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Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Posts Tagged ‘European Commission’

EU Slaps Google with $2.7bn Fine for Abuse of Market Power

Posted by feww on June 27, 2017

EU imposes largest penalty to date against a company for market distortion

Link submitted by GooWatch:

“Google has been fined €2.4bn ($2.7bn; £2.1bn) by the European Commission after it ruled the company had abused its power by promoting its own shopping comparison service at the top of search results,” said a report.

“Other corporation to have been targeted include:

  • Microsoft (2008) – the Windows-developer was fined €899m for failing to comply with earlier punishments, imposed over its refusal to share key code with its rivals and the bundling of its Explorer browser with its operating system. Five years later, it was told to pay a further €561m for failing to comply with a pledge to provide users a choice screen of browsers
  • Intel (2009) – the chip-maker was ordered to pay €1.06bn for skewing the market by offering discounts conditional on computer-makers avoiding products from its rivals. Intel challenged the fine, and a final court ruling in the matter is expected in 2018
  • Qualcomm (2015) – the chip-maker was accused of illegally paying a customer to use its technology and selling its chipsets below cost to push a rival out of the market. If confirmed, it faces a fine that could top €2bn, but the case has yet to be resolved
  • Apple (2016) – Ireland was ruled to have given up to €13bn of illegal tax benefits to the iPhone-maker since 1991, and was ordered to recover the funds plus interest from the company. However, Dublin missed the deadline it was given to do so and has said it will appeal
  • Facebook (2017) – the social network agreed to pay a €110m fine for saying it could not match user accounts on its main service to those of WhatsApp when it took over the instant messaging platform, and then doing just that two years later

“The commission is also investigating Amazon over concerns that a tax deal struck with Luxembourg gave it an unfair advantage.” the report said.

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Global Disasters/ Significant Events – Nov 26, 2013

Posted by feww on November 26, 2013

​US releasing 50% more methane than EPA reported: Study

The United States has been releasing 50 percent more methane, a greenhouse gas, than previous EPA estimates, according to a new study released by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The new study estimates the US released 49 million tons of methane into the air in 2008, or  more than the 32 million tons, which is 1.5 times higher than that estimated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The figure is also 1.7 times higher than the estimate released by international Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR), a rubber-stamp outfit set up by the European Commission.

Methane is produced in a several ways including leaks during oil and gas exploration and refining, growing rice and livestock manure. Most of the U.S. methane is released in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with about 21 times greater heat-trapping ability per molecule than carbon dioxide.

The atmospheric concentration of methane has more than doubled since preindustrial times, climbing from about 700ppb to 1,826 ppb in 2012.

Methane has a boiling point of −161°C (−257.8°F) at one atmosphere, and is flammable only in concentration range of 5–15% in air.

Greedy Amazon Working Employees to the Bone

An undercover employee had to walk 11 and collect orders every 33 seconds.

An expert said such working conditions could cause “mental and physical illness,” reported BBC.

“Amazon reported UK sales of £4.8 billion [$7.8] last year. It employs around 20,000 staff in the UK during the Christmas period. On the company’s busiest day in December last year, 3.5million items were ordered by customers.”

The undercover reporter was employed as a “picker” collecting orders from 800,000 sq ft of storage. Because he worked night shifts his pay before tax rose from the daily rate of £6.50 [$10.53] per hour to £8.25 per hour.


This post will be updated throughout the day …

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EU Cod Stocks Facing Collapse

Posted by feww on October 31, 2013

Cod and whiting in the West of Scotland risk  collapse: EU Fisheries Commission

The European Commission has proposed a continued ban in 2014 on landings of cod and whiting off Scotland’s Atlantic coast in an attempt to avert a collapse.

“Cod stocks in the Irish Sea and the Kattegat continue to be in a dire state…  Sole in the Irish Sea is at extremely low levels. Advice for haddock in the Celtic Sea demands a considerable TAC cut … Cod and whiting in the West of Scotland, subject to extremely high rates of discarding, are at a risk of collapse.” EU Fisheries Commission reported.

Cod stocks off most parts of Britain, Ireland and in the Bay of Biscay are also in a dire state, which means quotas should be reduced by up to 30 percent, according to the Greek EU fisheries commissioner.

Cod - Gadus morhua
Cod – gadus morhua. The British fish and chips industry is heavily dependent on cod, the country’s most consumed fish. International disputes over the prized species has so far led to two rounds of naval clashes between Britain and Iceland in the 1950s and 1970s.

“For stocks where data is not good enough to properly estimate their size, the Commission proposal reflects the advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) to adapt the TAC up or down by a maximum of 20%. Following a Council decision last year on precautionary reductions, TACS are proposed at the same level as in 2013 for 21 of these stocks,” said the Commission.


  • Total allowable catches (TACs) are catch limits that are set for most significant commercial fish stocks. TACs are proposed by the EU Commission on the basis of scientific advice on the state of the stocks concerned and decided on by the Council of Fisheries Ministers.
  • TACs are set annually for most stocks and every two years for deep sea species.
  • The TACs are shared between EU countries under a system known as ‘relative stability’ which keeps national quotas stable in relation to each other.

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Half Million Protest Austerity Measures across Portugal

Posted by feww on March 3, 2013

“Austerity kills:  Screw the troika!”

Half million Portuguese rallied in Lisbon and other cities on Saturday demanding an end to austerity measures dictated by the so-called troika of lenders from the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

“We are in a new dictatorship. Everything that the revolution achieved is being destroyed,” an elderly protester in Lisbon told reporters.

“This government has left the people on bread and water, selling off state assets for peanuts to pay back debts that were contracted by corrupt politicians to benefit bankers,” said another protester.

“If not today, things have to change tomorrow and we need to remain in the streets for the government to fall.”

Other Global Disasters/ Significant Events

Critical fire weather across 4 states

NWS Forecast: A storm system moving into central United States Monday will create breezy and dry south winds over south central Texas Sunday, and windy and dry conditions behind a cold front Monday night into Tuesday. Driest conditions are expected along the Rio Grande and over the southern Edwards Plateau, where minimum relative humidities could fall to near 10 percent today.
Humidities east of I-35 today are expected to remain in the 20s and 30s. Strong north winds of 20 to 30 mph and minimum relative humidities in the teens are expected behind the cold front that is expected to move through the area early Tuesday morning.

US weather hazmap 3mar13
US weather hazards map – March 3, 2013. Source: NWS

Blizzards paralyze N. Japan killing at least 8

At least 8 people died in snow-related accidents in Hokkaido over the weekend, as twice as much snow as usual fell over the region.  The latest snowfall added more than two meters of snow to accumulations that are already several meters high  in some places, Kyodo News reported. Many houses have been completely buried in snow.

Ethnic clashes in Macedonia leave dozens injured

Two days of clashes between ethnic groups and Macedonian police in the capital, Skopje, has left about 2 dozen people injured, said a report.

Chinese village under lockdown following violent clashes, reform demands

Villagers in southern China’s Shangpu are under a lockdown after a standoff with authorities on Sunday. They “were demanding democratic polls after a violent clash with thugs linked to a local official over a land transfer,” said a report.



Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016.

  • SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,105 Days Left to ‘Worst Day’ in the brief Human  History
  • The countdown began on May 15, 2011 …


Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background

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Deadly Heat Continues to Devour U.S. Crops

Posted by feww on July 19, 2012

‘If I had a rain prayer or a rain dance …’ —Vilsack

U.S. drought intensifies as deadly heat plagues regions from Dakotas to Ohio Valley

‘Dangerous and deadly heat has entrenched itself in the central Plains and Midwest with no prospects of relief in the near future,’ said NOAA forecasters.

U.S. Weather Hazards Map, July 19, 2012. Source: NWS

  • Excessive Heat Warnings are in effect for parts of 10 states and into the weekend for parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
  • Heat Advisories have been issued for parts of 19 states:  South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island, NWS reported.

U.S. Daily Highest Max Temperature Records (July 17, 2012)

Highest Max Temp Reported

BURLINGTON 2S,  DES MOINES, IA.  New record: 107.0°F set on 2012-07-17; old record at 98.0°F dated 2006-07-17

Drought 2012

If I had a rain prayer or a rain dance I could do, I would do it.”

USDA has now declared as primary disaster areas a total of about 1,300 counties [many other counties are designated as contiguous disaster areas ] across 29 states, as grain prices shoot through the roof due to deadly heat and unrelenting drought.

“I get on my knees everyday and I’m saying an extra prayer right now,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters after briefing with the Disaster President  Obama. “If I had a rain prayer or a rain dance I could do, I would do it.”

Among nature’s extreme dislikes is the fact that more than 40 percent of the U.S. corn is used to produce ethanol.

Weekly drought statistics to be released by U.S. Drought Monitor later today could show more than two-thirds of Continental U.S. in drought condition.

By early July 2012, more than 60% of the contiguous United States was experiencing drought conditions, nearly double the area from early January. This NOAA animation shows monthly composites of D1 to D4 categories of drought in the contiguous U.S. over the time frame January 2012 to July 2012 using data from the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Drought Monitor summary map identifies general drought areas, labeling droughts by intensity, with D1 (lightest color) being the least intense and D4 (darkest color) being the most intense.

State of Emergency Declared in Wisconsin

Governor Walker has declared a state of emergency in all 72 Wisconsin counties due to drought and abnormally dry conditions extending across most of the state.

“Wisconsin families, businesses and farmers are hurting as a result of this drought,” said Gov. Walker. “The increase in wildfires due to the combined lack of rain and high temperatures is adding to the risk of major economic losses, especially in agriculture. This is a time of crisis for many people, and we will utilize whatever resources are necessary to help.”

On July 10, Walker declared a state of emergency in 42 southern and central counties.

Latest Disaster Declarations by USDA

USDA has issued Disaster Declarations due to damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat that began in April 1, 2012, and continues in

  • Missouri: A total of 105 counties declared as agricultural disaster areas.
  • Arkansas:  5 counties
  • Illinois: 9 counties
  • Iowa: 10 counties
  • Kansas: 10 counties
  • Nebraska: 3 counties
  • Oklahoma: 2 counties

USDA designated ten  Counties in Wyoming as agricultural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by the recent drought.

  • All other Wyoming counties that would be eligible under 7 CFR 759.5 (a), already have been designated as primary natural disaster counties.

USDA designated 16 Counties in Utah as agricultural disaster areas  due to damages and losses caused by the recent drought.

  • Arizona.  The designation also extends to 2 contiguous counties in Arizona.

USDA Designates 5  Counties in Tennessee agricultural disaster areas  due to damages and losses caused by the recent drought.

  • Arkansas.  The designation also extends to 2 contiguous counties in Arkansas.
  • Mississippi.  Extends also to 2 counties in Mississippi.

USDA has designated 32  counties in Arkansas as agricultural natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by the recent drought.

  • Mississippi. No. of counties are contiguous disaster areas: 4
  • Tennessee.  Counties declared contiguous disaster areas: 2

USDA has designated 5 counties  in Georgia as  agricultural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by the recent drought.

USDA has designated 30 counties in Indiana as agricultural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by the recent drought.

USDA has designated 10 counties in Mississippi as agricultural natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by the recent drought.

  • All other Mississippi counties that would be eligible under 7 CFR 759.5 (a), already have been designated as primary natural disaster areas.
  • Arkansas. Counties declared contiguous disaster areas: 3

USDA has designated 7 counties in New Mexico as  agricultural natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by the recent drought.

  • Arizona. Counties declared as contiguous disaster areas: 1

Latest Available Maps of Agricultural Disaster Areas in the U.S.

Map of U.S. counties declared as agricultural disaster areas under ‘Streamlined Disaster Designation Process,’ as of July 12, 2012

PRIMARY & CONTIGUOUS COUNTIES designated for 2012 crop disaster losses – As of 07/10/2012 – through Designation No. S3260 (Approved 07/03/2012)

Other Global Disasters/ Significant Events

  • Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain). A massive wildfire has consumed/affected about 2,000 hectares on the  volcanic island of Tenerife forcing the authorities to evacuate 1,800 inhabitants of the small town of Vilaflor, as well as the residents of another village nearby, reports said.
    • Another large fire burned more than 500 hectares on the neighboring island of La Palma before it was  brought under control on Tuesday, officials said.

Global Carbon Dioxide  Emissions

Global CO2 emissions rose 3 percent to 34 billion tons, said  a new EU report today.

  • China emits 29 percent of global total (9.7 billion tons), while the U.S. is responsible for 16 percent (5.42 billion tons), the EU11 percent, India 6 percent, Russia 5 percent and Japan 4 percent, according to the report.
  • Australia has the world’s largest per capita emissions at 19 tons, followed by the U.S. at 17.3 tons and Saudi Arabia at 16.5 tons per year.
  • The report was released by EC’s Joint Research Center (JRC) and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.

Links to Recent Related Entries

Posted in Global Disaster watch, global disasters, global disasters 2012, global drought, Global Food Shortages, global ghg emissions, global precipitation patterns, global Temperature Anomalies, global temperatures | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Google lands in brown goo again!

Posted by feww on February 24, 2010

Internet Mafia Provokes the Ire of EU Firms

The European Commission is investigating complaints against Google, the Internet Mafia admitted.

Three companies have complained about Google’s mafia-like activities:  UK price comparison site Foundem, French legal search engine, and Microsoft’s Ciao.

Recommended Google Logo of the Day.

Google’s senior competition lawyer Julia Holtz said the internet Goliath was “confident” it did not break European competition law, BBC reported.

Foundem says its site is downgraded in Google’s search results, a practice with which  Fire-Earth (this blog) is all too familiar.

“Foundem… argues that our algorithms demote their site in our results because they are a vertical search engine and so a direct competitor to Google,” Google said.

“’s complaint seems to echo these concerns.”

The complaint regarding price comparison site Ciao, which Microsoft bought in 2008, concerns Google’s standard terms and conditions.

Microsoft initially took its case to the German competition authority, but Google said it had now been transferred to Brussels.

“Although we haven’t been notified yet by the commission, we do believe it’s natural for competition officials to look at online advertising given how important it is to the development of the internet and the dominance of one player.

“In the meantime, we continue to co-operate with the German government’s investigation into complaints brought by Ciao.” BBC quoted A Microsoft spokesman as saying.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has issued a statement confirming that it had received three complaints against Google, which it was investigating, though not formally.

“As is usual when the Commission receives complaints, it informed Google earlier this month and asked the company to comment on the allegations. The Commission closely cooperates with the national competition authorities,” the statement said.

Another recommended Google logo.

‘Immediate threat’

Google’s attorney, J. Holtz,  has reportedly said that the Commission had contacted the company about the complaints.

“Though each case raises slightly different issues, the question they ultimately pose is whether Google is doing anything to choke off competition or hurt our users and partners,” she said.

“This is not the case.” She reportedly added.

Foundem complaint said that Google had the “ability to arbitrarily penalize rivals and systematically favour its own services.”

It said Google’s Universal Search was a “mechanism for automatically inserting its own services into prominent positions within its natural search results” and “poses an immediate threat to healthy competition and innovation.” BBC reported.

Foundem founder was quoted as saying that  Google had an “unprecedented” amount of control over its market.

Original report: Google faces European competition inquiry

Meanwhile, An Italian court has convicted three Google executives in a trial over a video showing a teenager with Down’s Syndrome being bullied.

“12,000 years of [alleged] human civilization and all we have to show for is Google, Facelift [Facebook] … and cluster bombs.” —JPB

Related Links:

Posted in European competition law, Foundem, Google monopoly, Internet Goliath, search engine | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Naples Garbage Opera – Act II

Posted by feww on May 30, 2008

Partenope: Naples Garbage Opera

Act II: Confusion, Rodents, Vermin, Pest [and possible disease pandemics]

There are known knowns: Things we know we know

  • As per usual with Italian politics, garbage and football the facts and numbers don’t add up!
  • The garbage dumps near Naples reached their limit in Mid December 2007.
  • By Mid January 2008, some four weeks later, about 250, 000 tons of garbage decorated the Neapolitan streets.
  • The 6million inhabitants of Campania region (Naples is the capital city of Campania) produce about 7,200 tons of garbage per day (between Mid December 2007 and end May 2008 they will have produced a total of about 1.2 million tons of garbage ).
  • Germany’s Environment Ministry estimates that 52,000 tonnes of Italian waste were imported to Germany for processing in 2007. (Source)
  • A one-off deal was struck with the German city of Bremen to transport 30,000 ton of Neapolitan garbage to an incinerator in Bremerhaven.
  • Another deal was struck with Germany to haul 200,000 tons of the garbage by train to German Incinerators via Austria.
  • EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said the European Commission would take legal action against Italy unless it resolves the garbage crisis in Naples. [Wow, that really scared the pants out of the Italians!]

The ongoing nightmare scenario could only get worse in the coming weeks when the summer temperatures soar in the Campania region.

Naples’s mob, the Camorra has been illegally importing garbage from Italy’s northern cities stuffing Naple’s landfills. “The Camorra has grabbed an even larger share of the city’s garbage-hauling contracts after vetting standards were relaxed to cope with the current crisis.” WSJ said.

[Of course, no one has told EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas that “throwing out trash has become big business” in Europe. “According to a March report by the European Topic Centre on Resource and Waste Management, about 15% of the continent’s hazardous trash, or 8.6 million tons, was disposed of outside its country of origin in 2003, the latest year for which figures are available.” Wall Street Journal reported. “Plants in northern Germany charge between €150 and €250 ($237 to $394) to incinerate one ton of waste, estimates Christian Fischer, a waste-management analyst who co-authored the March report.” ]

[Why is it so difficult to live without producing waste you can’t handle?] A woman and children walk past a pile of garbage in Naples, Italy. Photo: AP Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

There are known unknowns: We know there are some things we do not know

  • How much of this garbage still fills the streets of Naples?
  • The estimates for the amount of garbage still covering the Neapolitan sidewalks (and elsewhere in Campania) vary from a misleading 100,000 tons to an unconvincing 200,000 tons.
  • About 700,000 tons of garbage may have been stockpiled in provisional sites. (Source)
  • Unless a substantial amount of the garbage, about 200 -300,000 tons, is consumed by millions of rats and other vermin, the total amount of garbage rotting on the streets of Naples and other town in Campania is closer to 400 – 500,000 tons as of end May 2008. What we know that we don’t know, is exactly how many rats are feasting on their Neapolitan diet and how many pizzas they can eat per head per day!

Unknown unknowns: The ones we don’t know we don’t know

  • In case of bubonic plague outbreaks or other serious disease pandemics caused by rodents, vermin, pest infestation, how does the Italian government propose to protect the rest of Italy, or the EU authorities the rest of Europe?

Relate Links:

[Note: The Known Unknowns …  was recited by the US bard, Donald Rumsfeld.]

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