Posts Tagged ‘News’

iPad overload? 77% of parents polled believed that using tablets was beneficial for their children

Screen time can be bad for young children, but it’s not all terrible news for parents who rely on tablets to occupy their offspring

“I recently watched my sister perform an act of magic,” says Nick Bilton at The New York Times. Bilton was sitting in a restaurant with his sister and her two children, ages 4 and 7, and the chattering, fighting kids were keeping the older siblings from conversing. “Like a magician quieting a group of children by pulling a rabbit out of a hat, my sister reached into her purse and produced two shiny Apple iPads,” handing one to each child. The kids fell “eerily” silent for the rest of the meal.

This is hardly a unique occurrence. In restaurants, churches, and other public places all over the U.S. (and probably the developed world), harried parents pull out their tablets or smartphones for a spell of peace and quiet for them and any other adults around them. And, like Bilton’s sister, many of these parents feel “slightly guilty.” Are iPads and other magical child-quieting tablets dangerous for a child’s development?

“I did not have an answer,” Bilton writes, “and although some people might have opinions, no one has a true scientific understanding of what the future might hold for a generation raised on portable screens.” Worse, says Mat Honan at Wired, “it seems like there is simply no way of knowing.”

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics is unambiguous about time spent with screens. It says any at all is bad for children under a certain age…. We made an effort to follow AAP guidelines and prevent her from getting any screen time at all before she was 2. But honestly? On long flights, we’ve loaded upSesame Street on the iPad before takeoff. Parenting is hard…. And, really, is there harm in an app? In the age of the educational app, those AAP guidelines seem, well, quaint. [Wired]

Tablet manufacturers are much less conflicted than parents, of course. You can buy everything from a tablet PC made especially for toddlers to a special iPhone case designed specifically so your infant child can play with your portable touchscreen device without breaking your expensive gadget or ordering thousands of dollars worth of apps. And even some early-childhood educators aresurprisingly sanguine about tablets for tots.

Three kindergarten classes in Australia are participating in study of “the educational benefits of iPad use for pre-school children,” says Matthew Dunn at Australia’s The Standard. Specifically, they want to know if using iPad apps to create art, study creative crafts like puppetry, and read e-books can help kids prepare for school. “There have been past studies examining young children’s use of iPads and smart phone technology but this is the first to link the use with literacy and numeracy through creative applications,” says Sandra Gattenhof at the Queensland University of Technology.

If you want a “long-term double-blind study to prove an interactive smartphone app is different than a TV show,” which is probably bad for kids, well, too bad, says Wired‘s Honan. “The first generation of toddlers that played with iPhones is not even out of elementary school. A child born the day the iPhone shipped would be kindergarten age today. We are all fumbling through this new world, and nobody knows what the long-term implications are.”

Actually there has been some potentially relevant research, and it’s surprisingly hopeful for iPad-wielding parents, says the Times‘ Bilton. Assuming, of course, parents pick the right apps.

 

A report published last week by the Millennium Cohort Study, a long-term study group in Britain that has been following 19,000 children born in 2000 and 2001, found that those who watched more than three hours of television, videos, or DVDs a day had a higher chance of conduct problems, emotional symptoms and relationship problems by the time they were 7 than children who did not. The study, of a sample of 11,000 children, found that children who played video games — often age-appropriate games — for the same amount of time did not show any signs of negative behavioral changes by the same age. [New York Times]

But experts agree pretty unanimously that, at least at the dinner table, talking (or even drawing with crayons) is better than zoning out over an iDevice, both for developing social skills and even learning to cope with or grow from boredom.

 

“I have no fear that my child will only be able to form relationships with avatars,” says Wired‘s Honan. Nor, like some parents, “do I think that it’s imperative to dunk her in the digital stream from an early age” so she’ll be able to swim better as she grows. Like pretty much everything else, “there’s some sort of weird balance we have to fumble our way into finding.” But here’s a cautionary tale:

 

Last year, we took our daughter to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, a free concert in Golden Gate Park. We met a few other parents, who had toddlers of their own. Before the band started playing, one began throwing a tantrum. He wanted his iPod Touch, and so he got it. Then the Preservation Hall Jazz Band began to play, and all the children began to dance and laugh and play in the grass. Except for the one who sat on the blanket, staring at a screen, oblivious to all else.

Should Your 2-Year-Old Be Using an iPad?

From “Baby Touch: Peekaboo” to “Moo, Baa, La La La!,” iPad apps for babies are flooding the market. Developers say the apps are educational, and busy parents know that a digital babysitter can buy them a few minutes of valuable time. But is the iPad a healthy thing for young kids?

Apple’s iTunes now stocks more than 700 apps for children, including ones that promise to “develop hand-eye coordination and focusing skills in young babies” or teach “fine motor skills” to infants “from 0 to 2.5 years old.”

As Healthland reported on Tuesday, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has advised parents — again — to eliminate screen time for children under 2, citing concerns about language delays and disrupted sleep. The academy’s new report drew on studies showing that TV, whether it’s the parent or the child watching, interferes with “talk time” between parent and child, which is crucial to language development.

Does the TV effect apply to iPads too? That’s not clear. “We just don’t have the data yet,” says Dr. Ari Brown, a pediatrician and member of the AAP.

Perhaps it depends on how you’re using it. Tablets used like a TV should fall under the same guidelines, says Tanya Altmann, a Los Angeles-based pediatrician and author of the best-selling parenting book Mommy Calls. However, she doesn’t rule out the possibility that interactive apps may have some value for toddlers. “In some ways, applications are just newer versions of the game that we used to play when we were kids — you tap the cow and it says ‘moo,’” she says.

But even apps that simulate conventional toys don’t teach children the crucial skills that come from physically engaging the world in three dimensions, says Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Hospital. He points to iPad apps that replicate building blocks and Legos. “Surely we would not want that to substitute for actually getting blocks and building something,” he says. “This is not how the real world works, and babies do need to learn how the real world works.”

So, the jury’s still out on tablets for toddlers, but research suggests that educational apps may enhance the learning experience of slightly older children. A recent study funded by the Department of Education showed that the PBS Kids iPhone app “Martha Speaks” boosted 3-to-7-year-olds vocabularies by as much as 31% over the course of two weeks.

Rose Luckin, a professor of learner-centered design at the University of London, has found that tablet-type devices can actually spark the sort of social interaction central to the learning process. She found that 5- and 6-year-olds who recorded school activities on tablets and replayed them for their parents tended to learn better. “One of the key benefits of technologies such as the iPad is that they can become a focus for conversations between parents and children,” she says. “If the device is right in the middle of the family, in the kitchen, in the lap, then as a parent, you’re much more able to have those kinds of shared experiences.”

In other words, tablets might not be all bad if they generate “talk time,” rather than replace it. As with anything else, says Luckin, moderation and common sense are key. “If a child just sits all day playing on the iPad on her own, then I’m not sure she’s getting the benefits,” she says. “My argument about the value of these devices is that they can add to parental time, not take away from it.”

When parents are busy, though, the best option may simply be to turn the gadgets off, rather than letting kids use them unattended, says Altmann. “We know parents can’t be with their children 24/7,” she says. “But don’t forget that when we were kids, our moms would just give us toys to play with on the ground and say, ‘Play.’ Just give them some time to explore occasionally on their own. They don’t have to have external stimulation every second of the day.”

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2011/10/20/no-screen-time-for-2-year-olds-do-ipad-apps-count/#ixzz2PFlZx5M

http://news.yahoo.com/ipad-bad-children-103000808.html

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MTV’s controversial reality show “Buckwild” just took a sad turn south. One of its stars, Shain Gandee, was found dead on Monday morning.

The 21-year-old’s body was discovered in his Ford Bronco in Sissonville, West Virginia, around 11:30 a.m., alongside the dead bodies of his uncle, David Gandee, and a third unidentified person, according to a Kanawha County official.

Dispatchers received a 911 call around 11:30 a.m. that the missing vehicle had been found. Officers used all-terrain vehicles to access the Bronco, which was found about a mile up a dirt road, the Charleston Daily Mail reports.

The reality star and his uncle David, 48, were last seen leaving Larry’s Bar in the neighborhood around 3 a.m. and claiming that they were going to go four-wheeling. The pair’s family reportedly searched for them on Sunday before calling 911 to declare them missing.

The younger Gandee was still a trash collector for the city of South Charleston when “Buckwild” first began shooting. The show followed a handful of college-aged West Virginians partying – kind of like “Jersey Shore” with a gritty, Southern flair.

Needless to say, there seems to be more drama off-camera than on for its stars. Since the show’s premiere in early January, star Salwa Amin has been arrested twice and sent to jail for possession and intent to distribute heroin and OxyContin, while Michael Burford was arrested for a DUI.

Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.) reportedly sent a letter to MTV urging the network to put a stop to the show. “As a U.S. Senator, I am repulsed at this business venture, where some Americans are making money off of the poor decisions of our youth,” he said. “I cannot imagine that anyone who loves this country would feel proud profiting off of ‘Buckwild.’ Instead of showcasing the beauty of our people and our state, you preyed on young people, coaxed them into displaying shameful behavior — and now you are profiting from it. That is just wrong.”

Still, the show has been renewed for a second season. The show’s executive producer, John Stevens, once told Entertainment Weekly that it was Gandee – and the fact that he was a trash collector and had no cell phone – who made him think the show could be interesting.

“The parents have to go in the woods when I call to find him,” he said. “Shain is usually out there on his ATV and motorcycle. That’s their idea of fun. That’s what so refreshing … These guys don’t have the crap in daily life that convolutes their lives.”

A spokesperson for MTV said in a statement, “We are shocked and saddened by the terrible news about Shain Gandee, and those involved in this tragic incident. We are waiting for more information but at this time, our main concern is for the Gandee family and their friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. Shain had a magnetic personality, with a passion for life that touched everyone he met and we will miss him dearly.”

A letter from a “lost” Marilyn Monroe to mentor Lee Strasberg and one from an irritated John Lennon to Linda and Paul McCartney are among hundreds of historical objects set to be auctioned on May 30.

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It is part of the second in a series of auctions intended to sell about 3,000 artifacts from an anonymous collector.

gty marilyn monroe promo nt 130329 wblog Letters From a Lost Marilyn Monroe, Angry John Lennon to Be Auctioned(Image credit: Baron/Getty Images|AP Photo)

The first auction was a “blockbuster sale,” with a Vincent van Gogh letter selling for $336,000 and a Thomas Jefferson letter that sold for $300,000, according a news release announcing the latest auction. The auctions are being run by Profiles in History.

The upcoming auction includes letters and manuscripts from historical figures including George Washington, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ernest Hemingway.

One of the letters already garnering buzz is a despair-filled letter on Hotel Bel-Air stationary from Marilyn Monroe to her mentor and legendary acting coach, Lee Strasberg.

The letter began, “Dear Lee, I’m embarrassed to start this, but thank you for understanding and having changed my life. Even though you changed it I still am lost. I mean I can’t get myself together.”

gty marilyn monroe letter 1 nt 130329 blog Letters From a Lost Marilyn Monroe, Angry John Lennon to Be Auctioned(Image credit: Profiles in History/AP Photo)

“You once said the first time I heard you talk at the actors studio that ‘There is only concentration between the actor and suiside [sic],” she wrote.

“My will is weak but I can’t stand anything. I sound crazy but I think I’m going crazy,” she added. “It’s just that I get before a camera and my concentration and everything I’m trying to learn leaves me. Then I feel like I’m not existing in the human race at all.”

gty marilyn monroe letter 2 nt 130329 blog Letters From a Lost Marilyn Monroe, Angry John Lennon to Be Auctioned(Image credit: Profiles in History/AP Photo)

Another letter on the block is an angry and sarcastic letter from John Lennon to Linda and Paul McCartney.

“I was reading your letter and wondering what middle aged cranky Beatle fan wrote it. I resisted looking at the last page to find out,” Lennon wrote. He ventured a few guesses and then wrote, “What the hell – it’s Linda?”

PHOTOS: Remembering John Lennon

The Lennon letterhead has a circular image of Lennon and Yoko Ono almost touching lips.

gty john lennon letter 1 nt 130329 blog Letters From a Lost Marilyn Monroe, Angry John Lennon to Be Auctioned(Image credit: Profiles in History/AP Photo)

The Lennon letter is expected to fetch between $40,000 and $60,000 and the Monroe letter is expected to take in between $30,000 and $50,000.

gty john lennon letter 2 nt 130329 blog Letters From a Lost Marilyn Monroe, Angry John Lennon to Be Auctioned(Image credit: Baron/Getty Images|AP Photo)

Some of the items from the auction will be on display at Douglas Elliman’s Madison Avenue Gallery from April 8-16. The online auction will take place May 30.

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5.Letters From a ‘Lost’ Marilyn Monroe, Angry John Lennon to Be Auctioned

 

Collected from-http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/03/letters-from-a-lost-marilyn-monroe-angry-john-lennon-to-be-auctioned/

The IMF said it will not be able to make a final decision on its contribution to funding Cyprus’ bailout before the end of April, which threatens to delay the country receiving the aid.

 

• No final decision on Cyprus 
• Banks have reopened after nearly two weeks, crowds calm
• Draconian capital controls unveiled
• Transactions within Cyprus to be ‘unaffected’ under controls
• Cyprus central bank fires Bank of Cyprus chief
• Cyprus in ‘superhuman effort’ to re-open banks on Thursday

Latest

22.11 That’s where we leave our Live Blog for today. Thanks for reading.

20.50 The Cypriot Church has won an injuction to avoid being wiped out in the bailout, CNBC reports.

20.05 In the US, the S&P 500 has closed at an all-time high of 1,569.11, up 0.4pc on the day. The Dow ended trading at 14,578.54 up 0.4pc, while the Nasdaq rose 0.3pc to 3,267.52.

20.01 French president Francois Hollande says his country will never tax bank deposits. Companies that pay their employees more than €1m will see their tax bill on those salaries rise to 75pc.

He adds that austerity condemns Europe to social “explosion”.

18.33 BREAKING NEWS…

More problems for Italy. Pier Luigi Bersani has told the President he can’t form a government. President Napolitano will begin new consultations with parties on forming a government at 10am GMT tomorrow.

17.53 Meanwhile, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, whose Paris apartment was searched by police on March 20 in a case involving businessman Bernard Tapie, retains the backing of the board of directors, an IMF spokesman said.

QuoteThe executive board has been briefed on this matter, including recently, and continues to express its confidence in the managing director’s ability to effectively carry out her duties.

17.49 Swedish politician Carl Bildt tells CNN that Cypriots were primarily poorly treated by their own leadership, which didn’t deal with the situation when it could have.

17.16 Bank of Cyprus says all transactions today went smoothly.

17.10 The Telegraph’s Nick Squires, who is in Nicosia, has done a write up of the day in Cyprus, as banks reopened after nearly two weeks amid simmering tension.

Nick reports:

Cypriots formed orderly queues outside the country’s banks after they reopened for the first time in nearly two weeks on Thursday, confounding fears that there would be scenes of unrest and violence.

Analysts said it was little surprise that there was no run on the banks in light of the draconian capital control restrictions that the Cypriot government hurriedly imposed late on Wednesday night.

It decreed that cash withdrawals would be limited to €300 per person a day and ruled that no cheques can be cashed.

Overseas credit payments were limited to €5,000 and Cypriots travelling abroad can take only €1,000 with them.

Cypriots did not besiege the banks to try to withdraw their life savings because they knew that the capital controls prevented it.

Although people waited patiently outside banks across the Mediterranean island, feelings of anger and frustration were just below the surface.

Cypriots queuing outside a bank on Thursday morning.

16.55 European markets have now closed for the Easter break and they are slightly mixed .

The FTSE 100 has finished the day up 0.28pc, while the CAC closed up 0.5pc. The DAX and IBEX were flat over the day and the FTSE MIB closed down 0.1pc.

The FTSE 100’s close today means the UK’s main index has finished the first quarter of 2013 up 9.2pc, shaking off fears of a triple dip recession in the UK.

Angus Campbell, head of market analysis at Capital Spreads, said that as Cypriot banks reopened, despite strict capital controls being implemented, “it was as if a weight had been lifted off investors’ shoulders”.

Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said a swift resolution in Cyprus due to the relatively small size of the island’s financial woes and extent of bailout help required had maintained some market confidence.

FTSE 100 over the first quarter of 2013.

16.36 The capital controls in place in Cyprus are provisionally only in place for a week that is subject to review.

However, Cypriot foreign minister Kasoulides has said he expects that the measures on its bank will be fully lifted in “about a month”, reports Reuters.

Kasoulides said:

QuoteA number of restrictions will be lifted and gradually, probably over a period of about a month according to the estimates of the central bank, the restrictions will be fully lifted.

 

 

16.17 Banks in Cyprus have now been open for the six hours they said they would be today and are staring to close.

The mass panic, hysteria and general chaos that some commentators had expected has not materialised and it has, in fact, been quite the opposite.

 

15.57 More reaction is coming out from Cypriots who have had to live with their banks being closed for nearly two weeks and are subjected to draconian capital controls.

One taxi driver has told a CNN reporter that Europe is a jungle.

“It is a jungle and we are the rabbit surrounded by lions,” he said.

“We wanted to be Europe’s friend,” continues the driver, “but now it is turning on us.”

 

15.40 The International Monetary Fund has spoken out to reassure other eurozone members that the raid on savers in Cyprus is “unique” and not likely applicable elsewhere.

IMF spokesmad Gerry Rice said:

QuoteIt would be difficult to extend the case to the rest of Europe or to to the world.

 

 

15.27 Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, has supplied its counterpart in Cyprus with banknotes financial sources said. AFP reports:

Quote“The operation was led by the Bundesbank and the transportation of the notes was coordinated by the European Central Bank,” one of the sources told AFP.

Another source said that only one national central bank was involved in the operation.

According to the business daily Handelsblatt, €5bn worth of banknotes were flown to Cyprus in a Lufthansa jet.

Other media reports put the amount at between €1.5-5bn.

Neither the Bundesbank nor the ECB were willing to confirm the numbers, but did not deny them either.

Euro banknotes are not printed and stocked by the ECB in Frankfurt, but by the different national central banks which make up the eurosystem. But a number of central banks are supplied by others, as is the case for Cyprus.

Cypriots stayed calm as banks reopened on Thursday after a nearly two week lockdown, with tight capital controls stopping customers from draining the island’s coffers after its eurozone bailout.

 

 

15.02 A final decision on funding for Cyprus from the International Monetary Fund is not expected before the end of April, Reuters is reporting.

IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said a team from the IMF, European Union and European Central Bank were currently in Cyprus working on the technical details of the country’s bailout that was struck in Brussels on Monday.

He said the current work in Cyprus will determine how much the IMF contributes to the bailout. Rice told reporters:

QuoteWe expect the work of that mission to conclude in early April. After that our executive board will need to discuss the possible financing arrangement for Cyprus, so I would therefore not expect a final decision on a financial package from the IMF before the end of April.

Rice also said the international troika would resume talks on Greece’s IMF program in the first week of April to conclude a performance review of the country’s IMF-EU bailout.

The International Monetary Fund

14.40 Now the mass panic some had predicted would happen today in Cyprus has not occured, attention has now turned to Slovenia which commentators are saying is the next eurozone country that is likely to request an international bailout, given the fragile state of its banking sector. Reuters reports:

QuoteFollowing the bailout/bail-in farce in Cyprus, Slovenia’s dollar bonds have dropped by nine points over the past two weeks as investors worry about the Balkan country’s troubled banking sector and the government’s ability to tap the international capital markets.

While the government insists that Slovenia will be able to get through the crisis under its own steam, a deal with international lenders could provide a key backstop to fears of contagion, say analysts.

“Slovenia is now inevitably heading to a bailout, the eurozone shot itself completely in the foot following the Cyprus issue,” said Tim Ash, head of EM research ex-Africa at Standard Bank.

But while there is no denial among market participants that Slovenia’s banking crisis is acute, most observers agree that a comparison with Cyprus is unwarranted.

Slovenia’s banking sector assets account for 130% of the country’s GDP, compared with 800% in Cyprus, and the Balkan state’s debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 54% as of the end of 2012, which is relatively low compared with a EU average of 80%.

Nonetheless, with or without the IMF, analysts believe Slovenia needs to quickly push forward a policy mix comprising fiscal tightening, privatisations and a recapitalisation of its largely state-owned banking sector if it is to stay afloat.

Pressure on the country is undoubtedly mounting, as reflected by the dismal performance of its sovereign bonds. The yield on the country’s 2022 US dollar notes has widened by 120bp over the past two weeks, jumping by a jaw-dropping 80bp on Wednesday alone, to reach 6.2pc.

Lake Bled in Slovenia

 

14.28 Sales of holidays to Cyprus have fallen sharply in the wake of the country’s banking crisis, according to Telegraph Travel. Oliver Smith reports:

Sales of holidays to Cyprus have fallen sharply in the wake of the country’s banking crisis, new research has shown.

While around 1.7 million British holidaymakers are expected to flee these frozen shores over the Easter weekend, nearly 200,000 more than a year ago, the travel industry analyst GfK reported a 43 per cent year-on-year fall in summer bookings to the Mediterranean island.

The dip is likely to be down to fears about accessing holiday money. Banks on the island have been closed for a number of days, withdrawal limits have been imposed at some cash points, and a number of businesses have stopped accepting card payments. The Foreign Office, and ABTA, the Travel Association, are both advising British visitors to carry extra cash.

Despite the warnings, tour operators have insisted that holidaymakers should remain unaffected by the crisis.

The Cyprus Tourism Organisation said it hoped the fall in bookings would be temporary, with major banks due to reopen today.

The fall in bookings to Cyprus is likely to be down to fears about accessing holiday money.

 

14.13 Ministers in Cyprus have approved their own pay cut of 20pc and a 25pc cut for the President of the island, according to Bloomberg in Athens.

 

 

14.00 The calm in Cyprus has led to the price of gold falling below $1,600 as demand for low-risk assets diminishes.

Gold hit a one-month high of $1,616.36 last week on concerns the €10bn rescue deal for Cyprus, which will leave big depositors and private bondholders with huge losses, could become a template for future bank bailouts in the euro zone.

But a widespread perception that the Cypriot crisis would be contained put the metal on track for its second quarterly decline in a row and analysts were now anticipating sideways trading ahead of the Easter holiday break, Reuters reports.

Gold was down 0.5pc to $1,597 an ounce shortly after 1pm. Spot prices were still set for a one per cent gain in March, their first monthly rise in six months.

“With the Cyprus crisis unfolding we have seen gold crossing back above $1,600 but we haven’t tested the key technical resistance level at $1,620 as there wasn’t strong safe-haven inflows buying and prices have retreated,” Credit Suisse global head of commodity research Tobias Merath told Reuters.

“We expect sideways trading around $1,600 as risk sentiment has not been retreating massively.”

Gold spot price on Thursday.

 

13.37 It is worth noting that while banks have reopened, the stock exchange in Cyprus remains closed.

Reuters reports that the exchange will remain shut during Easter because the Target2 system of interbank payments throughout the European Union would not be working, it said.

The last trading session of the Cypriot bourse was on March 15.

 

 

13.28 European markets have responded to the calm seen in Cyprus following the reopening of the banks and they are all up.

With no sign of the mass panic that many spectators had expected, the calm has helped to settle market jitters.

The FTSE 100 is up 0.6pc at lunchtime on Thursday, as is the CAC and the IBEX. The DAX is up 0.3pc, while the FTSE MIB is up 1pc.

 

13.11 There are currently 12 private jets parked up at Larnaca airport, according to Channel 4’s Faisal Islam, one less then ten days ago.

 

Private jets at Larnaca airport in Cyprus

And a notice in the departure hall telling passengers they can only take €1000 out of the Mediterranean island.

 

I am reliably informed that the notice at the bottom is in Russian.

 

12.58 Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades has thanked the Cypriot people on Twitter for their “maturity” when the banks reopened.

 

 

12.52 The Bank of Cyprus has issued a statement on its website for its customers asking them to “show understanding” as their personnel “make every effort to better serve you”. Also confirms they are only letting in a limited number of people at a time. Here’s the full statement:

QuoteThe personnel of the Bank of Cyprus, following the decree on enforcement of restrictive measures, inform you that we will do our very best to better serve you.

Please show understanding.

For your prompt service, please read the restrictive measures before making any transaction.

For security reasons, we inform you that a limited number of customers may enter our branches, depending on the number of tellers that will operate.

Our personnel will make every effort to better serve you, therefore let’s all try to maintain the necessary politeness and patience.

Thank you.

Depositors wait outside a Bank of Cyprus branch shortly after it opened in Nicosia.

Customers served in a branch of Bank of Cyprus in Nicosia.

 

12.39 Channel 4’s economic editor Faisal Islam has done a good blog about today’s reopening of the banks in Cyprus and has spoken to bank customers to get their reaction, including one woman who says the Cypriots are being made the “beggars of Europe”.

 

12.26 The Telegraph’Nick Squires is in the Cypriot capital Nicosia has described the atmosphere at some of the banks as “tense” and has seen some heated exchanges amongst the crowds.

 

 

12.13 Mats Persson, director of think tank Open Europe (also see 12.07), says the data to watch will come from electronic banking, not the queues at the bank.

12.07 With things quiet, calm and orderly in Cyprus as the banks reopen after two weeks, independent think-tank Open Europe has asked the valid question: is this the Great European Bank Run that never was?

QuoteJournalists were descending on banks across Cyprus this morning to monitor whether Cypriot depositors would rush to withdraw their cash as the country’s banks opened after being closed for 10 days. So far, however, there have been virtually no dramatic scenes of desperate people flocking to ATM machines and banks. There’s a feeling of calm. Those who expected Northern Rock style scenes have been left disappointed. However, a couple of points:

• First, there’s no hard data available yet for deposit withdrawals in March, so everything is based on anecdotal evidence. There have been numerous press reports speculating about withdrawals in the run up to the bailout and even while the banks have been closed. Unfortunately, these are unlikely to be confirmed or disproved for at least a month (when data is expected).

• Remember, there are limits on what people can withdraw and/or transfer electronically. People may not be too bothered about waiting at banks if they are subject to strict limits.

• Obviously, in this day and age, much banking is done electronically so the number of people at the actual bank branches may not reveal the true level of transactions taking place behind the scenes. This is particularly true for Cyprus given the high level of foreign depositors who would have to bank electronically.

Customers queue up outside a branch of Laiki Bank as they wait for the reopening of the bank in Nicosia.

11.52 The draconian capital controls mean that, while banks are open, customers cannot use certain services.

A quick reminder of some the controls in place:

• Individuals cannot withdraw more than €300 per day from any one bank, unless they have withdrawn less than €300 the previous day.

• Cheques cannot be cashed, unless they were issued by a bank in another country.

Non-cash payments or money transfers are prohibited unless:

• They are for commercial transactions. Payments below €5,000 have no restrictions. Payments from €5,001 to €200,000 euros must be approved by the central bank, which will consider the liquidity of the bank involved and make a decision within 24 hours. Payments above €200,000 will be decided upon on a case-by-case basis.

• They are for payroll, and supporting documents are presented.

• They are for living expenses or tuition fees of students who are close relatives of Cyprus residents. Transfers for living expenses are capped at €5,000 a quarter, and supporting documents must be supplied.

• They are for credit or debit cards. Payments are capped at €5,000 per month.

Will Goodbody at Ireland’s RTE News reports that some customers are frustrated by the limited banking options, but most are just happy they’re open.

 

 

 

11.40 Cypriots are not only taking their money out of the banks, they are also depositing it.

Kyriakos Vourghouri, owner of a minimarket, waved a deposit slip showing an amount of €678 euros as he emerged from the bank.

“I didn’t withdraw any money. I deposited money,” he told AFP. “The problem is not in Cyprus, it is in Europe, which has become gangrenous.”

 

 

11.33 As quickly as the queues formed they now seem to be shrinking, according to Greek reporter Miranta Lysandrou.

 

Credit: Miranta Lysandrou

Credit: Miranta Lysandrou

11.21 At some bank branches there are more journalists than customers, according to the Telegraph’s Nick Squires in Nicosia.

A branch of Laiki Bank where queues have been small. Credit: Nick Squires

 

11.12 The reality of the tax on deposits in Cyprus is clear from this tweet from Newsnight’s economics editor Paul Mason

 

 

11.05 Cartoon about Cyprus from ZeroHedge on Twitter – don’t think it needs any explaining.

 

 

10.58 A man outside one of the banks has made his thoughts clear on the extensive media presence.

 

 

10.42 German newspaper Spiegel has put a live video on their website showing the outside of a Laiki branch in Nicosia. It all appears very calm.

 

10.30 Wall Street Journal reporter Matina Stevis in Cyprus reports that the Laiki branch she is outside is now open and letting limited numbers in at a time.

 

 

Credit: John Psaropoulos

10.25 The queues have been calm but there are reports that people are getting agitated.

 

And apparently the delay to the opening is due to a technical problem.

 

10.20 There are now reports that some branches of Laiki – the bank which is due to be wound down – are not letting people in yet.

Credit: John Psaropoulos

Looks like there may be more media than people in the actual queue.

10.13 Bank doors are open and as you can see the queues are very orderly and calm.

 

Queue outside one branch of Bank of Cyprus after doors opened for first time in nearly two weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.09 No drama outside the banks but at the top there is some turmoil…..Greece’s English language website e.kathimerini.com is reporting that the entire executive board of Cyprus Popular Bank (Laiki) has resigned today.

The lender is due to be wound up as part of the overhaul of the country’s financial sector.

QuoteChairman Andreas Filippou and the nine other boards members tendered their resignations shortly before banks were due to reopen in Cyprus.

Laiki is to be shut done, with insured deposits moving to Bank of Cyprus as part of a resolution process.

 

10.00 The bank doors are open and eight people are being let in at a time.

09.51 Channel 4 News’ economics editor Faisal Islam has counted 21 people calmly waiting for this branck of the Bank of Cyprus to open:

09.48 The queues are now forming outside the banks in Cyprus and there is a lot of media attention.

People wait outside a branch of Bank of Cyprus in Nicosia.

Customers and media representatives wait outside a branch of the Bank of Cyprus in Nicosia.

 

09.40 Just 20 minutes until banks are due to open in Cyprus and no sign of any long queues yet.

In the meantime, the European Central Bank has released data showing that consumers and companies withdrew deposits from Cypriot banks in February.

As Germany and some other countries began to push for bank depositors to bear part of the bailout, private-sector deposits in Cypriot banks fell by 2.2pc to €46.4bn, having fallen at a similar pace in January.

Greece on the other hand, recorded a 2pc increase in private sector deposits to €171bn, while deposits in Italian banks also rose, up 1.3pc at €1.5trn.

Monthly fluctuations in the figures are common, though sharp consecutive drops in countries with stable banking systems are unusual.

 

 

09.31 While the metaphorical dark clouds loom over Cyprus, it is actually quite a nice day there and not everyone on the island seems to be concerned with the state of the banks.

Life goes on for these elderly ladies in the old town of Nicosia.

Credit: Nick Squires

Nor does the banking crisis appear to be ruffling the feathers of these men enjoying a quiet game of backgammon.

Credit: Nick Squires

09.25 Reuters has done a factbox detailing all of the capital controls that have been imposed in Cyprus. Here are some of them:

Cash

• Individuals cannot withdraw more than €300 per day from any one bank, unless they have withdrawn less than €300 the previous day.

• Cheques cannot be cashed, unless they were issued by a bank in another country.

Transfers

Non-cash payments or money transfers are prohibited unless:

• They are for commercial transactions. Payments below €5,000 have no restrictions. Payments from €5,001 to €200,000 euros must be approved by the central bank, which will consider the liquidity of the bank involved and make a decision within 24 hours. Payments above €200,000 will be decided upon on a case-by-case basis.

• They are for payroll, and supporting documents are presented.

• They are for living expenses or tuition fees of students who are close relatives of Cyprus residents. Transfers for living expenses are capped at €5,000 a quarter, and supporting documents must be supplied.

• They are for credit or debit cards. Payments are capped at €5,000 per month.

Exemptions

The capital controls do not apply to:

• Any new money deposited from abroad after March 27

• Cash withdrawals via debit or credit card from an account in another country

• Diplomatic missions

 

 

09.13 People have started to turn up outside at least one bank in Nicosia, including one man with a parrot on his head.

Nick Squires has the details:

The main focus of interest outside a branch of the Bank of Cyprus in the old town of Nicosia is a man on a moped with a parrot on his head.

The man is 87, the parrot is 67. One of them is called Costas; it is not clear which as his English is negligible.

Other than that there are about five people waiting patiently outside the branch. They are being filmed and photographed by about 60 TV crews and photographers. Things appear very calm and orderly so far. They are even quieter at other branches in the modern part of the capital.

I have just done a tour of half a dozen and there are no queues at all, much less any panic. Just a bored looking security guard and signs saying the branches open at noon.

Credit: Nick Squires

09.06 Earlier (see 08.23) The Telegraph’Nick Squires reported that security guards were posted outside many of the banks in Cyprus but no queues of customer had yet formed. See for yourself:

Security guards sit on steps outside a Laiki Bank, also known as Cyprus Popular Bank.

A G4S security guard stands outside a Bank of Cyprus Plc branch before opening in Nicosia.

A security man stands outside a closed Laiki bank branch in Nicosia.

08.55 Cyprus is sacrificing too much for its European bailout, which is destroying the foundations of the island’s economy, its foreign minister has told a French newspaper, Reuters reports.

“Europe is pretending to help us but the price to pay is too high: nothing less than the brutal destruction of our economic model,” Ioannis Kasoulides told Thursday’s edition of financial daily Les Echos.

Asked about why it had been so difficult to reach a deal on the bailout, Kasoulides said: “We were not well enough prepared and there was no solidarity on the part of the Europeans.”

Kasoulides also blamed the European Central Bank, saying that lending to Cyprus Popular, also known as Laiki, should have been stopped before if it was on the verge of bankruptcy.

 

 

08.38 I’m sure you do not need to be told that it is Easter on Sunday and the long weekend is but a few hours away.

And it is Maundy Thursday today so the EU is already shut for Easter, reports The Telegraph’s Bruno Waterfield in Brussels.

But somebody is working, Bruno points out, as the European Commission has just released a statement on the capital controls imposed by Cyprus.

As “guardians of the Treaties”, the EC made a preliminary assessment of the controls. One of its many rules (if you’re interested – Articles 63 et seq. of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), member states may introduce restrictions on capital movement, including capital controls, “in certain circumstances and under strict conditions on grounds of public policy or public security”.

It adds that measures may also be introduced for “overriding reasons of general public interest” – Cyprus falls under this.

QuoteIn current circumstances, the stability of financial markets and the banking system in Cyprus constitutes a matter of overriding public interest and public policy justifying the imposition of temporary restrictions on capital movements.

Such restrictions may include bank holidays, limits on withdrawals, freezing of assets, prohibition of terminating fixed term deposits, prohibition on certain payment orders, restrictions in using credit/ debit/prepaid cards, restrictions on other banking operations as well as execution of certain transactions subject to the approval of the Central Bank and other measures.

The Commission will monitor closely with the Cypriot authorities, other Member States, the ECB and the EBA the implementation of the imposed restrictive measures on capital movements. These restrictive measures will remain in force for 7 days. The Commission will continue monitoring the need to extend the validity of or revise the measures. The Commission will insist at all times that any restrictive measures are strictly proportionate to the legitimate objectives of preventing the immediate risk to the financial stability of Cyprus and strictly limited in duration to the time necessary for that purpose.

While the imposed restrictive measures appear to be necessary in the current circumstances, the free movement of capital should be reinstated as soon as possible in the interests of the Cypriot economy and the European Union’s single market as a whole.

Euros from the ECB arrrive at Cyprus’ central bank last night

08.26 And a quick look at European markets in early trading on Thursday and they are slightly mixed.

The FTSE 100 in London is up 0.2pc, the CAC in Paris is up 0.1pc, as is the DAX in Frankfurt, while the IBEX in Madrid and the FTSE MIB in Milan are both flat.

 

08.23 Security guards posted at the banks are looking nervous, according to The Telegraph’s Nick Squires who is in Nicosia, but so far he hasn’t seen any big customer queues.

He took this picture of a sign on the door of a branch of the soon to be dissolved Laiki Bank.

Credit: Nick Squires

08.10 The Telegraph’s Nick Squires is in Cyprus and says there are so many TV camera crews outside the banks in Nicosia that some are putting down their shutters to block filming.

“It is the first time in 10 years that i’ve seen them put their shutters down like that,” one manager of a hotel that stands opposite a branch of the Laiki Bank told Nick.

News agency AFP is also reporting that there are armed security guards posted at the banks in Cyprus ahead of their reopening, but there are no sign of customers queuing early for access to their cash.

Tellers, who unlike in other European countries are not housed behind glass security, have urged customers not to vent their frustrations on them when the bank doors finally swing open.

Most banks in Nicosia had between one and three guards posted at their entrances early morning, but there were no crowds yet for them to control.

 

07.45 A quick look at the euro now, which has appreciated against the dollar and erased a decline versus the yen after German retail sales unexpectedly rose in February.

Europe’s shared currency advanced 0.3pc to $1.2813 shortly after 7am.

German sales, adjusted for inflation and seasonal swings, gained 0.4pc from January, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today. Economists forecast a drop of 0.6pc, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

Asian stocks have also been hit by Europe’s debt crisis and have traded near a four-month low on Thursday.

Japan’s 10-year bond yield slid to a decade low and the yen strengthened.

 

07.35 But the Luxembourg government has been quick to distance itself from Cyprus and issues a statement last night insisting that its economy was nothing like that of the island’s.

In a statement, it said:

QuoteAs a matter of principle, Luxembourg is concerned about recent statements and declarations that were made since the crisis in Cyprus sharpened by (1) making comparisons between the business model of international financial sectors in the euro area and by (2) making more general assessments of the size of the financial sector in relation to a country’s GDP and the alleged risks this poses for economic and fiscal sustainability.

[…] As regards the business model of the financial sector in Luxembourg, it is quintessentially an international one within the euro area, acting as an important gateway for the euro area by attracting investments and thus contributing to the general competitiveness of all Member States.

07.29 In the past few days Luxembourg and Malta have moved to distance themselves from Cyprus’s economic model, even though they have huge financial sectors relative to the size of their economies. Take a look at this:

As the chart (compiled by the Institute of International Finance) shows,Luxembourg’s financial sector is 22 times the size of its entire GDP – more than three times that of Cyprus – implying that the country could find itself in a spot of bother should its banks hit troubled waters.

07.20 German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said Cyprus was a very special case and the European Union had found the right solution for it with its deal for a €10bn bailout tied to the imposition of losses on bank depositors.

Cyprus was a very special case, everyone knew that,” Schaeuble told German radio station SWR. “And we found the right solution.”

Schaeuble also said Luxembourg had a totally different business model to the east Mediterranean island. Any comparison of the two would be “absurd”, he said.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble

07.05 Cypriots have been protesting since it was first announced, nearly two weeks ago, that there were plans to tax depositors.

Initially all savers were due to be hit, but that has been amended and only those with €100,000 or more in savings will be taxed and face losing up to 30pc.

Credit: Nick Squires

Credit: Nick Squires

Demonstrators hold banners as they protest outside the European Union House in the Cypriot capital Nicosia on Tuesday (Photo: AFP).

06.55 The Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has said the “punishment regime imposed on Cyprus is a trick against everybody involved in this squalid saga, against the Cypriot people and the German people, against savers and creditors”.

All are being deceived.

It is not a bail-out. There is no debt relief for the state of Cyprus. The Diktat will push the island’s debt ratio to 120pc in short order, with a high risk of an economic death spiral, a la Grecque.

Capital controls have shattered the monetary unity of EMU. A Cypriot euro is no longer a core euro. We wait to hear the first stories of shops across Europe refusing to accept euro notes issued by Cyprus, with a G in the serial number.

The curbs are draconian. There will be a forced rollover of debt. Cheques may not be cashed. Basic cross-border trade is severely curtailed. Credit card use abroad will be limited to €5,000 (£4,200) a month. “We wonder how such capital controls could eventually be lifted with no obvious cure of the underlying problem,” said Credit Suisse.

The complicity of EU authorities in the original plan to violate insured bank savings – halted only by the revolt of the Cypriot parliament – leaves the suspicion that they will steal anybody’s money if leaders of the creditor states think it is in their immediate interest to do so. Monetary union has become a danger to property.

 

06.45 The government fears there could be chaos and even violence when banks finally reopen today after nearly two weeks – they were last open on Friday 15 March – with angry Cypriots besieging them and trying to withdraw large sums of cash or move their money abroad.

They will be permitted, however, to move their cash to other, sounder banks in Cyprus.

Police and 180 private security guards from UK company G4S will be on hand.

06.30 The Telegraph’s Nick Squires is in Nicosia and reports that thebanks will be open for six hours today from midday (in Cyprus – 10am in the UK). He reports:

Cyprus announced draconian capital controls yesterday which will include a total ban on cheques and a €300 (£253) daily limit on cash withdrawals in a bid to stem panic when the country’s banks reopen today .

Nick reports:

The measures were designed to prevent a run on the banks after a tumultuous two weeks in which Cypriots learnt they would lose billions of euros from accounts in an accord drawn up by the government to secure a €10bn bail-out from international lenders.

After confirming that banks will open for six hours today from midday, the island’s central bank said that cashing of cheques will be banned and bank withdrawals limited to €300 a day.

A spokesman said that the effectiveness of the controls would be evaluated on a daily basis, but a leak of the details to a Greek newspaper, Kathimerini, said that the curbs would stay in place for at least a week.

It also suggested that:

 Cypriots wanting to send money overseas would have to prove that the transactions met rules laid out by the authorities

The use of credit and debit cards overseas would be restricted to €5,000 per month – transfers above that would need central bank permission.

 Cypriots travelling abroad would be allowed to take a maximum of €3,000 on each trip

 Those with children studying abroad will be allowed to transfer €10,000 each quarter to pay for tuition and living costs

Savers with fixed-term funds will not be able to withdraw the cash early.

Businesses and individuals with more than €100,000 are already in for a huge hit under the terms of the bail-out and could see at least 40pc of their savings forcibly converted into bank shares.

The two worst-hit lenders are Laiki Bank, which is to be dissolved, and Bank of Cyprus, which will absorb Laiki’s assets.

 

06.15 The BBC’s Chris Morris is in Nicosia and has been speaking to the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme and he says that while he hasn’t detected any panic ahead of banks reopening, there is clearly anxiety and nervousness.

06.00 Good morning and welcome to the Debt Crisis live blog. Banks in Cyprus are due to open again today, nearly a fortnight after they shut in a bid to stop a bank run as the island’s leaders sought a deal for a €10bn (£8.5bn) bailout.

All systems are in place to mitigate the pandemonium that will likely ensue when they open at midday local time (10am here).

How Did Your Congressperson Vote On HR 933?

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A provison that protects the biotech giant from litigation passed Congress without many members knowing about it!!! The “Monsanto Protection Act” is the name opponents of the Farmer Assurance Provision have given to this terrifying piece of policy, and it’s a fitting moniker given its shocking content……

Monsanto Protection Act snuck into law

Monsanto Protection Act snuck into law

President Barack Obama signed a spending billHR 933, into law on Tuesday that includes language that has food and consumer advocates and organic farmers up in arms over their contention that the so-called “Monsanto Protection Act” is a give away to corporations that was passed under the cover of darkness.

There’s a lot being said about it, but here are five terrifying facts about the Farmer Assurance Provision — Section 735 of the spending bill — to get you acquainted with the reasons behind the ongoing uproar:

1.) The “Monsanto Protection Act” effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of controversial genetically modified (aka GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) seeds, no matter what health issues may arise concerning GMOs in the future. The advent of genetically modified seeds — which has been driven by the massiveMonsanto Company — and their exploding use in farms across America came on fast and has proved a huge boon for Monsanto’s profits.

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But many anti-GMO folks argue there have not been enough studies into the potential health risks of this new class of crop. Well, now it appears that even if those studies are completed and they end up revealing severe adverse health effects related to the consumption of genetically modified foods, the courts will have no ability to stop the spread of the seeds and the crops they bear.

2.) The provision’s language was apparently written in collusion with Monsanto. Lawmakers and companies working together to craft legislation is by no means a rare occurrence in this day and age. But the fact that Sen. Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, actually worked with Monsanto on a provision that in effect allows them to keep selling seeds, which can then go on to be planted, even if it is found to be harmful to consumers, is stunning. It’s just another example of corporations bending Congress to their will, and it’s one that could have dire risks for public health in America.

3.) Many members of Congress were apparently unaware that the “Monsanto Protection Act” even existed within the bill they were voting on. HR 933 was a spending bill aimed at averting a government shutdown and ensuring that the federal government would continue to be able to pay its bills. But the Center for Food Safety maintains that many Democrats in Congress were not even aware that the provision was in the legislation:

“In this hidden backroom deal, Sen. [Barbara] Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto,” Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, said in a statement. “This abuse of power is not the kind of leadership the public has come to expect from Sen. Mikulski or the Democrat Majority in the Senate.”

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4.) The President did nothing to stop it, either. On Tuesday, Obama signed HR 933 while the rest of the nation was fixated on gay marriage, as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument concerning California’s Proposition 8. But just because most of the nation and the media were paying attention to gay marriage doesn’t mean that others were not doing their best to express their opposition to the “Monsanto Protection Act.” In fact, more than 250,000 voters signed a petition opposing the provision. And Food Democracy Now protesters even took their fight straight to Obama, protesting in front of the White House against Section 735 of the bill. He signed it anyway.

5.) It sets a terrible precedent. Though it will only remain in effect for six months until the government finds another way to fund its operations, the message it sends is that corporations can get around consumer safety protections if they get Congress on their side. Furthermore, it sets a precedent that suggests that court challenges are a privilege, not a right.

“I think any time you tweak with the ability of the public to seek redress from the courts, you create a huge risk,” Seattle attorney Bill Marler — who has represented victims of foodborne illness in successful lawsuits against corporations — told the New York Daily News.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Obama betrays America yet again by signing the ‘Monsanto

Protection Act’ into law!!!!

Barack Obama

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama campaigned on promises to end secret prisons, decriminalize marijuana, balance the budget, honor the Second Amendment and make health care affordable. But what really unfolded was an explosion in the national debt (now $16 trillion and climbing), the signing of the NDAA, a claimed new power to kill any American at any time, even on U.S. soil, the use of military drones to murder American children overseas, a full-on assault against the Bill of Rights, a doubling of health insurance rates and the destruction of the U.S. economy.

But that’s not all.

Now Obama has signed the “Monsanto Protection Act” into law, stabbing America in the heart yet again and proving that no matter how convincing politicians appear on the campaign trail, they are still sociopathic liars in the end.

The Monsanto Protection Act, part of the HR 933 continuing resolution, allows Monsanto to override U.S. federal courts on the issue of planting experimental genetically engineered crops all across the country. Even if those experimental crops are found to be extremely dangerous or to cause a runaway crop plague, the U.S. government now has no judicial power to stop them from being planted and harvested.

As ibtimes.com reports, the bill “effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of GMO or GE crops and seeds, no matter what health consequences from the consumption of these products may come to light in the future.”

GMOs now evade all regulations: America has become a grand Monsanto experiment

Food Democracy Now petition now states:

With the Senate passage of the Monsanto Protection Act, biotech lobbyists are one step closer to making sure that their new GMO crops can evade any serious scientific or regulatory review.

This dangerous provision, the Monsanto Protection Act, strips judges of their constitutional mandate to protect consumer and farmer rights and the environment, while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new untested genetically engineered crops, endangering farmers, citizens and the environment.

Corporate-government conspiracy is fascism

This new law forces the USDA to automatically approve all GMO planting permits sought by Monsanto and other biotech firms, effectively granting Monsanto dominion over the U.S. government. This is the very definition of fascism, a form of tyrannical government where corporations conspire with the government to destroy or confiscate all rights, powers and assets, leaving the people impoverished and powerless.

What’s interesting about this development is that now even democrats are starting to wake up and see how evil Obama really is. As ibtimes reports:

“In this hidden backroom deal, Sen. Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto,” Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, said in a statement. “This abuse of power is not the kind of leadership the public has come to expect from Sen. Mikulski or the Democrat Majority in the Senate.”

Of course, for those of us who have been paying attention and warning everyone else about the dangerous power grab taking place under the Obama regime, this is exactly the kind of behavior we expected to see. The Senate has abandoned law. It has abandoned the Constitution, the rights of the People and even due process. We are now living under a corporate fascist tyranny where companies like Monsanto, General Electric and GlaxoSmithKline control the government and dictate policy. They literally write the laws.

This Monsanto Protect Act, says the Center for Food Safety, is “an unprecedented attack on U.S. judicial review of agency actions” and “a major violation of the separation of powers.” (SOURCE)

But that’s what Obama has always been about. He’s the president who seized control of all farms, food and livestock across America. He’s the guy who claims the power the decide who to assassinate anywhere in America. His administration has routinely conspired with Monsanto to endanger the American people and turn America’s croplands into a grand, dangerous genetics experiment.

“Pandora’s Box is unlocked, Obama just propped open the lid, and there’s no way to cram the evil back in,” wrote The Daily Sheeple. “I’m personally pledging at least one article per week about Monsanto, their incestuous relationship with the government, and their toxic grip on agriculture. I urge everyone to raise a deafening public outcry — every voice adds to the noise that we can create.”

Who is to blame? Senators Barbara Mikulski and Roy Blunt, among others

The chair of the committee that secretly slipped this provision into the bill was Sen. Barbara Mikulski, an absolute traitor to America for allowing the Monsanto Protection Act to become law. She could have stopped it, yet she did nothing to oppose it. She actually helped sneak it into law.

Like nearly all U.S. senators, Mikulski is now operating as an outright enemy of the People while selling out to corporate interests who are peddling poison and death.

There is hardly a U.S. senator remaining who respects his or her oath of office. While Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are showing real courage in the face of federal tyranny and oppression — and Sen. Ron Wyden honestly tries to protect the people of Oregon from outrageous federal aggression — most senators are now little more than corporate puppets who obey the bidding of their masters.

Sickeningly, Sen. Mikulski recently praised the creation of a Harriet Tubman memorial, honoring the courage of a woman who stood against tyranny and defended the people by creating the Underground Railroad. Yet Mikulski herself does the exact opposite, selling out to Monsanto and betraying people of all races by overseeing the passage of what is essentially a “judicial nullification power” now granted to a dangerous and truly evil corporation. Her actions in this matter were anti-trade, anti-America, anti-human and anti-justice.

Harriet Tubman, a true American hero, would absolutely shutter at the thought that a U.S. Senator honoring her memory was simultaneously betraying the people of America by handing over extra-judicial powers to a corporation engaged in widespread genetic pollution and agricultural malfeasance.

Harriet Tubman was born a slave and risked her life to lead others to freedom. Sen. Mikulski was born a privileged woman who risked nothing to lead her constituents to corporate slavery. For Mikulski to honor Tubman is an insult to the memory of Tubman and the freedom she stood for.

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt actively conspired with Monsanto to write the provision

Mikulski wasn’t the only Monsanto sellout in the U.S. Senate, of course: Missouri senator Roy Blunt was also part of the conspiracy to stab America in the heart and poison our food. According to another article on ibtimes.com:

The provision’s language was apparently written in collusion with Monsanto. Lawmakers and companies working together to craft legislation is by no means a rare occurrence in this day and age. But the fact that Sen. Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, actually worked with Monsanto on a provision that in effect allows them to keep selling seeds, which can then go on to be planted, even if it is found to be harmful to consumers, is stunning.

Who opposed the Monsanto Protection Act? Democratic Senator John Tester. As the NY Daily Newsreports:

Opposing the inclusion of the rider was Sen. John Tester (D-Mont.), who told Politico that the deal worked out with Monsanto was simply bad policy.

“These provisions are giveaways, pure and simple, and will be a boon worth millions of dollars to a handful of the biggest corporations in this country,” Tester said.

Tester, of course, has been the voice of reason on several fronts in recent years, including the so-called Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2010 which granted the FDA vast new powers to terrorize gardeners and farmers across America. Sen. Tester proposed amendments that attempted to protect the freedoms of American farmers, but his efforts were of course thwarted by the evil corporate conspirators who now fill the U.S. Senate chambers.

America is lost… what now?

Voted into office by people whose hearts were filled with hope for real change, Obama now reveals himself to be a sinister serpent of deception who betrays the American people at every opportunity. The Obama Deception is the title of the film released by Alex Jones in 2009. At the time, Jones was ridiculed by Obama supporters who said Obama was their savior and anyone who criticized Obama was a racist.

Now, four years later, it’s obvious that once again Alex Jones was right about Obama. Even democrats are increasingly realizing this shocking truth as they watch Obama betray the people of America on issues like GMOs, secret prisons, banker bailouts, due process and marijuana.

With deceivers like Obama at the helm, America has been turned over to corporate interests, and the rights and liberties of the People have been eviscerated. The U.S. federal government no longer represents the interests of the people. It has become a dominant, dangerous and arrogant machine of oppression and tyranny. It has abandoned law, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It has violated the very principles upon which this nation was founded and now plays God with our seeds, our food and our future.

These are times of such treachery and betrayal that we cannot even imagine the web of deception being weaved to entrap and destroy truth in America. We the People are being deceived by false media propaganda and told everything is fine while Senators and bureaucrats march us into pits of death while corporate bulldozers stand by to quickly cover up the mass graves.

The United States government is at WAR with the American people, and that war is being waged with every poison imaginable: genetic pollution, disinfo propaganda, chemical fluoride poisoning, vaccine lobotomies, chemtrails, psychiatric drugs and twisted mental health initiatives. The battleground for this war is your dinner plate, your tap water, your medicine and your core beliefs. The goal of the war is the complete decimation of all cognitive awareness and the abolition of freedom of thought. Give this a few more years, and the mere utterance of any idea critical of the government will be considered an “act of terrorism” punishable by death.

Today I ask: What are YOU doing to defend truth, liberty and justice against the march of government betrayal? Whatever it is, find a way to do more, or we will lose everything.

Obama signs ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ written by Monsanto-sponsored senator

obama-signs-monsanto-act.si

United States President Barack Obama has signed a bill into law that was written in part by the very billion-dollar corporation that will benefit directly from the legislation.

On Tuesday, Pres. Obama inked his name to H.R. 933, a continuing resolution spending bill approved in Congress days earlier. Buried 78 pages within the bill exists a provision that grossly protects biotech corporations such as the California-based Monsanto Company from litigation.

With the president’s signature, agriculture giants that deal with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically engineered (GE) seeds are given the go-ahead to continue to plant and sell man-made crops, even as questions remain largely unanswered about the health risks these types of products pose to consumers.

In light of approval from the House and Senate, more than 250,000 people signed a petition asking the president to veto the spending bill over the biotech rider tacked on, an item that has since been widely referred to as the “Monsanto Protection Act.”

“But Obama ignored [the petition],” IB Times’ Connor Sheets writes, “instead choosing to sign a bill that effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of GMO or GE crops and seeds, no matter what health consequences from the consumption of these products may come to light in the future.”

James Brumley, a reporter for Investor Place, explains a little more thoroughly just how dangerous the rider is now that biotech companies are allowed to bypass judicial scrutiny. Up until it was signed, he writes, “the USDA [US Department of Agriculture] oversaw and approved (or denied) the testing of genetically modified seeds, while the federal courts retained the authority to halt the testing or sale of these plants if it felt that public health was being jeopardized. With HR 933 now a law, however, the court system no longer has the right to step in and protect the consumer.”

If the president’s signature isn’t all that surprising, though, consider the genesis of the bill itself. According to an article published Monday in the New York Daily News, US Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri)“worked with Monsanto to craft the language in the bill.”

 

Sen. Blunt defended his bill to the News, shrugging off suggestions that it set a startling precedent that will affect all US agriculture by firing back, “What it says is if you plant a crop that is legal to plant when you plant it, you get to harvest it. But it is only a one-year protection in that bill.”

One year could be all it takes to cause catastrophic damage to the environment by allowing laboratory-produced organisms to be planted into the earth without oversight. Under the Monsanto Protection Act, health concerns that arise in the immediate future involving the planting of GMO crops won’t be able to be heard by a judge. Blunt, a junior senator that has held elected office since the late ‘90s, has good reason to whitewash the very bill he helped craft. The Center for Responsive Politicsnotes that Sen. Blunt received $64,250 from Monsanto to go towards his campaign committee between 2008 and 2012. The Money Monocle website adds that Blunt has been the largest Republican Party recipient of Monsanto funding as of late.

On the lawmaker’s official website, a statement explains a little more as to why he favored HR 933 and the rider within it.

“As the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, Senator Blunt played a vital role in writing the fiscal year 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill. This legislation maintained vital support for research and extension at land grant universities, capacity building grants for non-land grant colleges of agriculture, and competitive funding under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). The bill also included funding for conservation activities, housing and business loan programs for rural communities, domestic and international nutrition programs.”

Nowhere does the senator’s site mention the Monsanto Protection Act by name, although it claims Blunt “supports continued investments in agricultural research and engineering.”

“Did Blunt not realize that Monsanto would stand to gain significantly if section 735 survived and HR 933 was signed into law?” asks Brumley. “Not likely,”

“There’s no way of getting around the fact this is an abusive conflict of interest,” he says.

Clearly isn’t Brumley the only one that feels that way either: Blunt’s Wikipedia page was vandalized this week to read in the first paragraph, “His Senate seat was previously held by Republican Kit Bond, until Bond’s retirement, and will be sold by Blunt to Monsanto Corporation upon his retirement.”

Collected from-http://www.ibtimes.com/monsanto-protection-act-5-terrifying-things-know-about-hr-933-provision-1156079

Windows phone

Argentina, India, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, and “rest of central and eastern Europe“.

In terms of market share, Windows Phone-based products trail far behind the iPhone, withMicrosoft‘s mobile OS languishing around 3%. Even Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates labelled the company’s smartphone strategy a “mistake.”

It’s no wonder, then, that questions arose after Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s head of public relations,announced in a blog post Tuesday that Windows Phone outshipped the iPhone in seven countries during the fourth quarter.

The New York Times did some digging, and asked IDC, the research firm that provided the stats in Shaw’s post, to elaborate. Which countries, exactly, did Windows Phone have the iPhone beat?

Six were Argentina, India, Poland, Russia, South Africa and Ukraine, while the seventh “country” was actually a group of smaller nations that IDC categorizes as “rest of central and eastern Europe.”

Kevin Restivo, an IDC analyst, provided further context. Windows Phone actually sold less than 100,000 units during the fourth quarter in each of the following three markets: Ukraine, South Africa and “rest of central and eastern Europe”

What’s more, there is a sizeable “gray market” for cellphones in some countries (e.g. Argentina) — which IDC doesn’t count — so it’s difficult to determine exact market share in those areas.

Restivo added that Windows Phone does well in countries that are established strongholds for Nokia, which is Microsoft’s flagship handset partner, according to the Times. In those markets, there tends to be fewer iPhone shipments due to its high cost and scant subsidies from carriers.

Do these revelations diminish Microsoft’s announcement that Windows Phone outshipped the iPhone in seven countries — or not? Tell us in the comments, below.

collected from-http://mashable.com/2013/03/28/windows-phone-outselling-iphones-countries/