Japan

64 women to sue in three Japanese courts over health woes from cervical cancer vaccines

July 20, 2016

A group of lawyers for 64 women who are suffering health problems from cervical cancer vaccines said Tuesday the victims will file damages lawsuits against the government and two drugmakers that produced the vaccines through four district courts on July 27. Of the 64 women, 28 will lodge their suit with the Tokyo District Court, six with the Nagoya District Court, 16 with the Osaka District Court and 14 with the Fukuoka District Court, according to the lawyers. Initially, the victims, mainly teenagers, will demand ¥15 million in damages each, for a total of ¥960 million, and increase the amount later depending on their symptoms. The victims’ health problems include pain all over the body. Read

Alternative Visions – Trump, Free Trade, and the Global Slowdown – 07.15.16

July 15, 2016

A centerpiece of Trump’s campaign, that is gaining support for him among white working class voters in key swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, is his attack on free trade treaties from NAFTA to TPP. Today’s show examines the conditions behind the current stagnation of global trade the past 18 months, growing wage stagnation and income inequality in the US, and increasing US voters’ associating of their loss of quality jobs and declining wages with free trade. Dr. Rasmus briefly reviews policies in China, Japan, Europe, and the slowing of world trade. How US economic elites—from the Business Roundtable and others— are becoming terrified of Trump’s successful manipulation of voter discontent with free trade. The elements of Trump’s position on trade are discussed, including ‘tearing up’ treaties, imposing tariffs on Mexico and China, charges of China as currency manipulator, tax policy incentives encouraging job offshoring, and US visa policies. Jack critiques Trump’s positions and concludes that Trump—like Obama before and Hillary now—is simply pandering to the discontent and will reverse his promises on trade if elected. Pandering to the trade issue, however, may just provide Trump enough votes to win key states’ electoral majorities.

Chris Hedges – We Must Understand Corporate Power to Fight It

June 13, 2016

In the winter of 1941, a Jewish gravedigger from Chelmo, the western province of Poland, appeared in Warsaw and desperately sought a meeting with Jewish leaders. He told them the Nazis were rounding up Jews, including the old, women and children, and forcing them into what looked like tightly sealed buses. The buses had the exhaust pipes redirected into the cabins. The Jews were killed with carbon monoxide. He had helped dig the mass graves for thousands of corpses until he escaped. On the way to Warsaw, he had gone from village to village, frantically warning the Jews. Scores of Jews, in the villages and ultimately in Warsaw, heard his testimony of horror and dismissed it. A handful of listeners, however, including Zivia Lubetkin, who two years later would help lead the uprising by 500 armed Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto, instantly understood the ultimate aims of the Nazi state. Read

Alternative Visions – Is There a Global Supernova Bond Bubble About to Explode? – 06.10.16

June 10, 2016

Jack discusses the global bond market conditions today, many times the size of the world’s stock markets and far more important. Bond guru, Bill Gross, this week forewarned of a ‘supernova’ explosion coming in global bond markets as a consequence of the $10 trillion (and growing) in government bond negative interest rates (not counting corporate bonds). Is there a ‘bubble’ in global bonds? Will it bust? When and Where? Jack agrees with Gross and explains why there is—located so far in Europe and Japan but spreading to the US and taking off in corporate bonds as well. How the bond bubble is the consequence of central banks’ (US, UK, Europe, Japan) monetary policies since 2008. How tens of trillions of dollars in money injections by the central banks—in quantitative easing and zero rate programs—have done little for stimulating real investment, jobs, incomes and consumption—and instead have pumped up global stock and other financial markets. The bond bubble as the latest consequence. Jack predicts why central banks’ NIRP policies fail to boost real investment and real growth, but are already having negative consequences for retirees’ and workers’ wage incomes, growing financial instability, and the slowing real economy. Central banks’ monetary policies have failed miserably. What’s next? Talk of ‘helicopter money’, ‘guaranteed income’, and bank ‘bail ins’ after the next bust. Jack warns of likely major global stock market correction coming soon—in the wake of likely Brexit, NIRP, global oil prices again falling, and US economic slowdown and predicts a US recession for 2017. NEXT WEEK: ‘Will There Be a BREXIT?’

Alternative Visions – US Jobs Growth Plummets & Global Economy Slows – 06.03.16

June 3, 2016

Jack reviews today’s just released jobs numbers confirming his prior prediction jobs growth would slow in wake of US GDP slowdown last quarter. Plus an overview of US economy and a prediction of recession in early 2017. In the second half of the show, a review of latest developments in global economy--with commentary on how the IMF outmaneuvered the Syriza government in Greece again, the likelihood of UK ‘Brexit’ from the EU, $10 trillion in negative interest rates and more than $10 trillion in global non-performing bank loans, the recent G7 meeting in Japan and prime minister Abe’s warning of another ‘Lehman event’ on the horizon, the European Central Bank’s recent decision to now buy corporation bonds, like Japan, China’s rotating financial asset bubbles, eventual currency devaluation, capital flight, corporate bankruptcies, and out of control private sector debt acceleration. (see jackrasmus.com blog for recent articles, ‘Is US Economy Heading for Another Recession?’ and ‘How the IMF outmaneuvered Syriza—Again’)

s.e. smith – An American Fukushima May Be Closer Than You Think

June 1, 2016

The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was horrific to watch unfold. It will take decades — and billions of dollars — to clean up, as more problems seem to emerge by the minute. Most recently, Tepco announced that it’s still missing a large amount of spent fuel — in part because radiation remains so high that robots and other devices cannot function inside the plant to give workers a better picture of what’s going on. The disaster and subsequent cleanup have attracted global attention, with many nations questioning whether they want to continue using nuclear power. In the United States, Congress ordered the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a detailed study on the Fukushima disaster. The second part of that review was just released, and the results are ominous: The “devil’s scenario” that led to catastrophe at Fukushima could repeat itself on U.S. soil. Read

Nick Turse – Two Men, Two Legs, and Too Much Suffering

May 31, 2016

Nguyen Van Tu asks if I’m serious. Am I really willing to tell his story — to tell the story of the Vietnamese who live in this rural corner of the Mekong Delta? Almost 40 years after guerrilla fighters in his country threw the limits of U.S. military power into stark relief — during the 1968 Tet Offensive — we sit in his rustic home, built of wood and thatch with an earthen floor, and speak of two hallmarks of that power: ignorance and lack of accountability. As awkward chicks scurry past my feet, I have the sickening feeling that, in decades to come, far too many Iraqis and Afghans will have similar stories to tell. Similar memories of American troops. Similar accounts of air strikes and artillery bombardments. Nightmare knowledge of what “America” means to far too many outside the United States. “Do you really want to publicize this thing?” Nguyen asks. “Do you really dare tell everyone about all the losses and sufferings of the Vietnamese people here?” I assure this well-weathered 60-year old grandfather that that’s just why I’ve come to Vietnam for the third time in three years. I tell him I have every intention of

Abayomi Azikiwe – America’s Wars of Aggression against Africa under the Disguise of the “War on Terrorism”

May 27, 2016

In February of 2008 under the administration of President George W. Bush, Jr., the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) was officially launched with its base in Stuttgart, Germany. The reasoning behind the creation of AFRICOM has evolved over the last eight years from being a necessary security measure to protect vital American interests on the continent to a mechanism designed to assist post-colonial African states to enhance their national security apparatuses in light of the so-called “war on terrorism”, by then in full operation some four to five years after the invasion of Iraq and Haiti, and six-and-a-half years after the Pentagon occupation of Afghanistan. There was much controversy within the African Union (AU) member-states over whether AFRICOM should establish its headquarters on the continent. This idea initially was rejected by the Pentagon due to this objection by numerous African states of varying political outlooks and governmental systems. At this time, 2007-2008, the U.S. had initiated a war in Somalia in order to prevent the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) from fully consolidating power in that Horn of Africa nation fractured since 1991 after the collapse of the regime of Mohamed Siad Barre, a close ally of Washington. The administration of President George H.W. Bush in its final days had deployed 12,000 Marines to Somalia in December 1992, under the

Fukushima nuclear accident is ‘wake-up call’ for US to improve monitoring of spent fuel pools

May 24, 2016

WASHINGTON – The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident should serve as a wake-up call to nuclear plant operators and regulators on the critical importance of measuring, maintaining, and restoring cooling in spent fuel pools during severe accidents and terrorist attacks, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. This report is the second and final phase of a congressionally mandated study on what lessons can be learned from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. The report from Phase 1 of this study was released in July 2014. The Phase 2 report provides findings and recommendations for improving U.S. nuclear plant security and spent fuel storage as well as re-evaluates conclusions from previous Academies studies on spent fuel storage safety and security. The committee that carried out the study and authored the Phase 2 report found that spent fuel storage facilities — both spent fuel pools used to store fuel under water and casks used to dry-store fuel — at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant maintained their containment functions during and after the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. However, one of the two gates separating the Unit 3 spent fuel pool from the

MANUEL E. YEPE – Think Tanks and the US Power Elite

May 23, 2016

The US power elite is involved in many ways in the dispute over global domination, its exercise and defense. The precarious balance of forces in the bipolar world in which we lived after World War II prevented US imperialism from imposing its absolute hegemony world-wide. That was based on the nuclear blackmail it threatened after its genocidal bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Later, a tense arms race would arrive, promoted by the so-called “balance of terror”. According to this notion, which the forerunner power in the production of weapons would cause an imbalance in the international arena. The one with the most and deadliest weapons would be able to destroy the other. Read
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