Tag Archives: Europe

The deadly asbestos trade


Asbestos is a mineral with long, thin fibrous crystals. The word asbestos (῾ἀσβεστος) is derived from a Greek adjective meaning inextinguishable. The Greeks termed asbestos the miracle mineral because of its soft and pliant properties, as well as its ability to withstand heat.

Asbestos is known to have toxicity. The inhalation of toxic asbestos fibers can cause serious illnesses, including malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis (also called pneumoconiosis). Since the mid 1980s, many uses of asbestos have been banned in many countries.

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Canada’s deadly trade in asbestos

by Mark Bourrie

Canada is starting work this summer on a billion dollar project to renovate its parliamentary buildings and cleanse them of asbestos, which has been found to cause cancer.

The project will take six years to complete but, in the meantime, Canadian government agents are still pushing exports of the fibre. Canada even has gone so far as to argue a challenge at the World Trade Organization that a proposed French ban on asbestos imports would be an illegal trade practice.

Despite recent warnings that asbestos was the cause of 500,000 cancer victims in western Europe alone, Canadian asbestos producers continue to promote and sell their fibre worldwide – especially to developing nations.

Asbestos is used as a binder in cement, as insulation, and in anti-fire walls. It is also a potent carcinogen with a long, well-documented legacy of death.

The danger comes when small asbestos fibres are released and inhaled by labourers. The fibres cause cancerous growths in the lungs, lung lining and abdomen but can take 20 years or more to manifest.

In 1997, Canada exported 430,000 tonnes of asbestos – more than 96% of production – most of it to the developing world. Canada is the world’s second-largest exporter of asbestos after Russia.

Union activists, who have visited India and other developing countries say, however, that the public relations efforts of the government and the asbestos industry are simply window-dressing to hide the fact that most people who work with the natural mineral fibre risk cancer.

Critics of Canada’s asbestos exports say the country is exporting death to protect the profits of a handful of companies and the jobs of 1,600 miners.

“What’s the difference between land mines and asbestos?” asks Dr. Barry Castleman, author of a respected book on the danger of asbestos. “A key difference, of course, is that Canada doesn’t export land mines.”

At the heart of the issue is Canada’s own precarious political situation. All of the asbestos mines in Canada are in Quebec, a predominantly French-speaking province with a separatist government.

Federal and provincial politicians are pushing asbestos exports to prove that they are successful at developing overseas markets, and are protective of Quebec workers. Critics of asbestos exports say the industry would probably be allowed to die if it was centred in any other part of the country.

“Personally, I believe this is all about Quebec politics,” says Canadian Auto Workers Health and Safety director Cathy Walker. “The Canadian and Quebec governments are competing with one another to show just how prepared they all are to protect Quebec jobs.”

The real costs will be borne by the developing world, she says.

Walker just returned from India, where she saw unprotected workers slashing open bags of asbestos fibres. In places where the asbestos was being mixed into cement, clouds of the carcinogenic fibres swirled around workers.

In Britain, the Cancer Research Campaign said in January that its study into the European asbestos-linked cancer epidemic should sound alarm bells everywhere, “particularly in the developing world where uncontrolled asbestos is still very common,” said CRC director Gordon McVie.

Seven of Canada’s top 10 markets are Third World countries. Still, the Canadian government, the asbestos industry and lobby groups are trying to put a good face on the asbestos industry.

Recently, diplomats stationed here were flown to asbestos- producing regions on an all-expense-paid first-class junket.

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A Timely Video for Remembrance Day in Canada – “A Pittance in Time”


On November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a Shoppers Drug Mart store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM an announcement came over the store’s PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.

Free trade Canada – Europe – Secret agreement in the works?


From Thursday’s Globe and Mail

LONDON — Canadian and European officials say they plan to begin negotiating a massive agreement to integrate Canada’s economy with the 27 nations of the European Union, with preliminary talks to be launched at an Oct. 17 summit in Montreal three days after the federal election.

Trade Minister Michael Fortier and his staff have been engaged for the past two months with EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and the representatives of European governments in an effort to begin what a senior EU official involved in the talks described in an interview yesterday as “deep economic integration negotiations.”

If successful, Canada would be the first developed nation to have open trade relations with the EU, which has completely open borders between its members but imposes steep trade and investment barriers on outsiders.

The proposed pact would far exceed the scope of older agreements such as NAFTA by encompassing not only unrestricted trade in goods, services and investment and the removal of tariffs, but also the free movement of skilled people and an open market in government services and procurement – which would require that Canadian governments allow European companies to bid as equals on government contracts for both goods and services and end the favouring of local or national providers of public-sector services.

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http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080918.wtrade18/BNStory/International/home

WOW! Everyone please “calm down”….


 

Everyone please remain calm! We are OK...

Everyone please remain calm! We are OK...

I did not realize there would be so much concern to a device that will unlock secrets and answer some important questions. With poverty, wars, hate and so many other things going on in the planet I am sure the billions of dollars spent (maybe millions?) will be put to humanity’s good use. I only wanted to post this because it seemed that no one knew about this important experiment happening in the next couple days. I am sure that it just did not make headlines because nothing bad has happened or will happen. So, please everyone remain calm and take a deep breath. Hopefully you will be able to take a few more after Wednesday!

 

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a the G.T.A. Patriot


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CERN – The World Ends On Wednesday? Not likely? There is simply not enough energy to create a stable Earth threatening Black hole.


CERN

CERN - Will possibly be Humanity's Greatest Achievement or....?

The man behind the world’s biggest scientific experiment, which critics claim could cause the end of the world, is a Welsh miner’s son who has admitted blowing things up as a child.

Dr Lyn Evans, who has been dubbed Evans the Atom, will this week switch on a giant particle accelerator designed to unlock the secrets of the Big Bang.

But the 63-year-old physicist revealed yesterday that his passion for science was fuelled by the relatively small bangs he had created with his chemistry set at his council house in Aberdare in the Welsh valleys.

‘I was more interested in chemistry than physics when I was young,’ he said.

‘I had a number of chemistry sets. Like everybody, I used to make explosives. I even blew the fuses of the whole house a few times.’

His interest in physics grew at his boys-only grammar school, where lessons had an added attraction because they were attended by girls bussed in from a nearby school that lacked a physics teacher.

On Wednesday, Dr Evans will fire up the Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile-long doughnut-shaped tunnel that will smash sub-atomic particles together at nearly the speed of light.

Built by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), the collider lies beneath the French-Swiss border, near the institution’s headquarters in Geneva, at depths ranging from 170ft to 600ft.

The aim of the £4.4billion experiment is to recreate the conditions that existed a fraction of a second after the Big Bang – the birth of the universe – and provide vital clues to the building blocks of life.

It will track the spray of particles thrown out by collisions in a search for the elusive Higgs Boson, a theoretical entity that supposedly lends weight, or mass, to the elementary particles. So important is this mysterious substance that it has been called the ‘God Particle’.

Scientists also hope to shed some light on the invisible material that exists between particles – dubbed ‘dark matter’ as no one knows what it really is – which makes up most of the universe.

Relaxed: Dr Evans – in his shorts at the CERN control centre in Geneva – dismisses the fears of doom-mongers

But a handful of scientists believe that the experiment could create a shower of unstable black holes that could ‘eat’ the planet from within, and they are launching last-ditch efforts to halt it in the courts.

One of them, Professor Otto Rossler, a retired German chemist, said he feared the experiment may create a devastating quasar – a mass of energy fuelled by black holes – inside the Earth.

‘Nothing will happen for at least four years,’ he said. ‘Then someone will spot a light ray coming out of the Indian Ocean during the night and no one will be able to explain it.

‘A few weeks later, we will see a similar beam of particles coming out of the soil on the other side of the planet. Then we will know there is a little quasar inside the planet.’

Prof Rossler said that as the spinning-top-like quasar devoured the world from within, the two jets emanating from it would grow and catastrophes such as earthquakes and tsunamis would occur at the points they emerged from the Earth.

‘The weather will change completely, wiping out life, and very soon the whole planet will be eaten in a magnificent scenario – if you could watch it from the moon. A Biblical Armageddon. Even cloud and fire will form, as it says in the Bible.’

He said that attempts were still being made in the European Court of Human Rights to halt the experiment on the grounds that it violated the right to life. The court has, however, already rejected calls for a temporary delay in the project, and it is unlikely to come to a speedy decision about whether the CERN experiment should be halted for good.

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2008 + 4= 2012 The Mayans were right? Just kidding!

UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 10, 2008: For those who worry, we are still alive! Read information on the CERN test today.

World’s largest particle collider conducts successful test

Residential Schools – The Hell in Canadian History


Canadian Native PeoplesOne of the most acrimonious issues to result from the Treaty process is the dark legacy of the residential school system. The purpose of the residential schools in Canada was to educate and civilize or westernize the First Nation peoples in or

der that they adopt a more western – that is European – lifestyle. Separating the children from their parents and forcing religion on them, it was believed, was the only means by which to achieve this “civilizing” of the First Nations peoples.

In a historic and solemn day, Aboriginal students who endured abuse and torment in Canada’s residential schools will finally get a formal apology from the Canadian government today from the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper. The Canadian government acknowledged the physical and sexual abuse that occurred in the now-defunct network of federally financed, church-run residential schools and this will mark the first time a Prime Minister has apologized.

What goes around comes around?


I am a fan of the Toronto Island Airport. I like the idea of flying out of the downtown Toronto area, using a convenient connection to places like Ottawa, Montreal and points beyond. I also like the Porter Airline concept, along with the use of Q400Canadian technology in the Q400 from Bombardier. I believe that as long as there is not a “quick and convenient” connection to Pearson International or a direct link to Hamilton International, then the airport must stay for the time being. I will not get into the idea of why no one has considered Buttonville Airport, with some type of direct link to downtown or finally completing the Pickering Airport first. That is a topic for another day! Porter Airlines said it has gone to court to try to break up the ties between Jazz Air and Air Canada. Porter airlines has been flying, for a year, out of Toronto Island airport. Now let’s get through the smoke-screen and look at this closely. Is something else going on? I’ve always liked the underdog story; however I think Porter has some larger issues now, not the making of their own. Or are they? Remember that Jazz was essentially “kicked out” of the Toronto Island. Now, SAS has cut 57 flights after grounding all Q400 aircraft. SAS operates on Danish and Swedish domestic routes, as well as European routes. Of course I do not think that there is anything wrong with the Q400. However, that is not a scientific assessment. One has to wonder, with all of the Q400 craft around the world, why has SAS experienced 3 landing gear problem issues in the last 3 months? This has to be investigated. However, Porter will now have arrows flying at them from all directions now. There will be groups and vested interest groups calling for the grounding of Porter. It really does not matter what we think about the Island airport. However I am curious, if the landing gear failed, on landing at Toronto Island airport, would they get out safely or get waterlogged? In addition, if this lawsuit fails, Porter’s days may be numbered in Toronto. However, with all of the backroom deals, bridge construction issues and obvious manipulation of whomever “got dibs” at the Toronto Island airport you really just have to say. “What goes around comes around, eh!”

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a. ‘The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario


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