Category Archives: Science

Golden Dawn Immigrants-Fake NeoNazi’s

All those links were sent to me on Twitter and I am more than glad to post them,I do beleive I will find more on those people due time.No threats allowed according to the WP policy or the HR declaration. So please stay vigilant of what you are going to post :)I checked all blog categories so that the post can get the most views possible. Regards!

“##Spiros Macrozonaris## IMMIGRANT Golden Dawn Deputy leader in Montreal, Canada” :

Facebook profile :

INTERESTING FACEBOOK POST MR. MACROZONARIS, HE CANNOT EVEN WRITE GREEK! BAD NAZI BAD! :

His NON 100% PURE GREEK son’s Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/macrozonaris?ref=ts&fref=ts

1. Greek Immigrant who married a “foreigner” >>>>>French-Canadian Doris Morrissette, they bore a son, Nicolas Macrozonaris (World-Class Sprinter – CANADIAN Olympian 🙂 ..who unfortunately is not 100% Pure Greek…

2. Conversations with Nicolas on Twitter, lead to nothing, he is ‘pretending’ that he has NO knowledge of what Golden Dawn supports and believes YET he states that he does not condone his fathers “actions”

Twitter @Macrozonaris TWEETER CONVERSATIONS with Nicolas –>

###### MUST WATCH #####
Video from CBC Montreal, from week of Oct 12th – INTERVIEW with Spiros Macrozonaris – next to him sits LOOSER Ilias Hondronicolas : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-3rbLI4K78

#Ilias Hondronicolas ———> on PHOTO second guy from the left :

#MORE HONDRONICOLAS:

(FRIENDS WITH ELENI ZAROULIA SHARING HER PHOTOS!)
( MUST SEE )

#MORE PAPAGEORGIOU:


Russia’s Gazprom ,Barroso,,The Iraqi Kurds and the Moscow Corruption – The Gazprom Cables

BAGHDAD (AP) — A Middle East subsidiary of Russia’s Gazprom Neft has inked two oil deals with Iraq’s self-ruled northern Kurdish region, becoming the fourth major oil company to enter into agreements with Iraqi Kurds that bypass the central government in Baghdad.

The Kurds and the central government are at loggerheads over rights to develop resources. Baghdad wants to manage its energy resources nationwide, but Kurds insist the constitution doesn’t require them to go through Baghdad.

Since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, the Kurds have signed scores of oil deals with small and mid-sized oil companies. But the entry of the oil majors may be a game changer that could lead to de facto policies the Kurds have long sought.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the St. Petersburg-based company said it has acquired a 40 percent share in the 1,780-square-kilometer (687-square-mile) Garmian block. The Canada-based WesternZagros company will also hold a 40 percent share.

In the second deal, the company will hold an 80 percent share in the 474-square-kilometer (183-square-mile) Shakal block. The Kurdish Regional Government will hold a 20 percent share in each contract.

Both blocks are located in the southeastern part of the region and are expected to hold about 3.6 billion barrels of oil reserves. Gazprom’s up-front payment is to be around $260 million.

“Gazprom Neft considers the territory of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq promising for further geological study and consequent production at the fields,” First Deputy CEO, Vadim Yakovlev said.

With its latest deals, Gazprom has joined France’s Total S.A., U.S. oil majors Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. who have already made their own forays into the region.

Iraq’s post-invasion governments have until recently blacklisted energy companies that signed contracts with the Kurdish government to prevent them from working elsewhere in the country or purchase crude oil.

But in the case of Exxon Mobil, the Iraqi government has had a light hand. Baghdad prevented the U.S. company from taking part in Iraq’s fourth energy bidding round in May but has not touched its deal to develop the 8.6 billion West Qurna field near the southern city of Basra along with Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

No moves have been made against Total, which has a share in a consortium led by China’s National Petroleum Corporation to develop the 4.945 billion barrel Halfaya field in the south. Gazprom is developing the 100 million barrel Badra field in central Iraq.

Baghdad has so far only blacklisted Chevron, which has no deals with the government.

There is considerable incentive to work directly with the Kurds — unlike the flat fee the central government pays for each of barrel of oil extracted, the Kurds offer lucrative contracts allowing the developers to claim a share in reserves and the oil produced.

Also Wednesday, the Iraqi Kurds announced that they will resume crude oil exports from their region in the first week of August after they were halted in April over a payment row with Baghdad.

In 2011, the two administrations struck a tentative deal by which the Kurds send oil to Baghdad, which then sells it and each side then takes 50 percent of the revenues. But exports were halted in April by the Kurds who claimed that Baghdad failed to send them the money. In return, Baghdad accused the Kurds of keeping billions of dollars that ought to go to government coffers and also of smuggling oil.

The Kurdish statement said the exports will start at 100,000 barrels a day for a month as a “confidence-building” measure and if payments were forthcoming, they could move swiftly up to 200,000 bpd. If not, the exports will be halted again.

Since 2008, Iraq has awarded 15 oil and gas deals to international energy companies, the first major investments in the country’s energy industry in more than three decades.

The original goal was to boost daily production from about 3 million barrels now to 12 million barrels by 2017. That may be revised downward to fewer than 10 million barrels however, given infrastructure bottlenecks and a possible falloff in demand on international markets [source]

BARROSO AND PUTIN LOCK HORNS ON GAZPROM

Putin has signed a decree giving the government the right to protect natural gas
giant Gazprom from a stupid antitrust probe of Barroso. Galileo muttered the
phrase Eppur si muove, And yet it moves, after being forced
to recant in 1633, before the Inquisition, his belief that the Earth moves
around the Sun. Similarly the new inquisition of regulators forces executives
to admit something they did not do, in order to get smaller penalties. Eppur si
muove!

There is an Antitrust Armageddon in Europe between tiptop companies and Fourth
Reich(EU). Eurokleptocrats are willing to do anything in order to get kickbacks
from industry leaders. The European antitrust laws have the unfortunate
consequence of harming Europeans by chilling innovation and discouraging
competition. Instead of protecting competition, EU laws protect competitors who
give kickbacks to kleptocrats! Kickback is the lubricant that allows a European
industry to run smoothly! No European machinery can run without lubricant! Eppur
si muove!

The new Russian law prohibits companies deemed strategic from disclosing
information, disposing of assets or amending agreements without Russian
authorities’ ratification in the case that the claims are initiated by foreign
states or entities.

European antitrust law is wielded most often by favor-seeking businessmen and
their kleptocrat allies. Instead of focusing on new and better products,
disgruntled rivals try to exploit the law by consorting with kleptocrats. EU
officials routinely direct antitrust regulators to bend the rules in pursuit of
political ends. In reality, the threat of abusive EC power is far larger than
the threat of oligopoly. Eppur si muove!

Gazprom declares it is incorporated beyond EU jurisdiction, and is a company
which under Russian law exercises functions of public importance and has the
status of a strategic organization controlled by the state.

When a company is forward-thinking, proactive, innovative, and productive, it
will produce good products that customers want to buy. As a result, it will win a
large market share. If the company is much better than its competitors, it might
win most, or almost all, of the market. This is the case with Microsoft. It has
earned its market share by producing good products that customers want to buy.

Barroso is investigating whether Gazprom, the world’s largest gas exporter,
resorted to unfair competition and price-fixing in Central and Eastern Europe’s
natural gas markets. The EU, which gets 25% of its gas from Russia, wrongfully
claims that Gazprom has hindered the free flow of gas across its member states,
preventing supply diversification and limiting customer choice in delivery
points. Barroso also suspects Gazprom of imposing unfair costs on its customers
by linking the prices of gas and oil.

A company that wins a large market through its own productive efforts deserves
accolades. This is because justice, morally, tells us that we must reward the
good. However, to the government, a large market share is taken as evidence of
anti-competitive behavior, which makes the company a target for antitrust
action. This seems to be the motive behind the antitrust suits against Microsoft
and Google.

Barroso notes Gazprom’s long-term supply contracts linking gas prices to oil
prices are no longer justified because of the appearance of a spot market for
gas and increased supplies of shale gas. Gazprom may face a
fourteen-billion-euro penalty, according to estimates based on the fact that
companies found to breach EU competition rules can be fined as much as 10% of
annual revenue.

European antitrust laws lead to huge corruption, because government officials
ask for kickbacks in order to erase the alleged violation. The standard kickback
in EU is 10% of the erased penalty! Many Greek officials were caught on tape
asking for the corrupt tithe! Many European political parties make up their
election expenses from kickbacks on antitrust cases! This is the worst possible
blackmail, where tiptop ethical companies are held hostage by European
kleptocrats. Eppur si muove!

Putin warns Barroso that there would be losses on both sides if the thorny issue
isn’t tackled. Putin accuses Barroso of trying to burden Russia with the
subsidizing of formerly communist EU states by forcing Gazprom to reduce prices
for customers in Eastern and Central Europe. Gazprom says the Barroso
investigation is an attempt to reduce gas prices, and it won’t give discounts to
Barroso without the Russian government’s go-ahead. [source]

The Gazprom Cables ‘Not a Competitive Global Company’

Gas giant Gazprom was meant to catapult Russia back into its role as a global superpower. Executives dreamed of the “most valuable company in the world.” But secret cables from the US Embassy in Moscow provide a different picture: The Americans consider the mega firm to be chaotically organized and corrupt.

June 10, 2009, Moscow: “Too many political constraints”
XXXXXX: Redacted by the editors. Important note on the dispatches…

<>

10.06.2009 11:02

09MOSCOW2528

Embassy Moscow

CONFIDENTIAL

09MOSCOW367|09MOSCOW403|09MOSCOW971

VZCZCXYZ0000

PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #2528/01 2791102

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 061102Z OCT 09

FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4993

INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

RHMFISS/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY

TAGS: EPET, ENRG, ECON, PREL, RS

SUBJECT: GAZPROM’S REVERSAL OF FORTUNE, PART ONE

REF: A. MOSCOW 971

C o n f i d e n t i a l moscow 002528

Sipdis

Dept for eur/rus, eeb/esc/iec gallogly and wright, s/eee

morningstar

doe for hegburg, ekimoff

doc for jbrougher

nsc for mmcfaul

E.o. 12958: decl: 10/05/2019

Tags: epet, enrg, econ, prel, rs

Subject: gazprom’s reversal of fortune, part one

Ref: a. Moscow 971

b. Moscow 403

c. Moscow 367

Classified By: Econ MC Matthias J. Mitman for Reasons 1.4 (b/d)

1. (U) This is the first of a two-part report on the new

economic realities facing Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas

sector giant.

——-

summary

——-

2. (SBU) Far from reaching its ambitions of becoming “the

most valuable company in the world,” Gazprom’s fortunes have

reversed dramatically in the past year. The company’s market

value, production, and sales have all plummeted since the

onset of the economic crisis. With dramatically reduced

cash-flow, the company has been forced to cut back on capital

expenditures and its ambitions, despite political rhetoric to

the contrary. However, as we will examine in part two of

this report, Gazprom’s problems are likely longer term. End

summary.

————————————

massive reversal in major indicators

————————————

3. (U) Major indicators of Gazprom’s performance have all

reversed course dramatically in the past year. (Note:

Figures in this report are taken from Gazprom reports,

statements, and presentations, unless otherwise indicated.

End note.)

Market capitalization —

4. (U) At its peak in May 2008, Gazprom’s market valuation,

based on the small percentage of its shares that trade

publicly, was over $350 billion, and company president Alexey

Miller declared Gazprom would become “the most valuable

company in the world.” Miller suggested Gazprom’s market

capitalization would reach $1 trillion in the near future.

By May 2009, in the midst of the global economic and

financial crisis, the company’s market capitalization had

dropped to its recent low of approximately $75 billion, but

has since rebounded to approximately $120 billion.

Production —

5. (U) Gazprom’s gas production peaked in 2006, at 556

billion cubic meters (bcm). In 2008, it was 550 bcm. In the

first seven months of 2009, however, Gazprom’s production was

down almost 25% over the same period in 2008. As of

September 2009, Gazprom expects 2009 production to reach just

474 bcm, and many analysts believe that figure to be overly

optimistic. In a September note on Gazprom, investment bank

Troika Dialog predicted Gazprom would have difficulty even

reaching 460 bcm. On the low end, some analysts estimate

Gazprom could produce just 450 bcm or less in 2009 — a 100

bcm or more decline from its peak production. Even this

massive drop in production is masked to some degree by the

halt in gas imports from Turkmenistan since April (ref A).

In 2008, Gazprom imported 42 bcm from Turkmenistan, nearly

all of which was re-exported to Ukraine. Having halted these

imports, Gazprom itself is supplying the Ukrainian market out

of Russian production.

Revenues —

6. (U) The Russian Customs Service reports that Russian gas

export revenues were down 50% in the first 7 months of 2009,

compared to the same period in 2008, a decline of almost $20

billion. While Gazprom’s official results for 2009 will not

be published until well into 2010, a back-of-the-envelope

calculation using Gazprom’s own projections for average price

and volumes of exports to Europe in 2009 (ref C) indicates

the company might receive about $30 billion less from exports

to Europe in 2009 than in 2008. This represents a loss of

about 2% of Russian GDP and is in line with estimates from

various analysts. (Note: Given the relative significance of

export sales to Europe (excluding FSU), the relative

reliability of the figures, and to avoid exchange rate

complications, we focus only on export revenues here.

According to its recent bond prospectus, Gazprom’s exports

are divided into sales to the FSU, and to Europe. Sales to

the FSU and Europe represent 16% and 63%, respectively, of

its sales by revenue — meaning exports represent 79% of

Gazprom’s revenues. End note.)

Domestic sales —

7. (U) Gazprom’s domestic sales are not down as dramatically

as one would expect given the economic crisis, due primarily

to artificially low domestic prices, which prop up demand.

While Gazprom has not yet reported official results for the

first half of 2009 (1H09), various analysts predict a drop of

about 10% in gas volumes to the domestic market.

Export volumes —

8. (U) Gazprom’s overall exports peaked in 2008 at 281 bcm.

Gazprom’s sales to the FSU peaked in 2007, at 101 bcm,

dropping slightly to 97 bcm in 2008. Sales to the rest of

Europe peaked in 2008, at 184 bcm. (Note: Interim

statements regarding 2009 sales often do not coincide in

definition with audited annual reports. Thus 1H09 sales

estimates only give an indication of the trend and are not an

exact comparison with 2008 figures. Gazprom has not yet

released official results for 1H09 and only released first

quarter (1Q09) results on August 26. End note.) Through

1H09, Gazprom has said it shipped about 33% less gas to

European customers than in 1H08. In a recent statement, the

company said its exports to the FSU in 1H09 dropped 54%

compared to 1H08. A weighted average of those estimates

indicates overall exports shrunk by about 40% 1H09.

9. (U) As Gazprom and many analysts point out, however, 2H09

should be much better for Gazprom exports as many European

customers restrained purchases in 1H09, knowing that prices

— which are tied to oil prices with a six to nine month lag

— would drop dramatically in 3Q09. Furthermore, export

volumes in 2H08 were already dropping rapidly due to the

economic crisis and high gas prices that were reaching their

peak in 4Q08. Results for 1H09 were also significantly

affected by the 21 day gas cutoff to Ukraine and 10 day

cutoff to Europe in January. That said, 2009 will still be a

dismal year for Gazprom export volumes.

—————

forced cutbacks

—————

10. (C) Facing financial realities, Gazprom recently cut its

capital expenditure budget by $7.5 billion, or about 25%,

including cuts to Shtokman and Yamal development. However,

Gazprom and GOR leadership continue to take the tack that

“everything is fine” (ref B). One attendee at the recent

gathering of the “Valdai” group of international Russia

experts told us that Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller told the group

that the company’s plans for the Nord Stream and South Stream

gas pipelines, and for the development of the Shtokman and

Yamal gas fields are “all on track.”

11. (C)xxxxxxxxxxxx told us recently that

Miller’s and other GOR leaders’ public statements on Gazprom

should be ignored. xxxxxxxxxxxx said these leaders understand well

that Gazprom is in trouble but they just don’t know what to

do about it.

12. (C) According to xxxxxxxxxxxx, Gazprom simply doesn’t have the

money to move forward on all its so-called “priorities,” and

it will need to choose which are most important, while facing

insatiable political demands on its revenue streams. xxxxxxxxxxxx, told us

recently that he believes Gazprom has “a heck of a lot of

cost-cutting capacity” still available, but that the company

has too many political constraints preventing it from taking

the most necessary and painful measures. Furthermore, he

figures the company needs to spend about $5 to $8 billion a

year just to maintain its aging system and that these costs

will rise in the future. xxxxxxxxxxxx is thus also very

skeptical of Gazprom’s other major commitments such as South

Stream and Shtokman.

——-

comment

——-

13. (C) Gazprom’s capital expenditure cuts reflect an

understanding that, public rhetoric aside, the company can’t

spend money it doesn’t have. However, Gazprom’s longer-run

problems are largely beyond its control and require

fundamental reforms that will be difficult to achieve. In

part two of this report, we examine the constraints to

Gazprom’s return to dominance.

Beyrle

Gazprom headquarters in Moscow: “Private bank accounts and dirty deals”

Gas giant Gazprom was meant to catapult Russia back into its role as a global superpower. Executives dreamed of the “most valuable company in the world.” But secret cables from the US Embassy in Moscow provide a different picture: The Americans consider the mega firm to be chaotically organized and corrupt.
Info

High-ranking representatives of Russian gas giant Gazprom are hard to pin down for appointments. So when American diplomats finally got the chance, they cut right to the chase: What are the giant energy company’s actual business aims?

The Gazprom man was candid. The first priority, he said according to US diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and shared with SPIEGEL and other partners, is to provide reliable and affordable gas to the domestic population. The second, he said is to “fulfill its social obligations,” including charitable projects all across Russia.

The American envoys persisted in their questioning. Was it not also the goal of the company to maximize its shareholder value and its market share? Yes, of course. The cable cites the official also adding a third priority to his company’s goal: to maximize “control over global energy resources.”

A “Gazprom official describes the company as a socialist rent-seeking monopolist,” the US envoys reported after a September 2008 meeting in a dispatch cabled to Washington.

‘Huge Wealth, but Inefficient’

That’s the tenor of a number of secret US Embassy reports about the model Russian company, cables that are filled with critical American assessments about a bureaucracy that has gone overboard and a mafia-like political system in Russia.

But the assessments are particularly pointed when it comes to Gazprom, the company the Russians themselves most like to celebrate and to deploy in their battle to regain lost power in the world. Even as recently as May 2008, Chairman Alexei Miller was pledging that Gazprom would soon be “the most valuable company in the world,” with market capitalization that would reach $1 trillion in the near future. But around one year later, in the midst of the global economic and financial crisis, the company’s market capitalization had dropped to $75 billion.

“Gazprom is,” the Americans summed up in one cable, “what one would expect of a state-owned monopoly sitting atop huge wealth — inefficient, politically driven, and corrupt.” The American diplomats also painstakingly detailed the sectors in which the energy giant is engaged in and in which falling gas prices are creating problems for it.

Falling Demand for Gas

Their results are sobering. One 2009 cable states: “Far from reaching its ambitions of becoming ‘the most valuable company in the world,’ Gazprom’s fortunes have reversed dramatically this year. The company’s market value, production, and sales have all plummeted since the onset of the economic crisis.” With dramatically reduced cash-flow, the cable reads, the company has been forced to cut back on capital expenditures and its ambitions, despite political rhetoric to the contrary.

The US diplomats described Gazprom’s problems as likely being “longer term,” and not just a by-product of the crisis. That’s because demand for gas in Germany and Europe is in decline because industrial production there and across Europe has become more efficient.

At the same time, a cable noted, few new markets are opening up in the former Soviet states. Ukraine, for example, indicated it was considering halving its gas purchases. Gazprom Chairman Miller has for some time now been longing to establish a new market in the US but, as a cable states, the country is “looking more and more saturated every day with ever larger estimates for domestic production.”

According to the assessment by the US diplomats, Gazprom’s greatest problem is the company’s own Byzantine structures. “Gazprom is not a competitive global company,” the assessment reads, despite sitting on the world’s largest gas reserves. “Gazprom is the legacy of the old Soviet Ministry of Gas and still operates much the same way.”

A Top Executive with a Love for Hockey

There were many indications that this was the case. The Americans learned from an informant that a senior partner in an international accountancy firm needed two years just to unravel Gazprom’s holdings. The empire included one of Russia’s largest banks, an important Russian media company and a major construction firm.

Originals: Key Gazprom Cables

July 10, 2009, Moscow: “Huge wealth … corrupt’
XXXXXX: Redacted by the editors. Important note on the dispatches…

<>

10.07.2009 13:42

09MOSCOW2541

Embassy Moscow

CONFIDENTIAL

09MOSCOW2528|09MOSCOW854|09VLADIVOSTOK110

VZCZCXRO4339

PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR

DE RUEHMO #2541/01 2801342

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 071342Z OCT 09

FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5023

INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

RHMFISS/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY

TAGS: EPET, ENRG, ECON, PREL, RS

SUBJECT: GAZPROM’S REVERSAL OF FORTUNE, PART TWO; COMEBACK

REF: A. MOSCOW 2528

C o n f i d e n t i a l section 01 of 04 moscow 002541

Sipdis

Dept for eur/rus, eeb/esc/iec gallogly and greenstein,

s/eee morningstar

doe for hegburg, ekimoff

doc for jbrougher

nsc for mmcfaul

E.o. 12958: decl: 10/06/2019

Tags: epet, enrg, econ, prel, rs

Subject: gazprom’s reversal of fortune, part two; comeback

unlikely

Ref: a. Moscow 2528

b. Vladivostok 110

c. Moscow 854

Classified By: Ambassador John R. Beyrle for Reasons 1.4 (b/d)

1. (U) This is part two of a two-part cable on the new

economic realities facing Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas

sector giant.

——-

Summary

——-

2. (C) Gazprom faces many external and internal constraints

to renewed growth, following a dismal year in which all main

indicators of its performance deteriorated dramatically. The

globalizing gas market, a gas glut that shows no signs of

reversal, and politicized management likely mean that Gazprom

will not reach the heights of revenues and power achieved at

its peak in 2008. Unfortunately, the types of reforms (e.g.

privatization) that would result in a more valuable and

productive gas industry are stymied by the GOR’s seemingly

firm belief in a state-controlled sector. While Gazprom will

remain a major economic force, its influence on GOR policy

and its relative role in the Russian economy likely will

diminish in the short- and medium-term. End summary.

———————————

external constraints to a rebound

———————————

3. (SBU) Gazprom’s current problems (ref A) are not solely

the result of one-off contractions in demand due to the

economic crisis. Gazprom faces a fundamental shift in the

gas demand picture at a time of increasing competition.

Demand stabilization and decline —

4. (SBU) xxxxxxxxxxxx told us recently that Gazprom was simply unprepared

for the inevitable leveling off and current decline in

European gas demand. He explained that Gazprom’s management

has only known rapidly rising European demand for Russian gas

as most European countries “gassified” their economies over

the past two decades. He noted that anyone looking at the

trend could have been excused for thinking it would continue

perpetually; but now the period of gassification is over.

According to xxxxxxxxxxxx demand for gas in Germany is

actually in decline, as industrial production in Germany (and

across Europe) has become more efficient and as much of it

has been outsourced.

Competition —

5. (SBU) Gazprom not only faces a demand problem, but also

competition from an increasingly globalized gas market —

“for the next 5 to 10 years, gas will clearly be a buyers

market,” said xxxxxxxxxxxx has calculated (using data

from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy) that

Gazprom’s share of EU 27 gas imports has dropped steadily

from about 50% in the mid-90s (when gassification increased

demand) to just 34% in 2009. xxxxxxxxxxxx expects Gazprom’s share to

decline to about 30% and stabilize at that level. xxxxxxxxxxxx also

calculated that LNG’s contribution to EU imports over the

last decade has increased from about 10% to about 20%, a

figure he projected to continue to grow. In addition,

Gazprom will have to cope with massive new volumes of LNG on

the global market from projects already underway in Qatar and

elsewhere (ref C).

No help from other markets —

6. (C) Gazprom is unlikely to get any relief from its former

Soviet Union(FSU) customers either. Despite the likely rise

to “market prices” for gas sales to the FSU, lower demand

will continue to hurt Gazprom. Ukraine, Gazprom’s major

export market outside of non-FSU Europe, earlier signed a

take-or-pay contract which outlines a minimum amount of gas

which Ukraine is obliged to purchase from Russia. Ukraine

Moscow 00002541 002 of 004

has recently indicated it might take as little as 50% of the

52 bcm of gas it had earlier agreed to buy in 2010. Russian

government officials remain concerned over Ukraine’s ability

to pay for gas this winter and are already signaling they are

prepared to shut off exports to Ukraine in the event of

non-payment.

7. (SBU) Global markets will also offer little hope for

Gazprom, at least in the medium-term. Gazprom executives

have often expressed the expectation that the company would

become a global gas supplier, perhaps through newly expanded

LNG capacity. However, their preferred future export

destination, the U.S., is looking more and more saturated

every day with ever larger estimates for domestic production.

In a recent meeting with Embassy officials in Sakhalin,

Shell oil representatives stated that no LNG had been shipped

from the Sakhalin II facility to the U.S. due to soft prices

in that market. Much of this LNG has been shipped to Japan

instead.

Domestic market —

8. (SBU) Gazprom often touts future revenue gains from

domestic market price liberalization. However, it neglects

to account for demand elasticity in the wake of sharp

proposed increases in prices. With one of the most energy

intensive economies in the world, future hikes in domestic

gas prices would likely cut domestic demand substantially, as

evidenced in other countries that have implemented rational

pricing. Thus Gazprom’s revenue gains from higher domestic

prices would be at least partly offset by lower sales volumes.

External politics —

9. (SBU) In addition to the headwinds from market forces,

Gazprom faces the political and PR difficulties in external

markets that it has largely brought on itself through the gas

cutoffs of 2009 and 2006. Despite some pain in certain

Central and Eastern European countries, Ovchinnikov

explained, the 2009 gas cutoff showed that Europe could get

by without Russian gas. This should bolster EU determination

to minimize its dependence on Russian gas, and to explore new

options to diversify energy supplies.

——————————

internal constraints to growth

——————————

The Ministry of Gas —

10. (SBU) A Gazprom that behaved more like a competitive

global company would probably find a new path to growth more

quickly. But Gazprom is not a competitive global company,

despite sitting on the world’s largest gas reserves. Gazprom

is a legacy of the old Soviet Ministry of Gas and it still

operates much the same way. As a Gazprom executive himself

admitted to us, the company’s first two priorities are to

provide reliable and affordable gas to the domestic

population, to “fulfill its social obligations.” One contact

with direct information told us it took a senior partner from

a major accounting firm two years of full-time investigation

just to unravel Gazprom’s holdings, which include one of

Russia’s largest banks, one of Russia’s major media

companies, and a major construction company.

Technologically backward —

11. (SBU) Gazprom’s legacy and the government’s ownership of

the company also mean that it must act in the interests of

its political masters, even at the expense of sound economic

decision-making. From building unneeded pipelines (ref B) to

maintaining employment at some unneeded facilities, Gazprom

declines to solely act on financial and economic grounds. As

a state-controlled monopoly during the flush times of the

past decade, Gazprom had little incentive to develop new

technologies and capabilities long enjoyed by other global

oil and gas companies. Despite management’s interest in

expanding Gazprom’s LNG capacity, the company has only one

LNG export terminal, which it took over by forcibly becoming

the majority owner in a Shell-led consortium. Rapid

Moscow 00002541 003 of 004

expansion of LNG export capacity is unlikely without the help

of international oil companies (IOCs), who are still trying

to find an acceptable future working model in Russia.

Inability to adapt —

12. (SBU) Gazprom’s inability to meet competitive pressures

is apparent in the current European gas market. According to

xxxxxxxxxxxx Gazprom is the only major European supplier that

has had to cut production. xxxxxxxxxxxx blames Gazprom’s “self

inflicting wound” of tying gas prices to oil prices. He said

this convention dates back to when gas was a substitute for

fuel oil for heating. xxxxxxxxxxxx explained that this oil

price link has made Gazprom the high-price supplier in

Europe, a situation that is likely to continue into the near

future. xxxxxxxxxxxx said that with European gas demand unlikely to

recover to pre-crisis levels until 2013 and Europe facing

“excess supply” for at least the next decade, Gazprom will

have a very tough time just maintaining market share. A

major oil company senior executive echoed this analysis in a

recent meeting with us, noting “if you are a European

consumer, the last molecule of gas you want to buy is from

Gazprom.”

—————————————

possible tensions, but reforms unlikely

—————————————

13. (SBU) The tough times may be creating (or exacerbating)

tensions within Gazprom and the GOR over the company’s

future. Several contacts have told us they have heard of

such tensions. One Russian company executive said he has

heard that xxxxxxxxxxxx has been pushing for dismantling

Gazprom, to at least take away its control over the domestic

gas pipeline system. An executive at a Western company told

us recently that there are two camps within the upper levels

of the GOR on the issue of Gazprom’s direction. One camp

favors the current “one national company” approach, while the

other favors competition to spur a more efficient and modern

gas sector. Unfortunately, this executive explained, “the

number one factor” in managing Gazprom from the GOR

perspective is “how to increase government revenues from the

company.”

14. (C) xxxxxxxxxxxx, brushed off rumors of infighting

at Gazprom as nothing new. xxxxxxxxxxxx said there has always been

infighting at the company because it is such a bureaucratic

behemoth. “Everyone is always looking to make others look

bad in order to move ahead themselves,” xxxxxxxxxxxx said. While

xxxxxxxxxxxx acknowledged Gazprom’s substantial problems, xxxxxxxxxxxx did

not think any major reforms would be forthcoming.

15. (SBU) Rumors aside, nobody with whom we have talked

believes Gazprom is in any danger of losing its monopoly on

exports or its preferred status within the Russian economy.

Nor is the government likely to give up control of the

company anytime soon. Without such fundamental reforms, it

is difficult to see how Gazprom can transform itself into a

modern corporation in the current environment.

——-

comment

——-

16. (C) Gazprom is what one would expect of a state-owned

monopoly sitting atop huge wealth — inefficient, politically

driven, and corrupt. For years, with its exports and export

prices rising rapidly, it could easily pretend that all was

well and that the future was bright. That pretense may now

be giving way to the new reality of declining sales, lost

market share, and an inability to maneuver adeptly in the

face of global competition. Although Gazprom will likely

muddle along as a major corporation and major contributor of

jobs and budget funds, its economic contribution will likely

be diminished. While Gazprom can still shut off gas to

Ukraine or to other parts of Europe, each such threat further

undermines the company’s credibility as a reliable energy

supplier, and underscores the fact that Gazprom is

Moscow 00002541 004 of 004

politically subordinate to the Kremlin. Gazprom’s influence,

both domestic and international, has been directly tied to

its cash flow — money that funds employment, suppliers,

budgets, charities, foreign ventures, and, surely, many

private bank accounts and dirty deals. Unfortunately for

Gazprom and for the GOR, the massive revenues and profits

that the company produced in 2008 are unlikely to return

anytime soon. End comment.

Beyrle

Experts estimated that the company had to also spend between $5 billion and $8 billion on keeping its aging infrastructure in good working order — costs that will only increase in the future. A prominent Western oil executive told the US diplomats that while drilling a borehole in Canada only took 10 days in Russia it took twice as long.

A meeting with top Gazprom executives, such as Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev, were also sobering. In a discussion with US diplomats, the hockey fan complained that there was still no cooperation between the Russian and American hockey leagues — and fulminated against Ukraine, which he claimed had orchestrated the gas dispute with Russia.

The Americans’ conclusion is devastating: “Gazprom’s legacy and the government’s ownership of the company … mean that it must act in the interests of its political masters, even at the expense of sound economic decision-making.” The company had made funds available for many “private bank accounts and dirty deals,” one cable wrote, though it lacked any concrete proof for this claim. Gazprom itself has consistently defended itself against accusations of corruption.

In any case, the Gazprom money was not flowing as much as previously, the US diplomats wrote. “Unfortunately for Gazprom and for the Russian government, the massive revenues and profits that the company produced in 2008 are unlikely to return anytime soon,” one cable reported. Although Gazprom would remain a major company, its economic contribution was likely to be diminished, the US diplomats concluded.
[read the full article]

 


Gates Foundation Funds Surveillance of Anti-Vaccine Groups

[SOURCE]
The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation launched the Grand Challenges in Global Health (GCGH) in partnership with the National Institutes of Health in 2003 which, according to the GCGH website, is aimed at “creating new tools that can radically improve health in the developing world.” So far, 45 grants totaling $458 million were awarded for research projects involving scientists in over 30 countries.

But where has all the money actually gone? Towards developing and implementing water purification and sanitation systems? Or basic nutritional support aimed at optimizing immune function? How about providing shelter and medical facilities for the homeless? Not even close.

For example, a $100K grant was recently disbursed to Seth C. Kalichman, professor at the Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, for “Establishing an Anti-Vaccine Surveillance and Alert System,” which intends to “establish an internet-based global monitoring and rapid alert system for finding, analyzing, and counteracting misinformation communication campaigns regarding vaccines to support global immunization efforts.”

We can only wonder what organizations might be labeled as “misinformation communication campaigns” considering the fact that Bill Gates, in a Feb. 4th, 2011 interview on CNN with Sanjay Gupta said that “anti-vaccine groups “kill children.”” Here is the full quote:

“So it’s an absolute lie that has killed thousands of kids. Because the mothers who heard that lie, many of them didn’t have their kids take either pertussis or measles vaccine, and their children are dead today. And so the people who go and engage in those anti-vaccine efforts — you know, they, they kill children. It’s a very sad thing, because these vaccines are important.”

It is quite possible that any dissenting voice not in support of universal vaccination campaigns may be included in this type of “surveillance and alert system” as a potentially endangering the lives of others, i.e. “killing children.” What is so ironic about the situation is that the Gates Foundation supported Polio Global Eradication Initiative may have resulted in over 47,500 cases of vaccine-induced paralysis in Indian children in 2011 alone, and which is twice as deadly as the wild-type polio it claimed to have put an end to officially on Jan. 11 2012. Who here then, is truly concerned about the health of children?

Moreover, it is exceedingly difficult to view Bill & Melinda Gates foundation’s GCGH as a strictly humanitarian foundation considering many of the projects it chooses to fund. Here are a few listed on their website which have already received funding.

Synthetic Lymph Nodes: Steven Meshnick and Carla Hand of the University of North Carolina in the U.S. will develop a bio-compatible, biodegradable polymer device that can be placed under the skin to introduce vaccines and antigens to the immune system. The device will attract immune cells and trigger their proliferation as well asact as an adjuvant at the site of injection. If successful, the device could help boost immune response to new and existing vaccines. [see our article on transhumanistic technologies].

Needle Free Vaccination Via Nanoparticle Aerosols: Vaccine delivery systems that target specific areas of the body have the potential to be especially effective against some types of infection. For example, inhaled vaccines may better guard against respiratory diseases, such as tuberculosis, and those that commonly infect the tissues of the nose and throat, such as diphtheria. Dr. Edwards is leading a multidisciplinary team using materials science technologies combined with infectious disease, device, and toxicology expertise to reformulate tuberculosis and diphtheria vaccines into aerosol sprays that can be inhaled. The team’s ultimate objective is to develop a cell-based BCG vaccine for tuberculosis and a protein antigen CRM 197 vaccine for diphtheria in the form of novel porous nanoparticle aggregate (PNAP) aerosols.

Plant-Produced Synthetic RNA Vaccines: Alison McCormick of Touro University, California in the U.S. will test the ability of a low-cost plant-based synthetic biology method to produce a combined viral protein epitope with an antigen RNA expression system for use in an RNA malaria vaccine. Using plants for this viral transfection system could make RNA vaccine production scalable and cost effective.

Profitable Vaccine Distribution In Emerging Markets: Lisa Ganley-Leal and Pauline Mwinzi of Epsilon Therapeutics, Inc. in the U.S. will test the hypothesis that selling vaccines through medicine shops in emerging markets can lead to profits for both vaccine developers and the small business owners. Demonstrating profitability may lead pharmaceutical companies to invest greater resources in vaccine development and distribution and develop local partnerships for profitability strategies.

Genetically Programmed Pathogen Sense and Destroy: Saurabh Gupta and Ron Weiss of Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S. proposed creating sentinel cells that can detect the presence of a pathogen, report its identity with a biological signal, and secrete molecules to destroy it. This project’s Phase I research demonstrated that commensal bacteria can be engineered to detect and specifically kill the model bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In Phase II, Gupta and Weiss will engineer the human microbiota to specifically detect and destroy the gut pathogen Shigella flexneri, which is responsible for high mortality rates in children.

Vaccine in a Salt Shaker: A New, Safe, Low-Cost Approach: Shiladitya DasSarma will lead a team at the University of Maryland, Baltimore in the U.S. to develop an inexpensive, safe, and effective oral vaccine against invasive Salmonella disease using gas-filled bacterial vesicles. The project seeks to produce a salt-encased, shelf-stable vaccine requiring no refrigeration for distribution worldwide.

A Humanized Mouse Model to Evaluate Live Attenuated Vaccine Candidates: To develop new vaccines against some of the world’s biggest killers, including HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis, scientists must be able to evaluate promising candidates. Some of the most promising potential vaccines, are made from weakened live versions of the infectious agent. As a result, they cannot be studied in human trials unless researchers can be confident that the weakened vaccines will be safe. Dr. Flavell and his colleagues are working to genetically engineer laboratory mice whose immune systems are similar enough to humans to permit testing of vaccines against diseases that disproportionately affect people in the developing world.

Alternative Delivery of Human Milk Proteins to Infants: Qiang Chen of Arizona State University in the U.S. proposes to engineer edible plants, such as lettuce and rice, to express beneficial proteins found in human milk. The protein bodies in these plants allow for the stable, high accumulation of these human milk proteins, and the plants can either be eaten directly by infants or formulated into baby food to provide essential nutrients and antibacterial benefits.

Non-Hormonal Female Contraceptive Targeting Egg-Specific Metalloprotease: John Herr of the University of Virginia in the U.S. will research the egg-specific membrane enzyme metalloprotease as a target for a non-hormonal female contraceptive. After determining the nature of the enzyme’s catalytic pocket, a family of peptidomimetic compounds will be tested for their ability to bind to the enzyme and block its key role in egg fertilization.

Bacillus-Fermented Natto as Edible Vaccines for the Developing World: Michael Chan of the Ohio State Research Foundation in the U.S. will develop an engineered strain of bacteria used to ferment beans in traditional Asian and African diets, to display an antigen from the Tuberculosis bacterium. The engineered bacillus will then be used to make the traditional Asian dish natto, which can serve as a kind of oral vaccine to elicit a strong immune response. If successful, this strategy can be used to introduce a variety of disease antigens through culturally accepted foods.

Nanotechnology-Based Contraception: David Clapham of Children’s Hospital Boston in the U.S. will develop and test a nanoparticle contraceptive that releases sperm tail inhibitors in response to vaginal pH changes or exposure to prostatic fluid. If successful, the nanoparticles could be incorporated into a vaginal gel to block sperm motility required for fertilization. Circumcision tool For Traditional Ceremonies In Africa: Kathleen Sienko of the University of Michigan in the U.S. has developed a prototype circumcision tool for use in traditional ceremonies in Africa, and seeks to demonstrate the functionality, cultural suitability, and potential for low-cost mass production of the device. Such a tool could increase the circumcision rates leading to lower rates of HIV transmission in the region.

Discovery of Chemosensory Molecules as Novel Contraceptives: John Ngai and Scott Laughlin of the University of California, Berkeley in the U.S. seek to identify chemical compounds in the female reproductive system that guide sperm cells to the egg. By characterizing these “odorants,” synthetic versions can be produced and administered to disrupt this navigation system thus inhibiting fertilization.

Transgenic Cow Milk Containing Human Antimicrobial Protein: Hironori Matsushima of the University of Toledo in the U.S. will test the hypothesis that adding an antimicrobial peptide to powdered milk products can confer protection against enteric diseases. Research will focus on testing the peptide for its ability to kill pathogens in stomach conditions, and on its ability to maintain integrity through the milk pasteurization and drying processes.

Ultrasound as a Long-Term, Reversible Male Contraceptive: James Tsuruta and Paul Dayton of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill will study the ability of therapeutic ultrasound to deplete testicular sperm counts. Characterizing the most beneficial timing and dosage could lead to the development of a low-cost, non-hormonal and reversible method of contraception for men.

You will notice from the examples listed above that all of these funded projects involve the development of proprietary (read: potentially profitable) and as-of-yet unproven technologies, and which will require the transformation and/or alteration of a natural process or substance. Also, many of the grant disbursements have gone towards contraception. This appears to diverge from the GCGH’s mission statement of “improving health in the developing world,” insofar as it is focused on reducing population in the developed world, rather than supporting the health of those already living, in need of help.[read the article]

 


Beyond Horror: “Silenced” Oil Spills

 

In 1981 a UNEP fact-finding mission to East Africa identified large-scale erosion, oil pollution, damaged coral reefs, ruined mangrove swamps, pollution from fertilizers and threats to precious marine animals as the major environmental problems in the region.

The list of threats to the environment has changed little since then. A workshop in 1997 listed domestic sewage, solid domestic waste, habitat degradation, agrochemical pollution and industrial waste pollution. The region remains characterized by vulnerable economies, large populations with a high rate of population growth, and areas subject to environmental stress.

Pollution

The important and heavily fished reef zone close to shore is particularly vulnerable to pollution and silting. Oil is a major pollution threat to coastal ecosystems, owing to the heavy use of the tanker route along the East African coast. On any given day there are hundreds of tankers in the Region, many of them Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs). Slicks are brought in from spills in the open ocean by coastal currents, while operational discharges from ships and refineries add to the load.

In recent decades, the growth of industry has brought an increasing volume of effluents to coastal waters. The use of agricultural chemicals has continued to grow, and sewage treatment continues to be inadequate in many parts of the region.

Some species of marine animals are already endangered as a result of human activities, particularly the dugong or manatee, which is often caught in fishing nets and drowned. Marine turtles continue to decrease in numbers as their eggs are poached and the adults are killed for their meat and decorative shells.

Eastern Africa is also undergoing an extraordinary rate of urbanization. As the cities have become overcrowded, water supplies have proven insufficient, and systems for drainage, sewerage and refuse disposal inadequate. Domestic sewage is discharged directly into rivers and in some cases the sea.

Although industrialization remains slow relative to other parts of the world, it takes place without proper environmental impact assessments legislative controls, leading to further pressure on the environment. Rivers, creeks and the sea have become dumping sites for industrial wastes. Industries of major environmental concern in the region include textiles, tanneries, paper and pulp mills, breweries, chemical factories, cement factories, sugar factories, fertilizer factories, and oil refineries. In some countries, slaughter houses near the sea are a serious source of marine pollution.

Desertification

Long drawn out droughts, over-grazing and poor agricultural practices, deforestation and reclamation of wetlands for agriculture are all combining to bring about desertification in the coastal areas of East Africa.

The continued high population growth rate is placing pressure on land beyond its carrying capacity, and driving out the traditional nomadic practices which allowed for environmental recovery. Livestock development is seldom accompanied by proper pasture management, leading to desert conditions in areas of concentration.

When these destructive pressures occur in semi-arid areas with shallow soils, desertification and desert encroachment can becomes irreversible. The semi-arid parts of Eastern Africa are particularly vulnerable.

Coastal degradation and erosion

Human encroachment and activities such as animal husbandry and agriculture are rapidly degrading the coastal environment of Eastern Africa, resulting in deforestation, destruction of mangroves and disappearance of other vegetation; a decline in soil fertility, and the death of wildlife. Marine resources are directly threatened by these activities.

Mangroves were once common in sheltered bays and estuaries, providing shelter to many important fish species and prawns. They are now threatened by intensive cropping to provide firewood, poles, tannin, medicinal products, paper pulp and timber, and to open up new space for aquaculture and salt production. Mangrove swamps are also threatened by fluctuations in the amount of fresh water and sediment reaching them caused by upstream hydraulic works, and indirectly by destruction of protective reefs.poles, firewood and by large-scale clearing for salt production.

Coral reefs have been damaged by excessive siltation resulting from poor agricultural practices, deforestation along riverbanks, and the dredging and and dumping associated with harbour development. Many were damaged by fishing with dynamite and poison, especially before these methods were outlawed in part of the region. Tourists collect coral as souvenirs. More recently the bleaching of corals has become a severe problem.

The shoreline in most of the region is receding as a result of coastal erosion: the shoreline retreat over parts of Tanzania has been estimated at between three and five metres per day. Barrier islands are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels.

Climate change

A task team report on the implications of climate change for the Eastern African region (see UNEP: Potential impacts of expected climate change on coastal and near-shore environment. UNEP Regional Seas Reports and Studies No.140 (UNEP, 1992.) concluded that the region’s low-lying coastal areas and marine ecosystems, water resources, terrestrial ecosystems and human settlements and coastal infrastructure are at risk as a consequence of climate change impacts.

The economies of the region are dominated by agriculture. Fishing is an important source of food and contributes to the economy of the majority of the countries. Tourism is an important activity.

The effects of climate change will be felt everywhere, perhaps most obviously in altered patterns of rainfall, coastal weathering, atmospheric pressure and evaporation. The spatial and temporal distribution of storms and cyclones will change their paths and frequency, and could well increase in intensity: Some scientists believe the terrible floods of early 2000 in Mozambique are but a taste of worse to come.

Besides the direct toll on human lives, there will be impacts on coastal habitats such as coral reefs, lagoons, and mangroves. The reefs will be vulnerable to wave action and sea-level rise as well as sedimentation. Their destruction will lead to a decline in natural coastal defences and further encourage coastal erosion.

The quality and quantity of water available from rainfall, rivers and ground water will be affected by changes in the distribution and amount of rainfall, evapo-transpiration, surface runoff, river discharge, recharge, and aquifer volumes. Drier and hotter conditions would place an inordinate pressure on water resources.

Ecosystem effects could include latitudinal and altitudinal shifts in plant and animal species as well as, loss of biodiversity due to water scarcity and arid soil conditions. While agriculture might benefit somewhat from a global increase in CO2, moisture deficits would lower crop yields and require additional irrigation. Sea-level rise would increase the intrusion of saline water up river mouths and also decrease the area available for cultivation on low-lying coastal areas and river estuaries.

Fisheries would be affected by changes to the breeding and migratory habits of most fish, hence, year to year variability of stocks could increase leading to a planning and management problems. Socio-economic activities, and infrastructure such as port facilities, waste disposal, roads, are already under stress. Climate change would create additional stress, hence reducing economic performance and growth.

The human factor

A critical problem in the region is the rapid rate of human population growth in some countries. Infrastructure has a hard time keeping up, with resulting strain on educational facilities as well as resources.

Much of the population resides in the coastal areas, employed by the light industry located along the coast and others in the tourist industry. Most of the region’s economies rely on agriculture and tourism which together contribute close to 50% of the gross domestic product. Tourism specifically is a main earner of foreign exchange in the coastal parts of most of the countries in the region.

The population is unevenly distributed over the region. Northern Mozambique and Merca northwards of Somalia are almost uninhabited due to extreme climate conditions.

Both mainland and island populations are concentrated on the coasts, where population growth is higher than average for the region as a whole, largely owing to migration, urbanization and favourable employment opportunities. The majority of these populations are employed by the light industry located along the coast and others in the tourist industry. Most of the economies rely on agriculture and tourism which together contribute close to 50% of the gross domestic product. Tourism specifically is a main earner of foreign exchange in the coastal parts of most of the countries in the region.

The extremely rapid rate of population growth in some of the countries in the region is a critical factor, and the resulting pressure on social amenities, notably in the coastal cities, has become very high. The infrastructure is unable to keep pace with the population growth rate; educational facilities are no longer adequate and the resource base to support the required expansion programme meagre. There is great disparity in per capita income in the countries of the region for a variety of political and environmental reasons.

Oil gushing from an undersea well in the Gulf of Mexico has damaged BP’s reputation and share price but accidents involving other companies in less scrutinized parts of the world have avoided the media glare. Investors have knocked around $30 billion off BP’s value since an explosion at a drilling rig killed 11 people and began an oil spill the London-based major is struggling to plug nearly a month after the accident happened.

The U.S. media and political machine has turned its full force on BP and U.S. President Barack Obama has set up a commission into the leak which is sending an estimated 5,000 barrels per day (bpd) into Gulf of Mexico waters.

In contrast, the international media has largely ignored the latest incidents of pipeline damage in Nigeria, where the public can only guess how much oil might have been leaked. The most recent damage in Nigeria, which has not been attributed to militant attacks that have preyed on Nigerian oil infrastructure for years, forced U.S. operator ExxonMobil to relieve itself from contractual obligations by declaring force majeure on its exports of Nigerian benchmark crude.

The light sweet crude is particularly well-suited for refining into gasoline and is regularly supplied to the United States, the world’s biggest oil burner. Exxon declined the opportunity to give details of the damage, clean-up or repair work.

An industry source, who declined to be named, said 100,000 bpd of oil had leaked for a week from a pipeline that has since been mended.

The Largest Oil Spills in History, 1901 to Present

“If this (the BP spill) were in the Niger Delta, no one would be batting an eyelid,” said Holly Pattenden, African oil analyst at consultants Business Monitor International. “They have these kinds of oil spills in Nigeria all the time.”
Share Price Impact

BP’s share price has fallen around 18 percent since news of the fire at the drilling station on April 20, while Exxon shares were largely unchanged after the force majeure announcement. The largest operator in Nigeria, Royal Dutch Shell has clashed with the Nigerian government for decades following numerous spills in Africa’s largest energy producer.

Shell said in a statement on its website that its Nigerian joint venture cleans up oil spills as quickly as possible, no matter what their cause, but is sometimes delayed by security concerns or because some communities deny access.

The Anglo-Dutch major said the volume of oil spills in Nigeria for its joint venture was almost 14,000 tonnes last year, the equivilant of around 280 bpd, mainly because of militant attacks on facilities.

“It (the U.S.) is without doubt the worse place for BP to lose their political capital,” said James Marriott, oil and gas analyst at environmental organisation Platform.

“If the U.S. administration gets aggressive against BP, then it’s a problem for them offshore, onshore in terms of shale gas, for conventional gas, refining, some cross-border projects with Canada and further afield.” [read more…]

Nigeria’s Ogoniland region could take 30 years to recover fully from the damage caused by years of oil spills, a long-awaited UN report says.

The study says complete restoration could entail the world’s “most wide-ranging and long-term oil clean-up”.

Communities faced a severe health risk, with some families drinking water with high levels of carcinogens, it said.

Oil giant Shell has accepted liability for two spills and said all oil spills were bad for Nigeria and the company.

“We will continue working with our partners in Nigeria, including the government, to solve these problems and on the next steps to help clean up Ogoniland,” Mutiu Sunmonu, managing director of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), said in a statement.

The Bodo fishing community has said it will seek hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation.

Nigeria is one of the world’s major oil producers.
‘900 times recommended levels’

The UN assessment of Ogoniland, which lies in the Niger Delta, said 50 years of oil operations in the region had “penetrated further and deeper than many had supposed”.

During a visit to a village in Ogoniland in 2007, I went to a small stream that gave people water for all their daily needs. The effects of oil spillage were clear. On the surface of the water there was a thin film of oil. Villages moved it with their hands before scooping water.

Villagers told me no fish had been seen in the stream for more than five years. They told me people had been killed by oil pipes exploding and others had developed health problems after inhaling fumes from burning oil well heads.

When I visited the village again in 2011, oil spillage had worsened. Villagers no longer drank water from the stream. They walked for up to four hours to get water.

Over the past two decades, successive Nigerian governments have failed the people of Ogoniland. I doubt this report will change anything. In the meantime, the voices of secession in Ogoniland will grow louder.

“In at least 10 Ogoni communities where drinking water is contaminated with high levels of hydrocarbons, public health is seriously threatened,” the UN Environmental Programme (Unep) said in a statement.

Some areas which appeared unaffected were actually “severely contaminated” underground, Unep said.

In one community, the report says, families were drinking from wells which were contaminated with benzene, a known carcinogen, at 900 times recommended levels.

It said scientists at the site, which lay close to a Nigerian National Petroleum Company pipeline, found oil slicks eight centimetres thick floating on the water.

This was reportedly due to an oil spill more than six years ago, it said.

The report, based on examinations of some 200 locations over 14 months, said Shell had created public health and safety issues by failing to apply its own procedures in the control and maintenance of oilfield infrastructure.

But it also said local people were sabotaging pipelines in order to steal oil.

The report says that restoring the region could cost $1bn (£613m) and take 25-30 years to complete.[read more]

An equally powerful question: Will the political impact be just as significant?

Clues to this may lie in the Ecuadorean Amazon, whose lands and politics have been transformed by devastating oil pollution wrought by Texaco and the country’s own national oil company, Petroecuador.

Twenty years ago, near the beginning of that transformation, I sat beside a campesino-turned-community activist, Segundo Jaramillo, as our small plane banked low over the company oil town of Lago Agrio.

Below lay the grimy hub of Texaco’s former operation in Ecuador, with its maze of pipelines, pumping stations, and Wild West bars. Mr. Jaramillo gripped his armrests and looked out the window nervously; it was his first flight.

Heartsick and angered by the oil-smeared landscape that surrounded his home and threatened his family’s health, he had come to Quito by an arduous bus ride through the Andes.

In the capital, he met with Texaco critics and antipetroleum activists, who introduced us. Now we were returning to the Amazon so he could show me his homeland.

In the coming days with Jaramillo and local indigenous leaders along the Napo and Aguarico rivers, I began to understand the extent of the damage.

Huge open pools of oil and toxic sludge were scattered throughout the rain forest, dumped unceremoniously by indifferent oil workers. Contaminated water supplies had Jaramillo’s neighbors complaining of skin diseases, nonstop headaches, and internal organ pain.

In the Cofan Indian village of Dureno, the Aguarico – “River of Rich Waters” – was so polluted that villagers could no longer bathe in it.

A young leader called Toribe told me the population of Cofanes in the area, once 70,000, had shrunk to 3,000 since the day “a large and noisy bird” – actually a Texaco helicopter – appeared in the early 1970s, scoping the then-pristine forest for places to drill. “Many fled from here,” the young indigenous activist told me. “The whole structure of our lives has changed.”

In all, according to the book “Amazon Crude Oil,” edited by the environmental lawyer Judith Kimerling, Texaco dumped 19 billion gallons of toxic wastewater into the Amazon, while nearly 17 million gallons of crude – many more than in the Exxon-Valdez disaster – spilled from the main Amazon-Andes pipeline, which feeds tankers bound for the United States. The impact on public health is impossible to quantify, but one study, citing benzene contamination leaking from unlined pits, links oil production to 1,401 cancer deaths in the Ecuadorean Amazon.

The human toll of Ecuador’s toxic oil legacy helped remake the country’s politics.

Alliances among the nation’s indigenous groups, Ecuadorean social justice organizations, and the international environmental movement led to support for emerging leaders who sought to distance themselves from the country’s colonial past.

Ecuador, long the quintessential banana republic whose policies benefitted the US and a corrupt local elite, is now governed by a left-leaning president, Rafael Correa, who declared upon entering office that “many of the oil contracts are a true entrapment for the country.” (Many of the groups that helped bring Mr. Correa to power are now disillusioned with him.) One of Correa’s favorite targets is Chevron, which bought Texaco in 2001 and which is now defending itself against a $27.3 billion class action lawsuit in a Lago Agrio courtroom.[read more]

[2011]A recent oil spill in China’s Bohai Sea has raised concerns about the lasting impacts the incident may have to China’s local fishing industry and the surrounding marine environment. The spill began in early June after a reported failure of the central control system on a main oil platform in the Penglai 19-3 oil field.

In an apparent cover up a press release was not announced by joint owners American based Conoco Phillips and China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) until late June and the spill did not make headline news until early July.

CNOOC announced on July 3rd that the leak of crude oil was under control and that the clean up of the effected 1 square kilometer of ocean was almost complete. China’s State Oceanic Administration (SOA) however reported in mid July that although a clean up was underway the leak was still not entirely under control and that the crude oil directly affected 158 square kilometers of ocean with water quality downgraded in upwards of 3,400 square kilometers of ocean.

Effects of the spill are already being seen in north China’s Hebei province where scallop farmers are reporting unprecedented mortalities of upwards of 70% of their seedlings. Farmers are detecting oil particles in the affected scallops as well as along their local beaches. The economic loss has thus far been estimated at 350 million Yuan or 54 million USD. Some of the scallop fishermen are organizing a lawsuit against CNOOC and Conoco Phillips for the damages they have already incurred from the effects of the oil spill.

The scallop fishery may be the first of many to be adversely affected by this unfortunate event and only time will tell the lasting impacts to the Bohai Sea ecosystem.

Chemical Pollution
Plants and animals produce countless chemical substances as part of their life processes. For the purposes of the Ocean Health Index, ‘chemical’ refers to a compound or substance that has been purified or manufactured by human sources.

More than 100,000 chemicals are used commercially (Daly 2006), and many enter the marine environment via atmospheric transport, runoff into waterways, or direct disposal into the ocean.

Three general categories of chemicals are of particular concern in the marine environment: oil, toxic metals, and persistent organic pollutants.

The total amount of oil entering the ocean has been estimated, but global data on the size and geographic distribution of oil spills are not available, so oil pollution could not be included as a separate category within the Ocean Health Index. However, oil would be among the substances contained in runoff from impervious surfaces and released by shipping and ports.

‘Oil’ is the general term for any thick, viscous, typically flammable liquid that is insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents. Plants and animals produce a variety of natural oils, but the Clean Waters goal is primarily concerned with oil derived from geological deposits of petroleum (crude oil) for use as a fuel or lubricant.

Natural oil makes up 47% of the oil in the ocean. About 600,000 metric tonnes of oil enters the ocean naturally each year by seepage through many cracks in the seafloor (NRC 2003), but input from each is typically slow (Wells 1995) and natural seepage is not considered to be pollution.

The other half of the oil comes from anthropogenic sources, including boats, land-based runoff and, to a lesser degree, oil spills. These sources pose a greater threat to marine environments as the oil enters the ocean in concentrated areas at a high rate of flow.

The largest sources of human oil pollution are urban-based runoff and operational discharge of fuel from boating traffic and port operations. Discharge associated with boats constitutes 24% of the total amount of oil in the ocean (UNEP/GPA 2006).

Only 8% of overall oil ocean pollution is a result of spills during transportation or production. However, the toxicity levels of these spills tend to persist over time and have been linked to highly visible local and regional disasters.

After 20 years, oil pollution from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill persists and, in some areas, is nearly as toxic as initial levels (Exxon Valdez Trustee Council 2009; Raloff 2009).

Nicholas Forte has spent the last year with an array of health issues. Headaches. Migraines. Nausea. Breathing problems so severe they would land him in the hospital.

“We have no idea what it is,” the 22-year-old Battle Creek resident told Michigan Messenger. “Then it escalated to seizures.”

And while the seizures landed him in the hospital — at one point stopping his heart and his breathing — doctors are at a loss to understand why. Tests indicate none of the expected patterns for epilepsy.

Finding out why the formerly healthy young man had suddenly fallen ill drove him and his family to listen to Riki Ott, an environmental toxicologist who has been tracking the health impacts of oil spills on human beings since her home was impacted by the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. Ott was in Battle Creek Wednesday night at the invitation of local activists.

And when Forte asked Ott about his symptoms, she nodded an affirmative.

“We see that in 16-year olds in the Gulf,” she said. And Forte was not the only person she may have given much needed answers to. Nearly 50 people gathered to talk about headaches, nausea, burning eyes, memory loss and rashes. There were young and old, African-Americans and whites, rural residents and city dwellers, all with one thing in common — they live by the Kalamazoo River and were exposed to last year’s Enbridge Energy Partners Lakehead Pipeline 6B.

For Ott, it was a litany list of symptoms and voices of frustration she has heard from Alaska to South Korea to the Gulf Coast and now in Calhoun county. And Calhoun, she says, represents exposures to both tar sands and lighter oils, each with its own chemical make ups and attendant toxins.

“You’ve got the worst of two worlds. You’re getting a fully double whammy,” she says of the Cold Lake Crude Oil. “Peoples’ health problems (from the Enbridge spill) are identical to the Gulf.”

Ott says that studies about health impacts conducted by health officials since last summer are based on 40-year old science.

“We used to be able to use a thermometer and say, ‘yep, you’ve got a fever,’ but we didn’t have an understanding of how that worked on a cellular level,” she said. “Now, we have the tools and the ability to see how these chemicals impact us on a cellular level.”

Ott noted that just this July a peer-reviewed study of oil spill exposure found the same set of symptoms in each location. They are the identical to the ones being seen in Calhoun county. She also noted that the studies have begun to identify toxicity to DNA, as well as reproductive health impacts. She says many of the chemicals of concern to occupational and environmental health officials have been shown to impact fetuses in the first trimester.

Studies by the MDCH released this summer have indicated no risk of long term health effects. The National Wildlife Federation condemned the Aug. 17 report, calling it incomplete.

“By their own admission, multiple chemicals have not been fully tested. No doctor would look at a sick patient, skip doing a full diagnosis, and declare him fit as a fiddle. Officials are prematurely drawing conclusions about the risks of tar sands oil to human health.” said Beth Wallace with the Great Lakes Regional Center of the National Wildlife Federation. “Residents at the meeting, including myself, were extremely skeptical and frustrated when hearing these conclusions from officials with MDCH. A complete study on the make-up of tar sands oil needs to be conducted before we can begin to truly understand the impacts to humans, wildlife and our environment.”

Ott had not had a chance to fully read the report before an interview with Michigan Messenger or the public meeting, but said this determination and realization that specific chemicals of concern have been excluded from a review is not uncommon. Nor is it uncommon for people to be diagnosed with colds and boils, month after month.

The reason, she says, is twofold. First, the doctors are unlikely to be fully versed on the issue of what she calls chemical illnesses. Second, she says, even if they are aware, most insurance companies have no billing code for the diagnosis. This means that if a doctor issues a diagnosis of chemical illness, it is unlikely an insurance company will pay the doctor for the care and time put into making that clinical diagnosis.

Part of the issue, Ott says, is that the science of exposure concerns and health issues is based on research conducted in the 1970s on volatile organic chemicals or VOCs. Those are the chemicals that easily evaporate into the air and can be smelled at long distances. They include things like benzene. But science has science developed a body of literature exploring the impacts of chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. She says that while both chemicals may have persisted at significantly lower levels than considered unsafe, they accumulate in the body over the course of continued exposure. [read more]

Rights group Amnesty International has termed investigations by corporate giant Shell into oil spills in Nigeria a “fiasco”, alleging that the company repeatedly blamed sabotage in an effort to avoid responsibility.

“No matter what evidence is presented to Shell about oil spills, they constantly hide behind the ‘sabotage’ excuse and dodge their responsibility for massive pollution that is due to their failure to properly maintain their infrastructure,” Audrey Gaughran, director of global issues at Amnesty, said in a recent statement.

She said that “the investigation process into oil spills in the Niger Delta is a fiasco,” referring to the oil-producing region that is home to Africa’s largest crude industry.

In 2008, a spill caused by a fault in a Shell pipeline caused tens of thousands of barrels of crude oil to spill out into the Nigerian delta.

Four years on, the oil still floats on the waters of Bodo Creek. Local rights and environmental groups say that it is killing and contaminating plants and wildlife in one of Africa’s most bio-diverse regions.

The case, filed by 11,000 Bodo residents against the Anglo-Dutch oil giant, is currently being heard in a London court.

Shell has admitted liability in the 2008 disaster in Bodo, although there remain significant disagreements over the amount of oil that poured into the creeks.

 


Falun Gong Organ Harvesting:Bodies With Missing Organs [report pdf]

 

– 14 –
Gong practitioners who had come from all over the country to Tian an men Square in Beijing to appeal or protest were arrested. Those who revealed their identities to their captors would be shipped back to their home localities. Their families would be implicated in their Falun Gong activities and pressured to join in the effort to get the practitioners to renounce Falun Gong. Their workplace leaders, their co-workers, their local government leaders would be held responsible and penalized for the fact that these individuals had gone to Beijing to appeal or protest.To protect their families and avoid the hostility of the people in their locality, many detained Falun Gong declined to identify themselves. The result was a large Falun Gong prison population whose identities the authorities did not know. As well, no one who knew them knew where they were.Though this refusal to identify themselves was done for protection purposes, it may have had the opposite effect. It is easier to victimize a person whose whereabouts is unknown to family members than a person whose location the family knows. This population is a remarkably undefended group of people, even by Chinese standards.This population of the unidentified was treated especially badly. As well, they were moved around within the Chinese prison system for reasons not explained to the prisoners.Was this the population which became the source of harvested Falun Gong organs?Obviously, the mere existence of this population does not tell us that this is so. Yet,the existence of this population provides a ready explanation for the source of harvested organs, if the allegations are true. Members of this population could just disappear without anyone outside of the prison system being the wiser. Information about this population of the unidentified is attached as an appendix to this report.In fact, there are many missing Falun Gong practitioners

 


Niger floods and cholera claim 162 lives: UN

 

SOURCE

Niamey (AFP) Sept 13, 2012

Floods in Niger have killed 81 people since July, the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs announced Thursday, adding cholera outbreaks have killed a further 81 people.

“The last update of the toll of the floods dating from September 11 indicates that 527,471 people have been affected by the bad weather and 81 people have lost their lives,” OCHA said in a statement in Niamey.

The previous toll established by the authorities was 68 dead and 485,000 people affected in the Sahel nation in west Africa.

Thousands of homes, schools, health centres and mosques have been destroyed, along with large quantities of food supplies, according to the authorities.

The UN office also reported outbreaks of cholera, which have claimed 81 lives since the start of the year, mainly in the west of the country.

Cholera is spreading fast in at least four places, making 3,854 people sick and notably affecting the Tillaberi regions lying by the Niger river and close to the border with Mali, OCHA said.

In the provinces and in the capital, where the Niger river level is rising significantly, most of the people stricken by flooding are being housed mainly in schools, as well as mosques and public buildings.

While preparing to move flood victims to more appropriate accommodation, the government has postponed the start of the school year from October 17 until October 27.

In neighbouring Burkina Faso, heavy rains have killed 18 people and made 21,000 homeless since June. Senegal and Nigeria have also been affected by the bad weather.

 


Improved nanoparticles deliver drugs into brain

 

SOURCE

The brain is a notoriously difficult organ to treat, but Johns Hopkins researchers report they are one step closer to having a drug-delivery system flexible enough to overcome some key challenges posed by brain cancer and perhaps other maladies affecting that organ.

In a report published online on August 29 in Science Translational Medicine, the Johns Hopkins team says its bioengineers have designed nanoparticles that can safely and predictably infiltrate deep into the brain when tested in rodent and human tissue.

“We are pleased to have found a way to prevent drug-embedded particles from sticking to their surroundings so that they can spread once they are in the brain,” says Justin Hanes, Ph.D., Lewis J. Ort Professor of Ophthalmology, with secondary appointments in chemical and biomolecular engineering, biomedical engineering, oncology, neurological surgery and environmental health sciences, and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Nanomedicine.

After surgery to remove a brain tumor, standard treatment protocols include the application of chemotherapy directly to the surgical site to kill any cells left behind that could not be surgically removed. To date, this method of preventing tumor recurrence is only moderately successful, in part, because it is hard to administer a dose of chemotherapy high enough to sufficiently penetrate the tissue to be effective and low enough to be safe for the patient and healthy tissue.

To overcome this dosage challenge, engineers designed nanoparticles – about one-thousandth the diameter of a human hair – that deliver the drug in small, steady quantities over a period of time. Conventional drug-delivery nanoparticles are made by entrapping drug molecules together with microscopic, string-like molecules in a tight ball, which slowly breaks down when it comes in contact with water.

According to Charles Eberhart, M.D., a Johns Hopkins pathologist and contributor to this work, these nanoparticles historically have not worked very well because they stick to cells at the application site and tend to not migrate deeper into the tissue.

Elizabeth Nance, a graduate student in chemical and biomolecular engineering at Hopkins, and Hopkins neurosurgeon Graeme Woodworth, M.D., suspected that drug penetration might be improved if drug-delivery nanoparticles interacted minimally with their surroundings.

Nance first coated nano-sized plastic beads of various sizes with a clinically tested molecule called PEG, or poly(ethylene glycol), that had been shown by others to protect nanoparticles from the body’s defense mechanisms. The team reasoned that a dense layer of PEG might also make the beads more slippery.

The team then injected the coated beads into slices of rodent and human brain tissue. They first labeled the beads with glowing tags that enabled them to see the beads as they moved through the tissue.

Compared to non-PEG-coated beads, or beads with a less dense PEG coating, they found that a dense coating of PEG allowed larger beads to penetrate the tissue, even those beads that were nearly twice the size previously thought to be the maximum possible for penetration within the brain. They then tested these beads in live rodent brains and found the same results.

The researchers then took biodegradable nanoparticles carrying the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel and coated them with PEG. As expected, in rat brain tissue, nanoparticles without the PEG coating moved very little, while PEG-covered nanoparticles distributed themselves quite well.

“It’s really exciting that we now have particles that can carry five times more drug, release it for three times as long and penetrate farther into the brain than before,” says Nance.

“The next step is to see if we can slow tumor growth or recurrence in rodents.” Woodworth added that the team “also wants to optimize the particles and pair them with drugs to treat other brain diseases, like multiple sclerosis, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.” Another goal for the team is to be able to administer their nanoparticles intravenously, which is research they have already begun.

Authors on the paper include Elizabeth Nance, Graeme Woodworth, Kurt Sailor, Ting-Yu Shih, Qingguo Xu, Ganesh Swaminathan, Dennis Xiang, Charles Eberhart and Justin Hanes, all from The Johns Hopkins University.

 


Well Balanced Blog

Take Control of Your Own Health!

Έγκλημα και Τιμωρία/Crime and Punishment/Crime et Châtiment/Delitto e castigo/Преступление и наказание

CRIME DOES NOT PAY... PLUS, THE BUTLER DID IT! AND REMEMBER: WHAT DOESN'T KILL YOU, WILL -MOST LIKELY- TRY AGAIN... AND DON'T FORGET: TODAY IS A GOOD DAY FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO DIE.

BanTheBBC Blog

A constant reminder that life would be so much better without the BBC's TV Licence Gestapo

Healthy At Any Age

Welcome to June Rousso's Blog !

iGlinavos

Thoughts of a recovering leftist

Scottish Gaelic

Word a Day

NEO INKA - ΣΕ ΠΡΟΣΤΑΤΕΥΕΙ, ΔΥΝΑΜΩΣΕ ΤΟ!!!

ΓΙΝΕ Ο ΕΠΟΜΕΝΟΣ ΚΡΙΚΟΣ ΣΤΟ ΔΙΚΤΥΟ.

Talk of the Tail

"Tails" from pets searching for their forever home.

ultimatemindsettoday

A great WordPress.com site

Are You Finished Yet?

Alea Jacta Est

Watts Up With That?

The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change

Levi Quackenboss

Putting the boss in quack.

KXAN.com

Austin News & Weather - Austin Texas, Round Rock, TX

Unstrange Mind

Remapping My World

psychinfo.gr

ΛΙΝΑ ΨΟΥΝΗ • psouni@gmail.com • www.psychinfo.gr

Wee Ginger Dug

Biting the hand of Project Fear

QuitTrain®

Quit Smoking & Take Your Freedom Back!

%d bloggers like this: