Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/693/13128
News in brief
RBS, the bank that became synonymous with greedy speculative bankers (Fred 'the shred' Goodwin), huge corporate losses and publicly funded bailouts, has once again rewarded its top investment bankers with a £500 million pay and bonus pot. This sum works out at one million pounds for each fat cat and comes on top of a similar payout last year when RBS recorded a £1.1 billion loss.
It's heart-warming that the bank has sensitively shown its appreciation of a bottomless public purse in these hard times!
Back in July, Olympic officials and tourism chiefs were boasting that the multi-billion pound London 2012 Olympic games would be a major boost for the tourism industry.
However, the European Tourism Operators Association expects a 30% fall in visitors in the month before the games, and this decline possibly lasting months or years.
But there are some winners, most notably sponsors like BP, recently granted a government licence for deepwater drilling operations in the North Sea, and EDF, which has just ramped up its gas and electricity prices by an average of 10%.
The environmentally dangerous 'fracking' method of energy companies to extract gas deposits from underground shale rock, has not stopped the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency from granting licences to energy companies to use this method in Scotland.
It comes only days after an independent report concluded that two earthquakes in the Blackpool area in April and May were almost certainly caused by fracking, and that drilling the well by Cuadrilla Resources had resulted in a further 48 smaller tremors this year.
Moreover, the state of Oklahoma in the USA is investigating whether a 20-fold+ jump in the number of earthquakes in the past two years is connected to an increase in fracking there.
According to a seismologist at the Oklahoma Geological Survey the number of earthquakes recorded in the state soared from its average of about 50 a year to 1,047 last year and is likely to match or break that record this year.
Friends like this
The Israeli state is notorious for recently brutalising peaceful Gaza freedom flotilla protesters, sanctioning new settler land grabs in the Palestinian West Bank, and impoverishing its population. And now the Israeli ambassador to the UN has been seen cosying-up to extreme far-right politicians.
Ron Prosor, the Israeli diplomat, was pictured chatting to Marine Le Pen the leader of France's racist National Front (FN) party. Le Pen described their conversation as "warm".
Most Israelis will be appalled by this. After all Marine's father and former leader of the FN, Jean-Marie Le Pen, said that the Nazi gas chambers were merely a "point of detail of the history of the Second World War".
In The Socialist 9 November 2011:
Fighting the cuts
Socialist Party event
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis