July 11, 2012
According to Portuguese health ministry, the strike which began on Wednesday will lead to the cancellation of 400,000 appointments and nearly 4,500 operations.
“We have no doubt that the strike will be a resounding success and that the protest will assemble thousands of white coats,” said Mario Jorge Neves, head of the National Federation of Doctors.
The strike over government’s plan to reduce health spending as part of deep budget cuts to meet the terms of a multi-billion euro bailout deal went ahead after Portuguese unions rejected offer of negotiation from the country’s Health Minister Paulo Maceo.
Protesters say that Lisbon has decreased overtime in hospitals, increased prices for prescription medication and shut down certain services in order to meet cuts from health budget.
Portugal is the third country to succumb to financial troubles in the eurozone debt crisis and seek funding assistance after Greece and Ireland. The country received an EU-International Monetary Fund aid package in exchange for a commitment to impose austerity measures and reform its economy.
Europe plunged into deep financial crisis in 2008. The crisis has continued to intensify in recent months.
The worsening eurozone debt crisis has forced EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, triggering incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European countries.
That translates to about 61 Californians every week. Nationwide, 26,000 Americans in that same age group, died last year for the same reason.
The plan is part of a demonstration project in which the DEC would issue permits for a limited number of wells in certain areas and then monitor the fracking to see if the process could be done safely. Critics are calling on the governor not to use the residents of these struggling territories as “guinea pigs.”
These struggling areas, which include Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Steuben and Tioga counties, make up what is known as the Southern Tier, a region in southwest New York that borders Pennsylvania, a state that allows fracking. This region lies on top of the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation stretching across the Appalachian Mountains to upstate and western New York, which is believed to contain a large supply of natural gas.
June 4, 2012
Five million Brazilian farmers are locked in a lawsuit with US-based biotech giant Monsanto, suing for as much as 6.2 billion euros. They say that the genetic-engineering company has been collecting royalties on crops it unfairly claims as its own.
The farmers claim that Monsanto unfairly collects exorbitant profits every year worldwide on royalties from “renewal” seed harvests. “Renewal” crops are those that have been planted using seed from the previous year’s harvest. While the practice of renewal farming is an ancient one, Monsanto disagrees, demanding royalties from any crop generation produced from its genetically-engineered seed. Because the engineered seed is patented, Monsanto not only charges an initial royalty on the sale of the crop produced, but a continuing 2 per cent royalty on every subsequent crop, even if the farmer is using a later generation of seed.
“Monsanto gets paid when it sell the seeds. The law gives producers the right to multiply the seeds they buy and nowhere in the world is there a requirement to pay (again). Producers are in effect paying a private tax on production,” Jane Berwanger, lawyer for the farmers told the Associated Press reports.
In the latest installment of the legal battle erupting in South America, the Brazilian court has ruled in favor of the Brazilian farmers, saying Monsanto owes them at least US$2 billion paid since 2004. Monsanto, however, has appealed the decision and the case is ongoing.