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Tips for fighting zombie attacks: Canada says be prepared

Side Note: OK - this is just getting weird - if you recall from last year (almost to the exact date even) the CDC issued something similar (which will be below the story from Canada). Are they [BOTH Governments, USA and CANADA] conditioning the people for something? I don’t consider this to be a weird joke or a strange coincidence any more.
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MAY 15, 2012

Tips for fighting zombie attacks: Canada says be prepared

MONTREAL — If you’re in Canada this summer, and you don’t want to die, then listen up. If you’re ready for a zombie attack, then you’re ready for just about anything.

That’s the message British Columbia is sending its citizens and tourists in a website it launched this week, which provides tips on about how to prepare for a fake zombie apocalypse.

The vast province on Canada’s west coast has initiated a surprise preparedness campaign to help people take precautions in the event of any disaster — even a zombie attack.

The campaign is fake of course, but the website and its message about safety is not.

Emergency Info BC is using the faux preparedness tips to promote readiness for natural catastrophes which could strike the region.

"While the chance of zombies a-knockin’ on your door is pretty slim, we do believe that if you’re ready for zombies, you’re ready for any disaster," the website said.

Its campaign is like a “blog about surviving a zombie attack” and is meant to be completely “fictional.”

It includes guidelines in case of an epidemic that transforms people into zombies, a map of risk zones in British-Columbia and instructions for what to include in one’s survival kit. The site also makes use of links to real resources for real disasters.

According to Emergency Info: “Other than zombie attack, your region may be susceptible to flooding, earthquakes or tsunamis. Find out and get prepared.”

MAY 19, 2011 

CDC instructs on preparations for Zombie Apocalypse

There are many exotic diseases the Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating, and about it which it warns Americans; few followers of the health agency were prepared for its latest post: “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse”; the post, written by Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan, instructs readers how to prepare for “flesh-eating zombies” – zombies similar to those one sees in movies like “Night of the Living Dead” and video games like Resident Evil; CDC spokesperson said: “It’s kind of a tongue-in-cheek campaign—- We were talking about hurricane preparedness and someone bemoaned that we kept putting out the same messages”

There are many exotic diseases the Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating, and about it which it warns Americans. Few followers of the health agency were prepared for its latest post: “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse.”

The emergency preparation post on the CDC Web site reads:

There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.

The post, written by Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan, instructs readers how to prepare for “flesh-eating zombies” – zombies similar to those one sees in movies like “Night of the Living Dead” and video games like Resident Evil. Fox News notes that perhaps surprisingly, the same steps you’d take in preparation for an onslaught of ravenous monsters are similar to those suggested in advance of a hurricane or pandemic. The CDC Web posting says:

First of all, you should have an emergency kit in your house. This includes things like water, food, and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp (or in the event of a natural disaster, it will buy you some time until you are able to make your way to an evacuation shelter or utility lines are restored).

Other items to be stashed in such a kit include medications, duct tape, a battery-powered radio, clothes, copies of important documents, and first aid supplies.

Once you’ve made your emergency kit, you should sit down with your family and come up with an emergency plan,” the posting continues. “This includes where you would go and who you would call if zombies started appearing outside your doorstep. You can also implement this plan if there is a flood, earthquake or other emergency.”

CDC spokesman Dave Daigle told FoxNews.com that someone had askedCDC officials if zombies would be a concern due to radiation fears in Japan and traffic spiked following that mention. “It’s kind of a tongue-in-cheek campaign,” Daigle said Wednesday. “We were talking about hurricane preparedness and someone bemoaned that we kept putting out the same messages.”

Filed under News Canada USA CDC Zombies

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Victoriaville, QC: Riot against the liberal party of Quebec

SOURCE

 VICTORIAVILLE- Many people were doubled over coughing as police lobbed dozens of canisters of chemical irritants into the crowd in an effort to push the demonstrators away from the Victorin hotel and conference centre, where the Quebec Liberal party is holding a general council meeting this weekend.

The event began peacefully at 5 p.m., with about 1,000 protesters turning up in the town to voice their discontent with various government plans, including the Plan Nord, shale gas exploration, and the impending tuition fee hike.

As protesters reached the conference centre, however, they started shaking the waist-high security fence. A group of masked men also began throwing rocks, projectiles and fireworks at the police and the building. One window was smashed, and moments later the protesters breached the fence and were a few feet from the doors.

About 200 Sûreté du Québec officers in riot gear responded with the chemical irritant know as CS gas, and the air quickly became nearly unbreathable.

What followed was two hours of violent confrontation that spilled into the parking lot behind the hotel and onto the properties of several residents of the town, who watched nervously from their living room windows. Projectiles flew, dozens of gas canisters were deployed and rubber bullets were fired as the protesters were slowly but surely pushed back toward the Wal Mart parking lot where the event began.

Three police officers and six protesters were injured seriously enough to be taken to a hospital during the melée, which began around 6:30 p.m. and lasted more than two hours in the pouring rain. One person, a protester, suffered what police are describing as “life-threatening” head injuries after being hit by a projectile.

It is still unclear if the object was a rock, a billiard ball or a rubber bullet launched by police. The unidentified protester’s condition was still being described as critical at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Aside from the injuries suffered, the riot resulted in some moderate damage to property. Several vehicles, including an SQ van, were vandalized and one of the convention centre’s windows was shattered, but there was little to no damage to nearby private homes and the protest was contained to the area immediately surrounding the convention centre.

Only four people were arrested during the demonstration itself. However, within minutes of leaving Victoriaville, three chartered buses filled with protesters were stopped along highways heading for Montreal and every person on board was arrested and identified. A total of 106 people were rounded up and brought to local stations for questioning overnight.

Read more …

Filed under News Canada Quebec Anarchy Anarchism Protest Riot Police

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Drones patrolling Washington state border

Side Note: These drones and this entire stupid surveillance state is for one purpose, and one purpose only: TO INTIMIDATE YOU. Everything else they say it’s for IS A LIE. Clear? Good.
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Unmanned craft help with natural disasters and drug interdiction

SOURCE

SEATTLE – The federal government’s unmanned drones patrolling the U.S.-Canadian border are venturing into Washington’s airspace.

In testimony before a U.S. Senate panel last week, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said northern border surveillance using unmanned aerial aircraft now expands from North Dakota to Eastern Washington.

The two 10,000-pound Predator-B unmanned aircraft based in Grand Forks, N.D., have a 950-mile coverage range and “do enter Washington airspace, in the vicinity of Spokane,” Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman Gina Gray said Thursday.

The unmanned aircraft “can stay in the air for up to 20 hours at a time, something no other aircraft in the federal inventory can do,” Gray said. “In this manner it is a force multiplier, providing aerial surveillance support for border agents by investigating sensor activity in remote areas to distinguish between real or perceived threats, allowing the boots on the ground force to best allocate their resources and efforts.”

Since 2005, the Department of Homeland Security has deployed a handful of drones around the country, with some based in Arizona, Florida, North Dakota and Texas – with more planned for the future. Operations out of North Dakota first began in 2011.

The drones help both patrol and aid during natural disasters. For example, Gray said, the Predators have mapped the flooded Red River Valley in the areas of North Dakota and Minnesota. The drones are equipped with cameras that can provide aerial pictures of disaster areas.

The drones also can be loaned to local agencies in cases of emergencies. In fiscal year 2011, CBP’s drones contributed to the seizure of 7,600 pounds of narcotics and 75 arrests, Gray added.

The use of drones has proliferated among federal and local law enforcement agencies nationwide along with civilian hobbyists in recent years.

In December, Congress gave the Federal Aviation Administration six months to pick half a dozen sites around the country where the military and others can fly unmanned aircraft in the vicinity of regular air traffic, with the aim of demonstrating they’re safe.

But concerns remain, including privacy, and the government worries they could collide with passenger planes or come crashing down to the ground – concerns that have slowed more widespread adoption of the technology.

A recent American Civil Liberties Union report said allowing drones greater access takes the country “a large step closer to a surveillance society in which our every move is monitored, tracked, recorded, and scrutinized by the authorities.”

Kendle Allen, sheriff of remote Stevens County, said his agency has not asked for drone assistance.

“There is always mixed feelings about something flying above you,” Allen said.

But he said in Stevens County’s rugged mountainous terrain, aerial patrol can be useful in case of emergencies. His office has used U.S. Border Patrol helicopters in the past to search for people missing in the woods.

Filed under News DHS Drones Washington USA Canada Surveillance Surveillance State

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Japan tsunami debris moves towards US and Canada

Wreckage including lumber, footballs, parts of roofs and factories, and even bikes will soon start coming ashore in North America

Suzanne Goldenberg,

Wreckage from Japan's tsunami – fishing gear and furniture, footballs and ships – has swept across the Pacific far faster than expected, with thousands of tonnes projected to land on North American shores this year.

Scientists believe lighter objects such as buoys and oil drums began reaching land last November or December. The rest is spread over thousands of miles of ocean between the Midway atoll and the northern islands of Hawaii.

About 95% will probably never come ashore and is destined for that massive swirl of floating plastic known as the north Pacific garbage patch. The remaining fraction is due to reach the west coast of the US and Canada in October.

No one expects to wake up one morning to a tsunami of rubbish. “It is not like you are going to be standing on the beach looking at the horizon and see a wall of debris come in,” said Nicholas Mallos, a marine debris expert at the Ocean Conservancy.

But there have already been some bizarre finds. This week a beachcomber in British Columbia found a moving crate containing a rusting Harley-Davidson motorcycle registered to Japan’s Miyagi prefecture, which absorbed the brunt of the tsunami. The crate also contained a set of golf clubs.

Last month a a football washed up on an uninhabited island off Alaskaand was traced to its owner, a Japanese schoolboy from the town of Rikuzentakata which was almost flattened by the tsunami. A 160ft fishing boat, the Ryou-Un Maru, drifting to within 300 miles of the British Columbia coast before it was deemed a hazard to shipping and sunk by the US coastguard, was also found.

Washington state officials last week put up posters advising residents what may arrive on their beaches, from common litter to aluminium canisters possibly containing insecticide, and derelict boats.

Read more …

Filed under News Japan Tsunami Hawaii California Oregon Washington Alaska Canada Pacific Radiation

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Update on the recent weeks of struggle in Montreal surrounding the Student Strike

Sabotage Media

April 12th

A mass of youth broke into and ransacked the University of Montreal after a court injunction was granted to the university against student striker.

the same evening a crowd stoned the windows of banks, vandalized a copcar and trew projectiles to the cops.

April 13th

Office of the Minister of Education, Line Beauchamp, was ransacked.
The next day a person was arrested and held in custody before being released a few days later with house arrest.

April 15th

Overnight four ministers’ offices had their windows broken and left with paint and graffiti.

Office of the Minister of Justice, Jean-Marc Fournier.
Office of the Minister responsible for Seniors, Marguerite Blais
Office of the Finance Minister, Raymond Bachand
Office of the Minister of Labour, Lise Thériault

April 16th

At three places bags of bricks were left on subway tracks interrupting the service.

April 18th

A smoke bomb in the subway stopped the service on the green line around 7:30 am.

April 19th

During a “manif-action” (action-demo) called “Downtown Shutdown” access was bloqued to the Omni and the CIBC tower, where are situated the offices of the Employers Council of Quebec, the Montreal Economic Institute and the Junior Chamber of Commerce of Montreal.

Red paint bombs were thrown at police cars. Furniture and bags of garbage were throen in the street.
Two people were arrested

April 20th

Various groups including students on strike disrupted the Plan Nord job fair and a riot broke out downtown. Intense street battles with the cops insued and many places had their windows busted including the Montreal World Trade Center, Palais des congrès (the main conference center), media monopoly Québecor and various banks and a dozen copcars.

April 21st

Another disruption of the Plan Nord job fair this time called by the RRQ (a nationalist group) and InnuPower (an Innu first nations group) ends with mass arrest of about a hundred people. The job fair is closed for a second day in a row.

April 22nd

Overnight paint bombs were thrown against the front of SNC-Lavalin (huge engineering firm that amongst other things receives military contracts, builds prisons around the world and also built the 10 million dollar fence during the G20 in Toronto). Two poeple were arrested

Overnight Journal de Montréal office windows were busted and a graffiti “médias partout” (media everywhere) was sprayd on the building.

April 24th

While the student “delegates” recently negotiating with the government call not to do “actions of disturbance,” a demo is held at which police cars are vandalized and the windows of an HSBC bank are shattered. Protesters shout “to negotiate is to get fucked!”

Three people were arrested for misdemeanors and “breach of conditions.”

April 25th

Smoke bombs interrupt the service on two subway lines at 9:45am and again one hour later on one line.

During a demonstration in the afternoon smoke bombs were triggered in the Complexe Desjardins (shopping center and business offices).

At the Montreal court , two young women went before a judge for breach of conditions related to the demos. One of them will remain hostage to the State at least until her bail hearing, on May 1. The other young woman, Emma, whom the media recently demonized was released with a promise to appear in court but while walking to a bar with a friend downtown, bike pigs went by, recognized her and decided to harass and arrest her. She wasn’t actually breaching anything – she didn’t have a condition against being downtown. This is simply the State trying to fuck with her. She appeared before the judge the next day and the crown argued against her release. She is currently being detained at Tanguay prison until her bail hearing Monday.

Depending on how the bail hearing goes, she would then either get released Monday or be held inside all the way until her trial (!), ie. possibly months. The bail hearing is in room 5.07 at the Palais de Justice at 9:30 am this coming Monday, April 30.

The same night a riot broke out downtown during a massive demonstration of thousands of people. Several banks, a police station, offices of the armed forces and state lottery were attacked and several street battles against the cops took place.

Solidarity with any and all arrestees!
Total liberation for everyone inside and outside the walls!

Filed under News Anarchy Anarchism Montreal Canada Protest Tuition University of Montreal

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Montreal Protesters Push Back Riot Cops, Provocateurs Act Up

The protest last night was massive but had a vibe of peace and solidarity to it. Just before I left, a couple of people smashed a window with rocks, but I suspect they were provocateurs based on a witness’ description of the culprits’ garb and M.O. Moreover, Eric Bouthillette, who was on the front lines the whole night, reported that there were people dressed in provocateur-style gear at the head of the protest trying all night to start confrontations and being stopped by the rest of the protesters. At about 2:00 am the next morning, about 30 arrests were made. According to Eric, the protest ended with a conflict between the vandals/ provocateurs and the rest of the protesters. Some people were breaking windows and the mass of protesters were trying to stop them, which resulted in a conflict among the marchers themselves and not between the marchers and the police.
Essentially, provocateurs or hooligans were trying to start trouble and the legitimate protesters tried to stop them, and people were arrested as a result of this scuffle. Is this a divide-and-conquer tactic being implemented? Isn’t this easier than trying to contain thousands of people or bring on martial law? 
The protests continue and so far they have been taking place largely at night. The police seem to be concerned above all with protecting commercial establishments and preventing the protest from interfering with commerce. They would hate for the protesters to start marching during the day, but if this continues, that is likely the next thing they will do. 
The government will then have to decide whether they should give in to the protesters’ demands or bring out the army, because the crowds are so large (and determined) that they cannot be controlled by the police or the SQ. 
The third option, as I mentioned before, would be to subvert the marches with provocateurs.
I’d like to point out something people often overlook, which is that the main reason tuition is still so low in Quebec is not that we just have a nice government, but that THIS is what happens when they try to hike it up. Will it work again this time or will our NWO corporate police-state government take things to a whole new level in order to push through more pocket-picking? Time will tell.

Filed under News Montreal Tuition Protests Activism YouTube Canada

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Montreal, QC: Various attacks on government offices and metro system

GREVE MONTREAL

MONTREAL – Montreal’s métro system was the target of another coordinated disruption on Wednesday morning when a smoke bomb was tossed into a tunnel along the Green line.

The Green line was the only one affected, with service interrupted along almost the entire line from Lionel Groulx to Honoré Beaugrand stations.

Police were on the scene at 7:45 a.m.

According to Montreal police Constable Daniel Fortier, police received a call at about 7:20 a.m. reporting that smoke was filling a station or stations. Officials later determined that a smoke bomb had been thrown into the tunnel between Beaudry and Papineau stations.

A police dog was reportedly brought in to help locate the canister.

Métro service was back up as of 8 a.m.

The incident marked the third time this week that commuters have had to contend with an organized attack on Montreal’s underground transit system. On Monday morning, bags of bricks were tossed on to the tracks and several emergency alarms were pulled just as the morning rush hour got underway. That disruption lasted more than 20 minutes and affected several lines. Later in the afternoon, someone threw a smoke bomb in Berri station, disrupting service once again just as many Montrealers were getting ready to leave work for the day.

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MONTREAL – Police are investigating four separate acts of vandalism overnight that targeted the Montreal offices of several high-ranking government officials.

Things got started just after 3 a.m. when someone smashed a window at 750 Marcel Laurin Blvd., a building which currently houses the offices of Quebec Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier. Several bottles which “looked like Molotov cocktails” were thrown inside, said Montreal police Constable Yannick Ouimet.

No fire was started, however.

About 15 minutes later, another window was broken and similar bottles were thrown inside the building located at 3269 St. Jacques St., which houses the office of St. Henri MNA and Liberal minister responsible for seniors, Marguerite Blais. In addition to the broken glass, police found graffiti painted on the building and the sidewalk.

Again, there was no fire.

At 4 a.m., a third building – this time the office of Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand located at 5450 Côte des Neiges Rd. – was vandalized. The culprits used red spray paint to deface the side of the building, but there were no broken windows or other damages at that location, Ouimet confirmed.

“It was red squares that were painted,” he added.

Read more …

Filed under News Anarchy Anarchism Montreal Canada

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The Impending Cybersecurity Power Grab – It’s not just for the United States

BY KATITZA RODRIGUEZ

EFF, OpenMedia.caCIPPIC and a number of civil society organizations have declared this to be ‘Stop Cyber Spying Week’ in protest of several controversial U.S. cybersecurity legislative proposals, including the bill currently before Congress and the Senate called CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing & Protection Act of 2011. While ‘Stop Cyber Spying Week’ is focused on U.S. initiatives, Canadians should be concerned as well as the adoption of a privacy-invasive U.S. cybersecurity strategy is likely to have serious implications for Canadian civil liberties. For this reason, Canadian civil society groups have joined the protest. In general, Canadians would do well to remain vigilant.

Using the guise of ‘cybersecurity’, CISPA aims to mobilize Internet intermediaries to institute a sweeping, privacy-invasive, voluntary information-sharing regime with few safeguards. The U.S. cybersecurity strategy, embodied in CISPA and other legislative proposals, also seeks to empower Internet companies to deploy ill-defined ‘countermeasures’ in order to combat these threats. Use of these powers is purportedly limited to situations addressing ‘cybersecurity’ threats, yet this term is so loosely defined that it can encompass almost anything – even,potentially, to investigate potential breaches of intellectual property rights!

The cornerstone of the privacy-invasive CISPA component is the establishment of private-public partnerships for information sharing. This creates a two-tiered regime that, on the one hand, facilitates the collection of personal Internet data by private Internet companies as well as the sharing of that information with the government and, on the other, allows government agencies to share information with private companies.

To enable information flows from Internet companies to government agencies, CISPA will grant Internet companies immunity from civil or criminal liability for any monitoring or sharing of user activity—as long as it is done in ‘good faith.’ Specifically, CISPA authorizes companies to “use cybersecurity systems to identify and obtain cyber threat information.” Aggrieved users who sue Internet companies for wrongfully handing over their data to the government willhave to meet the incredibly high bar of proving the decision comprised ‘willful misconduct.’

The U.S. cybersecurity strategy will also permit Internet companies to employ dubiously defined ‘countermeasures,’ provided they are justified with equally vague and undefined ‘defensive intent.’ Internet companies will be permitted to deploy ‘cybersecurity systems’ – products designed to ‘safeguard…a network from efforts to degrade, disrupt, or destroy’. While it is unclear exactly what this would permit an Internet company to do, it could allow blocking of specific websites or individuals or even a much broader range of filtering. Given the potentially all-encompassing and inclusive definition of ‘cybersecurity’, it would not be surprising if these ‘countermeasures’ were ultimately used to block online entities such as Wikileaks or sites accused of copyright infringement. The inclusion of ‘degrade’ in the definition of permissible ‘cybersecurity systems’ could even raise net neutrality concerns, as ISPs have, in the past, claimed ‘network degradation’ as justification for the throttling of downstream services such as peer-to-peer applications. Indeed, U.S. cybersecurity laws have a history of being employed by private Internet companies to stifle downstream competition.

In sum, the U.S. cybersecurity strategy envisions a voluntary cooperative regime where Internet companies are given broad-ranging immunities to surveil Internet users and downstream online services. This amounts to an erosion of personal privacy safeguards currently in place. Under this regime, an online company need only to assert a vague ‘cybersecurity objective’ and it will have carte blanche to bypass domestic laws and protections against privacy invasion.

Read more …

Filed under News Commentary CISPA Globalization USA Big Brother cyberwar cybersecurity Canada World Government

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Royal Canadian Mint to create digital currency

By Emily Jackson

The Royal Canadian Mint wants to get rid of pocket change — and it’s enlisting hacker-types for help.

Less than a week after the government announced the penny’s impending death, the Mint quietly unveiled its digital currency called MintChip.

Still in the research and development phase, MintChip will ultimately let people pay each other directly using smartphones, USB sticks, computers, tablets and clouds. The digital currency will be anonymous and good for small transactions — just like cash, the Mint says.

To make sure its technology meets the gold standard in a world where digital transactions are gaining steam, the Mint is holding a contest for software developers to create applications using the MintChip.

The old-fashioned prize? Solid gold wafers and coins worth about $50,000.

It’s such an unusual move from the crown corporation, which has been in the coin-making business for more than 100 years, that Hacker News questioned whether it was an “elaborate hoax.”

It’s not, the Mint’s chief financial officer Marc Brûlé said Tuesday.

Commerce is changing and the Mint has always been innovative, Brûlé said. (For instance, it did an initial public offering of exchange traded receipts of its gold holdings last year.)

“There’s been a very huge growing digital economy that is really going to be fueled by smartphones and mobile being the next big thing,” he said.

Read more …

Filed under News Surveillance State cashless society Money MintChip Canada Tech Technology PayPal Google Visa BitCoin

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Developing countries face digital divide: study

SOURCE

The World Economic Forum said Wednesday that the BRICS countries, despite their booming economies, are lagging behind their rivals when it comes to capitalizing on Internet technologies.

The Switzerland-based non-profit group released a report highlighting that the world’s most developed countries dominate the top of a “networked readiness” list while the highest ranking BRICS nation was China in 51st place.

The acronym “BRICS” is used to refer to surging economies in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Although BRICS are fiercely competitive in the global arena, they are hampered by challenges when it comes to adopting information and communications technology (ICT), according to the “Living in a Hyperconnected World” report.

A lack of skilled workers and shortcomings in institutional environments for businesses were cited as factors stifling entrepreneurship and innovation.

The forum’s chief business officer Robert Greenhill said the Internet was causing a shake-up for traditional organizations and “we are beginning to see fundamental transformations in all areas of the economy and society.”

Sweden was ranked highest in networked readiness, followed by Singapore, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Norway.

The United States was in eighth place, with Canada and Britain rounding out the top 10 list.

The Networked Readiness Index combined data from publicly available sources with feedback from a survey of more than 15,000 executives.

Filed under News BRICS United States Tech Technology Singapore Finland Denmark Switzerland Netherlands Norway Canada Britain China Internet Brazil Russia India South Africa

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Boiling point: A Survey of Hemispheric Water Policy – Part 1 of COHA’s Water Series.

Side Note: Water… Fresh Water to be more precise is a resource that the nation of Libya has A LOT of, especially underground. Water, not oil is the resource that ultimately sealed Libya’s fate. Libya just finished a huge fresh water project in which they were going to use to help bolster neighboring countries in Northern Africa. This would have given that region more political power than the West was comfortable with.
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This analysis was prepared by Jaim Coddington, Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs

  From the Texas Oil Boom to the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, petroleum was undoubtedly the most notorious liquid of the last one hundred years.  While some in the international marketplace still fixate on oil, recent political and environmental developments have helped nominate a stunning rival to oil’s supposed predominance: water!  It’s a substance to which Plato gave highest praise: “Only what is rare is valuable, and water, which is the best of all things…is the cheapest.”[1] However, in our time, water has become much rarer, or, in economic terms, more scarce than oil.  In the words of James Bond’s latest nemesis, Dominic Greene, “This [water] is the most valuable resource in the world and we need to control as much of it as we can.”[2] Global water resources have begun to dry up, even as water trading profitability increases.  Although this situation may seem irrelevant for those with adequate water access, it truly could presage a global water catastrophe.

This predicament has not gone unrecognized by international bodies like the United Nations.  In July 2010, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 64/292, which “Recognizes the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights…”[3].  This document is legally binding, and could serve as a key precedent for multilateral water management.  Furthermore, most observers have interpreted the resolution as supporting public water rights [4].  On the other side of the spectrum, litigation like Sunbelt Water’s Chapter 11 NAFTA claim [5] and Canada’s parliamentary Bill S-11 [6] have raised concerns that potential water privatization will result in irreversible water commodification, confirming the private sector’s primacy over the public.

Canada’s massive glaciers, rivers, and lakes have afforded it with 7% of the world’s renewable fresh water [7].  This abundance has led to a relaxed national perspective on water use: Canadian daily water consumption per capita, about 4,400 liters [8], is currently the highest in the world behind the United States, with both a lack of adequate water utilities regulation and reckless industrial water use the culprits.  Lines have been drawn in the taiga, and a number of organizations have sprung up throughout the country to take a stand on the issue.  One front in this international hydro-scuffle is dominated by private firms and the Canadian government, while the opposition consists mainly of environmentalist and civic action bodies.

Canada is second to the U.S. in per capita water consumption. Source: Coastal Care

Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s administration has consistently opposed UN initiatives to define water as a human right.  At a 2008 UN Human Rights Council, the Canadian delegation blocked a move by Spain and Germany to officially recognize water and sanitation as human rights [8].  Canada had previously opposed two UN attempts to elevate water to human right status in 2002 and 2006 [8].  Additionally, the Harper government has tended to encourage privatization as a solution to mismanagement and inefficiency within Canada’s system of water utilities.  The aforementioned Bill S-11, introduced by the Conservatives, tacitly endorses water privatization by mandating clean water access for Canada’s First Nation communities (which is severely lacking) without allocating project funding or financial responsibility to any government regulatory bodies [68].  Furthermore, the bill’s subsection 4 (1)(c)(iii) states that “regulations may confer on any person or body the power, exercisable in specified circumstances and subject to specified conditions, to require a First Nation to enter into an agreement for the management of its drinking water system or waste water system in cooperation with a third party.”[6] This clause could force a First Nation community to accept a government-sponsored contract allowing a private firm to supply and purify that community’s water.

The danger of this silent privatization is among the chief concerns of the Council of Canadians, one of the primary dissenting voices in the Canada’s water debate.  The Council believes that Harper’s corporatizing water policy will jeopardize Canada’s right to self-determination of its own water supply [6].  Sunbelt Water’s aborted Chapter 11 litigation has demonstrated that once a firm gains water rights in state party to the NAFTA, that state’s federal government cannot dissolve those rights without compensating that firm for hundreds of millions of dollars in damages [6].  In the absence of this costly reacquisition of water rights, any private corporation could engage in bulk water exports, shipping huge volumes of water from the country without accountability to the public; in essence, the firm would be ‘harvesting’ national water resources and selling them on the international market.  This is, of course, how corn, iron ore, and other commodities are sold.  The question here is whether a public good should be allowed to become a private benefit without the full consent of the state.

Read more …

Filed under News Water Libya United States Oil Texas Canada Brazil Bolivia Chile Geopolitics Imperialism

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Harper government monitoring online chats about politics Correcting what it calls ‘misinformation’

By Sheila Scott

The Harper government has been monitoring political messages online, and even correcting what it considers misinformation. One local expert says the government is taking things too far.

Under the pilot program the Harper government paid a media company $75,000 to monitor and respond to online postings about the east coast seal hunt.

UBC Computer Science professor and President of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, Richard Rosenberg, says it seems unnecessary for the government to be going this far.  “The government has a lot of power, that it feels the need to monitor public bulletin boards, or places where people express views and then to respond to that, seems to me going beyond a reasonable action the government should be taking.”

Rosenberg says knowing that the government is monitoring certain topics online could result in people being more careful with their identities when they’re posting about political issues on the internet.

He says it’s the first time he’s heard of this happening in Canada.

Filed under News Surveillance Canada Harper Surveillance State Big Brother Geopolitics

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