World record bank profits

The Big Four banks—ANZ, Westpac, Commonwealth and NAB—ranked as the most profitable in the developed world, according to figures released by the Switzerland based Bank of International Settlements in June. This year it is likely their collective profits will hit $26 billion—that’s $71 million per day.

These are the same banks that cut 3300 jobs last year and have already slashed 1330 so far this year. They blame the job cuts on the post-GFC economic slowdown. But their profit figures tell the real story—they are sacrificing their workers out of sheer greed.

Packer plans blood-stained casino in Sri Lanka

Australian gambling king-pin James Packer has lined up a greasy deal with the genocidal Sri Lankan government that will enable him to build a Crown casino-hotel complex in Colombo, the country’s capital. Opening in 2016, the $365 million dollar project will include a 400 bed luxury hotel, a 36 storey entertainment complex and of course a casino.

Packer’s shiny monstrosity will be constructed as a joint venture with Sri Lanka’s biggest gaming corporation Rank Holdings run by Ravi Wijeratne, a crony of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family.

It doesn’t seem to bother Packer at all that the Rajapaksa government mercilessly bombed Tamil civilians at the end of the civil war in 2009, or that 200,000 Tamils interned in camps during the war have been denied the right to return to their lands, in a form of ethnic cleansing.

In fact, the craven billionaire’s embrace with Rajapaksa’s blood soaked government is so tight that he even managed to line up a sweetheart deal that will see his casino get a decade long tax holiday.

Billionaire says scrapping minimum wage will help the poor

Right-wing US billionaire David Koch has declared that scrapping the minimum wage is the best way to help the poor. The business mogul worth $43 billion made the claim in an interview about a $200,000 media campaign the Koch Foundation just launched in Kansas.

The minimum wage, apparently, like all government regulation is  an “obstacle” that prevents prosperity and creates a “culture of dependency”. Minimum wage workers who are struggling to pay the bills, buy food and pay rent just need to be paid less—that will solve all their problems. Of course Koch’s strident rejection of government intervention is suddenly nowhere to be seen when it comes to his own multinational group of companies, Koch Industries. It benefits from government contracts, oil subsidies and bailouts.

Recording shows Murdoch’s not sorry

When media mogul Rupert Murdoch faced a British parliamentary committee over the phone hacking scandal that engulfed his newspaper business he said, “This is the most humble day of my life”. Now a secret recording of Murdoch addressing journalists at the Sun has revealed that, off camera, he was not quite as contrite. “It’s the biggest inquiry ever, over next to nothing,” he complains.

Inside the system

Murdoch rag News of the World had bribed police and hacked the phone of murdered school girl Millie Dowler. But as far as he was concerned, “We’re talking about payments for news tips from cops: that’s been going on a hundred years”. It seems all the “payments” Murdoch has shelled out over the years for lavish dinners and parties to senior government and police figures must have slipped his mind. They certainly helped encourage their refusal to investigate the systematic criminal activity associated with the Murdoch empire for many years.

NSW Liberals put an end to environmental challenges

Environmental actions will be denied legal aid under farcical new laws passed by the NSW Liberal Government. Coming into effect on July 1, the decision is a blow to communities and individuals that wish to challenge the environmental impact of major mining and commercial developments.

This is an attempt to cut funding to the Environmental Defenders Office, following new cabinet approved guidelines stipulating that legal agencies funded by the NSW government must channel resources away from “political advocacy or political activism”. Disgustingly the government has tried to paint the decision as a push to makes sure legal aid goes to the most “disadvantaged”.

What they are in fact doing is blocking serious channels for holding their mates at the big end of town accountable. Environmental legal aid is used to fund cases which do nothing more than ensure companies have the most basic level of accountability. The Blue Mountains Conservation Society took Wallarawang Power Station to court to stop it dumping heavy metals into the Coxs River, which feeds into Sydney’s water supply. The federal government has since stepped in to make up some of the funding shortfall.

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