tagged w/ UK Economy
Nobel laureate Paul Krugman takes down a fat cat Tory donor and a Tea Party Tory MP on BBC Newsnight, admonishing their austertity lust and cuts hunger.Nobel laureate Paul Krugman takes down a fat cat Tory donor and a Tea Party Tory MP on... more
• Crackdown on £190bn-a-year welfare bill
• Payments could be suspended for three months
READ MORE: http://globalpoliticalawakening.blogspot.com/2010/11/unemployed-told-do-four-weeks-of-unpaid.html• Crackdown on £190bn-a-year welfare bill • Payments could be... more
If bees and other pollinators were to disappear completely, the cost to the UK economy could be up to £440m per year, scientists have warned.
This amounts to about 13% of the country's income from farming.
In a bid to save the declining insects, up to £10m has been invested in nine projects that will explore threats to pollinators.
The Insect Pollinators Initiative will look at different aspects of the insects' decline.
The initiative brings together specialists from a number of UK universities, as well as from the Food & Environment Research Agency and the Natural Environment Research Council's (Nerc) Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
It is funded by several public and charity organisations, led by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
Honeybees, hoverflies, wasps, bumblebees, moths and butterflies play a vital role in feeding people through the pollination of crops.
Continue reading the main story
Bumblebees have declined worldwide, largely due to the loss of flowers and other habitats they need to survive in the countryside
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Speaking at a news briefing at the Science Media Centre, Professor Andrew Watkinson, director of the Living with Environmental Change programme, said that the new initiative "allowed us to bring in new skills in gene sequencing and epidemiological modelling with the expertise that already exists in the pollinator research community".
Some projects will look at factors affecting the health and survival of pollinators in general. Others will focus on specific species and diseases.
Professor Watkinson said there was no single factor that could explain the pollinators' decline.
"There's a whole range of agriculture and land use, disease, environmental change [and] pesticides," he said.
"To tackle a complex problem like the decline of pollinating insects, where there are a number of potential causes, requires wide-ranging research."
For some species, such as bumblebees, the decline was "catastrophic", he added.
"It's really difficult to quantify [the extent of the decline of pollinators] and that's one of the problems we really need to address.
"What we need is some robust science and I think that this programme is going to provide it."
Another speaker, Claire Carvell from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, said that since the 1970s, there had been a 75% decline of butterfly species in the UK.
Also, out of 25 species of bumblebees, three had gone extinct, she added.
Inspectors are monitoring the health of honeybee colonies in England and Wales
These "extra special" bees with large hairy bodies are very effective at transferring pollen between flowers, she commented.
"They are also active at lower temperatures than other bees, so you'll see them out working earlier and later in the day.
"But bumblebees have declined worldwide, largely due to the loss of flowers and other habitats they need to survive in the countryside."
Dr Carvell said that her team will use a method of collecting DNA from live wild bumblebees to estimate how far queen bees fly to start new nests and how far workers fly to forage.
"These findings will allow us to manage landscapes in ways that are effective in conserving bumblebee populations," she concluded.
A brain disorder?
Neurobiologist Chris Connolly, of the University of Dundee, is leading research into the effect pesticides have on bees.
Continue reading the main story
A single pesticide or miticide is not likely to be responsible… but a cocktail of different pesticides or miticides might [have a combined effect] to amplify the brain problem
University of Dundee
In particular, his team will assess any possible damage to the insects' abilities to gather food, navigate and even perform their special "waggle dance", which they use to let other bees know where nectar can be found.
He said that the pollinators' decline could be partially explained by a brain disorder - triggered by chemicals in pesticides.
"A single pesticide or miticide is not likely to be responsible… but a cocktail of different pesticides or miticides might [have a combined effect] to amplify the brain problem," explained Dr Connolly.
His study will concentrate on identifying these dangerous combinations in order to advise farmers about how to avoid them in the future.
It will include fitting tiny radio frequency ID tags to pollinators, which will act like "barcodes at the supermarket", recording when insects enter and leave the nest.
Wasps are also in decline
Other projects include investigating ecology and conservation of pollinators in cities, researching the impact of a mite named Varroa destructor, and looking into the effects of agriculture on bees.
The vital thing, Professor Watkinson stated, was for the scientists to communicate the results of their studies to the people in the field - beekeepers and farmers.
"It is imperative that the science that's being done is fed through as quickly as possible to the conservationists and to the agricultural community, so that we can ensure food security and also the maintenance of our biodiversity," he said.If bees and other pollinators were to disappear completely, the cost to the UK economy... more
BT, who has reported an annual loss of £134m, is to cut 15,000 jobs this year. This is 5,000 more than previously announced and most of these cost will be in the UK.BT, who has reported an annual loss of £134m, is to cut 15,000 jobs this year.... more
Handy bitesized look at the Budget which was announced today which includes the following highlights:
Booze & fags go up by 2% from midnight.
Fuel duty rises by 2p a litre from Sept.
Drivers can get a £2,000 discount if they trade in cars older than 10 years.
Income tax for those earning over £150,000 rises to 50% from April 2010.
Child tax credit to rise by £20 by 2010.
£250m funding to help people get work experience in growth industries.
Does any of this affect you?Handy bitesized look at the Budget which was announced today which includes the... more
The Old Rules of Money No Longer Work
Just like you, banks and governments are watching the world economy spin out of control…and they don’t have a clue about what’s happening or what to do about it.
Everything these so-called experts predicted was going to happen hasn’t happened. And what’s happening can’t be explained by their “tried and true” theories.
Think about it:
Market swings of 300 points used to be called “wild.” Now, daily rides of 600 to 700 (even 1,000 points) barely make the Wall Street Journal’s front page.
You’d expect gold (the only real “safe haven”) to be shooting through the roof in a market like this. But gold – against all expectations – has done anything but.
The U.S. Government hands out $700 billion in freshly printed dollars, devaluing the entire stock of American debt… and the dollar, against all odds, goes up.
Banks take billions in government loans to free up credit, but instead of lending the money, they use it to buy other banks. Are the inmates in charge of the prison?
You see, for the past 65 years or so (since Bretton Woods), everyone has operated on the same assumptions: Free markets behave rationally and are self-correcting.
But now, all the old “rules of money” have been trashed.
They simply don’t work anymore and probably never will again.
And things are only getting worse…The Old Rules of Money No Longer Work Just like you, banks and governments are... more
London could suffer the most in a recession while many northern cities will fare better, a report has said.
About two in five jobs that could be at risk over the next two years are in London and the South East, the Local Government Association (LGA) said.
And it said the recent renaissance of the big northern cities had put them in a relatively well-placed position to cope with the effects of the recession.
The LGA has warned a national, blanket policy will not help all areas.
The LGA's 'From Recession To Recovery: The Local Dimension' report projects how each area of the country could be affected differently by the economic downturn if no action is taken.
PROJECTED JOB LOSSES
The report says 370,000 jobs could be lost in London (7.9% of all jobs in London) by December 2012
170,000 in Yorkshire & Humberside (6.8%)
230,000 in the North West (6.7%)
180,000 in the West Midlands (6.6%)
280,000 in the South East (6.3%)
130,000 in the East Midlands (6.0%)
170,000 in the East (6.0%)
70,000 in the North East (5.7%)
130,000 in the South West (5.1%)
(more details at the link)London could suffer the most in a recession while many northern cities will fare... more
I think it's really important that we don't lose sight that this is a global financial problem, and not just an isolated US problem, as this article shows. Even the UK is nationalizing major financial institutions now due to collapse fears, and yet I have not heard a single word about this in the US mainstream media this week. Why, and who really benefits when we don't connect all the dots?
From the article:
" Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) -- The U.K. government will step in to protect Bradford & Bingley Plc depositors, Treasury minister Yvette Cooper said, after a report some form of state take over of the British mortgage lender will occur.
``Depositors and ordinary savers must be properly protected, and they will be as part of the arrangements we'll set out,'' Cooper said in a British Broadcasting Corp. television interview. ``The government is stepping in. Financial stability has got to be protected, but so have ordinary savers.''
Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling will make a statement before 8 a.m. London time tomorrow outlining the government's plan, which the BBC said would include some form of nationalization. Ministers are working on other options including a partial government takeover, acquisition by a rival bank or a break up and purchase of assets by several buyers.
Bradford & Bingley, the nation's biggest lender to landlords, is the third major British bank to run into trouble since credit markets seized up around the globe last year. Its shares have fallen 93 percent this year. Northern Rock Plc was nationalized in February and HBOS Plc sold itself to Lloyds TSB Group Plc on Sept. 18."
Read the full story at the link.
Notice the lack of US coverage here:
http://news.google.com/news?q=Bradford+%26+Bingley&ie=UTF-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&hl=en&ncl=1248850344&sa=X&oi=news_result&resnum=1&ct=more-results&cd=1I think it's really important that we don't lose sight that this is a global... more
A new study reports that England offers the lowest quality of life in Europe despite residents earning the highest incomes after taxes. The price of fuel and other essential goods, and below-average spending on health and education, place Britain at the bottom of the uSwitch.com European quality-of-life index.A new study reports that England offers the lowest quality of life in Europe despite... more
That's what some of us Brits are doing according to a new survey that was published in The Sun.
"Barclays and children's charity NCH released a joint survey yesterday, which found that 12 percent of people have gone hungry in this way recently - a figure which goes up to 19 percent among vulnerable low-income groups."
That's what some of us Brits are doing according to a new survey that was... more
Nine out of 10 estate agents are reporting falling prices - was likely to spill over into weaker high street spending and job losses for construction workers. "The chances of a recession are growing by the day" says Jonathan Loynes, of Capital Economics.
Like in '92, is the UK heading into Recession?Nine out of 10 estate agents are reporting falling prices - was likely to spill over... more
Food prices are rising at their fastest rate since records began more than a decade ago, according to devastating figures published today.
The cost of 'basic' food from flour to eggs and beef mince to cheese have soared to prices never seen before.
The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, highlight the crippling impact on families struggling to afford their weekly shopping bill.
Soaring: Food prices are rising at their fastest rate since records began. A dozen eggs cost £2 last April - and they now cost £2.80
In the most extreme cases, prices charged by supermarkets and local shops have soared by 40 per cent in just 12 months.
A dozen eggs would have cost £2 last April. The same number of eggs now cost £2.80.
The ONS figures, which are for April, show food prices have jumped 7.2 per cent over the last year, the sharpest rise since records began in 1997.
But this total rise masks a much bigger increase for many of the 'must-have' foods which people put in their shopping basket every week.
Critics say it is a shocking change for everybody who has become used to prices rising slowly, or even falling, in recent years.
The biggest losers are many of the country's 11.2 million pensioners who have to cope with these massive rises on meagre and fixed incomes.
For workers, whose pay rises were just three per cent or less, the struggle to find the money to pay for food is getting worse by the day.
Their financial crisis is compounded by the fact that their other household bills are rising quickly too, such as energy bills and petrol.
Some of the big rises are cheddar cheese, up 19 per cent in April to an average of £6.65 per kilogram, compared to the same month last year.
Margarine is up 18.2 per cent; sliced-white bread up 23 per cent, tea bags up 7.2 per cent, and self-raising flour up 33 per cent.
Food prices are rising at their fastest rate since records began more than a decade... more
'Britain's retailers had their toughest month in more than two years in April as the credit crunch, an early Easter and poor spring weather kept shoppers away from the high street, the CBI said today.
More than half the stores surveyed in the monthly snapshot of spending from the employers' organisation said trade was down on a year earlier - with outlets selling household goods particularly hard hit by the downturn in the property market.
Ian McCafferty, the CBI's chief economic adviser, said: "There is no doubt that consumers are tightening their belts as the mood about the economy and its outlook worsens. The trend in recent months has been one of slowing growth and now we've seen a fall in sales volumes, particularly so for goods related to the housing market."''Britain's retailers had their toughest month in more than two years in... more