Category Archives: Economics

Amid Years of Funding Cuts to Public Health, First US Case of China’s Coronavirus Detected

Public health advocates say state, local, and federal agencies are underprepared to cope with the spread of a new infectious disease.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-21-2020

Coronavirus. Photo: CDC

Officials in Washington State reported Tuesday that a resident was diagnosed with the coronavirus which was first detected in Wuhan, China last month, leading federal public health agencies which have suffered billions of dollars in cuts in recent years to issue warnings and post information about the illness.

“This is an evolving situation and again, we do expect additional cases in the United States and globally,” Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the Washington Post. Continue reading

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‘Global Precedent’ Set as UN Rules Climate Refugees Cannot Be Sent Back to Life-Threatening Conditions

Advocates praised the ruling as an “excellent step forward in refugee rights.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-20-2020

Irish Naval personnel from the LÉ Eithne (P31) rescuing migrants as part of Operation Triton. Photo: Irish Defense Forecs/flickr/CC

Human rights advocates on Monday applauded a “ground-breaking” ruling by a United Nations panel which stated that climate refugees seeking asylum cannot legally be sent back to their home countries if they face life-threatening conditions due to the climate crisis.

“Without robust national and international efforts, the effects of climate change in receiving states may expose individuals to a violation of their rights,” ruled the U.N. Human Rights Committee, “thereby triggering the non-refoulement obligations of sending states.” Continue reading

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US-China trade pact President Trump just signed fails to resolve 3 fundamental issues

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He after signing the trade agreement. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Penelope B. Prime, Georgia State University

U.S. President Donald Trump signed a trade deal with China on Jan. 15 intended as a first phase toward a more comprehensive agreement between the two countries.

In exchange for some tariff relief, China promised to buy an additional US$200 billion in American goods and services over the next two years and make structural reforms that would provide more protection for U.S. intellectual property. It still leaves about $360 billion in punitive tariffs on Chinese imports in place – and more sanctions would be triggered if China fails to meet the terms of the deal. Continue reading

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With 14 ‘Billion-Dollar Disasters’ and Record-Breaking Heat in Alaska and Across South, 2019 Was a Year of Climate Extremes for US

“Americans are put at risk by the serious consequences of the climate crisis.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-8-2020

A fire burns near the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Screenshot: ABC News

Underscoring the need for urgent climate action, a new report on the climate of the United States in 2019 sheds light on numerous weather and temperature extremes that were observed throughout the year and the record amounts of money spent on weather disasters.

Alaska was among the states which recorded unusually high temperatures in 2019, according to an annual summary released Wednesday by NOAA ahead of its full U.S. Climate Report, which is scheduled to be released next week. Continue reading

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New Report Details How EPA Is Promoting ‘Worst of the Worst Pesticides’

From 2017-2018, the agency approved 69 new pesticide products containing an ingredient the EPA recognizes as a “known” or “likely” carcinogen.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-10-2020

A detail of the cover image for Toxic Hangover, a new report by Center for Biological Diversity. (Image: Center for Biologicial Diversity)

A new review into the pesticide products the U.S. approved in 2017 and 2018 reveals the Environmental Protection Agency is carrying out an industry-friendly, “broken” regulatory process that included green-lighting over 100 products with ingredients widely deemed extremely dangerous.

Entitled Toxic Hangover: How the EPA Is Approving New Products With Dangerous Pesticides It Committed to Phasing Out, the 11-page analysis was released Tuesday by the Center for Biological Diversity. Continue reading

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Fresh Calls to #RaiseTheWage After Study Shows $1 Increase Could Prevent Thousands of Suicides

The House-approved Raise the Wage Act is among hundreds of bills sitting on the desk of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the self-declared “grim reaper” of progressive legislation.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-9-2020

A study published this week found that raising the minimum wage just $1 could prevent thousands of suicide deaths in the United States. Photo: Wisconsin Jobs Now/flickr/CC

A new study that suggests raising the minimum wage could prevent thousands of suicide deaths in the United States sparked fresh calls for relief from federal lawmakers and cast a spotlight on Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s legislative graveyard.

“Low-wage employees are in desperate need of a raise, and the Senate’s refusal to pass the #RaiseTheWage Act is keeping vulnerable Americans in harm’s way,” the advocacy group Patriotic Millionaires tweeted on Thursday, linking to NPR‘s report on the study. Continue reading

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Latest Count of ONE BILLION Animals Killed in Australia Fires a “Very Conservative” Estimate

“Over a billion would be a very conservative figure,” according to Ecologist Chris Dickman.

By Elias Marat  Published 1-7-2020 by The Mind Unleashed

While Australia’s unprecedented wave of fires has devastated the country, it’s been difficult for experts and authorities to accurately measure the true extent of the damage sustained by the country’s wild animals and plants.

However, new figures released by specialists studying the blaze reveal horrifying new statistics about the number of animals killed in the bushfires, which likely now exceed one billion. Continue reading

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Corporate Media Turns to Warhawks, Including Former Bush Officials, to Beat Drums of War on Iran

“Nothing’s been learned from 2003. Nothing.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-3-2020

Karl Rove and Ari Fleischer, senior adviser and White House press secretary under the George W. Bush administration, appeared on Fox News Thursday night in the hours after the Trump administration assassinated top Iranian military official Qasem Soleimani. (Photo: Fox News/screenshot)

Trump critics and peace advocates watched in horror Thursday night and Friday morning as some of the top architects of the Iraq War took to the corporate media to spin a narrative aimed at retroactively convincing Americans that the killing of Iranian military official Qasem Soleimani was essential to the safety of the U.S.—a replica of the run-up to the Iraq War nearly two decades ago.

Following reports that President Donald Trump ordered the airstrike that killed Soleimani, the major general of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, former George W. Bush administration officials were among those who media outlets called on to make a case for the act. Continue reading

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Trump, Granting Lobbyist Demands, Quietly Handed Billions More in Tax Breaks to Huge Corporations: Report

“Trump is the most corrupt president in history, and here’s the latest example of how that corruption helps giant corporations.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-30-2019

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and President Donald Trump at a Tax reform press briefing October 31, 2017. Screenshot: YouTube

A “disturbing” New York Times story published Monday detailed how President Donald Trump’s Treasury Department, led by former Goldman Sachs banker Steve Mnuchin, has quietly weakened elements of the 2017 tax law in recent months to make it even friendlier to wealthy

individuals and massive corporations.

Lobbyists representing some of the largest corporations in the world, the Times reported, targeted two provisions in the original 2017 law designed to bring in hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue from companies that had been dodging U.S. taxes by stashing profits overseas. Continue reading

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‘Victory for Our Oceans’: US Court Upholds Ruling on Vast Marine Monument Established by Obama

“This decision upholds protections for one of the most fragile and scientifically important areas in the North Atlantic from destructive activities like oil drilling and industrial fishing.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-27-2019

“Like one of America’s very first national monuments, the Grand Canyon, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts is a natural treasure,” said NRDC’s KateDesormaeu. “It provides habitat for a wide range of species, from endangered whales to Atlantic puffins to centuries-old deep-sea corals.” Photo: Wikipedia (Public domain)

Defenders of ocean habitats celebrated Friday after a federal court upheld a lower court ruling defending the right of the U.S. executive branch to set aside marine areas as national monuments.

Citing the authority found under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to establish marine national monuments, the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia sided against a lawsuit brought by large fishing industry interests that challenged President Barack Obama’s designation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, which encompases 4,913 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean off the nation’s northeast coast, as a protected area. Continue reading

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