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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

China, polluted, from the ground up- the unwatered truth

Even China's Dirt Is Dirty - Bloomberg View: "Even the most choking of Beijing smogs eventually gives way to blue skies. The very impermanence of air pollution encourages optimism that it can be solved one day. The poisoning of China’s land and water is another matter altogether. Unlike smog, which can be seen the moment it leaves a smokestack, chemicals leaking from pipes into China’s soil and rivers may not be discovered for years or decades. By then, the damage may be incalculable and permanent.

Last week’s release of data collected during a nearly nine-year national soil survey finally gave Chinese a chance to evaluate the devastating toll that 30 years of rapid industrial development has had on them, their food supply, and their country. The numbers are astonishing. More than 16 percent of China’s 3.7 million square miles of soil is contaminated. Even worse, nearly a fifth of the country’s arable land is polluted. While the report doesn’t specify how badly, hints exist. In December, a senior Chinese official conceded that 2 percent of China’s arable land – an area the size of Belgium – had become too polluted to grow crops at all."



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Value of education? Giving up a car for a day to show 'support" for Earth Day? What a gas?

Techies take the bus trip to office - The Hindu: "A significant number of techies took the bus to office on Tuesday, preferring to shun their private vehicles and office cabs for a day, to mark World Earth Day.

As part of efforts to decrease their carbon footprint, the ITsAP (IT and Its Association of AP) had given a call to its three lakh employees to observe “All Bus Day” on the occasion. Buoyed by the response, the association members said they would plan similar initiatives in the near future.

“The idea is to encourage employees to travel by public transport. We received positive feedback from IT firm managements that many employees commuted by public transport today. As a result of which there were lesser private vehicles in their respective office parking lots,” said ITsAP secretary P. Bipin Chandra."



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Monday, April 21, 2014

Scottish independence: Set Scots free

Scottish independence campaign is gaining ground, polls show | Politics | theguardian.com: "With five months to go before the referendum that could lead to Scotland leaving the UK, the gap between the yes and no camps has narrowed, suggesting a two-point swing could be enough to secure independence on 18 September.

An ICM poll for the Scotland on Sunday newspaper shows support for independence is at 39%, while opposition has fallen four points to 42%.

Excluding people who have not yet made up their minds, the results put yes on 48% and no on 52%.

It is the highest level of support for independence since last August, leading the Yes Scotland campaign group to claim it is confident of securing the necessary two-point swing."



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Sunday, April 20, 2014

CEO Pay- Disclosure far from sufficient

Top CEOs Make 331 Times the Average Worker. Does Anyone Care? - Businessweek: "Chief executives of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index made an average $11.7 million last year. The average production and nonsupervisory worker: $35,239. That means CEOs are paid 331 times the average worker, according to a report released this week by the AFL-CIO, a federation of trade unions.

The difference may be shocking, especially in the face of a shrinking American middle class. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently said it wants companies to disclose the CEO-worker pay ratio. But does such information make any difference?"



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