As people in Spain move out of rural areas and into cities to seek work, entire villages are being sold off at rock bottom prices, drawing buyers from overseas.
See more here: VIDEO: ‘I bought a whole Spanish village’
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A lack of free cash machines means some people on low incomes or living in rural areas are unable to access the money they need, a report suggests.
See more here: Concerns raised over cash machines
President Evo Morales signs a decree nationalising subsidiaries of Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, saying they overcharged consumers in rural areas.
See the article here: Bolivia takes over Spanish firms
The government’s ‘bonfire’ of regulations rages through the natural world as Conservatives protect their class interests
There was a time when conservatism meant what the word suggests. It was an attempt to keep things as they are: to arrest economic and social change, to defend the position of the dominant class. Today conservatism has become a nihilistic festival of destruction: a gleeful Bullingdon dinner party of upper-class anarchists, smashing other people’s crockery and hurling the chairs through the windows. Yet its purpose is still to secure the position of the dominant class.
It is no longer enough to own the land and most of the capital, to own the media and – through the corrupt system of party funding – the political process. To reinstate Edwardian levels of inequality, the feral elite must seek to reverse the political progress that has been made since then. This means dismantling the tax system, which redistributes wealth. It means ditching the rules that prevent the powerful from acting as they please.
Both are being consumed in what British Conservatives proudly describe as a bonfire. Nowhere is deregulation more destructive than in its treatment of the natural world.
If ash dieback takes root in Britain, it could be as damaging as Dutch elm disease was. This fungus is now raging across the continent, consuming almost all the ash trees in its path. Few ashes – among which are some of the oldest and best-loved trees in Britain – are expected to survive if the disease becomes established here.
The only way the fungus can arrive in this country is through imports of infected saplings. In February the first case in the UK was reported, at a tree nursery in Buckinghamshire. The disease has now been found in 10 places, and foresters are desperately trying to contain it.
But – and this is the extraordinary thing – the government still refuses to ban imports of ash saplings. Instead, it has put the issue out to consultation, as if it had all the time in the world. It’s like spraying one side of a burning house with water while allowing petrol to be sprayed on the other. The government’s commitment to deregulating business outweighs the likely consequences. If ash dieback spreads through Britain, Cameron’s administration will be solely and unequivocally to blame.
It cares just as little about what’s happening to the bees. A new study published this week in Nature provides yet more evidence of the devastating impacts of a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. But, unlike other European nations, Britain refuses even to suspend their use.
The same politics inform the planned mass slaughter of badgers, which seems mystifying until you understand that it’s an alternative to effective regulation. Far from controlling tuberculosis in cattle, it could, as Professor John Bourne (who led the previous government’s £49m scientific trial) says, “make TB a damn sight worse”. In the 1960s, strict quarantine rules and the rigorous testing of cattle almost eliminated the disease from the UK. But farmers complained, so the rules were relaxed, and TB returned with a vengeance. Killing badgers creates an impression of action, without offending landed interests.
In March, the government published its kill list of environmental regulations. Among those being downgraded are the rules controlling hazardous waste, air pollution, contaminated land, noise, light and the use of lead shot. Ministers describe this as the shrinking of the state. In reality it’s the shrinking of democracy. Regulation is the means by which civilised societies resolve their conflicts. It prevents the selfish and the powerful from spoiling the lives of others.
But this isn’t about only economic dominance. It is also about cultural hegemony. Uniquely perhaps, in Britain the rightwing culture war is waged largely in the countryside. Tory culture revolves around land owning: battle lines are drawn around the issue of who represents rural Britain. Writing in the Telegraph last month, Fraser Nelson, a reliable guide to the current state of thinking in the party, maintained that people who live in the countryside don’t care about “newts, trees and bats”: these are of interest only in London. He went on to describe David Cameron as “at heart, a rural Tory”, who “still grumbles to his wife about what, for him, are ‘banned activities’ – notably shooting”. Authentic rural people spend their adult lives in Notting Hill and drive out to their second homes for a shooting party at the weekend. Inauthentic rural people are those who live in the countryside and care about wildlife. They are, “at heart”, Londoners. The rural-urban divide, as formulated by Tory theorists, is nothing to do with location. It’s about class.
Those who wish to restrain destructive activities are characterised – by the minister Greg Barker and, apparently, George Osborne – as “environmental Taliban”. Their attempt to associate democratic debate with people who shoot girls in the head tells you all you need to know about their sense of political entitlement.
This conservatism does not care what it destroys. It does not care whom it hurts. It will sacrifice entire species rather than contemplate the slightest check on its own self-interest. All else can burn.
A fully referenced version of this article can be found at Monbiot.com
Culture ministry consultant shared confidential information suggesting BT is inflating its charges
A whistleblower at the Department for Culture Media and Sport has been sacked for sharing confidential information that suggests BT is inflating its charges for building Britain’s rural broadband network.
The chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge, has asked for an investigation. The row is yet another sign of growing disquiet around the rural broadband project being run by the DCMS.
Ministers have been accused of effectively giving BT a £1bn public subsidy without genuine competition. Mike Kiely, a consultant to the department’s broadband development UK project since it was launched in 2010, was dismissed after information he sent to councils to help them get better value for money was leaked to the Brokentelephone blog.
The department has refused to comment. BT has denied inflating charges and says it has secured contracts because it is committing extra funds to improve broadband access.
Described by one of those who knows him well as “a serious person who wanted to do the right thing”, Kiely is understood to have been sacked two weeks ago because the information he shared was commercially confidential to BT. A DCMS spokesman said: “We do not comment on individual staffing matters.”
Following the leak, a DCMS email trawl uncovered that Kiely had sent a document to councils with price information, in which he argued that BT’s charges for installing fibre connected cabinets in rural areas were inflated and did not reflect actual costs.
It claimed prices for cabinets ranged from as little as £11,689 before central and labour costs. However, once these were added, prices rose steeply, to £17,000 for “generic” rural areas to £30,000 for the most rural areas of the UK.
Kiely claimed BT was attempting to charge an abstract wholesale price rather than one based on unit costs. He wrote: “In attempting to establish a wholesale price, there has been significant inflation of costs by adding new job types and not reducing costs where these job types had already been accounted.”
Hodge has already said she will examine Kiely’s claims as part of a new inquiry and she has written to Whitehall’s spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, to urge an investigation.
She told the Guardian: “I am getting increasingly concerned at the way in which whistleblowers are being bullied. All too often people hide behind commercial confidentiality. This culture denies us the right to know how our money is being spent.”
Councils across the UK are currently offering contracts to wire up their rural communities in order to meet the government broadband targets set for 2015.
They have £530m of government money to spend in the lifetime of this parliamentand are committed to matching it. With some councils offering to raise two or three times as much, the overall taxpayer spend will be more than £1bn.
So far, only BT has won council contracts. It has also spent government funds wiring up Northern Ireland and Cornwall. In July BT signed a £425m deal to connect Wales, half of which is being paid for by the public sector.
Councils find price comparisons difficult because there are only two approved broadband development UK (BDUK) bidders – BT and Fujitsu. In many council areas Fujitsu has not put in bids. Councils cannot share information with each other, because they are asked to sign non disclosure agreements. Kiely’s document intended to arm them with the information needed to negotiate a better deal from BT.
Kiely was the BDUK official responsible for liaising with community broadband projects. Malcolm Corbett, chief executive of the Independent Networks Cooperative, which represents community broadband activists and network builders like Fujitsu and Cable & Wireless, worked with him.
Corbett said: “Quite a number of local authorities have concerns about how the BDUK process is working. Mike was simply trying to share information in order to better inform them. We need to get some competition into the process because it means that we have got a better chance of getting value for money.”
The Independent Networks Cooperative wants an overhaul of the much criticised BDUK process and has requested a meeting with Maria Miller, the culture secretary.
A BT spokesman said: “BT is winning BDUK tenders precisely because it is committing extra funds to improve broadband access in those counties. These funds are in addition to our commercial investment of £2.5 billion.
“It is ludicrous that some people are suggesting that we are trying to pass on the full cost of deployment to our public sector partners. In fact, we are looking at a low double digit year payback in these areas even when the public funds are taken into account.”
- First BMO Farm Family Awards Ceremony for Ontario a highlight of 2012 International Plowing Match & Rural Expo
SAMVRIDDHI got the mandate for creating 65Customer Service Points (CSPs) from a Regional Rural Bank (SKGB) sponsored by StateBank of India, the largest commercial Bank in India in the State of Bihar,India.
The Bank has also mandated SAMVRIDDHIto create 22 Ultra Small Branch (USB) out of 65 CSPs as per the Government ofIndia guidelines to distribute various subsidies granted to the Bottom of thePyramid people through these USBs. Besides, there are at least 32 schemes wherethe benefits are to be transferred to the beneficiaries and adoption ofelectronic benefit transfer would greatly enhance the efficiency of suchtransfers, besides reducing the scope of malpractices. In this project, theBank has provided Financial Inclusion software taken from ‘c-edge’, a Technology outfit jointly promoted by State Bank of India and TCS (TataConsultancy Services).
See the original post: JZZ Technologies, Inc. (JZZI: OTC Link) | New Banking Mandate From Regional Rural Bank
A consumer watchdog says many Scots, especially in rural areas, face high charges and poor service when it comes to parcel delivery.
Read more from the original source: Action urged on parcel delivery
Company Forms Rural/Metro Clinical Excellence Project to Support EMS Education
Read more from the original source: Rural/Metro Announces Multi-County Arizona Epic-Traumatic Brain Injury Agency Certification