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News Week Round Up [March 31, 2017]

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A Big Year for Salmon?


The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is projecting a 2017 commercial salmon catch of more than 204 million fish.

That would far exceed the 113 million taken last year, when pink salmon runs disappointed in key areas. [Projection Document] [Source]

Fishermen can get cash back for crew license fees – if they do it online

by Laine Welch

“Fish and game in 2017 for the first time is providing an opportunity for people to purchase their commercial crew licenses on line. “
Forrest Bowers is deputy director of the commercial fisheries division at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

“Previously those could only be done in person by filling out a paper form at one of our license vendors.”

“If we were able to achieve 100% of online sales for licenses would save the department a couple hundred thousand dollars. Even if we’re at 50 percent sales, that’s a hundred thousand. So it’s a big savings for us. “
The department hopes to lure fishermen to the online store with 10 free crew license giveaways.

“If you’re randomly selected the cost of the license will be refunded to you.”
That adds up to some nice savings, especially for non residents.

“For 2017 commercial crew members licenses cost $60 for Alaska residents and $277 for non residents. It’s an annual license. We also offer 7 day license that’s $30 for both resident and non residents. A child’s license for ages 10 or less is $5 for residents and $222 for non residents.” [Source]

U.S. Breweries Top 5,300 As Craft Beer Makers Ride Double-Digit Gains


The number of American breweries topped 5,000 for the first time last year, with craft beer makers accounting for 5,234 of 5,301 U.S. breweries, according to new figures from the Brewers Association.

Just five years ago, there were only about 2,000 U.S. craft brewers, which the Brewers Association defines as small or independent beer makers. Last year alone, more than 800 opened for business.

Compared to those increases, changes in the overall American beer market were less dramatic, the industry group says. While craft brewers managed to capture $23.5 billion of the money spent on beer last year — a 10 percent gain over 2015 — their volume share remained essentially flat, at 12.3 percent of the amount of beer sold in the U.S.

"Small and independent brewers are operating in a new brewing reality still filled with opportunity, but within a much more competitive landscape," said Bart Watson, chief economist at the Brewers Association.

In particular, Watson pointed to the acquisition of several successful craft breweries by large beer companies in recent years. When popular breweries such as Ballast Point, Elysian and Devil's Backbone are acquired by multinational corporations, their results are either removed from the craft beer ranks or prorated over the year. [Read the rest]

Jing-Jin-Ji: China Planning Megalopolis the Size of New England

by ERIC BACULINAO

"The biggest change is in transportation," Zhang Zhongmin, a humanities professor and environmental campaigner based in Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei, told NBC News. "It used to take almost one day to travel from Hebei to Beijing, but now it's only a few hours."

The government is expected to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on transportation and infrastructure projects that would connect about 130 million people living in Beijing, the bustling port city of Tianjin and 11 other cities in Hebei province.

A crucial part of the strategy is the revitalization of Tianjin as a base for advanced manufacturing and international shipping. Beijing would remain as the nation's capital and its political and cultural center, while Hebei province would shift to clean manufacturing and wholesale trading.

The biggest advantage of Jing-Jin-Ji is that we can have a more coordinated development and better environmental plan over a wider area," said Zhang Chao, an official at the Tianjin Free Trade Zone.

He spoke to NBC News while showing off a new container terminal that will link Tianjin to Minsk, Belarus, more than 4,000 miles away.

"By developing Tianjin, we can encourage a redistribution of talent," he said. "Education and housing is cheaper by half here than in Beijing."

It is hoped that the project will boost the movement of talent and labor and help underdeveloped areas catch up, a scenario that should benefit Hebei, which has an average income of 40 percent that of Beijing and Tianjin.

According to a strategy detailed in a report released Wednesday, the megalopolis is one of three key projects aimed at boosting China's economy over the next 100 years along with the Yangtze River Delta Economic Region, led by Shanghai in the south, and the "One Belt, One Road" program in the west, which was created to promote China's trading links with Asia, Europe and Africa.

While it is supposed to become a motor for innovation and growth within China, some experts think Jing-Ji-Ji could also become a model of sustainable growth for the rest of the country and the world.

"All eyes are on the Jing-Jin-Ji region as a testing ground for innovative solutions," according to an October 2015 report by the Paulson Institute, a think tank founded by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.... [Read the rest]

‘Bury them alive!’: White South Africans fear for their future as horrific farm attacks escalate


WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
LAST month, British woman Sue Howarth and her husband Robert Lynn were woken at 2am by three men breaking into a window of their remote farm in Dullstroom, a small town in the northeast of South Africa, about 240km from the nearest capital city.

The couple, who had lived in the area for 20 years, were tied up, stabbed, and tortured with a blowtorch for several hours. The masked men stuffed a plastic bag down Mrs Howarth’s throat, and attempted to strangle her husband with a bag around his neck.

The couple were bundled into their own truck, still in their pyjamas, and driven to a roadside where they were shot. Mrs Howarth, 64, a former pharmaceutical company executive, was shot twice in the head. Mr Lynn, 66, was shot in the neck.

Miraculously he survived, and managed to flag down a passer-by early on Sunday morning. Mrs Howarth, who police said was “unrecognisable” from her injuries, had multiple skull fractures, gunshot wounds and “horrific” burns to her breasts.

In any other country, such a crime would be almost unthinkable. But in South Africa, these kinds of farm attacks are happening nearly every day. This year so far, there have been more than 70 attacks and around 25 murders in similar attacks on white farmers.

Earlier this month, for example, 64-year-old Nicci Simpson was tortured with a power drill during an attack involving three men at her home on a farm in the Vaal area, about two hours drive from Johannesburg.

When paramedics arrived, they found three dead dogs, and the woman lying in a pool of blood, spokesman Russel Meiring told News24. “They used a drill to torture her,” police spokesman Lungelo Dlamini said.

Official statistics on farm attacks are non-existent, due to what human rights groups have described as a “cover-up” by the notoriously corrupt — and potentially complicit — South African government.

n total, between 1998 and the end of 2016, 1848 people have been murdered in farm attacks — 1187 farmers, 490 family members, 147 farm employees, and 24 people who happened to be visiting the farm at the time.

While South Africa has one of the highest rates of violent crime anywhere in the world, the attacks on white farmers are no ordinary crimes. [Read the full report]

‘Cards Against Humanity’ Creator Just Pledged To Buy and Publish Congress’s Browser History


POSTED BY: NATHAN WELLMAN

Creator of popular card game “Cards Against Humanity” Max Temkin vowed that if Congress voted to attack net neutrality, that he would purchase Congress’ browser history and publish it.

The vote ultimately decided that Internet Service Providers will be permitted to sell off their customers’ private data to advertisers.

Or, perhaps, to companies whose founders want to humiliate those responsible for this massively unpopular decision.

Rather than donating to crowdfunding efforts hoping to inflict similar humiliations, Temkin has encouraged citizens to save their money. He plans to purchase and release the data himself.

Republicans in the Senate voted to undo the Obama-era protections last week, and the decision will now go to Trump’s desk. [Source]

George Orwell Explains in a Revealing 1944 Letter Why He’d Write 1984

I must say I believe, or fear, that taking the world as a whole these things are on the increase. Hitler, no doubt, will soon disappear, but only at the expense of strengthening (a) Stalin, (b) the Anglo-American millionaires and (c) all sorts of petty fuhrers of the type of de Gaulle. All the national movements everywhere, even those that originate in resistance to German domination, seem to take non-democratic forms, to group themselves round some superhuman fuhrer (Hitler, Stalin, Salazar, Franco, Gandhi, De Valera are all varying examples) and to adopt the theory that the end justifies the means. Everywhere the world movement seems to be in the direction of centralised economies which can be made to ‘work’ in an economic sense but which are not democratically organised and which tend to establish a caste system. With this go the horrors of emotional nationalism and a tendency to disbelieve in the existence of objective truth because all the facts have to fit in with the words and prophecies of some infallible fuhrer. Already history has in a sense ceased to exist, ie. there is no such thing as a history of our own times which could be universally accepted, and the exact sciences are endangered as soon as military necessity ceases to keep people up to the mark. Hitler can say that the Jews started the war, and if he survives that will become official history. He can’t say that two and two are five, because for the purposes of, say, ballistics they have to make four. But if the sort of world that I am afraid of arrives, a world of two or three great superstates which are unable to conquer one another, two and two could become five if the fuhrer wished it. That, so far as I can see, is the direction in which we are actually moving, though, of course, the process is reversible.

As to the comparative immunity of Britain and the USA. Whatever the pacifists etc. may say, we have not gone totalitarian yet and this is a very hopeful symptom. I believe very deeply, as I explained in my book The Lion and the Unicorn, in the English people and in their capacity to centralise their economy without destroying freedom in doing so. But one must remember that Britain and the USA haven’t been really tried, they haven’t known defeat or severe suffering, and there are some bad symptoms to balance the good ones. To begin with there is the general indifference to the decay of democracy. Do you realise, for instance, that no one in England under 26 now has a vote and that so far as one can see the great mass of people of that age don’t give a damn for this? Secondly there is the fact that the intellectuals are more totalitarian in outlook than the common people. On the whole the English intelligentsia have opposed Hitler, but only at the price of accepting Stalin. Most of them are perfectly ready for dictatorial methods, secret police, systematic falsification of history etc. so long as they feel that it is on ‘our’ side. Indeed the statement that we haven’t a Fascist movement in England largely means that the young, at this moment, look for their fuhrer elsewhere. One can’t be sure that that won’t change, nor can one be sure that the common people won’t think ten years hence as the intellectuals do now. I hope they won’t, I even trust they won’t, but if so it will be at the cost of a struggle. If one simply proclaims that all is for the best and doesn’t point to the sinister symptoms, one is merely helping to bring totalitarianism nearer.

You also ask, if I think the world tendency is towards Fascism, why do I support the war. It is a choice of evils—I fancy nearly every war is that. I know enough of British imperialism not to like it, but I would support it against Nazism or Japanese imperialism, as the lesser evil. Similarly I would support the USSR against Germany because I think the USSR cannot altogether escape its past and retains enough of the original ideas of the Revolution to make it a more hopeful phenomenon than Nazi Germany. I think, and have thought ever since the war began, in 1936 or thereabouts, that our cause is the better, but we have to keep on making it the better, which involves constant criticism.

Yours sincerely,
Geo. Orwell
[Source]

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