World News Digest – Issue 5

With the fast pace of today’s news cycle it can be hard to know what to pay attention to, and information overload is often the inevitable result. Listed under the categories of Economy, Energy, Environment and Geopolitics, our selected news highlights bypass celebrity gossip and partisan politics, cutting through the crap to shine the spotlight on the world affairs that affect us most strongly.

The SHIFT team has trawled through hundreds of news sources and stories, turning up our bullshit filter to maximum volume, to bring you August and September’s global affairs highlights…

Economy

Limits to Growth Study Vindicated 40 Years After Publication

It’s taken four decades, but the Limits to Growth study’s forecasts have finally been vindicated by new Australian research. It is predicted that the early stages of global collapse will become apparent between 2015 and 2013. The recommendation is to prepare for an uncertain future, as it is unlikely that the world’s politicians and wealthy elites will chart a different course in time to avert collapse.

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Scottish Independence Referendum Set to cause Upset

In anticipation of the Scottish independence referendum (18th September), investors have dumped companies and sterling in response to analysts’ warnings for clients to ‘be afraid, be very afraid’ after polls showed a lead for the ‘yes’ camp. Capital flight ensues, and financial upset is expected for the British Isles.

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Energy

No Solar Revolution for Germany

Contrary to popular internet meme, Germany neither meets half of its energy needs, nor half of its electricity needs, from solar panels. Germany’s official statistics for energy production reveal that in 2013 Germany met 4.5% of its electricity needs from solar panels, and continues to increase its coal-fired power plant capacity.

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Environment

Mysterious Siberian Craters Point to Risk of Runaway Climate Change

Mysterious craters appearing in Siberia appear to have been caused by methane bubbles erupting to the surface as ice cover melts, unlocking the vast stores of methane in the arctic permafrost. These large quantities of methane unleashed by anthropogenic global warming have the potential to rapidly surpass the effects of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions, leading to a runaway greenhouse effect.

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  • Are Siberia’s methane blow-holes the first warning sign of unstoppable climate change?
World’s First Official Climate Refugees Accepted in New Zealand

As climate change exerts it catastrophic real-time impact upon the inhabitants of various low-lying island nations and coastal regions, the good news is that New Zealand has become the first country to officially accept refugees citing climate change as the reason they cannot return to the nation they have fled.

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Pulling out all the Stops for Conservation

Naturalist and TV broadcaster David Attenborough has issued a no-holds barred call to action in order to prevent a catastrophic decline in biodiversity. Attenborough has urged the use of all countryside spaces, suburban gardens, and even roadside verges for the conservation of our precious wildlife.

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We may be out of Water by 2040, Study Finds

A disturbing new study concludes that our energy needs and population growth will lead to sever water shortages over the next few decades. The study predicts that by 2020 30-40% of the world will suffer water scarcity, and by 2040 there will simply not be enough fresh, safe drinking water to provide for the world’s population and meet our energy needs.

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‘Low-Impact’ Mining Legislated Under the Radar; High-Impact Mining off-limits to Opposition

Proposed “low-impact mines” in Queensland, Australia, will no longer have to notify the public about environmental authority applications under new laws that passed through parliament overnight. These new laws effectively mean that affected landholders no longer have the legal right to object to mining operations that may negatively impact their land and livelihoods. Meanwhile, legislation has also been passed to prohibit anyone who is not ‘directly affected’ from objecting to new high-impact mining operations.

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Geopolitics

ISIS, Iraq, Syria, and Regime Change

The US-backed ouster of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki allows the US kill two birds with one stone by removing a leader opposed to US military presence in the region while also facilitating further destabilization of the Iraqi state. The recent rise to prominence of IS (formerly known as ISIS) provides further pretext for foreign intervention in the region, despite their financial and military backing by gulf states allied with the US, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. Meanwhile, the US faces complications regarding whether to continue to oppose the Assad regime in Syria that is also engaged with combating the rise of ISIS.

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Ukraine-Russia Crisis

Groups of right-wing Ukrainian nationalists are committing war crimes in the rebel-held territories of Eastern Ukraine, according to a report from Amnesty International, as evidence emerged in local media of the volunteer militias beheading their victims.

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Exposed: Pentagon Funds New Data-Mining Tools To Track and Kill Activists

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is funding a multi-million dollar research program aimed at developing tools for data-mining and analysis of potential political radicals and activists around the world. Inherent flaws in the program point toward the criminalization of dissent and the targeting of innocent civilians.

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Disclaimer: SHIFT magazine does not take responsibility for the content of any of the articles linked to in our World News Digest. Selection for the Digest does not imply endorsement of any of the positions expressed in any given article.

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