FROM SCRATCH NEWSWIRE

SCAVENGING THE INTERNET

Archive for November 3rd, 2008

THE GM GENOCIDE: THOUSANDS OF INDIAN FARMERS ARE COMMITTING SUICIDE AFTER USING GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 3, 2008

Last updated at 12:48 AM on 03rd November 2008

by Andrew Malone

When Prince Charles claimed thousands of Indian farmers were killing themselves after using GM crops, he was branded a scaremonger. In fact, as this chilling dispatch reveals, it’s even WORSE than he feared.

The children were inconsolable. Mute with shock and fighting back tears, they huddled beside their mother as friends and neighbours prepared their father’s body for cremation on a blazing bonfire built on the cracked, barren fields near their home.

As flames consumed the corpse, Ganjanan, 12, and Kalpana, 14, faced a grim future. While Shankara Mandaukar had hoped his son and daughter would have a better life under India’s economic boom, they now face working as slave labour for a few pence a day. Landless and homeless, they will be the lowest of the low.

Shankara, respected farmer, loving husband and father, had taken his own life. Less than 24 hours PHOTO - Human tragedy - A farmer and child in India's SUICIDE BELTearlier, facing the loss of his land due to debt, he drank a cupful of chemical insecticide.

Unable to pay back the equivalent of two years’ earnings, he was in despair. He could see no way out.

There were still marks in the dust where he had writhed in agony. Other villagers looked on – they knew from experience that any intervention was pointless – as he lay doubled up on the ground, crying out in pain and vomiting.

Moaning, he crawled on to a bench outside his simple home 100 miles from Nagpur in central India. An hour later, he stopped making any noise. Then he stopped breathing. At 5pm on Sunday, the life of Shankara Mandaukar came to an end.

As neighbours gathered to pray outside the family home, Nirmala Mandaukar, 50, told how she rushed back from the fields to find her husband dead. ‘He was a loving and caring man,’ she said, weeping quietly.

‘But he couldn’t take any more. The mental anguish was too much. We have lost everything.’

Shankara’s crop had failed – twice. Of course, famine and pestilence are part of India’s ancient story. PHOTO - Distressed - Prince Charles has set up charity Bhumi Vardaan Foundation to address the plight of suicide farmers
But the death of this respected farmer has been blamed on something far more modern and sinister: genetically modified crops.

Shankara, like millions of other Indian farmers, had been promised previously unheard of harvests and income if he switched from farming with traditional seeds to planting GM seeds instead.

Beguiled by the promise of future riches, he borrowed money in order to buy the GM seeds. But when the harvests failed, he was left with spiralling debts – and no income.

So Shankara became one of an estimated 125,000 farmers to take their own life as a result of the ruthless drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops.

The crisis, branded the ‘GM Genocide’ by campaigners, was highlighted recently when Prince Charles claimed that the issue of GM had become a ‘global moral question’ – and the time had come to end its unstoppable march.

Speaking by video link to a conference in the Indian capital, Delhi, he infuriated bio-tech leaders and some politicians by condemning ‘the truly appalling and tragic rate of small farmer suicides in India, stemming… from the failure of many GM crop varieties’.

Ranged against the Prince are powerful GM lobbyists and prominent politicians, who claim that genetically modified crops have transformed Indian agriculture, providing greater yields than ever before.

The rest of the world, they insist, should embrace ‘the future’ and follow suit.

So who is telling the truth? To find out, I travelled to the ‘suicide belt’ in Maharashtra state.

What I found was deeply disturbing – and has profound implications for countries, including Britain, debating whether to allow the planting of seeds manipulated by scientists to circumvent the laws of nature.

For official figures from the Indian Ministry of Agriculture do indeed confirm that in a huge humanitarian crisis, more than 1,000 farmers kill themselves here each month.

Simple, rural people, they are dying slow, agonising deaths. Most swallow insecticide – a pricey substance they were promised they would not need when they were coerced into growing expensive GM crops.

It seems that many are massively in debt to local money-lenders, having over-borrowed to purchase GM seed.

Pro-GM experts claim that it is rural poverty, alcoholism, drought and ‘agrarian distress’ that is the real reason for the horrific toll.

But, as I discovered during a four-day journey through the epicentre of the disaster, that is not the full story.

In one small village I visited, 18 farmers had committed suicide after being sucked into GM debts. In PHOTO - Death seeds - A Greenpeace protester sprays milk-based paint on a Monsanto research soybean field near Atlantic, Iowasome cases, women have taken over farms from their dead husbands – only to kill themselves as well.

Latta Ramesh, 38, drank insecticide after her crops failed – two years after her husband disappeared when the GM debts became too much.

She left her ten-year-old son, Rashan, in the care of relatives. ‘He cries when he thinks of his mother,’ said the dead woman’s aunt, sitting listlessly in shade near the fields.

Village after village, families told how they had fallen into debt after being persuaded to buy GM seeds instead of traditional cotton seeds.

The price difference is staggering: £10 for 100 grams of GM seed, compared with less than £10 for 1,000 times more traditional seeds.

But GM salesmen and government officials had promised farmers that these were ‘magic seeds’ – with better crops that would be free from parasites and insects.

Indeed, in a bid to promote the uptake of GM seeds, traditional varieties were banned from many government seed banks.

The authorities had a vested interest in promoting this new biotechnology. Desperate to escape the grinding poverty of the post-independence years, the Indian government had agreed to allow new bio-tech giants, such as the U.S. market-leader Monsanto, to sell their new seed creations.

In return for allowing western companies access to the second most populated country in the world, with more than one billion people, India was granted International Monetary Fund loans in the Eighties and Nineties, helping to launch an economic revolution.

But while cities such as Mumbai and Delhi have boomed, the farmers’ lives have slid back into the dark ages.

Though areas of India planted with GM seeds have doubled in two years – up to 17 million acres – many famers have found there is a terrible price to be paid.

Far from being ‘magic seeds’, GM pest-proof ‘breeds’ of cotton have been devastated by bollworms, a voracious parasite.

Nor were the farmers told that these seeds require double the amount of water. This has proved a matter of life and death.

With rains failing for the past two years, many GM crops have simply withered and died, leaving the farmers with crippling debts and no means of paying them off.

Having taken loans from traditional money lenders at extortionate rates, hundreds of thousands of small farmers have faced losing their land as the expensive seeds fail, while those who could struggle on faced a fresh crisis.

When crops failed in the past, farmers could still save seeds and replant them the following year.

But with GM seeds they cannot do this. That’s because GM seeds contain so- called ‘terminator technology’, meaning that they have been genetically modified so that the resulting crops do not produce viable seeds of their own.

As a result, farmers have to buy new seeds each year at the same punitive prices. For some, that means the difference between life and death.

Take the case of Suresh Bhalasa, another farmer who was cremated this week, leaving a wife and two children.

As night fell after the ceremony, and neighbours squatted outside while sacred cows were brought in from the fields, his family had no doubt that their troubles stemmed from the moment they were encouraged to buy BT Cotton, a geneticallymodified plant created by Monsanto.

‘We are ruined now,’ said the dead man’s 38-year-old wife. ‘We bought 100 grams of BT Cotton. Our crop failed twice. My husband had become depressed. He went out to his field, lay down in the cotton and swallowed insecticide.’

Villagers bundled him into a rickshaw and headed to hospital along rutted farm roads. ‘He cried out that he had taken the insecticide and he was sorry,’ she said, as her family and neighbours crowded into her home to pay their respects. ‘He was dead by the time they got to hospital.’

Asked if the dead man was a ‘drunkard’ or suffered from other ‘social problems’, as alleged by pro-GM officials, the quiet, dignified gathering erupted in anger. ‘No! No!’ one of the dead man’s brothers exclaimed. ‘Suresh was a good man. He sent his children to school and paid his taxes.

‘He was strangled by these magic seeds. They sell us the seeds, saying they will not need expensive pesticides but they do. We have to buy the same seeds from the same company every year. It is killing us. Please tell the world what is happening here.’

Monsanto has admitted that soaring debt was a ‘factor in this tragedy’. But pointing out that cotton production had doubled in the past seven years, a spokesman added that there are other reasons for the recent crisis, such as ‘untimely rain’ or drought, and pointed out that suicides have always been part of rural Indian life.

Officials also point to surveys saying the majority of Indian farmers want GM seeds – no doubt encouraged to do so by aggressive marketing tactics.

During the course of my inquiries in Maharastra, I encountered three ‘independent’ surveyors scouring villages for information about suicides. They insisted that GM seeds were only 50 per cent more expensive – and then later admitted the difference was 1,000 per cent.

(A Monsanto spokesman later insisted their seed is ‘only double’ the price of ‘official’ non-GM seed – but admitted that the difference can be vast if cheaper traditional seeds are sold by ‘unscrupulous’ merchants, who often also sell ‘fake’ GM seeds which are prone to disease.)

With rumours of imminent government compensation to stem the wave of deaths, many farmers said they were desperate for any form of assistance. ‘We just want to escape from our problems,’ one said. ‘We just want help to stop any more of us dying.’

Prince Charles is so distressed by the plight of the suicide farmers that he is setting up a charity, the Bhumi Vardaan Foundation, to help those affected and promote organic Indian crops instead of GM.

India’s farmers are also starting to fight back. As well as taking GM seed distributors hostage and staging mass protests, one state government is taking legal action against Monsanto for the exorbitant costs of GM seeds.

This came too late for Shankara Mandauker, who was 80,000 rupees (about £1,000) in debt when he took his own life. ‘I told him that we can survive,’ his widow said, her children still by her side as darkness fell. ‘I told him we could find a way out. He just said it was better to die.’

But the debt does not die with her husband: unless she can find a way of paying it off, she will not be able to afford the children’s schooling. They will lose their land, joining the hordes seen begging in their thousands by the roadside throughout this vast, chaotic country.

Cruelly, it’s the young who are suffering most from the ‘GM Genocide’ – the very generation supposed to be lifted out of a life of hardship and misery by these ‘magic seeds’.

Here in the suicide belt of India, the cost of the genetically modified future is murderously high.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘DAILY MAIL’ (UK)

Advertisements

Posted in AGRICULTURE, ASIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMODITIES MARKET, COTTON, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FARMING DEBTS, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, GENETICALLY MODIFIED AGRO-PRODUCTS, INDIA, INTERNATIONAL, THE WORKERS, VEGETABLE FIBERS | Leave a Comment »

FARMERS ASSAIL IMF TERMS FOR LOAN (Pakistan)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 3, 2008

November 03, 2008 – Monday

Bureau Report

HYDERABAD, Nov 2: The Sindh Abadgar Board has rejected the government proposal for obtaining $5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund and cautioned that if the government does not change its decision it would be tantamount to signing the death warrant of the national economy.

The board leaders said at a meeting held on Saturday under its chairman Abdul Majeed Nizamani that the IMF always targeted agriculture sector and the fund was more likely to impose condition to end subsidy for agriculture sector.

The meeting pointed out that the IMF loan would be extremely dangerous for the national economy and political stability of the country and demanded that the president and prime minister bring the matter before the National Assembly.

The meeting advised the government to make efforts to obtain $1.5 billion from China by mortgaging shares of government corporations and $800 million reimbursement from the United States under the coalition support fund for war on terror.

The meeting warned that if the government fell into the IMF trap and withdrew subsidy on agriculture, it would have to spend more money on importing food items.

The meeting resolved to make the “Grow More Wheat” campaign a success and demanded that the government make all the purchasing centres for wheat functional in Umerkot, Mirpurkhas, Badin and other areas where wheat was harvested earlier.

The meeting said that keeping in view 35 per cent shortage of water in the system, Irsa should be asked to ensure supply of 11.7 million acre foot water of Sindh’s share.

The meeting stressed the need for safeguarding wheat from the smugglers and disclosing the names of “30 respectable people” involved in the grain’s smuggling as disclosed by the prime minister himself on the floor of the assembly.

The meeting said that sugarcane growers were switching over to other crops largely due to government’s helplessness before PSMA over the past 10 years, which was very dangerous for sugar industry. The sugar mills must start crushing season according to government notification, the meeting demanded.

SCA: The Sindh Chamber of Agriculture warned on Sunday that delay in start of crushing season would seriously affect wheat cultivation and lead to wheat crisis in the coming months.

The senior vice-president of the chamber, Mir Murad Ali Khan Talpur, said at the chamber’s meeting that the government had fixed price of cotton at Rs1,900 per maund but the growers were being forced to sell their produce at Rs400 to Rs500 per maund.

The chamber’s general secretary, Akhund Ghulam Mohammad Siddiqui, complained that open blackmarketing of urea fertiliser had inflicted huge losses on the growers.

Sain Bux Rind said that Pasco’s failure to establish purchase centres for rice had created an opportunity for the rice traders to fleece growers. The government had fixed purchase of Irri-6 at Rs900 per maund but the growers were forced to sell their produce at Rs500 per maund, he said.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘DAWN’ (Pakistan)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, ASIA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, GRAINS, IMF, INDUSTRIAL SUBSIDIES, INTERNATIONAL, PAKISTAN, RICE, SMUGGLING, SUGAR, WHEAT | Leave a Comment »

WORKER TRUSTS TAKE CONTROL OF FRUIT EXPORTER (South Africa)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 3, 2008

Posted to the web on: 03 November 2008

by Chris van Gass

Cape Correspondent

CAPE TOWN — Nearly 200 workers and packers of a prominent apple and pear producer in the fertile Kashmiri Farmers pack Pear fruit in srinagar 01 August 2008Elgin Valley have taken a controlling interest in two farms in a R29m deal representing one of the largest land reform and agricultural black economic empowerment (BEE) projects in the Overberg region.

The project will see three worker trusts take a 52% share in the Vintage Group, a grower, packer and exporter of quality deciduous fruits, mainly apples, pears and grapes, which operates on the farms Arieskraal and Vyebosch.

The BEE partnership provided R8,5m to procure its interest with funding obtained through the land affairs department’s land redistribution for agricultural development programme and bank financing.

The project, which was conceptualised more than three years ago but began operations in earnest 18 months ago, had already realised its first dividend of R1,5m, which was “happy news” for the new shareholders, said farm manager and shareholder Peter Januarie.

Western Cape MEC for agriculture Cobus Dowry said on Friday the project was an example of how commercial farmers like Vintage CEO Barbara van den Bossche and MD Charl van den Berg could contribute to the government’s land reform programme. He said the extension of ownership was one way of combating poverty and eradicating the inequalities of the past.

Dowry said his department believed strongly in training, which the new partners of the farm would be able to tap into, and had budgeted more than R30m for structured agricultural training in the province to improve the living standards of farm workers.

Arieskraal and Vyebosch comprise nearly 300ha with 175ha planted under fruit trees. The Vintage group recently bought two additional farms, Kentucky and Twaalffontein, which has significantly extended its fruit farming operations to service its growing international customer base.

Januarie said Arieskraal produced 1500 tons of pears and 7500 tons of apples a year, with a turnover of R22m. The company exports to regions including Europe, the Middle East, Near East and Africa.

Januarie said he had been working on the farm for more than 30 years and, like all the new shareholders, he was excited about future prospects.

Van den Bossche, whose family started Vintage when they arrived from Belgium in SA in 1995, initially on holiday, said the partnership with Van den Berg had resulted in the establishment of a very competitive export business which already benefited a large community.

She said the group believed that the people who worked on the farms needed to be part of the land transformation process and Arieskraal was the first such initiative to accomplish this .

Van den Berg said the group had a clear vision on what was needed to keep farming profitable in the future, in view of a dramatic rise in input costs and especially the prices of fuel and fertiliser.

He said the group understood SA’s past and also the social responsibility it had as owners.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘BUSINESS DAY’ (South Africa)

Posted in AFRICA, AGRICULTURE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FRUITS AND FRESH VEGETABLES, INTERNATIONAL, SOUTH AFRICA, THE WORKERS | Leave a Comment »

ASIAN MARKETS GAIN AS HANG SENG RISES 3 PERCENT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 3, 2008

Nov 3, 3:56 AM EST

by Jeremiah Marquez – AP Business Writer

HONG KONG (AP) — Asian stock markets rose Monday, with Hong Kong’s benchmark advancing 3 percent, as investors appeared encouraged by government efforts to help the global economy weather the financial crisis.

Across the region, markets seemed to shrug of more dispiriting economic data and focus on fresh stimulus plans.

The Korea Composite Stock Price added 1.4 percent after the government unveiled nearly $11 billion in new spending measures to protect South Korea from sliding into recession.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was up more than 5 percent despite troubling evidence of slowing manufacturing and retail sales, as traders anticipated a further interest rate cut from the country’s central bank on Tuesday.

India’s main stock index rose 4.6 percent after a central bank decision over the weekend to cut the nation’s key interest rate and release $8.1 billion into its financial system.

Hong Kong’s blue-chip Hang Seng Index was among the region’s top gainers, climbing 414, or 3 percent, to 14,382, Singapore’s key index also rose by about 4 percent.

“I don’t think it’s a massive change in direction, more a case of a little more confidence going forward in massively oversold stocks and … global organized attempts to deal with the issues,” said Miles Remington, head of Asian sales trading at BNP Paribas Securities in Hong Kong.

U.S. stock index futures were up modestly, suggesting that Wall Street would open higher. The Dow Jones industrial average added 144.32, or 1.6 percent, to close Friday at 9,325.01. Dow futures were up 0.9 percent, while S&P futures were up 0.7 percent.

Financials were sharply higher in many Asian markets. China’s ICBC gained 9.6 percent in Hong Kong, top Indian lender ICICI Bank Ltd. rose 8 percent, and leading Australian investment bank Macquarie Group Ltd. surged 12.4 percent.

Elsewhere, the prospect of interest rate cuts from the Philippine central bank buoyed the country’s market for the fourth straight session.

Shanghai’s benchmark, though, erased early gains to trade in negative territory amid reports suggesting Chinese manufacturing, the engine behind the country’s phenomenal growth, was contracting. The index closed down 0.5 percent.

Japanese financial markets were closed Monday for a public holiday and due to reopen Tuesday.

Global stock markets could take direction from the U.S. this week after the country’s presidential election on Tuesday helps fill in some blanks about how Washington might shape economic policy in the months ahead.

Analysts offered differing opinions of the election’s likely impact on markets.

Chelsea Dipasupil, head of research at RCBC Securities Inc., said the Philippine market appeared to be welcoming the possibility of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama winning.

“Since it is Obama leading surveys, it might be that there is a renewed confidence in a new leadership,” she said. President George W. Bush and the Republicans “had become unpopular because of some of his policies and the current economic crisis,” she said.

CFC Seymour analyst Dariusz Kowalczyk said an Obama win might provide “economic policy clarity” but Democratic control of U.S. economic policy “would risk disincentivising entrepreneurship.”

That could weigh on the long-term outlook for productivity and growth, which could be “market-negative” in the medium term, the Hong Kong-based analyst said in a research note.

Investors will also keep an eye on U.S. reports due on manufacturing, the service sector and employment in the world’s largest economy amd major market for Asia’s exports.

October was a brutal month for Asian markets, but ended with tentative signs of recovery. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index shed about 23 percent during the month amid worries that the global financial crisis would erode corporate profits as investors dumped shares to meet redemptions back home. The benchmark dropped as low as 11,015.84 last Monday – its worst close since May 2004 – but has since bounced back.

The rise in Asian markets also lifted oil prices, which advanced 72 cents to $68.53 a barrel in Asian trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The dollar gained 99.56 yen from 98.44 late Friday in New York, up sharply from the 13-year low of 91 yen touched Oct. 24. The euro was higher at $1.2867 from $1.2751.

AP Writer Hrvoje Hranjski in Manila contributed to this report.

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘The Providence Journal’ (USA)

Posted in ASIA, AUSTRALIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, CHINA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, HONG KONG, INDIA, OCEANIA, SOUTH KOREA, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

CHEVRON TOPS WEEK OF HUGE PROFITS (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 3, 2008

01:00 AM EDT on Sunday, November 2, 2008

by Marla Dickerson – Los Angeles Times

Chevron Corp. on Friday announced earnings of $7.9 billion in the third quarter, capping a week of historic profits for some of the world’s major oil companies.

Net income at the San Ramon, Calif.-based oil giant more than doubled compared with the same period a year ago to $3.78 a share, fueled by soaring crude-oil prices that shot past $145 a barrel in July. The nation’s number-two oil company would have reaped even fatter profits if not for Hurricanes Ike and Gustav.

Storm-related shutdowns at Chevron’s operation in the Gulf of Mexico helped push down oil and gas production to 2.443 million barrels a day in the third quarter, a decline of 3.7 percent from the period ended in June.

Through the first nine months of the year, Chevron earned $19 billion. It ended the quarter with $10.6 billion in cash on its balance sheet.

“Earnings … benefited from prices for crude oil that were significantly higher,” said David O’Reilly, Chevron’s chairman and chief executive officer.

The company’s shares rose 42 cents on Friday to close at $74.60.

Chevron’s record performance was just the latest in a string of eye-popping earnings reports in recent days from some of the industry’s biggest publicly traded oil companies. Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Occidental Petroleum all reported enormous profits, a marked contrast to the recession fears, mass layoffs and lousy earnings reports reverberating through much of the rest of the U.S. economy.

Consumer advocates have charged that oil companies aren’t investing enough to develop new sources of supply, preferring to hold their windfalls in cash or use it to buy back their own shares. The so-called five majors — Exxon, BP, Shell, Chevron and ConocoPhillips — devoted $38 billion to purchases of their company stock through the first nine months of the year, according to a report released Friday by the Consumer Federation of America, a national nonprofit advocacy group.

“That money comes out of the consumer’s pocket,” said Mark Cooper, research director of the Federation. “The system is literally redistributing wealth from average American consumers to oil company stockholders.”

Other critics were quick to jump on the Halloween timing of Chevron’s release.

“These profits show the extent of the oil industry’s vampire attack on a weakened economy,” said Judy Dugan, research director of the nonprofit, nonpartisan group Consumer Watchdog. “Fuel and energy prices bled away the reserves of family budgets and corporate treasuries. Energy inflation deepened the effect of the financial markets’ meltdown.”

But petroleum prices have plunged since their peak last summer. Crude for December delivery closed at $67.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘The Providence Journal’ (USA)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, PETROL, REFINERIES - PETROL/BIOFUELS, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, USA | Leave a Comment »

FIRST SOLAR TO INVEST $25 MILLION IN SOLARCITY, ENTERS RESIDENTIAL MARKET (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 3, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Phoenix Business Journal – by Patrick O’Grady

First Solar Inc. is going residential with its products, investing $25 million in installer SolarCity Corp. and signing a deal to supply the company with more than 100 megawatts of panel generation capacity.

The deal, announced Wednesday, will have Tempe-based First Solar (Nasdaq:FSLR) supply SolarCity with the panels over a five-year span. The financial investment will allow SolarCity to continue expansion plans that brought the Foster City, Calif.-based company to Arizona this summer.

“We’ve been very successful with our expansion in Arizona, and we want to expand that to other states,” SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive said.

First Solar primarily has been providing its thin-film technology to commercial and utility operations. The marketplace, however, is changing with the expansion of a federal tax credit that gives the same 30 percent break to residents that it does to businesses.

“The combination of First Solar’s modules with SolarCity’s innovative approach to designing, financing and maintaining complete solar solutions enables homeowners and small-business owners to lower their electricity costs while reducing air pollution and the effects of global warming,” said Mike Ahearn, First Solar’s chief executive officer, in a statement.

SolarCity’s business model allows businesses and residents to take advantage of the tax credit through a 15-year lease option. The deal allows users to save smaller amounts than if they were to purchase the panels outright.

The supply agreement would allow SolarCity to equip more about 25,000 homes with its average of a 4- to 5-kilovolt systems, typically enough to supply most of the power a home would need annually.

There only are about 50,000 homes with solar power generation in the U.S., Rive said.

The panels will not all end up on homes as SolarCity provides them to businesses as well.

Rive said he believes the market will be expanded with the recent tax credit passage, although it is still expensive for homeowners to buy a system outright. “Most consumers can still not afford the $20,000 to $30,000 it costs up front,” he said.

SolarCity expects to announce at least some of its expansion plans early next year, Rive said.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE PHOENIX BUSINESS JOURNAL’ (USA)

Posted in ECONOMY, ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, SOLAR CELLS INDUSTRIES, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, USA | Leave a Comment »

IMF LOAN AVERTED POSSIBLE BANKRUPTCY AND SOCIAL CRISIS – PM (Hungary)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 3, 2008

Budapest, November 1, 2008 – (MTI)

Without the IMF standby loan granted earlier this week, the financial crisis in Hungary could have led to bankruptcy and social crisis, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany told the Sunday newspaper Vasarnapi Hirek, which made the interview available to MTI on Saturday evening.

The PM was disputing a statement by opposition Fidesz party chief that accessing the line of credit from the International Monetary Fund was “shameful”.

In a worst-case scenario, the forint, Hungary’s currency could have continued sinking to 350/400 to the euro, triggering 20 to 30 percent inflation, he said.

It had dropped from 238/240 to the euro to 280/285 at the time the loan was announced, and firmed to 255/260 in the aftermath.

The other part of the problem, he said, was that Hungary was already having a hard time finding buyers for government securities. If it failed to sell them, all its foreign loans would have had to be paid off within three to six months, leaving the country without the money to pay government employees such as teachers and doctors, or to pay pensions, the PM continued.

“That would have been shameful,” Gyurcsany said.

What we were facing could have evolved into bankruptcy, said the PM, adding that two-thirds of the problem was caused by the international crisis and one-third by domestic shortcomings. As far as the domestic portion is concerned, the government is partly, but not wholly responsible. One concern is that residents have not saved any money since 2000/2001, leading to excessive spending and borrowing. Residents and businesses have done the lion’s share of their borrowing in foreign currencies, he added, which means an enormous foreign debt. In addition, there has been such – opposition initiated – resistance to reforms in the past two years that Hungary was extremely vulnerable, the PM suggested.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy had all played key roles in securing the IMF loan for Hungary, Gyurcsany told Vasarnapi Hirek.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘MTI HUNGARIAN NEWS AGENCY’ (Hungary)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENGLAND, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FRANCE, GERMANY, HUNGARY, IMF, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS | Leave a Comment »

ESTA REDUCCIÓN DE PUESTOS DE TRABAJO NO DESPEJA EL HORIZONTE – Cuatro empresas resuelven la situación de crisis con EREs y despidiendo a eventuales y contratas – Arcelor Mittal no renuncia al ERE si en 2009 no se consigue una producción entorno a 1.450.000 Tm.

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 3, 2008

30/10/2008

En estos días se van concretando las medidas que las empresas están aplicando para hacer frente a ARCELORlos efectos de la crisis, que en el municipio de Sagunto no sólo afecta al sector de la construcción, sino que también se deja sentir en aquellas empresas que trabajan para el sector del automóvil. Las medidas son reducción de puestos de trabajo, como ya hemos venido informando puntualmente desde nuestra la Edición Digital.

Los trabajadores de Pilkington ratificaron en asamblea el martes por la tarde, un Expediente de Regulación de Empleo (ERE) por el cual, los 436 trabajadores de la plantilla irán al paro 7 días en noviembre y 7 en enero de 2009, según declara el presidente del comité de empresa, Rubén López Redondo, quien considera satisfactorio el resultado ante una situación de reducción de ventas en el sector del automóvil, la empresa tenía ciertas facilidades para que el ERE y además con un precedente a la baja del expediente de Ford que se ha cerrado con unas condiciones inferiores a las conseguidas en Pilkington.

En esa línea de argumentación, el representante social señala: « Haber conseguido,entre otras, que la empresa complemente hasta el 85% del sueldo bruto, los días que estemos en el paro y además estas condiciones son de aplicación a cualquier ERE que pudiera surgir de aquí a diciembre de 2009, por las condiciones del mercado», señala el presidente del comité. El acuerdo también asegura que los días de paro, no afectarán en un futuro ni a la prestación de desempleo ni a otros aspectos que merme los derechos de los trabajadores.

Por otro lado, hay que señalar que Pilkington ha despedido a 35 trabajadores eventuales.

Arcelor despide a las contratas

Arcelor Mittal reduce en el último trimestre 70.000 toneladas su producción anual y para no recurrir al expediente de regulación de empleo acuerdan empresa y representación sindical reducir un turno de trabajo y que el personal excedente se ocupe del mantenimiento. Por lo que unos 130 trabajadores de contratas irán al paro.

Con esta medida no se despeja el horizonte y la previsión es que se reduzcan 110.000 toneladas en el primer semestre de 2009. Si este previsión se cumple y en el segundo trimestre la producción se va recuperando entorno a 1.450.000 toneladas al año, Arcelor no recurrirá al ERE, según informa el presidente del comité Enrique Soriano, quien añade, «esperamos que el mercado se recuperen y los pedidos vayan llegando».

Señalan asimismo que hasta septiembre la producción iba cumpliendo los objetivos y la caída de pedidos ha sido en octubre. La reducción más importante ha sido en las líneas que trabajan para el sector del automóvil que son: Galvanizado y Electrocincado. Decapado y Tándem producen para la propia empresa y para otros clientes y «se van manteniendo los pedidos», subraya Soriano.

Tumesa despide a nueve – trabajadores de plantilla

En la factoría Tubos del Mediterráneo, S.A. (Tumesa) las medidas han sido más drásticas y han TUMESA - Tubos del Mediterráneo, S.A.despedido a nueve trabajadores (seis mujeres y tres hombres) que tienen la carta de cese hace ya varios días en su poder, pero según informan de CC.OO. la empresa rechaza sentarse a negociar, aunque desde el sindicato han ofertado resolver la situación con un reajuste de plantilla con cinco posibilidades: bajas incentivadas, excedencias incentivadas, expediente de regulación de empleo para mayores de 55 años y expediente de suspensión.

Además de los despidos que afectan a la plantilla, también han despedido en Tumesa a una decena de trabajadores que realizaban tareas de carga y descarga.

Bosal España ha resuelto temporalmente sus problemas con cinco días de paro que afectará a toda la plantilla y que se realizarán en los meses que quedan antes de finalizar el año. Recordar que hace once meses esta empresa despidió a 17 trabajadores de plantilla.

Por último, señalar que la empresa Hormol ubicada en el polígono Sepes ha reducido la jornada semanal. La plantilla está trabajando sólo tres días a la semana y la empresa tiene un plazo máximo de ocho meses para paliar esta reducción de mano de obra.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘EL ECONÓMICO’ (Spain)

Posted in AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY, COMMERCE, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, METALS INDUSTRY, SPAIN, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS | Leave a Comment »

ESPAÑA ESTÁ PREPARADA PARA HACER FRENTE A LOS REQUISITOS DE EXPORTACIÓN DE RUSIA – El Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Medio Rural y Marino (MARM) ha asegurado hoy que España está preparada para exportar frutas y hortalizas a Rusia a pesar de los requisitos fijados por ese país a las autoridades europeas y que en nuestro país ya se habían previsto.

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 3, 2008

31/10/2008

EFE- Así lo ha asegurado el director general de Recursos Agrícolas y Ganaderos, Carlos Escribano, quien ha subrayado que hay “otros Estados miembros a los que a lo mejor se les plantea un problema si no estaban tan preparados, pero nosotros estamos en condiciones de hacer frente a las condiciones rusas”.

El año pasado, España exportó 50.000 toneladas de cítricos a Rusia, y el objetivo es ampliar “considerablemente” año a año estas cantidades, según el director general, quien se ha mostrado “optimista” ante las posibilidades de vender estos productos a ese país.

“No hay ningún problema, es un trabajo más que tienen que hacer las empresas, las Comunidades Autónomas y el Ministerio, pero los tres estamos preparados y ya se han mandado las instrucciones, los protocolos y los procedimientos para poder hacerlo sin más complicaciones”, ha resaltado.

Freshfel, la asociación que reúne a los comerciantes europeos de frutas y hortalizas, denunció ayer que las nuevas trabas de Rusia a las verduras y cítricos suponen un obstáculo a las exportaciones.

Escribano, por su parte, ha explicado que hace unos meses representantes del MARM trataron en Moscú con las autoridades rusas estas condiciones, que pasan por la no aceptación de ese país de las normas del Codex Alimentario Internacional y por que se cumpla su propia legislación.

A partir de ahí, según ha aclarado, España hizo saber a la Comisión Europea estos requisitos y le pidió que negociase con Rusia en nombre de todos los Estados miembros dada la importancia del sector hortofrutícola y, en especial, de los cítricos españoles, así como de los productos cárnicos, que también se ven afectados.

Posteriormente, el Ministerio reunió a las Comunidades Autónomas y, por otra parte, a los exportadores de frutas y hortalizas para explicarles estas condiciones a las exportaciones.

Por todo ello, se elaboró un documento -que es una declaración del agricultor en el que precisa los tratamientos efectuados- y que era solicitado por las autoridades rusas, y se trasladó al sector que ese país también les pediría un análisis previo de los productos utilizados para comprobar si dejaban residuos.

Escribano ha añadido que entre los laboratorios de las empresas, de las Comunidades Autónomas y del Estado se pusieron de acuerdo en que España haría esos análisis y estos certificados para respaldar las exportaciones de los productos.

“Para nosotros es una dificultad más, un trabajo más que tenemos que hacer, pero estamos preparados para ello”, ha garantizado Escribano.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘AGROINFORMACION’ (Spain)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EUROPE, FRUITS AND FRESH VEGETABLES, INTERNATIONAL, MEAT, RUSSIA, SPAIN | Leave a Comment »

PORTUGAL ESTATIZA INSTITUIÇÃO FINANCEIRA BPN – Autoridades garantem que apesar da estatização, o país não atravessa problemas de solvência

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 3, 2008

02/11/2008 | 16h14min

O governo de Portugal vai estatizar o Banco Português de Negócios (BPN), informou neste domingo o Fernando Teixeira dos Santosministro das Finanças Fernando Teixeira dos Santos. A estatização do banco, que não é listado na bolsa, é considerada o primeiro indício de que a crise financeira global começa a atingir instituições financeiras de pequeno porte no sul da Europa.

Vitor Constancio, governador do Banco de Portugal, disse durante entrevista coletiva conjunta concedida ao lado de Teixeira dos Santos que, apesar da estatização, o país não atravessa problemas de solvência. Numa entrevista à TV portuguesa, Teixeira dos Santos comentou que o BPN atravessava problemas de liquidez e suas perdas eram da ordem de 700 milhões de euros.

O BPN é o menor banco de varejo de Portugal. Seu patrimônio é estimado em 8 bilhões de euros. O banco possui 200 agências em Portugal e na França. Com a estatização, o governo português espera tranqüilizar os clientes do banco de que “seus depósitos estão seguros”, disse o ministro das Finanças. O processo será conduzido por dois interventores do governo, prosseguiu ele.

Recentemente, Portugal aprovou a criação de um fundo de até 20 bilhões de euros para dar liquidez aos bancos do país para ajudá-los a atravessar a crise financeira global.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘PORTAL CLIC RBS’ (Brasil)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INTERNATIONAL, PORTUGAL, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »