Thought for the day

"We're so self-important. So arrogant. Everybody's going to save something now. Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save the snails. And the supreme arrogance? Save the planet! Are these people kidding? Save the planet? We don't even know how to take care of ourselves; we haven't learned how to care for one another. We're gonna save the fuckin' planet? . . . And, by the way, there's nothing wrong with the planet in the first place. The planet is fine. The people are fucked! Compared with the people, the planet is doin' great. It's been here over four billion years . . . The planet isn't goin' anywhere, folks. We are! We're goin' away. Pack your shit, we're goin' away. And we won't leave much of a trace. Thank God for that. Nothing left. Maybe a little Styrofoam. The planet will be here, and we'll be gone. Another failed mutation; another closed-end biological mistake." -- George Carlin

The Biden administration confirmed on Tuesday that it will cancel $3.9 billion in student loan debt for more than 200,000 students who attended the now-defunct ITT Technical Institute, according to a new Washington Post

Russian energy giant Gazprom announced on Friday that transit of natural gas to the European Union via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline will be halted from August 31 to September 2 for maintenance.

“On August 31, the only working Trent 60 gas compressor unit will be shut down for three days for maintenance,” the company stated, noting that all repairs will be carried out jointly with specialists from the German manufacturer, Siemens.

The head of Germany's energy regulator said on Thursday that the country would almost certainly fail to meet its gas reserve targets in the face of a Russian supply squeeze.

"I am not counting on our achieving our next reserve goals as quickly as the first," Klaus Mueller, president of the Federal Network Agency, told news website t-online.

He said the next benchmark -- 85 percent capacity by October 1 "is not impossible but certainly very ambitious".

"We fall short of an average level of 95 percent by November 1 in all our projections," he added.

Railway and postal staff, dockers too. Britain's workers are striking in vast numbers as decades-high inflation erodes the value of wages at a record pace.

Britain's train network faces further heavy disruption Thursday and Saturday in major walkouts that follow the sector's biggest strike action for 30 years already this summer.

Tens of thousands of staff are expected to strike over the two days, leaving a skeleton train service that will hit holidaymakers and commuters, even if home-working continues for many office staff after Covid restrictions were lifted.

ritain's next prime minister will not have room to make large, permanent tax cuts, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said on Thursday, challenging the plans of the two Conservative candidates vying to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss wants to reverse more than 30 billion pounds ($36 billion) of recent and upcoming tax rises from her rival, former finance minister Rishi Sunak, who says he wants to cut taxes once inflation is under control.

British households are feeling "a sense of exasperation" about the surging cost of living which has pushed consumer sentiment to its lowest since at least 1974, according to the country's longest-running survey of household finances.

The GfK consumer sentiment index sank to a record-low -44 in August from July's reading of -41, which was already the lowest since the survey began. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a drop to -42.

Britain's opposition Labour Party said parliament should be recalled on Monday to freeze energy bills for the winter as the country deals with the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades.

The demand to outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the two Conservative Party candidates vying to replace him coincides with the next expected energy price cap rise on Friday when parliament is in recess for the summer.

Those taking the German government to task over the ongoing gas crisis have been branded the “new enemies of the state” by one government minister in the country.

An ostensibly “centrist” minister in Germany has branded those looking to hold officials accountable for their chronic mismanagement of the country as the “new enemies of the state”.

Small farmers are the world’s primary food providers. Adele says it’s imperative for policymakers to listen to them, not the big corporates.

Weeding maize, Mongu, Western Zambia, 2012. (Felix Clay/Duckrabbit, WorldFish, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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Polish oil and gas company PGNiG is forced to take out a loan to purchase natural gas in anticipation of a warming period.

At the end of April this year, Gazprom stopped the gas supply to Poland for refusing to pay in Russian rubles. Previously, the republic received up to 10 million tons of this fuel annually from Russia.

The group’s statement states that PGNiG has “signed a loan agreement with the National Economy Bank (BGK) amounting to PLN 4.8 billion (a little over one billion euros at the current exchange rate)”.