.

“As expected, Cerro Bayo remained on care and maintenance through the entire fourth quarter. Staffing has been reduced to approximately 50, focused on: care and maintenance activities, investigating the cause of the inundation last June, and obtaining all permits necessary to restart and complete the life of mine plan. The company has decided that, given the range of expectations about timing of the restart permitting process, it is appropriate to impair the carrying value of the asset by $19.8 million,” the executive said.

Mandalay had to spend $12.8 million in the search and recovery efforts after the inundation, as well as in the follow-on redundancy and care and maintenance costs. From 2018 on, the Toronto-based firm expects that care and maintenance costs at Cerro Bayo will be about $6 million per year.

According to Sander, however, 2017 also saw some positive outcomes. “Lack of production from Cerro Bayo was offset by record production at Björkdal, which continues to demonstrate operational improvements. Mandalay cost of sales decreased by 15% year-on-year as relatively high-cost Cerro Bayo left the mix and Björkdal unit costs declined significantly. With the impact of lower revenue, the company generated only 4% less adjusted EBITDA and follow-on reduced net income before special items in the current quarter,” he said.

For the year ended on December 31, Mandalay generated revenue of $163 million, adjusted EBITDA (underlying earnings) of 48.6 million and adjusted net loss before special items of $10.1 million.

In other words, the effects of having to put Cerro Bayo in care and maintenance were less than expected given the breakthrough performance at Bjorkdal in Sweden, which helped the company sell 1% more ounces of gold equivalent in the fourth quarter of 2017 than in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Also in the last term of the year, the Costerfield gold-antimony mine in Australia produced 12,360 gold equivalent ounces at a "very sound" cash cost of $707 per ounce, and at an all-in cost of $902 per ounce. "We expect continued performance at these levels for the upcoming year as development of the new Brunswick lode is completed and production transitions from Cuffley to Brunswick,” Sander wrote in the statement.

The post Mandalay’s coffers suffered from Cerro Bayo’s downtime appeared first on MINING.com.

Categories: Coal and Mining

Resource owners welcome industry removal from MRA Board

Papua New Guinea Mine Watch - 4 hours 52 min ago

Resource Owners Have Thanked The Government For The Many Laws That Give Rights To Them In The Country.

Post Courier | February 23, 2018

The Resource Owners Federation of Papua New Guinea, which has been campaigning for the removal of the industry representatives from the board of the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA), is pleased with the government for finally amending the Mineral Resources Authority Act 2005, to remove the mining industry representatives from the board of the authority. The presence of the mining industry representatives on the board of the MRA had caused the public to distrust the Authority and its decisions, even if those decisions were proper.

MRA is the State’s regulatory institution, whose function is to administer the mining laws of PNG.

Federation President Jonathan Paraia said it was utterly improper and unlawful for representatives of the industry, who are the subjects of the mining laws to have had a hand in the enforcement of the laws against themselves for the last seventeen years or so. He said their presence has been an impediment to the rule of law being applied impartially in the mining industry.

Categories: Coal and Mining

Women of the Wobblies – #1, Lucy Parsons

Bristol IWW - 5 hours 13 min ago

As part of the run up to our Women of the Wobblies event, I’ve decided to write a few articles about historical women of note who have been active within the IWW. It’s a pretty rich and varied history, so I hope that these will be enjoyable (or at least informative) reads. Without further ado:

Lucy Parsons

1853, Texas – 1942, Chicago, Illinois

Lucy Parsons was a founding member of the IWW and was one of two known female activists present at it’s founding convention in June 1905 (along with Mary Harris Jones, more commonly known as Mother Jones). Her first involvement in the meeting was insisting there be a woman appointed to the ways and means committee [1], which had just been created in order to discuss hiring a stenographer to record said meeting. Meetings were slower back then.

Renowned throughout her life as a fearsome orator, her most memorable speech at the founding conference asked attendees to consider that the usual “might makes right” (Parson’s words) approach to union democracy, where the number of workers any given delegate represented gave them more voting power in a “force of numbers” had “never made a right on earth”. She asked us to consider the very downtrodden and most-likely unorganised portions of society, which would go on to shape the focus the IWW has today.

I entered my name here, and I think others did, because we had eyes to see misery, we had ears to hear the cry of the downcast and miserable of the earth, we had a heart that was sympathetic, and we believed that we could come here and raise our voice and mingle it with yours in the interest of humanity. So that is the great audience that I represent. I represent those people, those little children who, after my twenty-five years residence in Chicago, I know are in the factories. I entered here as a delegate to represent that great mass of outraged humanity, my sisters whom I can see in the night when I go out in Chicago, who are young and fair and beautiful, but who are compelled to sell the holy name of womanhood for a night’s lodging. I am here to raise my voice with them, and ask you to put forth from this organization a declaration of principles and a constitution that shall give them hope in the future, that they shall be enrolled under the banner of this organization. [2]

Persons was born Lucia Eldine Gonzalez in 1953. She was of Native American, African American and Mexican ancestry. It’s likely that her parents were slaves but it is not known if she was born into slavery. She married Albert Parsons, a former confederate soldier, in 1871. The couple were forced to flee north due to the uproar surrounding their interracial marriage during the enactment of the Jim Crow segregation laws and settled in Chicago.

In Chicago Lucy and Albert began in earnest their lives as anarchist organisers. Albert had started his political life as founder of Republican newspaper the Waco Spectator. He took the then-unpopular editorial position of accepting the terms of surrender from the Civil War and the Reconstruction measures that would grant former slaves political rights. For his trouble, he “incurred thereby the hate and contumely of many of my former army comrades, neighbors, and the Ku Klux Klan.” After travelling the Midwest in 1873, Albert shifted his allegiance to Socialism, later Anarchism and launched the radical broadsheet The Alarm in 1884.

Lucy, for her part, wrote for both The Alarm and another Chicago newspaper called The Socialist and true to her sentiments at the founding conference, was an activist for political prisoners, people of color, the homeless and women. Always a sharp dresser, Lucy ran a dress shop to support her family after Albert was blacklisted in the Chicago printing trade for his involvement with the 1877 Chicago Railroad strike. She and friend Lizzie Swank used the shop to host meetings of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union after-hours. Lucy was often considered more dangerous than her husband by the Chicago law enforcement due to her uncompromising support of propaganda by the deed [3] and the fact that she was a visible black woman that refused to assume the role of homemaker, a notion that was unheard of to even most radicals at the time. In decades to come, the Chicago Police Department would describe a 60 year old Lucy as “more dangerous than a thousand rioters”.

The couple’s involvement in labour organising continued to snowball and on May the 1st 1886 Lucy, Albert and their two children Lulu and Albert Jr led a crowd of 80,000 down Michigan Avenue in support of the 8-hour day. This has since been recognised as the first May Day Parade. The parade snowballed into a strike and Albert traveled to Cincinnati to lead a second parade where he assured a later rally that victory was at hand. On May the 4th Albert addressed another rally at Haymarket Square back in Chicago, this gathering was a protest against the police violence that had occurred on May the 3rd when police fired on strikers at the McCormick Reaper Works, killing six. By 10pm the crowd was already beginning to disperse for the night but a large group of policemen came to forcefully remove those who remained. During the ensuing stand-off, a bomb was thrown into the square and exploded, killing one policeman and wounding others. Gunfire erupted, resulting in the deaths of 4 protesters, 7 police and the wounding of some 130 others. The events became known as the Haymarket Affair.

Lucy Parsons’ mug shot after being arrested at the protest at Hull House in 1915

Albert had already retired to Zeph’s Hall in the next street for a beer when events took a turn but that didn’t stop police arresting him and six others for allegedly plotting the attack due to their connections to the anarchist movement. Despite the best efforts of corporate lawyer William Perkins Black who ruined his reputation in the business world defending the men and the testimony of several witnesses that none of the seven threw the bomb, six of the defendants were sentenced to death by hanging. The only man to escape a death sentence was Oscar Neebe, who hadn’t even been at the square on the day. Two days before his execution, a letter from Albert was printed in The Alarm which concluded:

To other hands are now committed that task which was mine, in the work and duty, as editor of this paper. Though fallen, wounded perhaps unto death, in the battle for liberty, the standard — the press — which my hands bore aloft in the midst of the struggle is caught up by other hands, and will be again and again, if needs, till the crimson banner waves in triumph over the enemies of peace, brotherhood, and happiness.

And now to all I say: Falter not. Lay bare the inequities of capitalism; expose the slavery of law; proclaim the tyranny of government; denounce the greed, cruelty, abominations of the privileged class who riot and revel on the labor of their wage-slaves.

Lucy wasted no time honoring her husband’s plea. It’s not hard to imagine having her partner taken from her as a result of what was widely regarded even at the time as a huge miscarriage of justice hardened her resolve as an activist. Not to mention the fact that she was arrested with her children when she attempted to enter the gallows to see him for the last time, forced to strip and searched for bombs. She was held naked in a cell with her children until the hanging was over. The years that followed were a dark time for Lucy, who had to live on eight dollars a week granted to her by the Poineer Aid and Support Association, a group formed to support the families of the Haymarket martyrs and other labour activists.

Within a year of Albert’s execution Lucy was writing for the French anarchist journal Les Temps Nouveaux and traveled to Britain alongside William Morris and Peter Kropotkin. She founded a periodical called Freedom: A Revolutionary Anarchist-Communist Monthly and was often arrested for giving public speeches or distributing radical literature. Having helped found the IWW in 1905, as well as editing it’s Chicago Newspaper Liberator, her attention was increasingly turned to poverty among workers in the Windy City. She organised the Chicago Hunger Demonstrations and succeeded in winning the American Federation of Labor, the Socialist Party and Jane Addams’ Hull House to her cause. One of the larger demonstrations occurred on the 17th of January 1915 when a huge crowd crammed into Hull House to hear speeches before marching to the financial district, containing the various hotels and rich men’s clubs. Police gathered outside the meeting hall but were unsuccessful in preventing the march, though they attacked demonstrators constantly:

At one point, an Episcopal priest, Irwin St. John Tucker (known amoung the poor as Friar Tuck) picked up and walked with a banner the police had thrown to the ground. Appropriately, it’s message was “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread.” The priest, Lucy Parsons, five other women and fifteen men were arrested. [4]

It was on the morning of this demonstration that Ralph Chaplin finished writing the well known IWW song Solidarity Forever, which was sung on the way to Hull House. Parsons led some of the first sit down strikes in American history and went on to do the same in the Argentinian factory takeovers of the period.

“My conception of the strike of the future is not to strike and go out and starve, but to strike and remain in, and take possession of the necessary property of production.” [5]

Parsons in 1920

In her later decades, Parson worked for the National Committee of the International Labor Defense, a communist-led organization that defended labor activists and unjustly-accused African Americans such as the Scottsboro Nine and Angelo Herndon (the latter receiving justice after a five year struggle). It is believed that Parsons joined the Communist Party USA around this time, though historical sources vary. She had begun to chafe with the anarchist movement decades earlier, notably with Emma Goldman; their relationship being one of comradely disagreement or intense personal conflict depending on the historical source. Goldman and her followers saw the question of free love as paramount to the movement at that time, whilst Parsons felt that was unimportant in the face of labour organising and that women’s oppression existed as a function of capitalism. Candace Falk wrote “No doubt there was an undercurrent of competitiveness between the two women. Emma generally preferred center stage” and suggested that Goldman sought to push risqué (for the time) sexual and kinship discourse to “the center of a perennial debate among anarchists about the relative importance of such personal issues”. Despite this, Lucy continued to give “fiery” [6] public speeches well into her 80s despite failing eyesight. In one of her more self-reflective statements after a long life on struggle she remarked:

“Oh, Misery, I have drunk thy cup of sorrow to its dregs, but I am still a rebel.”

Lucy Parsons died on March the 7th 1942 in a house fire. Her lover, George Markstall, died the next day from injuries he received while trying to save her. She was believed to be 89 years old. Upon her death police wasted no time seizing her library of over 1,500 books and all her personal papers, though one did resurface years later: her copy of Signs of William Morris’ Change: Seven Lectures Delivered on Various Occasions which bore the inscription: “To Lucy E Parsons from William Morris November 15, 1888” a “Property of Federal Bureau of Investigation US Department of Justice” stamp and some minor smoke damage was sold in an auction in England. Memorials to her legacy include the Lucy Parsons Center in Boston, a memorial to her life in Wicker Park, Chicago and Lucy Ella Gonzales Parsons Park in Belmont/Cragin, Chicago.

[1] https://www.iww.org/about/founding/part3

[2] https://www.iww.org/culture/library/founding/part4.shtml

[3] A Word To Tramps – Lucy Parsons

[4] America Before Welfare – Franklin Folsom

[5] Red November, Black November: Culture and Community in the Industrial Workers of the World – Salvatore Salerno

[6] Who Loves Lucy? – Chicago Tribune

Please send corrections / requests for the next article to @tomvahkiin

Categories: IWW

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