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In Uncategorized on November 22, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Publishing its annual Web Index, surveying worldwide use of the web to promote human rights and prosperity, the World Wide Web Foundation surveyed 81 countries and warned that “a growing tide of surveillance and censorship now threatens the future of democracy,” with “one in three countries” “conducting ‘moderate to severe” blocking or filtering of legitimate dissent.” The problem extended from affluent to majority-world countries and included democracies. Britain helps fund the Index and held third place, after Sweden and Norway.

Two reports into ocean acidification left the liberal capitalist weekly magazine The Economist with the impression that “this is an issue that needs to be taken seriously, though worryingly little is known about it.” Oceans seem to become more acidic as atmospheric carbon levels rise; in the distant past, similarly dramatic changes have drastically unbalanced ancient ecosystems, and the worry, so to speak, is that prehistory might repeat itself. Meanwhile, the Economist’s target readership of management-cadre capitalists seemed to be struggling to achieve their own stated goal to produce greener, more forest-friendly goods; they find it hard to keep track of their own complex supply chains. In an action somewhat eclipsed by the high-profile release on bail of Greenpeace activists, accused of hooliganism for their action against Arctic oil drilling, other green campaign groups staged a walkout from the UN climate talks in Warsaw, amid squabbling between member states. The EU has accused coal-friendly Poland of fudging its duty to draw up a schedule for work towards new, binding carbon targets. This remains a stubbornly elusive hope, with the current deadline for agreement set for a Paris conference in 2015, and concrete action by 2020. If you want to know more, this seems to be the book to put on your Christmas list:

The UK government’s privatisation agenda continued to play as a farce, with favoured subcontractor Capita attributing its piss-poor performance running army recruitment to the lack of wars, and prison privatisation being held up because top bidder Serco is itself the subject of criminal investigation for fiddling their own books, taking money for prisoners who were dead or who never existed at all.


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