Royal Dutch Shell confirms oil leak in North Sea

From The Guardian UK

Company confirms spill from flow line serving Gannet Alpha platform and takes further measures to isolate it

Agencies, Friday 12 August 2011

Royal Dutch Shell has said it is working to contain an oil leak at its Gannet Alpha platform in the North Sea, but declined to specify the size of the leak.

“We can confirm we are managing an oil leak in a flow line that serves the Gannet Alpha platform. We deployed a remote-operated vehicle to check for a subsea leak after a light sheen was noticed in the area,” a Shell spokesman said.

“We have stemmed the leak significantly and we are taking further measures to isolate it. The subsea well has been shut in, and the flow line is being depressurised.”

Asked about the size of the leak, a Shell spokeswoman declined to say.

One of the wells at the oilfield 112 miles east of Aberdeen has been closed, but Shell did not specify whether output was reduced.

According to Argus Media, the Gannet field produced about 13,500 barrels of oil between January and April. The field is co-owned with US firm Exxon and operated by Shell.

A document available on Shell’s website says the Gannet facilities have capacity to export 88,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

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SF Bay Area Officials Interrupt Phone Service To Stall Protest

From Huffington Post:


SAN FRANCISCO — Transit officials said Friday they blocked cell phone reception in San Francisco stations for three hours to disrupt a planned demonstrations over a police shooting.

Officials with the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, better known as BART, said they turned off the electricity to cell phone towers in four stations from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday. The move was made after BART learned that protesters planned to use mobile devices to coordinate a demonstration on train platforms.

“A civil disturbance during commute times at busy downtown San Francisco stations could lead to platform overcrowding and unsafe conditions for BART customers, employees and demonstrators,” BART officials said in a prepared statement.

The statement noted that it’s illegal to demonstrate on the platform or aboard the trains. BART said it has set aside special areas for demonstrations.

The American Civil Liberties Union questioned the tactic.

“Shutting down access to mobile phones is the wrong response to political protests,” the ACLU’s Rebecca Farmer said in a blog post.

BART officials were confident the cell phone disruptions were legal. The demonstration planned Thursday failed to develop.

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Meet the Global Financial Elites Controlling $46 Trillion In Wealth

From Alternet:

The economic elite have at least $46 trillion in wealth – but who are they? We look at the people and the industries picking the pockets of the working class.

By David DeGraw
August 11, 2011

The following is an adapted excerpt from David DeGraw’s new report on the financial destruction of the United States. The full report can be read here: Analysis of Financial Terrorism in America.

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class,

the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

– Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

How Much Wealth Do The Economic Elite Have?

While 68.3 million Americans struggle to get enough food to eat and wages are declining for 90 percent of the population, US millionaire household wealth has reached an unprecedented level. According to an extensive study by auditing and financial advisory firm Deloitte, US millionaire households now have $38.6 trillion in wealth. On top of the $38.6 trillion this study reveals, they have an estimated $6.3 trillion hidden in offshore accounts.

In total, US millionaire households have at least $45.9 trillion in wealth, the majority of this wealth is held within the upper one-tenth of one percent of the population.

If all this isn’t obscene enough, to further demonstrate how the global economy has now been completely rigged, Deloitte’s analysis predicated, based on current trends, that US millionaire households will see a 225 percent increase in wealth to $87.1 trillion by 2020. Accounting for wealth hidden in offshore accounts, they are projected to have over $100 trillion in total within the next decade.

Most people cannot even comprehend how much $1 trillion is, let alone $46 trillion. One trillion is equal to 1000 billion, or $1,000,000,000,000. To put it in perspective, last year the entire cost of feeding all 40 million Americans on food stamps was $65 billion.

Now consider, according to the latest IRS data, only 0.076 percent of the population, less than one-tenth of one percent, earned over $1 million in 2009.

The graph below, based on data from the Tax Policy Center, shows how much income is earned by a household at any given percentile in income distribution:

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Gay High school student confronts Pawlenty, Bachmann on their anti-gay positions

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Israeli protests widen, poll shows 88% support

From Raw Story:

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, August 12th, 2011

JERUSALEM — The leaders of a social protest movement that has rocked Israel for a month called on demonstrators to “get out of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem” to bolster demonstrations Saturday in a dozen other cities.

Israel has gripped since mid-July by a rapidly growing protest movement demanding cheaper housing, education and health care.

“We want to strengthen the movement in the periphery, where those who have pitched tents in protest are still few, so we have made a call to leave Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to take part in rallies in twelve cities,” said Stav Shafir, a protest leader.

“The main gathering will be held in Beersheba in the south, but there will also be events in Haifa (Israel’s third-largest city), Netanya, Afula, Beit Shean, Eilat and Dimona,” she said.

“In these periphery cities people’s lives are even more difficult than in the centre, near Tel Aviv. It is essential to express the solidarity of the whole movement with the populations of these communities,” Shafir added.

She also rejected any immediate opening of negotiations with the government.

“For a month (Prime Minister) Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying to humiliate us, divide us, buy time — and he has done absolutely nothing,” she said.

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Botany Of Desire : Cannabis

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The People Beg to Differ, Mr. Romney: Corporations Aren’t People

From Truth Out:

by: Isaiah J. Poole , Campaign for America’s Future
Friday 12 August 2011

The political world is abuzz with a heat-of-the-moment comment by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney that is starkly revealing.

Here’s how The Huffington Post reported it:

Pressed by an attendee at the Iowa State Fair on Thursday as to why he was focusing on entitlement reforms as a means of deficit reduction over asking corporations to share part of the burden, the GOP frontrunner shot back:

“Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People’s pockets. Human beings my friend.”

Great that we’ve gotten that cleared up. Romney has taken the view codified by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Citizens United case, which says that corporations are people when it comes to our political system, and since money is their vocal chord, government can’t tell them to lower their volume so other voices can be heard.

But Romney’s basic point is an economic one, that corporations are just part of a virtuous cycle of which we are all a part. Money goes in, money comes out. “The Circle of Life” plays in the background. Everybody benefits.

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