‘Ebola may cause food crisis in Africa’

"The media hype over Ebola comes at a time when thousands of people in Africa and other parts of the world die every day from hunger and preventable diseases."

‘Ebola may cause food crisis in Africa’

The World Food Program (WFP) has warned that the ongoing epidemic of Ebola infection, which is wreaking havoc on West African countries, may also give rise to a food crisis in the region.


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Spanish Tenants Wake Up To The Horror Of A Wall Street Landlord

"Financial oligarchs always get access to free money from Central Banks, as well as discounts during privatizations, and then turn around and demand the plebs pay the market rate."
Spanish Tenants Wake Up To The Horror Of A Wall Street Landlord
// Zero Hedge

Having grown weary of reality in America (after becoming the biggest landlord in the land of the free to borrow cheaply), Wall Street moved into the distressed property purchase ponzi in Spain (as we noted here) and, surprise, the Spanish are not happy with their new slumlords. After Madrid’s local government sold 5,000 rent-controlled apartments to Goldman and Blackstone, having told tenants their rental conditions would remain the same, dozens of people have received demands for higher rent, been told their rents will increase dramatically, been threatened with eviction or moved out to escape the insecurity as old contracts expire.

As Reuters reports,

Last year Madrid’s city and regional governments sold almost 5,000 rent-controlled flats to private equity investors including Goldman Sachs and Blackstone. At the time, the tenants were told their rental conditions would remain the same.

But as old contracts expire, dozens of people have received demands for higher rent, been told their rents will increase dramatically, been threatened with eviction or moved out to escape the insecurity. Thousands of Spain’s poor now depend for their homes on the generosity of private equity.

In the buildings sold to the funds, Reuters has spoken to more than 40 households who face similar difficulties. They include some of Madrid’s most vulnerable people: an unemployed single mother of five with a severely disabled daughter, for example, and an HIV patient with one lung. Both faced evictions that were temporarily halted at the last minute.

There is no suggestion the buyers have acted illegally. Having bought around 15 percent of Madrid’s publicly held social housing, the new owners are simply exercising their right to charge commercial rents once reduced rents that tenants have paid expire.

However, Socialist councillors in Madrid have launched lawsuits directed at the state bodies that sold the rent-controlled homes, and tenants meet weekly to organize street protests. Evictions ordered and postponed by the new owners are an increasingly common sight in Spain’s media.

For the private equity firms that bought the flats, the deal was good business. For tenants, less so.

The public-sector real estate workout is creating winners and losers. Spain needs new investment to put a floor under its property market – a necessary condition for a broader recovery – and at the same time its social safety net needs funds. Economist Miguel Hernandez said foreign investors play an important role by providing cash to public institutions.

“These funds may appear to be acting like vultures, but they are also helping the system, because the administrations had very few options to get the cash they needed,” said Hernandez, professor at IE Business School.

Six sources involved in the bidding process told Reuters that bidders knew the straitened circumstances of the tenants. The funds that entered final bidding – nine in all – were given detailed information. The sale terms, seen by Reuters, show the regional government stressed that the new owners must honor all the tenants’ rights and obligations.

Goldman went for the Madrid homes after a successful pair of similar deals in Germany, a person familiar with the matter said. Goldman looked at the profiles of the tenants and considered whether the properties were “under-managed from a yield perspective” and whether new ownership could “improve rents.”

Read more here…

Here is Mike Krieger explaining how it works

See how this game works? Financial oligarchs always get access to free money from Central Banks, as well as discounts during privatizations, and then turn around and demand the plebs pay the market rate.

Unemployed hairdresser and mother-of-three Yasmin Rubiano lives in a flat now owned by Goldman and Azora. Rubiano said she stopped getting a printed rent bill once her reduced rent of 50 euros per month ended in December, but got no word from the new owners.

In January she started to receive monthly text messages from her bank, which she showed a reporter, advising that it had received a demand for 498.18 euros. She has been paying 100 euros a month to show goodwill, but cannot pay more. In March, Rubiano said, she received a letter from Encasa Cibeles demanding full payment or threatening legal action.

On Aug. 6, the 20 tenants in Arriba’s block signed new contracts with Fidere, some of them seen by Reuters, which stipulate a rise of more than 40 percent in rent over three years. Blackstone referred inquiries to Fidere.

Some local politicians say IVIMA acted illegally by selling the flats cheap. IVIMA Director Ana Gomendio declined to comment.

Wolves will always eat sheep, and until the sheep decide enough is enough, the wolves will continue to feast.

* * *
The irony, of course, is that Spain has been boasting about its housing recovery because Blackstone and Goldman have been buying cheap real estate hand over first. The problem is that now they are sending out the eviction notices. Let’s see how this works out for Rajoy…

With youth unemployment at record highs, corruption allegations against the Prime Minister, and regions seeking secession, it appears Goldman and Blackstone may be just the tinder to start more social unrest as reality starts to bite that a recovery never happened.


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Video: Settlers cheer as Israeli soldiers attack disabled Palestinian child

[Uruknet 109852 25-oct-2014 03:19 ECT] Video: Settlers cheer as Israeli soldiers attack disabled Palestinian child
// Uruknet.info

September 21, 2014 – This disturbing footage shot by Palestinian videographer Samih Da na and published by the Israeli nongovernmental organization B Tselem documents the violent abuse of a developmentally disabled Palestinian child.As Israeli occupation soldiers abuse the child, settlers and their children cheer and shout abuse at Palestinians. Da na shot the footage on 19 October from his home in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, whose Palestinian residents are relentlessly targeted by occupation army and settler violence…

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Celery may help kill cancer – NaturalNews.com

If you need another reason to add more celery into your diet, researchers have now identified a compound in the vegetable that demonstrates anti-tumor activity. Effective against several types of cancer — including those of the pancreas, ovaries, liver, small intestine, stomach, lung and breast — apigenin has been shown in vitro to significantly inhibit cancer cell proliferation. Although this flavonoid is present in a variety of fruits and vegetables, celery is a particularly rich source of the compound.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/047369_cancer_prevention_celery_anti-tumor_activity.html#ixzz3Gx6HHHBE


7.6 Billion Reasons Why The US ‘War On Drugs’ In Afghanistan Failed (In 1 Chart)

7.6 Billion Reasons Why The US ‘War On Drugs’ In Afghanistan Failed (In 1 Chart)
// Zero Hedge

The US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan is "disappointed," according the statement department latter below, responding to the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) findings over poppy cultivation in the troubled nation. Simply put, despite the United States spending approximately $7.6 billion on counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan (as of June 30, 2014), opium poppy cultivation levels in Afghanistan hit an all-time high in 2013 (with a 50% rise last year alone). Of course, like any good government agency, deny and blame someone else, as the DOD went on to state that "the failure to reduce poppy cultivation and increase eradication is due to the lack of Afghan government support for the effort."

Poppy Cultivation hits an all-time high – despite counternarcotics spend by the US government of $7.6bn!!


Dear Secretary Kerry, Secretary Hagel, Attorney General Holder, and Administrator Shah:

I am writing to provide the results of SIGAR’s analysis of recent trends in opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. As you know, the narcotics trade poisons the Afghan financial sector and undermines the Afghan state’s legitimacy by stoking corruption, sustaining criminal networks, and providing significant financial support to the Taliban and other insurgent groups. Despite spending over $7 billion to combat opium poppy cultivation and to develop the Afghan government’s counternarcotics capacity, opium poppy cultivation levels in Afghanistan hit an all-time high in 2013.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Afghan farmers grew an unprecedented 209,000 hectares of opium poppy in 2013, surpassing the previous peak of 193,000 hectares in 2007. With deteriorating security in many parts of rural Afghanistan and low levels of eradication of poppy fields, further increases in cultivation are likely in 2014.

As of June 30, 2014, the United States has spent approximately $7.6 billion on counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan. Multiple sources of funding support these efforts, including the Department of Defense (DOD) Afghan Security Forces Fund, the State Department’s (State) International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement fund, the DOD Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities fund, financial support from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Economic Support Fund. Counternarcotics efforts include the development of Afghan government counternarcotics capacity, operational support to Afghan counternarcotics forces; encouragement of alternative livelihoods for Afghan farmers; financial incentives to Afghan authorities to enforce counternarcotics laws; and, in limited instances, counternarcotics operations conducted by U.S. authorities in coordination with their Afghan counterparts.

Despite the significant financial expenditure, opium poppy cultivation has far exceeded previous records. Affordable deep-well technology has turned 200,000 hectares of desert in southwestern Afghanistan into arable land over the past decade. Due to relatively high opium prices and the rise of an inexpensive, skilled, and mobile labor force, much of this newly-arable land is dedicated to opium cultivation. Poppy-growing provinces that were once declared ‘poppy free’ have seen a resurgence in cultivation. Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan, considered a model for successful counterinsurgency and counternarcotics efforts and deemed ‘poppy free’ by the UNODC in 2008, saw a fourfold increase in opium poppy cultivation between 2012 and 2013. The UNODC estimates that the value of the opium and its derivative products produced in Afghanistan was nearly $3 billion in 2013, up from $2 billion in 2012. This represents an increase of 50 percent in a single year.

Who is to blame?

For its part, DOD acknowledged the significance of increased opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, and that “poppy production is on the increase and is a significant threat to U.S. and international efforts in Afghanistan.” Like the Embassy Kabul response, DOD highlighted its efforts and those of other U.S. government agencies to build a “reliable Afghan counterdrug partner and enduring Afghan [counternarcotics] capacity.” However, DOD went on to state that “the failure to reduce poppy cultivation and increase eradication is due to the lack of Afghan government support for the effort."

The State Department is disappointed:

* * *
Once again, government efficiency exposed.


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Ebola Fear Sparks New Interest in Alternative Health

Ebola Fear Sparks New Interest in Alternative Health

Jefferey Jaxen
Activist Post

We are witnessing a stunning reversal of events in the face of the present Ebola scare consuming North America. The drum beatings of fear played all to often by the mainstream media have given way to a symphony of personal empowerment, education, and a mass social movement to take back our health freedom.

The threat of Ebola initially grabbed headlines and paralyzed millions who lacked understanding. Answers were sought amidst the fear peddling and confusion yet few were being found. A disheartened population is now storming the ‘alternative’ media and independent health networks, websites, and radio shows for direction. What they are finding is currently propelling us all into a new, decentralized health paradigm…


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German journo: European media writing pro-US stories under CIA pressure (VIDEO)

German journo: European media writing pro-US stories under CIA pressure (VIDEO)
// News RSS : Today

“I ended up publishing articles under my own name written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the German secret service,” Ulfkotte told Russia Insider. He made similar comments to RT in an exclusive interview at the beginning of October.

“One day the BND (German foreign intelligence agency) came to my office at the Frankfurter Allgemeine in Frankfurt. They wanted me to write an article about Libya and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi…They gave me all this secret information and they just wanted me to sign the article with my name,” Ulfkotte told RT.

“That article was how Gaddafi tried to secretly build a poison gas factory. It was a story that was printed worldwide two days later.”

Ulfkotte reveals all this and more in his book ‘Bought Journalists,’ where he mentions that he feels ashamed for what he has done in the past.

“It is not right what I have done in the past. To manipulate people, to make propaganda. And it is not right what my colleagues do and have done in the past because they are bribed to betray people not only in Germany, but all over Europe,” he told RT. “I was a journalist for 25 years and I was educated to lie, to betray, and not to tell the truth to the public.”

“I was bribed by the Americans not to report exactly the truth…I was invited by the German Marshall Fund of the United States to travel to the US. They paid for all my expenses and put me in contact with Americans they’d like me to meet,” he said.

“I became an honorary citizen of the state of Oklahoma in the US just because I wrote pro-American. I was supported by the CIA. I have helped them in several situations and I feel ashamed for that too.”

Many other journalists are involved in the same practice, Ulfkotte added.

“Most of the journalists you see in foreign countries, they claim to be journalists and they might be. But many of them, like me in the past, are so-called ‘non-official cover.’ It means you work for an intelligence agency, you help them if they want you to. But they will never say they know you.”

The journalists selected for such jobs usually come from big media organizations. The relationship with the secret service starts as a friendship.

“They work on your ego, make you feel like you’re important. And one day one of them will ask you ‘Will you do me this favor?’" Ulfkotte explained.


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Uruknet 109761 17-oct-2014 04:27 ECT The media s failure in Palestine feedly

[Uruknet 109761 17-oct-2014 04:27 ECT] The media s failure in Palestine
// Uruknet.info

September 16, 2014 -It is the whistle-blower s dilemma: follow the official internal complaints procedure and risk the truth being buried, or take it straight to the press, and risk improvised prosecution by a bitter government resentful that you did right and exposed its dirty tricks. The forty-three Israeli whistle-blowers of Yehida Shmoneh-Matayim, Israel s equivalent of GCHQ or the NSA, opted for the latter. These bold citizens have been rewarded by the Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya alon denouncing them as criminals; an Israeli Defence Force (IDF) spokesperson claiming that their allegations have been fabricated; and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announcing, "I know that these accusations are baseless, and will not harm the important work done by others for the security of Israel." The lady doth protest too much, methinks, not least because, in the same breath, Netanyahu declared the IDF to be "the most ethical army in the world"…

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Ron Paul: “Liberty, Not Government, Is Key To Containing Ebola” feedly

Ron Paul: "Liberty, Not Government, Is Key To Containing Ebola"
// Zero Hedge

Submitted by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute of Peace & Prosperity,

According to Forbes magazine, at least 5,000 Americans contacted healthcare providers fearful they had contracted Ebola after the media reported that someone with Ebola had entered the United States. All 5,000 cases turned out to be false alarms. In fact, despite all the hype about Ebola generated by the media and government officials, as of this writing there has only been one preliminarily identified case of someone contracting Ebola within the United States.

Ebola is a dangerous disease, but it is very difficult to contract. Ebola spreads via direct contact with the virus. This usually occurs though contact with bodily fluids. While the Ebola virus may remain on dry surfaces for several hours, it can be destroyed by common disinfectants. So common-sense precautions should be able to prevent Ebola from spreading.

It is no coincidence that many of those countries suffering from mass Ebola outbreaks have also suffered from the plagues of dictatorship and war. The devastation wrought by years of war has made it impossible for these countries to develop modern healthcare infrastructure. For example, the 14-year civil war in Liberia left that country with almost no trained doctors. Those who could leave the war-torn country were quick to depart. Sadly, American foreign aid props up dictators and encourages militarism in these countries.

President Obama’s response to the Ebola crisis has been to send 3,000 troops to West African countries to help with treatment and containment. Obama did not bother to seek congressional authorization for this overseas military deployment. Nor did he bother to tell the American people how long the mission would last, how much it would cost, or what section of the Constitution authorizes him to send US troops on “humanitarian” missions.

The people of Liberia and other countries would be better off if the US government left them alone. Leave it to private citizens to invest in African business and trade with the African people. Private investment and trade would help these countries develop thriving free-market economies capable of sustaining a modern healthcare infrastructure.

Legitimate concerns about protecting airline passengers from those with Ebola or other infectious diseases can best be addressed by returning responsibility for passenger safety to the airlines. After all, private airlines have a greater incentive than does government to protect their passengers from contagious diseases. They can do so while providing a safe means of travel for those seeking medical treatment in the United States. This would remove the incentive to lie about exposure to the virus among those seeking to come here for treatment.

Ebola patients in the US have received permission from the Food and Drug Administration to use “unapproved” drugs. This is a positive development. But why should those suffering from potentially lethal diseases have to seek special permission from federal bureaucrats to use treatments their physicians think might help? And does anyone doubt that the FDA’s cumbersome approval process has slowed down the development of treatments for Ebola?

Firestone Tire and Rubber Company has successfully contained the spread of Ebola among 80,000 people living in Harbel, the Liberian town housing employees of Firestone’s Liberian plant and their families. In March, after the wife of a Firestone employee developed Ebola symptoms, Firestone constructed its own treatment center and implemented a program of quarantine and treatment. Firestone has successfully kept the Ebola virus from spreading among its employees. As of this writing, there are only three Ebola patients at Firestone’s treatment facility.

Firestone’s success in containing Ebola shows that, far from justifying new state action, the Ebola crises demonstrates that individuals acting in the free market can do a better job of containing Ebola than can governments. The Ebola crisis is also another example of how US foreign aid harms the very people we are claiming to help. Limiting government at home and abroad is the best way to protect health and freedom.


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