Major European Pension Fund Divests from Pharmaceutical Company Linked to Executions

The Dutch public employees’ pension fund, Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP (ABP), has divested from the pharmaceutical company Mylan after learning that the Virginia Department of Corrections had supplies of one of Mylan’s products in stock for use in executions. A spokesman for ABP – which with net assets of $416 billion is the world’s third largest pension fund – said, “As the Dutch government and Dutch society as a whole renounced the death penalty a long time ago, we do not want Dutch pension money to be involved in that.” Although Mylan states on its website that its products are not intended for use in executions, fund managers were not satisfied with the company’s measures to keep the drugs out of lethal injections. ABP held €25 million shares in Mylan in 2014, but began selling them off during 9 months of unfruitful discussions with the company. ABP says it sold its remaining €9 million ($10 million) Mylan holdings in full because “We thought we have only one step left to show our disapproval.” The divestment is part of ongoing efforts by European officials to discourage executions in the U.S., which the European Union regards as a human rights violation. European companies are banned from exporting drugs for use in executions, and several European drug companies have put distribution restrictions in place to stop their products from being used in lethal injection.

(T. Escritt, “Largest Dutch pension fund exits Mylan over death penalty concerns,” Reuters, August 29, 2015.) See Lethal Injection.

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UMWA says talks with Patriot Coal buyer ‘the most unproductive’ negotiations the union has ever seen

130416 Patriot STL DHK 107

Here’s the latest word on the Patriot Coal bankruptcy hearing, via The Wall Street Journal’s Jacqueline Palank:

A bankruptcy judge on Tuesday “strongly” recommended that Patriot Coal Corp.’s would-be buyer and the union representing its miners head back to the bargaining table one last time to try to reach a deal on the miners’ future employment.

After presiding over a four-hour trial, Judge Keith Phillips of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Va., declined to rule on Patriot’s request to reject the collective bargaining agreements with the United Mine Workers of America union.

Patriot has warned that its pending sale to Blackhawk Mining LLC—and the ultimate survival of its business—depends on its ability to shed the agreements, though the union says Patriot hasn’t made a good-faith effort to negotiate new deals.

“Based on what I’ve heard today, I think there [are] arguments to be made from both sides,” the judge said.

Instead, Judge Phillips urged Blackhawk and the union to try to reach a deal, pointing to what appears to have been some progress before talks apparently broke down.

“I’m going to suggest strongly that Blackhawk get engaged and that Blackhawk and the United Mine Workers association sit down across the table from each other…and try to come to some kind of accommodation,” the judge said.

The story continues:

After exchanging six proposals for a new labor agreement between Blackhawk and the union, Mr. Lucha said he believed talks were at an impasse. The company then asked the bankruptcy court for permission to reject the agreements.

Bankruptcy laws allow such rejections, but a company has to prove it engaged in good-faith negotiations, among other things. UMWA attorney Sharon Levine said that wasn’t the case.

“This has been the most unproductive, least effective negotiation that the UMW has ever seen,” she said.

Trump on Denali Name Restoration: “I will change back!”

Republican presidential candidate Donald TrumpPublished September 2, 2015NEW YORK— Donald Trump, Republican seeking his party’s nomination for president, has weighed in on the Obama administration’s restoring America’s highest peak to, Mt. Denali, its original Native name.The announcement to restore Mt. Denali to its original Alaskan Native name came from the White House on Sunday, one day before President Obama left on his historic trip to Alaska where he becomes the first sitting president to visit the Alaskan arctic.“President Obama wants to change the name of Mt. McKinley to Denali after more than 100 years. Great insult to Ohio. I will change back!” Trump, who has not shown himself to be Native-friendly in the past, tweeted on Monday.Mt. Denali, as it has been known to the Koyukon Athabasan for centuries means the “high one” or the “great one.”The mountain was named for President McKinley, an Ohioan, who was the 25th president of the United States. On Monday, the Ohio Congressional delegation proclaimed its ire at the Obama administration’s decision to restore Denali’s name.The state of Alaska has tried to get the mountain restored to Denali from Mt. McKinley since 1975.The post Trump on Denali Name Restoration: “I will change back!” appeared first on Native News Online.

Source: Trump on Denali Name Restoration: “I will change back!”

Netanyahu threatens to shoot young Palestinian stone-throwers

<img title=”Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem August 16, 2015. REUTERS/Abir Sultan/Pool” src=”http://s2.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02

Source: Netanyahu threatens to shoot young Palestinian stone-throwers

He should be arrested for crimes against children – rock throwing is not a death sentence crime!

Serena Williams Struggles to Win Second-Round Match – The New York Times

While Serena Williams has won the first three major tournaments this year, at times she has looked frustrated and vulnerable. She lost nine sets in her first 21 matches and was forced to play three tiebreakers. That pattern surfaced again in a second-round match Wednesday at the United States Open when Williams had to scrounge out a victory over Kiki Bertens, the 110th-ranked player in the world.Williams withstood Bertens’s aggressive approach and her own nerves to win, 7-6 (5), 6-3. She needs five more wins to become the sixth player to win the Grand Slam in a calendar year.

Source: Serena Williams Struggles to Win Second-Round Match – The New York Times

Two Indigenous Solar Engineers Changed Their Village in Chile | Inter Press Service

CASPANA, Chile , Sep 2 2015 (IPS) – Liliana and Luisa Terán, two indigenous women from northern Chile who travelled to India for training in installing solar panels, have not only changed their own future but that of Caspana, their remote village nestled in a stunning valley in the Atacama desert.“It was hard for people to accept what we learned in India,” Liliana Terán told IPS. “At first they rejected it, because we’re women. But they gradually got excited about, and now they respect us.”Her cousin, Luisa, said that before they travelled to Asia, there were more than 200 people interested in solar energy in the village. But when they found out that it was Liliana and Luisa who would install and maintain the solar panels and batteries, the list of people plunged to 30.“In this village there is a council of elders that makes the decisions. It’s a group which I will never belong to,” said Luisa, with a sigh that reflected that her decision to never join them guarantees her freedom.Luisa, 43, practices sports and is a single mother of an adopted daughter. She has a small farm and is a craftswoman, making replicas of rock paintings. After graduating from secondary school in Calama, the capital of the municipality, 85 km from her village, she took several courses, including a few in pedagogy.Liliana, 45, is a married mother of four and a grandmother of four. She works on her family farm and cleans the village shelter. She also completed secondary school and has taken courses on tourism because she believes it is an activity complementary to agriculture that will help stanch the exodus of people from the village.But these soft-spoken indigenous women with skin weathered from the desert sun and a life of sacrifice are in charge of giving Caspana at least part of the energy autonomy that the village needs in order to survive.

Source: Two Indigenous Solar Engineers Changed Their Village in Chile | Inter Press Service