By Anna Von Reitz
India won’t come to their rescue after being impoverished and decimated by the Raj.
By Anna Von Reitz
By Anna Von Reitz
JPMorgan Chase to shut down nearly 160 bank branches across the U.S.
JPMorgan Chase, America’s largest bank, will have shut down 159 branches across the country by the end of 2023.
For Chase Bank’s customers, these closures represent serious inconveniences, if not outright terrible disruptions to their lives. Services previously offered by human bank tellers and other banking professionals who used to staff these now-shuttered branches have now been replaced by automated customer service helplines. (Related: Largest banks in America have collectively cut 20K JOBS so far this year.)
Twenty states have or will be impacted by the Chase Bank branch closures. Some, like Wisconsin and Wyoming, will only have one branch closed in each state. Others have more than a dozen branches being shut down by the end of the year.
California is the hardest hit of all, with the state recording a total of 46 branches that will have closed by the end of the year.
Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada and Utah will see two branches shut down in each state by the end of the year. They are followed by Connecticut and Michigan with three branches each; Arizona and Florida with five branches each; and Colorado, Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio and Washington with six branches each.
Along with California, three other states will see double-digit number of Chase Bank branches shut down by the end of the year: Texas, New York and Illinois, with 13, 17 and 24 branches, respectively.
The latest data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation notes that approximately 8,000 bank branches were in operation in the U.S. in 2000. By 2022, this figure had been halved. Other Big Banks in America are also reporting dozens of bank closures, including the Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citibank.
According to data provided by the Bank of America to the Office of the Comptroller of Currency, the bank will be shutting down 138 locations. To date, at least 95 of those branches have already been closed. Fifteen more will shutter by the end of the year, and the remainder will stay open up to 2024.
Wells Fargo has closed 61 branches so far – a number expected to increase to 65 before December. A spokesperson for the company claims many of its customers are already taking advantage of “our wide range of digital capabilities for many of their banking needs.” As a result, fewer and fewer transactions are being carried out in person in branches.
“We continually evaluate our branch network in light of changing customer needs, increased usage of digital banking and market factors,” added the spokesperson.
Citigroup, the parent company of Citibank, claimed that its shuttering of branches not just in the U.S. but globally is part of a shift in the company’s strategy to focus on wealth management. The shuttering of Citibank branches is aimed at focusing on more affluent clients and generating higher returns through feel while simplifying operations and reducing complexity and capital requirements.
Citigroup’s wealth division handled $746 billion of wealth globally in 2022, significantly lower than Bank of America’s own wealth management division, Merrill Lynch, which had an asset size of more than $2.8 trillion in the same year.
Collapse.news has more stories about bank closures.
Watch this special report from Next News Network reporting on the downgraded credit ratings of major U.S. banks.
RATIONING BEGINS: California water board to require reduced indoor water use for citizens
Residents of the Golden State ought to expect water rationing for their homes, as the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) is set to mandate lower indoor water-use standards.
According to Climate Depot, the SWRCB – which is under the California Environmental Protection Agency – will cap indoor water use standards to 47 gallons per person starting in 2025. It will then reduce the standard to 42 gallons in 2030.
Its decision followed an October hearing about Senate Bill (SB) 1157, which was passed by the California Legislature in 2022 and signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in the same year. SB 1157 codified the water use standards the SWRCB proposed. According to the hearing’s fact sheet, the Golden State has always experienced large swings between dry and wet weather and due to climate change, these are becoming more severe.
“The recent storms and flooding seen statewide following years of back-to-back extreme drought make clear the importance of staying prepared. Hotter and drier periods that are increasing in frequency, reduced snowpack and drier soils are making our water supplies more vulnerable,” it pointed out. (Related: Washington state declares drought emergencies in 12 counties.)
But according to National Review, total urban water consumption in California has been falling each year since the mid-1990s despite the growth of the state’s population to more than 39 million. At just over seven million acre-feet (MAF) per year in 2022, urban water consumption hasn’t been this low since 1985 when the population of the state was only 26 million.
The Golden State’s water authorities and environmentalists aren’t satisfied, however. SB 1157 seeks a massive reduction in consumption by 400,000 acre-feet per year by 2030. Diversions, which pertain to rainfall captured in reservoirs during the summer and fall seasons and released for future use, have a much bigger impact on the water supply. Agricultural diversions average 30 MAF annually, while diversions to maintain ecosystem health range between 20 MAF in dry years to over 60 MAF in wet years.
The targeted urban water consumption represents barely more than one-half of one percent of the amount of water California diverts and manages even in its driest years.
Drafted in 1957, California’s original water plan called for an eventual statewide system capable of delivering 40 MAF to farms and 10 MAF to cities each year. While this wasn’t completed, the system has become a remarkable example, delivering around 30 MAF per year to state farmers and around seven MAF to the cities.
But according to critics, over 25 MAF of water passed through the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta and out to the Pacific Ocean in the water season that just ended. This amount, they argue, is easily more than twice what is required for the health of delta ecosystems. Had this water been stored, it would have offered enough supplemental supply to easily withstand several years of drought.
Critics also pointed out that California is misguided by a set of laws that remove the incentive for water agencies to invest in more water supplies. “These laws will actually fine water agencies if they deliver too much water to their urban customers. Water agencies need to be incentivized to increase their supply capacity, not reduce it,” Climate Depot noted.
“Water is life. Having as much as we need, affordable and abundant, is a goal that is achievable and sustainable. It’s time for Californians to reject extremist mandates and restore the quality of life that is in keeping with their heritage.”
Head over to WaterWars.news for more similar stories.
Watch the video below that talks about California’s water wars.
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Iran may provide Russia with short-range ballistic missiles, say U.S. officials
U.S. officials have warned that Iran may send advanced short-range ballistic missiles to Russia for its military campaign in Ukraine.
Iran has already provided Russia with armed drones, guided aerial bombs and artillery shells, according to U.S. officials.
Concerns arose that the military cooperation between the two nations continue to intensify after Iran showed its Ababil and Fateh-110 missiles to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu when the latter visited Tehran last September.
According to a spokesman for the National Security Council (NSC), officials are “concerned that Iran is considering providing Russia with ballistic missiles for use in Ukraine.”
The Kremlin did not comment on reports that Iran is considering the possibility of providing Russia with advanced short-range ballistic missiles. Russia’s presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov did admit that Russia is “developing relations with Iran, including in the field of military-technical cooperation.”
Because Russia invaded Ukraine, the Kremlin has been forced to find new arms suppliers. The list now includes North Korea, which has been providing artillery shells to Moscow, said U.S. and South Korean officials. (Related: Andrei Martyanov: Russia and Iran maintain strong military weapons technology advantage over the U.S. and Israel.)
Iran is gradually becoming an important Russian partner. The NSC spokesman explained that Russia has been helping Iran improve its satellite collection capabilities, with the former also offering to help Tehran with missiles, air defense and military electronics.
Meanwhile, Iranian officials have claimed that Tehran plans to buy Su-35 fighters from Russia. Additionally, Iran wants to buy other military hardware, including radars and attack helicopters.
The ties between Moscow and Tehran also seem to be deepening in other ways. According to U.S. officials familiar with intelligence, Russian paramilitary organization Wagner Group is planning to provide the SA-22 air defense system to Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia supported by Iran.
The White House has already confirmed that report, adding that the Wagner Group had been acting under orders from the Russian government.
Wagner has personnel in Syria, where Hezbollah fighters have also been supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his military campaign against Syrian rebel forces.
Despite the concerns of U.S. officials, others doubt the possibility of Iran supplying Russia with short-range ballistic missiles.
Some observers do not discount the possibility that Iran could try to sell previously barred weapons, such as powerful short-range ballistic missiles, but they remain doubtful that Tehran will follow through.
One of the reasons is Tehran’s need to maintain its military stockpiles during increased conflict in the Middle East. Iran’s capital also has the desire to be considered a “compliant and legitimate arms trader by the international community.”
Hamidreza Azizi, a fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin, said that Iran’s suggestions that it is no longer subject to United Nations (UN) sanctions is more “political, rather than technical” because the former wants to “normalize” its ability to conduct military trades and transfers.
Azizi added that the actual impact of the expiry of the UN Security Council restrictions on Iran’s missile program is limited. Despite having those restrictions in place, Iran was able to develop its missile program, drone program and military capabilities to “an unprecedented level.”
According to Azizi, Iran succeeded partly because of technical and scientific cooperation with other partners, especially North Korea.
Additionally, Western officials have revealed the existence of a drone facility being built in Russia with Iran’s assistance that would allow Moscow to build domestic versions of Iranian drones in huge numbers. The drone facility could be in operation by early 2024.
The sanctions, which first took effect in 2015 and enshrined in UN Resolution 2231, expired on Oct. 18 as part of the moribund Iran nuclear deal with world powers known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Under the terms, countries that plan to engage in related trade with Iran are required to first get approval from the UN Security Council.
Visit WWIII.news for more updates about ongoing conflicts across the globe.
Watch this clip to find out how Russia and Iran are driving the West to war.
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Amazon workers across Europe staged a WALKOUT on Black Friday to protest measly pay, working conditions
On Black Friday, Nov. 24, one of the busiest days of the year, workers at Amazon fulfillment centers and warehouses located at multiple locations across Europe walked out in protest against the U.S. e-commerce giant’s labor practices.
The “Make Amazon Pay Day” initiative – a campaign coordinated by the UNI Global Union – made the call for strikes from Black Friday. Industrial action was planned in more than 30 countries, including the U.S., on the day after the Thanksgiving holiday – when many retailers slash their prices to boost sales until Monday. (Related: Amazon becomes first company ever to lose $1 trillion in market value.)
“There will also be protests in Australia, Brazil, India, etc. We have 35 countries in the world asking the same thing as us. Because Amazon is a global company, we all have the same working conditions and the same level of remuneration, which is at the lowest of what countries are allowed to pay. We are all in the same mess so we are all asking the same thing – for salary increases and working [conditions] worthy of the 21st century,” said a striking Amazon employee whose name was not disclosed.
An Amazon Germany spokesperson said only a small number were on strike and assured its customers that deliveries of Black Friday orders would be reliable and timely – despite reported demonstrations at nine out of Amazon’s 20 warehouses in the country.
Verdi, the second largest German trade union with 1.9 million members, said that the call for work standstill was part of a dispute that began in 2018 over Amazon’s refusal to recognize industry-wide pay agreements and demanded a collective bargaining agreement on wages and stipulations for employees’ well-being.
A Verdi spokesperson noted that a number of warehouse employees had to walk a distance of up to 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) per day on the job.
The union reported that around 2,000 workers went on strike across six Amazon fulfillment centers – affecting centers in Bad Hersfeld, Dortmund, Koblenz, Leipzig and Rheinberg. Around 500 out of 1,250 (40 percent) workers had gone on strike at a warehouse in Rheinberg and some 250 out of 1,250 (20 percent) workers in Leipzig.
Amazon had repeatedly stated that workers were paid fair wages – with a starting pay of more than €14 ($15.27) an hour.
Amazon workers at the company’s warehouse in Coventry, the most central city in England, first went on strike in January to demand better wages to deal with high inflation, Reuters reported. (Related: Amazon warehouse workers in Britain walk out of their jobs over paltry pay increase, terrible working conditions.
The GMB trade union said that more than 1,000 workers at Amazon’s warehouse in central England, including some 12 other sites, put down their tools on Nov. 21 until Black Friday as part of a long-running dispute over wages – chanting their demand for a pay rise to £15 ($18.69) an hour and better working conditions.
On Oct 9, Amazon UK announced it would spend £170 million ($207 million) to pay wage increases that will benefit tens of thousands of employees across the U.K., as well as over 15,000 seasonal employees who will be hired at Amazon sites across the country this holiday season.
Amazon, which employs 75,000 employees in the U.K., said that wage increases for its frontline operations will be given in two installments over the next six months.
“From Oct. 15, minimum starting pay would increase by at least £1 ($1.26) an hour to between £11.80 ($14.91) and £12.50 ($15.79) – depending on location. Pay rates will further increase to between £12.30 ($15.34) and £13 ($16.42) an hour starting April 2024.”
The company said the increases meant that Amazon’s starting pay would have risen by 20 percent in two years, and 50 percent since 2018.
Amazon France reported that so far, there had been no sign of disruptions in operations.
Two officials of France’s SUD-PTT and CGT (General Confederation of Labor) unions, who called for strike action in the country’s eight warehouses, said they were not expecting a big turnout. They explained that the rising cost of living was driving the employees to seek overtime, rather than put down their tools.
Instead, around 40 Amazon parcel lockers located at street corners and in supermarket car parks and train stations – used by many customers to receive orders – were plastered with posters and barricade tape, according to anti-globalization organization Attac.
Reuters reported that Attac, which planned the protests in France, referred to Black Friday as a “celebration of overproduction and overconsumption.”
With more than 86 percent of its employees combining to work on Black Friday, Amazon said there has been no impact on its operations in Italy. Trade union CGIL, however, reported that more than 60 percent of workers at the Amazon warehouse in Castel San Giovanni dropped their tools.
Reuters reported that the Spanish labor union CCOO urged around 20,000 warehouse and delivery workers at Amazon’s local unit to walk out to demand better pay and working conditions on the so-called Cyber Monday discount day on Nov. 27, when retailers offer great discounts and launch special sales similar to those in the U.S. – to boost Christmas gift buying.
The largest trade union at Amazon Spain, CCOO said it wanted the company to “improve labor safety and acknowledge workplace risks in the country, boost human resources staff and raise wages” – arguing that their current remuneration is not commensurate with the workers’ workload volume.
In a news update, the outlet said that Amazon decided to agree with most of its employees’ demands in Spain. This sought to avoid the full impact of their planned one-hour work stoppage per shift for three shifts, on one of the busiest online shopping days of the year.
In a statement sent to Reuters, a local Amazon spokesperson claimed: “Our staff in all of Spain already work in a safe and modern environment with competitive wages and benefits.”
Visit JeffBezosWatch.com for more stories about Amazon.
Watch the following video about Amazon workers across Europe walking out on Black Friday to protest pay and working conditions.
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