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61
Nyheter om den internasjonale vannsaken / Contamination leaves 400,000 Ohioans without tap water
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Mandag 11. August 2014, kl. 15:21 »
Contamination leaves 400,000 Ohioans without tap water By Gabriel Black
4 August 2014

On Sunday, residents of Toledo, Ohio were told not to drink the city’s water for a second day after city officials warned of a dangerous algae bloom contaminating the city’s water supply.

The city’s 400,000 residents have been avoiding tap water and relying on bottled water and emergency supplies. Officials say that boiling tap water in this case only increases its toxicity level. It is not considered safe to brush one’s teeth with the water and unhealthy individuals have been warned not even to let it touch their skin.

Officials say that the water is contaminated with microcystins, a toxin caused by algae blooms. Drinking water contaminated with the toxin can cause liver and nervous system damage. According to “ABC News,” those affected show flu-like symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, numbness and dizziness.

The city draws its water from the southwestern part of Lake Erie, the fourth largest of the Great Lakes and the eleventh largest lake in the world. This section of the lake is going through a harmful algal bloom (HAG). The bloom is big enough that it can be seen from space. Such blooms are often caused by poorly disposed of agricultural and industrial waste products.

Local TV station ABC 13 explained, “HABs occur when excess nitrogen and phosphorous are present in lakes and stream. Such nutrients can come from runoff of over-fertilized fields and lawns, from malfunctioning septic systems and from livestock pens.” “ABC News” said that bottled water was “flying off of the shelves” in Toledo and that there were long lines at distribution centers throughout the city. Video footage showed large groups of residents waiting around at those centers for the arrival of emergency water. One woman interviewed by the station said that she had spent the morning “looking for water.” She told the interviewer, “there was no water on the north side of Toledo.”

One resident, Aundrea Simmons, described her experience to the Associated Press while standing in line at a pharmacy for water , “It looked like Black Friday.” She worried, “I have children and elderly parents. They take their medication with water.” Another resident, Monica Morales told AP that one store’s entire bottled water supply was bought out within 30 minutes of opening. The wire service noted that stores as far as 50 miles away from Toledo reported water shortages.

Ohio Governor John Kasich has declared a state of emergency in response to the crisis. This has allowed the governor to call in the National Guard to help distribute water. Kasich also asked grocery outlets to redirect bottled water to northwestern Ohio to prevent shortages.

Toxin levels are reported to have dropped slightly in the water.
Officials are testing the water regularly. Kasich commented, however, that he did not yet know how long the warning would be in effect.

HABs are a growing problem on Lake Erie. In recent years there has been a bloom each summer. This year, experts had predicted the bloom to occur in September and had not expected it so early. A New York Times article on the subject reports that the lake is so “sick” that a sixth of the
9,910 square mile surface area was covered in 2011 by algae.

Jeff Reutter, director of the Ohio Sea Grant research lab, told AP that “Weather conditions made it such that [this year’s] bloom was going right into the water intakes.” Reutter said that each year the amount of phosphorous dumped into the lake increases. Concerning the pollution, he told the news service “We’re right back to where we were in the ‘70s.”

Lake Erie provides drinking water to 11 million people, including the
400,000 residents of Toledo. The crisis prompted Chicago to re-test its water supply, even though it does not get its water from Lake Erie.
Also, Detroit is scheduled to reevaluate its water contamination process Monday, though that city also does not get its water from the lake.

Earlier this year, 300,000 residents of Charleston, West Virginia had their water contaminated due to a toxic chemical spill. In some places residents could not use the water for 10 days.
62
Nyheter om den internasjonale vannsaken / Toledo, Ohio - Don’t Drink the Water! August 2014
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Mandag 11. August 2014, kl. 15:07 »
Don’t Drink the Water!
by MICHAEL LEONARDI
 
The  aquapocalypse in Toledo, Ohio is now entering its third day after citizens in the greater Toledo area woke up to a stark reality on Saturday morning when city officials had issued an unprecedented, region wide water advisory warning people not to drink or boil local tap water due to toxic contamination. It is further recommended that young children and the elderly not bathe in the water.  Samples at the Collins Park treatment plant, that services nearly 500,000 residents in NW Ohio and SE Michigan, have tested above safe drinking standards for microcystin and test results continue to show dangerous levels.  A state of emergency has been declared by the state of Ohio.
 
A giant Toxic Algae bloom, of the type that has been plaguing Lake Erie for a decade, has for the first time overwhelmed the local water treatment plant at Collins Park and forced city officials to take this step to protect the health and safety of citizens.   Years of hand wringing, millions of dollars in research grants, and lip service by the inept political caste on the causes and intensification of the blooms has done nothing to improve the situation.
 
The massive and recurring Toxic Algae Blooms on Lake Erie are a man made disaster. A combination of factory/industrial farming, sewage, storm water runoff and industrial pollution are to blame.  The massive coal burners, nuke plants and tar sands refineries along the lake use millions of gallons of lake water and create large heat zones from thermal pollution where water temperatures are much warmer.  The heat zone created by the thermal pollution along the lake, which includes the Monroe Power plant, the second largest coal burner in North America, was pinpointed in satellite imagery taken in 2011 as the spawning zone of that years algae bloom.
 
Microcystin is created by what are now called Harmful Algal Blooms or HABs.  They are caused by the addition of nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen to a water body and are made up of cyanobacteria, commonly called blue-green algae. Some cyanobacteria can produce toxins, called cyanotoxins.  Some cyanotoxins can be toxic for humans, animals and plants and microsystin is one of these toxic cyanotoxins that is has been plaguing Lake Erie for years.  Fertilizer from factory farm runoff is the number one contributor.
 
Acccording to the World Health Organization, when levels of microcystin reach over 1 parts per billion water should not be used for drinking or food preparation. The samples taken showed levels of 2.5 parts per billion, according to City Water department officials.  Tensions are now surfacing between elected officials and the EPA. Local congresswoman Marcy Kaptur infuriatedly demanded transparency from the intransigent Environmental Protection Agency that has not made any of their test results available to her or the public up until this time.  An EPA official told her in passing that there had been one spike of 3 parts per billion or three times safe drinking water standards. There is also growing frustration with the Environmental Protection Agency for its failure to create standard protocols on what is considered a safe level of the toxic Microcystin or standard sampling procedures. Ineptitude reigns supreme in the face of disaster.  Just one week before the current water ban, the EPA claimed that the water was safe and there was no risk of such an emergency occurring.
 
 
Toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie, 2011.
 
Many have seen this reality coming for sometime.  Anna Michalak, lead researcher on a National Science Foundation study project studying water quality and sustainability on the Great Lakes, describes the factors that have lead to this emergency, “It is a combination of agricultural practices, meteorological conditions and also slowly changing climate conditions that are coming together to make these blooms more and more likely as we look into the future.”   Climate change and global warming are definitely contributing factors as water temperatures in the shallowest of the Great Lakes increase.
 
Richard Stumpf, along with other scientists wrote a paper that shows there are ways to predict the severity of the blooms based on the amount of runoff from farms each year. “We’re looking at making some upgrades in our modeling of the location of the bloom so that we might be able to help the water suppliers along the lake better know if there’s potential impact, so they can plan better.”
 
Both Stumpf and Michalak agree that measures taken to reduce phosporous levels in the the lake improved condititions until the late 90s when blooms started increasing in intensity. Other sources of phosphorous and nitrates entering the Lake, including overburdened and antiquated sewage treatment plants are also to blame.
 
According to Accuweather, Ohio state officials released the first beach advisory on July 23 after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a June 2014 report predicting a significant threat to Lake Erie due to harmful algal blooms (HAB). The blooms are a malignant type of cyanobacteria that crowd water areas, typically late in the summer to early fall for the Great Lakes region.
 
Lake Erie endured an extreme bloom in 2011 that turned waters a putrid green and closed beaches due to health risks. Researchers have expected 2014 blooms to be milder, due to drier conditions, but winds seem to have pushed the Harmful Algal Blooms, HAB’s, into the coastline overhwelming the water intake ststem that is itself in need of an over 300 million dollar upgrade.
 
Sandy Bihn, of the environmental organization Western Lake Erie Water Keeper and an expert on the issue of Toxic Algae on Lake Erie,  says that the four largest contributors to these dangerous blooms are Fertilizer, Waste Water, Manuer, and Storm Water run-off.   While much is being done to reduce the sources of these nutrients reaching Lake Erie, it is obviously not enough. “The most important thing that can be done to reduce this threat to our Lake and our water supply is to identify all the sources of nutrients and phosporous entering Lake Erie and figure out how to stop them, “ Bihn said.
 
According to a report entitled HAB’s and drinking Water Concerns, from Timothy Murphy , comissioner of the Division of Environmental Services for the City of Toledo, The City of Toledo currently uses Potassium Permanganate, Powdered Activated Carbon, Aluminum Sulfate, and Chlorine to treat the local water supply for mitocystin and has had to increase the amount of these substances used in recent years to combat the Harmful Algae Blooms. The total cost of water treatment just for the HAB’s in 2013 was 4 million dollars with an increase of 1 million dollars authorized by City Council, the city of Toledo also adds flouride to the local water supply.
 
Regradless of whether or not the city and the state EPA deem the Toledo water safe to drink, many of us choose to avoid drinking it as best we can.  The chemicals used to “purify” the water have their own health risks and side effects and past analyses of Toledo water by independent environmental groups showed a myriad of cancer causing substances, including harmful levels of benzene.  Toledo activist and former city councli member Mike Ferner tied this crisis into the cost of war, the cost of “deeming the water safe,” for the nearly 500,000 residents in the guise of the needed upgrades to the water treatment facility would be roughly one fifth the amount local taxpayers have spent to fund the foreign wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Ferner said.  That additional 225 million dollars that our Senate approved in military aid for Israel’s massacre of Palestinians last week, on top of the over 3 billion a year already earmarked, could sure come in handy dealing with the rotting infrastructure in the rust belt, too.
 
Unfortunately, this is a crisis from which we will not be able to buy our way out.  The continued use and abuse of our Great Lakes will only lead to more and more emergencies  like this one in the future.  This report from the International Joint Commission on the Great Lakes makes some clear and direct recommendations on some initial steps that need to be taken, to improve the situation, and having the political and societal will to enact them would be a start.  The report does not go far enough, however, and I am curious to know if anyone actually thinks the oligarchy will do anything at all?
 
Michael Leonardi lives in Toledo, Ohio and can be reached at mikeleonardi@hotmail.com
63
Nyheter om den internasjonale vannsaken / TTIP - seminar 18. august 2014
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Mandag 11. August 2014, kl. 14:54 »

    
The Delegation of the European Union to Norway and
The Embassy of the United States of America in Norway

Cordially invite you to a presentation on the

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

by Peter Chase, Vice President for Europe, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Monday, August 18, 2014

14:00 Registration
14:30 Seminar begins


Further information on the TTIP:

- http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/ttip/

- http://www.ustr.gov/ttip
    
 
http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/ttip/

News
United States Brussels, 4 July 2014
Protecting public services in TTIP and other EU trade agreements
 
In the EU, public services such as healthcare and education are amongst the best in the world. They play a special role which Europeans value, and which EU law recognises.

For that reason the EU, and individual EU countries, are required to protect public services in any new laws or policies they adopt - including EU-wide trade agreements with countries outside Europe.

So all EU trade deals provide three important guarantees for public services – on regulation, monopolies and so-called 'national treatment'. These ensure that EU governments remain entirely free to manage public services as they wish.
1.   Monopolies – if they wish, EU governments can organise public services so that just one supplier provides the service. This is what economists call a 'monopoly'. The single supplier can be:
o   publicly owned – in other words, a 'public monopoly'
o   a private firm with the exclusive right to offer a particular service.

And it can operate at any level – nationally, regionally or locally.
 
2.   'National treatment' and 'market access'- for publicly-funded healthcare and social services, education or water services, EU governments don't have to treat companies or individuals from outside the EU the same as those from within Europe and do not have to provide access to their markets. Instead, governments can:
o   favour European firms over foreign ones
o   prevent foreign firms from providing, or investing in, these services
o   reverse at a later date any decision to allow foreign firms to provide, or invest in, a particular service.
 
3.   Regulation – EU trade agreements leave EU governments free to regulate whatever they consider to be public services.
Governments can do so:
o   however they choose - for example, in the way they:
   give licenses to suppliers to provide a particular service
   set the quality standards that suppliers have to meet
o   at any level of government – national, regional or local

There is just one condition, which concerns companies from outside the EU which a government has already allowed to operate in its territory.
In such cases, the government must treat the companies concerned the same way as it treats European ones.
These three guarantees apply, regardless of how the EU lists its commitments on services in its trade agreements:
•   in some agreements, each EU country specifies the kinds of service it will open up to foreign suppliers – this is known as 'positive listing'
•   in others, EU states say they will open up all services to foreign providers, except for certain services listed in an annex – known as 'negative listing'
The TTIP will work in exactly the same way, offering the same three guarantees for public services.

How this looks in a trade agreement

Trade deals, like other policies, can be complex. Trade negotiators and lawyers sometimes use technical terms which are precise, but which aren't always easy for others to understand. The section below shows:
•   text in existing EU trade agreements which refers to public services
•   what that text means in plain English.
 
Text in EU trade agreements:
EU: services considered to be public utilities at a national or local level may be subject to public monopolies or to exclusive rights granted to private operators.
Meaning in plain English:
EU governments are free to decide what they consider to be public 'utilities' or services.
If they wish, EU governments can organise these services so that just one supplier provides the service – what economists call a 'monopoly'. This single provider can be:
•   publicly owned ('public monopoly')
•   a private firm which has the right to offer a particular service ('exclusive rights')
Text in EU trade agreements:
The EU reserves the right to adopt or maintain any measure with regard to:
•   publicly funded education services
•   the provision of all health and social services which receive public funding or state support in any form, and are therefore not considered to be privately funded.
•   services relating to the collection, purification, distribution and management of water to all kinds of users.
Meaning in plain English:
EU governments can take measures with regards to certain services in whatever way they choose. This can include the way they:
•   provide public funding or state support
•   decide who can operate or invest in their market.
Governments can do so, even if it means they treat EU suppliers or investors differently from ones based in the country signing the trade deal with the EU. These services comprise:
•   publicly-funded education:
o   primary and secondary schools
o   colleges and universities
•   publicly-funded healthcare and social services:
o   hospitals
o   ambulances
o   residential health facilities
o   welfare services for: children, the elderly, other vulnerable groups
o   benefits for disabled people
•   the supply of water.
In addition, governments can freely choose contractors if they decide to outsource some elements of public services, as long as they comply with the rules on government procurement. Of course, the governments are free to change their minds in the future and reverse any decision on such outsourcing. Usually, such issues are defined in the specific chapter on public procurement.

64
Nyheter om vannsaken i Norge / TTIP - seminar 18. august 2014
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Mandag 11. August 2014, kl. 14:53 »

    
The Delegation of the European Union to Norway and
The Embassy of the United States of America in Norway

Cordially invite you to a presentation on the

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

by Peter Chase, Vice President for Europe, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Monday, August 18, 2014

14:00 Registration
14:30 Seminar begins


Further information on the TTIP:

- http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/ttip/

- http://www.ustr.gov/ttip
    
 
http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/ttip/

News
United States Brussels, 4 July 2014
Protecting public services in TTIP and other EU trade agreements
 
In the EU, public services such as healthcare and education are amongst the best in the world. They play a special role which Europeans value, and which EU law recognises.

For that reason the EU, and individual EU countries, are required to protect public services in any new laws or policies they adopt - including EU-wide trade agreements with countries outside Europe.

So all EU trade deals provide three important guarantees for public services – on regulation, monopolies and so-called 'national treatment'. These ensure that EU governments remain entirely free to manage public services as they wish.
1.   Monopolies – if they wish, EU governments can organise public services so that just one supplier provides the service. This is what economists call a 'monopoly'. The single supplier can be:
o   publicly owned – in other words, a 'public monopoly'
o   a private firm with the exclusive right to offer a particular service.

And it can operate at any level – nationally, regionally or locally.
 
2.   'National treatment' and 'market access'- for publicly-funded healthcare and social services, education or water services, EU governments don't have to treat companies or individuals from outside the EU the same as those from within Europe and do not have to provide access to their markets. Instead, governments can:
o   favour European firms over foreign ones
o   prevent foreign firms from providing, or investing in, these services
o   reverse at a later date any decision to allow foreign firms to provide, or invest in, a particular service.
 
3.   Regulation – EU trade agreements leave EU governments free to regulate whatever they consider to be public services.
Governments can do so:
o   however they choose - for example, in the way they:
   give licenses to suppliers to provide a particular service
   set the quality standards that suppliers have to meet
o   at any level of government – national, regional or local

There is just one condition, which concerns companies from outside the EU which a government has already allowed to operate in its territory.
In such cases, the government must treat the companies concerned the same way as it treats European ones.
These three guarantees apply, regardless of how the EU lists its commitments on services in its trade agreements:
•   in some agreements, each EU country specifies the kinds of service it will open up to foreign suppliers – this is known as 'positive listing'
•   in others, EU states say they will open up all services to foreign providers, except for certain services listed in an annex – known as 'negative listing'
The TTIP will work in exactly the same way, offering the same three guarantees for public services.

How this looks in a trade agreement

Trade deals, like other policies, can be complex. Trade negotiators and lawyers sometimes use technical terms which are precise, but which aren't always easy for others to understand. The section below shows:
•   text in existing EU trade agreements which refers to public services
•   what that text means in plain English.
 
Text in EU trade agreements:
EU: services considered to be public utilities at a national or local level may be subject to public monopolies or to exclusive rights granted to private operators.
Meaning in plain English:
EU governments are free to decide what they consider to be public 'utilities' or services.
If they wish, EU governments can organise these services so that just one supplier provides the service – what economists call a 'monopoly'. This single provider can be:
•   publicly owned ('public monopoly')
•   a private firm which has the right to offer a particular service ('exclusive rights')
Text in EU trade agreements:
The EU reserves the right to adopt or maintain any measure with regard to:
•   publicly funded education services
•   the provision of all health and social services which receive public funding or state support in any form, and are therefore not considered to be privately funded.
•   services relating to the collection, purification, distribution and management of water to all kinds of users.
Meaning in plain English:
EU governments can take measures with regards to certain services in whatever way they choose. This can include the way they:
•   provide public funding or state support
•   decide who can operate or invest in their market.
Governments can do so, even if it means they treat EU suppliers or investors differently from ones based in the country signing the trade deal with the EU. These services comprise:
•   publicly-funded education:
o   primary and secondary schools
o   colleges and universities
•   publicly-funded healthcare and social services:
o   hospitals
o   ambulances
o   residential health facilities
o   welfare services for: children, the elderly, other vulnerable groups
o   benefits for disabled people
•   the supply of water.
In addition, governments can freely choose contractors if they decide to outsource some elements of public services, as long as they comply with the rules on government procurement. Of course, the governments are free to change their minds in the future and reverse any decision on such outsourcing. Usually, such issues are defined in the specific chapter on public procurement.

65
Vannposten / Vannposten nr. 147 Høyesterettsdom mot privatisering
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Onsdag 2. Juli 2014, kl. 14:26 »
Vann- og avløpsverkene i Athen og Thessaloniki
har i flere år vært under press for privatisering

Planene om å selge vannverkene i Athen og Thessaloniki ble imidlertid utsatt for et stort tilbakeslag da landets høyeste administrative domstol blokkerte overføringen av statlige aksjer i Athens vannverk til et fond opprettet for privatiseringsformål.

EYDAP - Athen
Det begynte med at regjeringen i januar 2012 overførte en eierandel i EYDAP, Athens vann- og avløpsverk, på 27,3 prosent til det greske Asset Development Fund (HRADF-TAYPED).  I mai samme år ble det overført nok en eierandel på 34,03 prosent. Hensikten var at disse aksjene, som gir en kontrollerende eierandel, skulle selges til private investorer.
Nylig vedtok Høyesterett at en privatisering av EYDAP (Athen) vil være grunnlovsstridig. Overføring av en kontrollerende eierandel til private hender krenker artiklene 5 og 21 i den greske grunnloven. Disse artiklene gjør staten ansvarlig for å beskytte borgernes grunnleggende rett til helse. Selges vann- og avløpsverket, vil staten være ute av stand til å oppfylle sine konstitusjonelle plikter, fastslår Høyesterett. EYDAP er et de facto monopol i Attica-regionen og nødvendig for gode sanitære forhold.
 
Retten reverserer med andre ord overføringen av eierandelene til Asset Development Fund.  

Dommen falt etter at Athens innbyggere hadde klaget privatiseringen av EYDAP inn for retten.


EYATH - Thessaloniki
Innbyggere i Thessaloniki har levert en lignende underskriftskampanje mot privatiseringen av EYATH. Klagen ble imidlertid forkastet av tekniske årsaker. Men anti-privatiseringsaksjonistene, sammen med kommuner fra regionen Makedonia arbeider med utformingen av en ny klage.

Privatiseringen av EYATH er dessverre kommet lenger enn tilfellet er med vann- og avløpsverket i Athen. Asset Development Fund (HRADF-TAYPED) ønsker å selge en kontrollerende andel i EYATH til en av to investorer som ble godkjent i mai 2013; enten til konsortiet Suez/Ellaktor eller Merokot/G. Apostolopoulos/Miya/Terna Energy.

De kvalifiserte selskapene er nå i ferd med å sende inn bindende tilbud.

Initiativ 136, som er et abonnentinitiativ for å overta vannverket, ser ikke ut til å ha blitt godkjent som anbydere. Den trange økonomiske situasjonen til svært mange grekere kan være årsaken til at initiativet ikke har fått den ønskede oppslutningen. Men i folkeavstemningen 25. mai viste befolkningen at den vil ha fortsatt offentlig eierskap.

Dommen over privatiseringen av EYDAP (Athen) har imidlertid kastet nytt lys også over prosessen i Thessaloniki. Mange er nå av den oppfatning at Høyesterett vil ha et lignende syn på EYATH (Thessaloniki).


Troikaen - Det internasjonale pengefond, Den europeiske sentralbanken og EU-kommisjonen – krever strukturelle endringer og salg av statlig eiendom mot økonomiske gjenytelser i form av lån til staten (via private banker!). De to største vann- og avløpsverkene i Hellas er blant de mest lukrative salgsobjektene.

Den greske regjeringens desperate jakt på statlig eiendom som ansees for gode investeringsobjekter, har imidlertid fått et skudd for baugen i den månedsgamle høyesteretts-dommen.

Blant regjeringens planer om å privatisere statseide selskaper har ingen tiltrukket seg så mye motstand som overføringen av vannverkene i de to største byene i Hellas til private hender.

Greske aktivister har vist til erfaringer fra andre land, der privatisering av vannverk har hatt store negative konsekvenser. Når non-profit-virksomheter blir forvandlet til for-profit-selskaper, stiger prisen, mens kvaliteten faller. Et eksempel er Berliner Wasserbetriebe, som ble solgt til private investorer i 1999. Etter en folkeavstemning i 2011 ble vannforsyningen kjøpt tilbake av kommunen.
 
Det er også verdt å merke seg at, i motsetning til andre privatiseringer, er salg av vannverkene i Hellas strengt tatt ikke en forutsetning for lånene innvilget av Det internasjonale pengefondet, Den europeiske sentralbank og EU-kommisjonen. EU-kommisjonen har gjort det klart at vann utelukkes fra relevante direktiver om statlige selskaper.  

Det planlagte salget av vannverkene har vært særdeles upopulært i Hellas. En uoffisiell folkeavstemning parallelt med den første runden av kommunevalget i slutten av mai (og som regjeringen gjorde sitt ytterste for å blokkere) viste at 98 prosent var imot privatiseringen.

Til tross for dette, har regjeringen insistert på å overføre EYDAP og EYATH, vann- og avløpsselskapene i henholdsvis Athen og Thessaloniki til private hender.

Mens regjeringen er på desperate jakt etter å tilfredsstille troikaens krav til privatiseringer, vil en anti-privatiseringsdom også over EYATH være en lettelse for innbyggerne i Thessaloniki. De ønsker tilgang til vann- og sanitærtjenester som ikke går gjennom hendene på private selskaper ute etter å maksimere profitt.

Kilde: ThePressproject.net
66
Nyheter om den internasjonale vannsaken / WHOS's SAVING WHOM
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Torsdag 19. Juni 2014, kl. 13:43 »
http://www.whos-saving-whom.org/index.php/en/teaser

Account holder: Who Is Saving Whom?     IBAN: DE49430609672020346200   
BIC: GENODEM1GLS

film@whos-saving-whom.org | www.whos-saving-whom.org
 
After the elections to the European parliament,  the media briefly discussed the scare caused by the performance of the right wing parties and nationalists. But only for a short time. However,  the victory of political parties in France (Front National), the UK (UK independence party) and Denmark (Danish people's party), which service nationalistic and racist prejudices would give enough grounds for a sense of alarm within the EU.
Nationalists take advantage of the antipathy evoked against the EU and the EURO
The common currency brought many countries of the so-called EU-periphery in a situation of economic defensive. Even a country like France faces these kinds of dangers vis-à-vis the German export industry. Previously, these country simply could devaluate their currency, resulting in the German imported good being more expensive and the local products relatively more affordable. The EURO now makes this impossible. During interviews for the film „Who is saving whom?“ we heard this argument over and over, and not only from nationalists. Everywhere the bottom is falling out of local industries due to the pressure of competition.   All over Europe, the scissors between rich and poor are opening faster and faster. Add to this the catastrophic austerity policy prescribed by the German government.In such an environment, the slogans of the nationalists fall on fertile ground. Xenophobia and rejection of the common currency are going hand in hand and are straightforward answers.   
How can  democrats counter such a disaster?
People that were hoping that a unified Europe would bring the peaceful co-existence of different nations and cultures? What can our answer be? Is the Euro only half as bad?
Marie le Pen should not be left to criticize the Euro!
The film Who is saving whom? intends to illustrate that the Euro has become especially a  neoliberal instrument of the big multinationals and banks. 
The EURO of the European citizens would have needed to prevent from the start the ruinous competition for low salaries and social standards in the Euro zone. In principle, this is what founding nations of the Euro had agreed upon. But especially Germany breached this agreement massively right away.  The deregulation of the labor force – legalizing temporary employment, labour leasing, mini-jobs on 400 Euro basis, the breakup of the job dismissal protection   – has lowered the relative unit labor costs and has given the German export industries an advantages. For example, this made German cars cheaper in Italy and France, which pre-programmed the decline of the Italian and French automobile industries. The competition for lower corporate taxes has similar consequences. The capital flows towards  places with the lowest taxes and environmental restrictions. This is the way that the multinational companies are playing nations against nations and cities against cities. Such a  ruinous mutual outmaneuvering in a common currency zone impoverishes the society as a whole, and enriches the multinationals.  And on top of it, democracy is sacrificed according to the wish of the investors. 
The EURO of the European citizens would also need a different  European Central reserve bank. The US-Fed for example does finance its state directly.  The European Central Bank is not allowed to do this. Instead, it is giving out cheap loans (right now with an interest rate of around 0,25%) to private banks.  And these pass on the loans to the governments of the Euro zone with average interest rates between   3 and 6% - a financing scheme for private banks that is worth billions! More and more Euro-states are thus entangled in a debt trap and are turning into lasting financiers for the global banking multis of the world without any realistic hope for a lasting  debt relief.
A EURO of the  European citizens was obviously not desirable. 
It is not the EURO per se that is the evil. But political decisions, two of which are discussed here, have turned the Euro into an instrument that makes Europe a victim of banks and big multinationals, which become richer and more powerful while individual people are becoming poorer and increasingly powerless.
Whoever ignores these facts empowers nationalists and racists!
Every day, dedicated citizens make their contribution that the film project  „Who is saving whom?“ becomes reality. Some donate money. We already collected 149.180 € (Only  10.820€ to go). Others translate interviews. Others again offer us a place to stay or information on location when we are filming. Our most heartfelt thanks to all of them! We could not make the film without you! 

The date for the premiere is fixed! On Wednesday February 2, 2015, around 8PM, the film Who is saving whom will be screened in at least 150 cities at the same time !
All those who helped us realizing this film will receive a DVD in time, so you can organize your own premiere in time. You could plan and prepare this big action day together with us , already now!
In order for us to manage the remainder of the financing, we please ask you to: 
-   Find those that have not made a donation yet!
-   Spread this letter !
-   Put our Who-is-saving-whom-Teaser  on your website http://www.whos-saving-whom.org/index.php/en/teaser

Our heart-felt greetings, your film team from who-is-saving-whom.

Leslie Franke, Lissi Dobbler and Herdolor Lorenz

film@whos-saving-whom.org | www.whos-saving-whom.org

Account holder: Who Is Saving Whom?     IBAN: DE49430609672020346200   
BIC: GENODEM1GLS
67
Vannposten / Vannposten nr. 146 USA's vannkriger i Midt-Østen
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Onsdag 18. Juni 2014, kl. 11:00 »
USA’s vannkriger i Midtøsten

Vestlige interesser i Syria og intervensjonene i Irak og Libya handler ikke bare om olje, men om noe enda mer dyrebart; nemlig vann.

 
Hydro-imperialismen er over oss
Den siste bølgen av imperialistiske kriger blir nå utkjempet om naturens mest verdifulle ressurs - vann.

Før invasjonen i Irak i 2003, rapporterte CIA-analytikere at kontroll over elver, innsjøer og grunnvann vil bli mål for nye kriger. Spådommene ble realisert i rask rekkefølge i Irak, Libya og Syria.
 
Ifølge Center for Public Integrity, tjener vestlige selskaper milliarder på privatiseringer, rensing og distribusjon av vann i en region der vann ofte selges for langt mer enn olje.

   
Irak 2003
Det US-amerikanske selskapet Bechtel ble tildelt en gjenoppbyggingskontrakt for vannforsyningen i Irak til en verdi av 100 milliarder dollar. Dette er den største gjenoppbyggingskontrakten i Irak overhodet. Det var USAID som valgte Bechtel – uten anbudskonkurranse.
Bechtel er beryktet for kostnadsoverskridelser og korrupsjon. Selskapet kan også klandres for å ha dødsfall på samvittigheten. Bechtel var blant annet involvert i privatiseringen av vannforsyningen i Bolivia. Og da selskapet ble kastet ut av landet, saksøkte det regjeringen for kanselleringen av kontrakten. 
 

Libya
Libya har en grunnvannsressurs man antar er verdens største. Gaddafi hadde investert 25 milliarder dollar i vannforsyningen, for blant annet å kunne dyrke opp ørkenlandskapet. I dag er det de franske selskapene Suez, Ondeo og Saur som er involvert i Libyas vannforsyning. Disse selskapene kontrollerer nesten halvparten av verdens vannmarkeder til en verdi av 400 milliarder dollar.

 
Syria
Det siste tilfelle av hydro-imperialisme er krigen i Syria. Israel har ledet en vestlig kampanje for å støtte syriske opprørere; dels fordi israelske ledere hevder at den syriske presidenten Bashar Al-Assad, utgjør en eksistensiell trussel mot Israel når det gjelder vannforsyningen. President Assad har nemlig lovet å ta tilbake Golanhøydene - en landstripe Israel okkuperte fra Syria i seksdagerskrigen i 1967. Vann fra Golanhøydene utgjør 40 prosent av Israels ferskvannsforbruk.
 
"Syrisk kontroll over halvparten av vårt vannbehov utgjør en større trussel enn Iran med en bombe", har tidligere etterretningssjef Meir Dagan bemerket.
 
Men president Assad, som har vært tilbakeholden med å kommersialisere vannforsyningen, hindrer også transnasjonale selskaper i å oppnå milliarder av dollar i fortjeneste.

Kontroll over naturens mest verdifulle ressurs utgjør forskjellen mellom overlevelse og fall. Saddam Hussein, Muhammar Gaddafi og Bashir Al-Assad visste og vet dette alt for godt.

 
Kilde: Garikai Chengu, Harvard University.


68
Nyheter om den internasjonale vannsaken / Coca-Cola Plant Shut Down in India
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Onsdag 18. Juni 2014, kl. 10:56 »
Coca-Cola Plant Shut Down in India, Authorities Cancel License
June 18, 2014
 
Varanasi, India: Coca-Cola’s bottling plant has been shut down by state government authorities in Mehdiganj in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India.
 
The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) ordered the plant to shut down because it found the company to be violating a number of conditions of its license, or “No Objection Certificate” (NOC).
 
The Pollution Control Board, in its order dated June 6, 2014 (which we obtained yesterday), noted that Coca-Cola had failed to obtain clearance to extract groundwater from the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA), a government agency that monitors and regulates ground water use in water-stressed areas. 
 
The groundwater in Mehdiganj has gone from “safe” category in 1999 when Coca-Cola started operations to “critical” in 2009, according to the CGWA.  As a result, more ground water use restrictions are in place, including on ground water use by farmers and the community for drinking water.
 
The closure is a major victory for the community in Mehdiganj which has actively engaged the UPPCB, CGWA and other government agencies to shut down Coca-Cola’s plant.  The campaign had also alerted the government to Coca-Cola’s failure to meet a key condition of a temporary license given to it – obtaining the clearance from the CGWA. The campaign, which enjoys widespread local support, had also sent letters from 15 village councils (panchayat) in April 2013 seeking closure of Coca-Cola’s plant.
 
UPPCB’s closure order also noted that Coca-Cola had increased its production capacity from 20,000 cases per day to 36,000 without the Board’s permission, and suggested that the company may have misled the Board about the actual amount of industrial waste discharge (which has remained constant, according to Coca-Cola, in spite of increasing production by 80%).   The Board also cast doubt on Coca-Cola’s waste treatment plant, noting that the “Treatment System/Plant” was not operating “smoothly/properly”.
 
Coca-Cola had been seeking to expand the capacity of its existing plant in Mehdiganj five-fold, part of its aggressive growth strategy of India which in 2012 announced an additional $5 billion investment by 2020 as sales in industrialized countries decline or stagnate due to health concerns. 
 
Coca-Cola has approached the National Green Tribunal (NGT), an environmental court in India, appealing against the decision of the UPPCB and has asked to be allowed to re-open its shut down facility.  The NGT has not yet allowed the plant to reopen in the three hearings so far. 
 
The closure of Coca-Cola’s bottling plant comes at the peak of Coca-Cola’s sales season in India, and the company has cited financial losses to the NGT as a reason for reopening the plant quickly.
 
Welcoming the closure of Coca-Cola’s plant, Nandlal Master of Lok Samiti who has spearheaded the local campaign said, “We knew it was a matter of time before the government acknowledged the demands of the community.  This is a great victory and a welcome confirmation that local communities can successfully take on big, powerful business.”
 
Coca-Cola’s expanded facility in Mehdiganj has already been built but has not been able to begin commercial operations.  The company also faces a major obstacle in its operations because some of the land acquired by Coca-Cola for its plant is community owned land and cannot be used for private purposes.  In December 2013, local authorities passed an order to evict Coca-Cola from the illegally occupied land but Coca-Cola approached the courts and obtained a stay order.
 
Coca-Cola has also been forced to shut down another bottling plant in India in 2004 – in Plachimada in the state of Kerala, and faces legislation holding it liable for $47 million in damages as a result of its operations.  The company is also the target of a major community campaign in Kala Dera in Rajasthan where the community is seeking closure of the bottling plant due to rapidly depleting ground water.  Most recently, Coca-Cola’s plants to build a new factory in Charba in Uttarakhand were defeated almost as soon as the proposal was made public in 2013, testament to how quickly and efficiently communities can organize and network in India against problematic companies such as Coca-Cola.
 
“Coca-Cola’s thirst for profits in India have placed its business interests over the well-being of communities and the environment and this is not acceptable as the community of Mehdiganj has shown.  We will ensure that Coca-Cola will face heightened scrutiny anywhere it plans to operate in India because the track record of the company is dismal”, said Amit Srivastava of the international campaigning group, India Resource Center.
 
For background on Mehdiganj and for more information visit www.IndiaResource.org
 
Contacts:
Nandlal Master, Lok Samiti (Hindi) +91 94153 00520
Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center +91 98103 46161
69
Vannposten / Vannposten nr. 145 Ordbok 2014 - Kommer vi noensinne ut av det?
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Mandag 2. Juni 2014, kl. 18:21 »

EU, EØS, OECD, FN, WTO, GATS, TISA, TTIP

Da Pinochet ga fra seg makten i Chile, gjorde han det vel vitende om at lovverket var omarbeidet i en grad som gjorde det tilnærmet umulig for senere regjeringer å endre den økonomiske politikken.  Dermed ble sosialdemokraten Michelle Bachellet i forrige presidentperiode tvunget til å overlate vannverket i Santiago til et spansk foretak. 

Norge er spunnet inn i et nettverk av organisasjoner og avtaler som alle går ut på å liberalisere den økonomiske politikken. Det foregår forhandlinger om tjenestesektoren mellom EU, USA, Norge og en rekke land kloden rundt. Da spiller det liten rolle om EU-kommisjonen har unntatt vannforsyningen (i tre år) fra Konsesjonsdirektivet.


EU
EU’s grunnpilarer er fri flyt av varer, tjenester, kapital og arbeidskraft. Fri flyt av tjenester vil si at et hvilket som helst selskap skal kunne tilby sine tjenester i et hvilket som helst EU/EØS-land. Det dreier seg ikke bare om rett til, men krav om anbudskonkurranse. Fri flyt av kapital innebærer blant annet retten til oppkjøp av bedrifter. Fri flyt av arbeidskraft betyr ikke frihet for mennesker til å bosette seg der de vil, slik man kanskje kunne tro, men rett til import av stadig billigere arbeidskraft, ettersom arbeidsløsheten vokser over hele Europa.


EØS
Norge er knyttet til EU’s politikk gjennom EØS-avtalen sammen med Island og Lichtenstein.


OECD
Alle land som mottok den såkalte Marshall-hjelpen etter 2. verdenskrig måtte være med i OEEC, som siden ble omdannet til organisasjonen OECD. OECD’s målsetting er en liberal økonomisk politikk.


FN
FN har også frihandel på programmet. Verdensbanken og IMF, som er særorganisasjoner i FN, arbeider aktivt for markedsliberalisering. Undergrupper som vi har omtalt tidligere, arbeider for eksempel for liberalisering av vannforsyningen.
WTO
Verdens handelsorganisasjon (WTO) startet som en frihandelsavtale, men ble siden gjort om til en organisasjon.


GATS
Generalavtalen om handel med tjenester (GATS) er en tjenesteavtale innenfor WTO.


TISA
Trade in Service Agreement (TISA) handler om liberalisering av alle tjenestesektorer, inkludert vannforsyningen. Den bygger på GATS-avtalen, som har møtt sterk motbør i mange WTO-land. WTOs ministermøte i 2011, som umulig kan ha omfattet alle ministrene, fant derfor ut at det var nødvendig å finne alternative måter å fremme liberaliseringen på. En rekke land, inkludert Norge (under den rød-grønne regjeringen!), EU og USA tok initiativ til en egen avtale. Men målsettingen er å integrere den i WTO. Formelle forhandlinger startet i juni 2013 med 50 WTO-medlemmer. 
Forhandlingene har vært forsøkt hemmeligholdt, ikke bare posisjonene, slik det er vanlig, men at forhandlingene i det hele tatt finner sted. TISA skal sørge for at nasjonal politikk ikke kan skape hindre for en liberalisert økonomi innen tjenestesektoren.


TTIP
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) er en frihandelsavtale under forhandlinger mellom EU og USA. Liksom OECD og WTO startet som frihandelsavtalene OEEC og GATT, for å resultere i organisasjoner det er langt vanskeligere å komme seg ut av, kan TTIP ende som transatlantisk union.

Kommer vi noensinne ut av det?
70
Nyheter om den internasjonale vannsaken / 18 May, Thessaloniki's water referendum
« Nyeste innlegg av Trude Søndag 11. Mai 2014, kl. 18:22 »
Dear friends,

as you might know, next Sunday there is a city-wide referendum organised in Thessaloniki by the movements against water privatisation. It is a significant battle in the ongoing struggle against neoliberal plunder and the degradation of our lives.

Find in the following link a text detailing the context and the state of the struggle.

http://www.autonomias.net/2014/05/18-may-thessalonikis-water-referendum.html

Forward, republish, spread the word!

in solidarity,
Teo

Financial contribution to help pay for advertisement in the local media

The European Federation of Public Service Unions has set up a bank account for this purpose:

IBAN BE62 4376 2009 4261 – BIC: KREDBEBB, please use the reference Thessaloniki.

 
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