Worker Cooperatives Are More Productive

The term “co-op” evokes images of collective farming or crunchy craft breweries. But Virginie Perotin of Leeds University Business Schoolsynthesized research on “labor-managed firms” in Western Europe, the United States and Latin America, and found that, aside from the holistic social benefits of worker autonomy, giving workers a direct stake in managing production enables a business to operate more effectively. On balance, Perotin concludes, “worker cooperatives are more productive than conventional businesses, with staff working ‘better and smarter’ and production organized more efficiently.” Continue reading

Hinkley Point: EDF’s own engineers oppose the construction

That is the point we have reached in the tortuous saga of Hinkley Point. The latest judgment from EDF’s engineers is not surprising. Internal opposition to the project to build another reactor to the same design as those under construction in Flamanville in northern France and Olkiluoto in Finland has always been strong. If those projects have not been completed, why take on all the risks of another? Hinkley has never had the support of a majority of the EDF board. The difference now is that the doubts are out in public and can hardly be dismissed as coming from anti-nuclear campaigners or people hostile to all things French. The simple fact is that serious professional engineers do not believe that Hinkley can be built to the present design.

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Regime change – the Libya intervention

Remember this next time there is another talk of ‘interventions.’

In truth, the Libyan intervention was about regime change from the very start. The threat posed by the Libyan regime’s military and paramilitary forces to civilian-populated areas was diminished by NATO airstrikes and rebel ground movements within the first 10 days. Afterward, NATO began providing direct close-air support for advancing rebel forces by attacking government troops that were actually inretreat and had abandoned their vehicles. Fittingly, on Oct. 20, 2011, it was a U.S. Predator drone and French fighter aircraft that attacked a convoy of regime loyalists trying to flee Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte. The dictator was injured in the attack, captured alive, and then extrajudicially murdered by rebel forces.
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French and British arms sales to Armenia

It is very worrying that the Armenian army, having committed aggression and invasion against Azerbaijan, has access to the British and French sniper rifles, the spokesperson noted. “Despite the Foreign Ministry’s expression of concern regarding the export of these sniper rifles to Armenia back on 25 April 2015, the manufacturing states have not clarified this issue,” he said.

However, France and the UK always state their compliance with the arms embargo imposed on both Armenia and Azerbaijan under the relevant decision of OSCE, stressed Hajiyev. “At the same time, there is a strict arms export control regime within the EU,” he added.
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UBI: Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands

Switzerland has turned its back on a basic income scheme, in which the federal government would have given every resident a monthly payment – expected to be around 2500 Swiss Francs ($2,500) – “regardless of their income and assets”.

Although voters rejected the move in a referendum at the weekend, Switzerland isn’t the only country weighing up a basic-income experiment. Around 10,000 people in Finland could soon be paid €550 each month if the government goes ahead with a universal basic income pilot project.
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US Military Operations in Africa

Nick Turse, “Washington’s Back-to-the-Future Military Policies in Africa,” 13 March 2014, TomDispatch

Since 9/11, the U.S. military has been making inroads in Africa, building alliances, facilities, and a sophisticated logistics network.  Despite repeated assurances by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) that military activities on the continent were minuscule, a 2013 investigation by TomDispatch exposed surprisingly large and expanding U.S. operations — including recent military involvement with no fewer than 49 of 54 nations on the continent.  Washington’s goal continues to be building these nations into stable partners with robust, capable militaries, as well as creating regional bulwarks favorable to its strategic interests in Africa.  Yet over the last years, the results have often confounded the planning — with American operations serving as a catalyst for blowback (to use a term of CIA tradecraft).
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