21 April 2012

The mark of the 'EU' Beast - £666 cost for being part of Europe...

Taxpayers could end up having to fork out another £900 million to the European Union next year, costing each family in the UK an extra £666.

A draft budget for 2013 is believed to propose a seven per cent increase, £7.4 billion, of spending on this year's budget of £107 billion or around 129.1 billion euros.

The move would raise the cost of membership for Britain to £14 billion from £898 million, according to the Daily Express.

The European Union will finalise its budget for 2013 during talks on Wednesday
The European Union will finalise its budget for 2013 during talks on Wednesday

Britain contributes 12.4 per cent net of the Brussels budget and the increase would be double the UK's latest inflation rate and more than four per cent above the EU's cost of living increase.

Prime Minister David Cameron previously led a revolt against EU budget increases
Prime Minister David Cameron previously led a revolt against EU budget increases
A spokesman for the EU insisted the figures were just speculative but said that money was needed to pay for projects being completed in member states.

The Commission also insisted there was 'little room for manoeuvre' when it came to spending.

The EU has previously been criticised for unnecessary spending and in February Chancellor George Osborne refused to sign off the Commission's 2010 accounts because of errors amounting up to £4 billion.

It has also failed to get auditors clearance for the past 17 years.

The figures for next year's budget will be finalised on Wednesday and talks have already started on spending for the next seven years from 2014 to 2020.
    Conservatives in the European Parliament are expected to fight the increase and MP Douglas Carswell said Britain should refuse to pay more.

    Richard Ashworth, Tory MEP leader said: 'The Commissions demands are simply outrageous in the current climate.'

    In 2010 Prime Minister David Cameron said the EU's six percent budget increase was unacceptable and said the Commission needed to stop spending so much money. 

    The revolt successfully managed to ensure the budget only increased by 2.9 per cent in 2011 and by just 2.02 per cent in 2012.

    Chancellor George Osborne has refused to sign off the EU's 2010 accounts because of errors worth £4 billion
    Chancellor George Osborne has refused to sign off the EU's 2010 accounts because of errors worth £4 billion

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2133044/The-mark-EU--666-cost-British-family-Europe.html#ixzz1sh8yxByN

    First Dogs..... 'Microchip for every new pup'..... It is coming

    Microchip for every new pup: Millions face £35 bill as ministers unveil hi-tech scheme to tackle the scourge of dangerous dogs

    A vet reads a microchip implanted into a dog, at a PDSA clinic
    A vet reads a microchip implanted into a dog, at a PDSA clinic

    Millions of dog owners will have to pay for their pets to be fitted with a microchip as part of a controversial crackdown on the menace of dangerous animals.

    Ministers are due to announce on Monday that every newborn puppy should be microchipped in an operation costing around £35.

    The chip will contain details of the dog’s owner and address, which will be stored on a central database to which the police and the RSPCA will have access.

    The Government insists the plan will make it easier for the police to trace the owners of violent dogs and ensure they can be prosecuted for not keeping them under control.

    But there are concerns that the scheme will only hit responsible dog owners, because many breeders of vicious dogs will not obey the law.

    So while owners of gentle breeds such as poodles and golden retrievers are likely to dutifully pay up to have the chips installed under the skin, rogue breeders, who tend to produce rottweilers and pitbull terriers, could continue to evade the law.

    Critics say the proposal will also be a bureaucratic nightmare, because of the need to maintain a huge database to store the information on the chips.

    Under the plans, to be unveiled by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, only newborn puppies will have to be microchipped. 

    Some animal welfare groups want to see this gradually extended to cover all of Britain’s eight million dogs.

    The Kennel Club and the Dogs’ Trust are among campaigners welcoming the changes, because they say it will help to  return lost dogs to their homes. 

    Trevor Cooper, a solicitor from www.doglaw.co.uk, said: ‘This is fantastic on welfare grounds. 

    It will make it much easier to trace the person responsible for a dog, but on the question of whether it will prevent attacks in the first place, this is not a magic wand. 

    ‘A chip will not make a dog less vicious. 

    ‘This is not a solution to the dangerous dog problem. 

    But hopefully chipping will make the dog owner more responsible.

    ‘Those who comply most readily with the law are those who will see the benefit of it. But sadly there will always be some people who do not comply with the law.’

    Neil Parish MP with pet labrador Wilberforce warned about microchipping plans
    Neil Parish MP, with pet labrador Wilberforce, warned new microchipping plans could make life difficult for legitimate dog owners
    Neil Parish MP, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Animal Welfare, welcomed the proposals but did have a warning.

    ‘If we’re not careful we’re going to make things more difficult for legitimate dog owners, and not solve the real problem of dangerous dogs,’ he said. 
    ‘We have got to find the dogs who are being bred illegally by people who mix breeds to create potentially vicious dogs. 

    'It’s not so much the dogs that should be targeted, but the owners who train them to be vicious that must be targeted.’ 

    He said council officers, environmental health staff and police should have extra powers to search for dogs and ensure potentially dangerous animals are microchipped.Victoria Brown, public affairs manager at the Kennel Club, said councils were spending £57million a year on finding homes for lost dogs because there is no way to return them to their owners.

    Although she welcomed the plans, she had some concerns.

    ‘We are worried that this is being sold by ministers as an issue around dangerous dogs,’ she said. 

    ‘If ministers say these chips will allow us to contact you if your dog does something wrong, then people will be frightened to comply. 

    ‘It should instead be presented as a way to enable people to find their much-loved pet again if they go missing.’ 

    The microchipping plan follows a major increase in the number of dangerous dogs seized, and a rise in attacks on children.

    In London alone, police seized 1,512 dogs last year  –  up from just 27 five years earlier.

    In February, peers were told that there were more than seven attacks on guide dogs by other dogs every month.

    Lord Taylor, an environment minister, said: ‘We are close to finalising a package of measures to tackle irresponsible dog owners. 

    ‘We see microchipping as part of the measures we can do to address an increasing problem.’ 

    A tiny identity tag microchip for a dog
    A tiny identity tag microchip for a dog; millions face footing a £35 bill

    But Lord Renton of Mount Henry, a former Tory minister, urged the Government to think carefully before insisting on compulsory microchipping because many dogs ‘took badly’ to having a chip inserted.

    ‘Surely anyone who cannot control their dog should not have one,’ he said. 

    And Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley, said: ‘My instinct is that it is likely to end up penalising responsible dog owners. 
    The danger is that you introduce a new tax, and all the bureaucracy that goes with it, on law-abiding dog owners while making no impression on the irresponsible ones.’ 

    Around 58 per cent of owners have already had their dogs microchipped. 

    The procedure is usually carried out by a vet and involves a chip around the size of a rice grain being implanted under the skin of the dog, between the shoulder blades, using a needle and syringe.

    Once in place, it can be read using a hand-held device and updated when the dog is sold or the owner moves home.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2132978/Microchip-new-pup-Millions-face-35-ministers-unveil-hi-tech-scheme-tackle-scourge-dangerous-dogs.html#ixzz1sg78UshP

    20 April 2012

    And yet another Mega-Earthquake Drill....

    Mega Earthquake “drill” pre-planned for March 20, 2012 in Mexico

    Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025

    The government of Chiapas, Mexico had issued a bulletin to its citizens on March 16, 2012 inviting them to participate in a mega earthquake simulation drill that was to be held on March 20 at 12:00 hours.  Amazingly, with only a difference of two minutes of the drill time, Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 12:02:48 PM, at epicenter, a Magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck – OAXACA, MEXICO.http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/usc0008m6h.php#details
    The following is the announcement of the drill by the government of SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Chiapas:
    Ready for the mega drill
    As part of the Third Meeting of Cabinet authorities of the three orders of government are prepared to carry out the Mega Drill to be held on March 20 in about 12 hours.
    Having made the installation of the “State Emergency Committee”, Federal, State, municipal and civil associations made the last Cabinet meeting in order to provide a structure in the control and coordination of resources in case of a situation contingency.
    As a special guest at this workshop is counted with the presence of the Director General of the Centre and seismic recording instrumentation AC (CIRES) Juan Manuel Espinosa Aranda who performed in conjunction with the communications working group a presentation on seismic warning system, which collects information and is used to develop systems for prevention in case of earthquakes.
    For the realization of this workshop were installed 14 working groups in which each entity delegated to a representative and liaison which will serve to meet the requirements for the completion of the Mega Drill.
    Through the State Emergency Committee established a unified coordination group in order to consolidate all operational elements relating to health and emergency management to the restoration of Strategic Services.
    Note that the Mega Drill will be the perfect setting to test the work of this committee, which will allow us to assess the current status of State Civil Protection System to meet a contingency situation.
    In this exercise involving staff from the Ministry of National Defense, Secretary of the Navy, Federal Police, Ministry of Communications and Transport, Civil Aviation Directorate General, National Telecommunications Commission, Ministry of Infrastructure, Field Secretary, Ministry of Health, Secretary of Environment and Nature history, Secretary of Transportation, Red Cross, Fire Department, among many others.
    In the event attended by over 100 institutions and units of the three levels of government throughout the state of Chiapas, with the sole purpose of continuing the work to implement the Mega Drill on 20 March at about 12 pm the day.
    In this framework, unveiled the strategies of public administration to implement theMega Drill with Hypothesis 7.9 ° Richter quake, which referred the action to be taken each agency and the work done in case of a emergency.
    Just a coincidence or are governments now able to control seismic activity in advance?
    Posted by PC

    Mass-Casualty Earthquake Drill held..... Preparing as they did before 9/11?

    Robert Adamson has a fake injury applied to his face before an earthquake response exercise Thursday in Ogden. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)

    Anthony Thompson was in shock, disoriented and combative.
    As an emergency medical responder restrained him in the middle of a parking lot, Thompson screamed out in pain.
    Thompson said he had been in the lobby of an old building on 20th Street. Glass was embedded in his skin and bones were sticking through his skin. He was crying, coughing and had become disorderly. Emergency rescuers had to hold him down, so he wouldn't hurt himself further.
    But none of it was real. Instead, it was a multiagency, multijurisdictional mass-casualty drill. Emergency officials wanted to make it as life-like as possible, so they could test the region's ability to communicate and coordinate a response to a catastrophic earthquake in Northern Utah.
    The mock scenario continued inside an adjacent building, where dozens of people were waiting for help after suffering their own injuries. Many of them were trapped.
    "Help. Please. They left us," screamed Hallie Smock. "We were working overtime when the earthquake hit. I've got burns all over my body. A pole went through my leg. I'm bleeding really bad."
    A piece of ceiling had fallen on Saileen Baughman just as she was entering the restroom.
    Robert Adamson slammed into a window, embedding shattered glass in his hand and face.
    "I don't know whether I'm going to live," he said. "I'm worried about my family and my two daughters."
    "These are the kinds of things that will happen during a real disaster," said Kirk Freeman, Ogden city emergency coordinator. "People are going to panic and become very stressed and disoriented. This is a great way for us to look at our plans, make improvements and deal with this as if it were the real deal."
    The drill began at the old Navy and Army Reserve, 980 20th St., and included 120 students from Clearfield Job Corps, who played the role of victims. Each victim was triaged, treated and transported to McKay-Dee Hospital or Ogden Regional Medical Center by bus, ambulance or helicopter. The goal was to have this done within 60 minutes of the earthquake.
    A command post was on site, in addition to the Weber Metro Heavy Rescue Team, Weber County Animal Response Team and additional resources from the Northern Utah Regional Response Team.
    "We are working with several counties, including Weber, Davis, Box Elder, Morgan, Cache, Rich," said operations controller Lance Peterson. "Everyone will be communicating and working together under the same guidelines."
    Peterson said if a 7.0 earthquake were to hit Northern Utah, it is estimated there would be around 3,000 deaths and 37,000 homes destroyed.
    Ron Ball, risk management director for Ogden, was at the scene to make sure no one actually got hurt.
    "We're here to make sure things stay safe during the drill," he said. "We don't want people to really get hurt."
    Ball said in the many drills he's been involved in, he has never seen an actual injury.
    However, Ogden School District public relations director Donna Corby said, two years ago during a disaster drill at Ogden High School, one of the "victims" went into labor.
    "There were EMTs everywhere, and of course, they stabilized her and got her to the hospital, where she delivered a healthy baby," Corby said.
    Corby said the school district was awarded a readiness emergency management FEMA grant. That grant money allows the district to be as prepared as possible in the event of a disaster, she said.
    "We have 12,600-plus students and if we have an earthquake of this magnitude, we will not be releasing any of those students," she said. "We will keep them until their parents come for them and that may mean they have to spend the night. So we have safety bags and food and water on all of our campuses. We practice these drills and take them very seriously."
    Lucy Astorga, who was trapped in one of the buildings, said the drill felt real to her.
    "I've never been in an earthquake before, but this is very scary," she said. "A lot of things go through your mind, and you hope someone will find you and help you."

    By Jamie Lampros

    IMF secures $320 Billion in drive for new Funds.... to tackle 'Crises' and 'Promote Globalisation'


    The International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday it had raised $320 billion so far in a bid to boost its firepower to deal with the euro zone debt crisis, with Poland and Switzerland joining the effort.

    IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said she had received commitments of $34 billion on Wednesday, including $8 billion from Poland and "a substantial amount" from Switzerland.

    "Ensuring that the Fund has sufficient resources to tackle crises and to promote global economic stability is in the interests of all our members," she said in a statement.

    Lagarde is hoping to secure at least $400 billion in commitments from finance officials from around the globe, who meet this week in Washington under the auspices of the Group of 20 nations and the IMF and World Bank.

    The issue has taken on new urgency given increased borrowing costs in Spain and Italy that have reignited fears the euro zone crisis could flare again, and that the fallout could imperil the global economic recovery.

    The United States has declined to provide fresh funds, saying it had done its part by ensuring dollar liquidity for banks in Europe, but it threw its weight behind the fundraising effort on Wednesday.

    "We're actually very supportive of that process and we'll be very supportive of it this week," U.S. Treasury Timothy Geithner said, avoiding past rhetoric about Europe needing to do more first to erect its own financial firewall.

    Europe had already said it would provide about $200 billion to the IMF and Japan pledged $60 billion on Tuesday, becoming the first non-European nation to make a commitment.

    Sweden said it would commit $10 billion and increase the amount to $14.7 billion later, while Denmark said it would give $7 billion. Norway pledged about $9.3 billion.

    The effort to expand the IMF's coffers is expected to dominate a meeting of G20 finance officials over dinner on Thursday and during the day on Friday. It will also be front and center at the IMF's semi-annual session on Saturday.

    Speaking at the Brookings Institution, Geithner said the commitments that had already flowed in should make it apparent to financial markets that the fund can bulk up quickly when necessary, a prospect that could ease crisis-related jitters.

    He said it was a positive that the IMF could raise money quickly to "cushion if necessary the effects of European trauma" on the economies of other nations.


    While Europe has won some praise for actions it has taken to build up its own defenses to keep its debt troubles contained, the IMF warned this week that the crisis was still the single greatest threat to the world economy.

    "Solving the issues in Europe is not about a firewall, it's about decisions that will be taken in Europe over a sustained period of time; and it's European actions that will be decisive here as opposed to outside money," Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney told a news conference.

    Carney, who also heads the global Financial Stability Board, said the G20 had yet to reach a consensus on how to proceed.

    Like the United States, Canada has ruled out putting more money into the IMF. "Really, the Europeans need to step up to the plate much more than they have," Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters in Toronto.

    But Canada seemed increasingly isolated.

    In Mexico, Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade sounded an optimistic note about a deal for more IMF money. He said commitments made by Japan, Sweden and Denmark were a sign of good progress - a potentially significant comment because Mexico, as this year's G20 chair, has a chance to shape not only the agenda but the outcome of this week's talks.

    "It creates a good environment for the meeting," Meade said of money pledges.

    Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, predicted in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday that a deal would be reached this week.

    A number of emerging market economies, including China, Russia and Brazil have been cautious about providing more money to the IMF. They want commitments the new resources will be accompanied by more voting power at the global lender.

    In a report on global financial stability, the IMF offered advice for Europe: set a course for fiscal union to match the existing monetary union so that unified policy can be passed that works equally for members and makes it harder for financial markets to single out the weakest for attack.

    "European authorities need to provide investors with a clear vision of where monetary union is going, because the answer to this is more and better Europe, not less Europe," IMF financial counselor Jose Vinals said as he issued the report.

    The IMF urged central supervision of European banks. It also suggested that the European Union should consider injecting public capital into banks - a tactic the United States employed in 2008 when its banking system was at risk of collapse.