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The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:09:11 PM EST
Language vote likely to further Latvian-Russian divide | Europe | DW.DE | 19.02.2012

Latvians have rejected making Russian their second official language. The referendum marks an escalation of long-simmering ethnic tensions between Russian speakers and Latvians wary of losing their national identity.

Travelling to Latvia's capital Riga, tourists might ask themselves whether they actually are in the small Baltic state. The Russian language seems to be everywhere: on the streets, in cafes or on the radio. In the capital, the Russian-speaking population makes up almost half of the population. The situation is similar in other cities across the country that joined the European Union in 2004. Almost one in three of the 2 million Latvians speak Russian as their native language.

Many of the Russian community feel like second-class citizens in Latvia

On Saturday, citizens were called to vote in a referendum to decide whether Russian should be made the country's second official language and be given equal status with Latvian. The result was clear: 78 percent voted against the proposal, 21 percent in favor. Some 69 percent of the 1.5 million eligible to vote cast their ballot.

The referendum was launched by the initiative Mother Tongue of the Russian minority in the country and intended to change five clauses in the country's constitution.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:22:03 PM EST
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German minister: full Greek rescue decision on Monday | News | DW.DE | 19.02.2012

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has told a newspaper that it 'would not be constructive' to approve Greece's second international rescue deal in installments. Instead, he said to expect a full decision Monday.

Germany's finance minister said in an interview printed on Sunday that it would make no sense to split the second package of emergency loans for Greece, after speculation that eurozone finance officials might consider a staggered deal on the 130-billion-euro ($171-billion) bailout.

"If Greece can implement all the necessary promises and reforms by the end of February and clears any other open questions, then the second aid package can be approved," Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said in an interview published in the Sunday edition of the Tagesspiegel daily. "I think that a staggered agreement or an agreement step by step would not be constructive."

Schäuble said instead that eurozone finance ministers "will decide on Monday over the entire program, which will then be implemented step by step." Finance ministers from the 17 members of the European single currency will gather in Brussels on Monday for another summit on Greece, with the clock ticking.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:22:13 PM EST
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FDP signals support for opposition presidential favorite | News | DW.DE | 19.02.2012

Coalition talks between Chancellor Merkel's CDU and the FDP over a candidate to succeed President Wulff have proven difficult. The FDP has signaled support for the Social Democrats and Greens' favorite candidate.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition partner, the Free Democrats (FDP), expressed unanimous support on Sunday for the opposition's favorite candidate, Joachim Gauck, to succeed former President Christian Wulff.

Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) and the pro-market FDP were meeting in Berlin on Sunday to agree on a presidential successor to Wulff in the aftermath of his resignation on Friday.

Coalition talks, however, have proven difficult, with the CDU rejecting Gauck as a candidate. Gauck, who narrowly lost his presidential bid to Wulff two years ago, is a Protestant pastor and civil rights activist from the former East Germany. He also formerly served as the federal commissioner that oversees the archive of East German secret police files.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:22:24 PM EST
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Iran announces it has stopped selling crude oil to UK and France | World news | The Guardian

Iran announced on Sunday that it had stopped selling crude oil to British and French companies, in a move that may put further pressure on the price of oil amid heightening political tensions.

The price of Brent crude - the benchmark for oil - had been rising last week because of tensions with Tehran, which had warned it might cut oil supplies to the Netherlands, Greece, France, Portugal, Spain and Italy in retaliation for Europe's latest sanctions.

On Sunday, a spokesman was quoted on the Iranian oil ministry's website as saying: "Exporting crude to British and French companies has been stopped ... we will sell our oil to new customers. We have our own customers ... The replacements for these companies have been considered by Iran."

The EU has already agreed to stop importing Iranian crude oil from 1 July in an effort to stop Iran enriching uranium.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:22:35 PM EST
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and so the consequences of our stupid support for america's stupid support of Likud's re-election bid continue to escalate

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 02:43:48 AM EST
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Olympic VIPs take fast lane leaving patients at risk | Sport | The Observer

Sick and vulnerable NHS patients will be left stranded in ambulances in traffic jams while dignitaries and sponsors race past in a fleet of expensive cars on specially designated lanes during the Olympics, healthcare providers fear.

Games organisers have been accused of risking people's health by banning the routine use by ambulances of the "Games lanes" introduced to ensure that VIPs can travel quickly to events. The decision to reject a request for access from NHS London, the capital's strategic health authority, has led to a storm of anger. Medical Services, an independent business that transports patients for the health service, and whose clients include the hospitals closest to the Olympic stadium, says it fears that the ill, including those on dialysis, will be trapped in vehicles as London suffers unprecedented congestion, with traffic on key routes expected to slow to a crawl.

The Games lanes comprise 30 miles of road in central London on which only the "Olympic family" will be allowed to travel - athletes, officials and sponsors, including Coca-Cola and McDonald's. BMW has donated 4,000 3 and 5 series cars to be used during the Games. Following consultation with the NHS, ambulances will be allowed to use the lanes when they have their blue lights on, but critics say there are many urgent journeys that cannot justify the use of blue lights. They can only be employed in a genuine emergency and those entitled to use them generally require special training.

Leah Bevington, head of communication at Medical Services, expressed astonishment that even appeals for bus lanes to be opened up to ambulances and vehicles transporting patients had been rejected by Transport for London (TfL) and the London Olympic Organising Committee so that public transport was not held up at peak times. Bevington said: "This means that sick people, often elderly and frail, urgent blood supplies, oxygen, will all be made to wait in traffic with the rest of us. Congestion can be bad enough around London on a regular day so you can imagine that we are concerned that patients will be on a vehicle for much longer periods of time." She added: "As much as the NHS and everyone else is trying to run business as usual, without some help it won't happen."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:22:47 PM EST
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but they'#ll only be poor people, who don't matter. Whereas the special people, the 1% people, are important and so must be privileged, it's only fair and natural

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 02:45:20 AM EST
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Third day of strikes to hit Frankfurt airport | News | DW.DE | 19.02.2012

Frankfurt airport, Germany's busiest, will see further disruptive strikes on Monday as air traffic controllers push the aviation hub's administrators for a wage increase.

Germany's busiest airport will be hit with further strikes Monday, only days after a two-day walk-out by tarmac staff caused heavy delays and over 100 flight cancellations at one of Europe's major aviation hubs.

Air traffic control union GdF called on its members to walk out in protest for 24 hours from 5 a.m. Monday.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:22:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let for-profit firms transform weak state schools, urges former headteacher | Education | The Guardian

For-profit companies should be brought in to help improve hundreds of underperforming state schools, according to the former headteacher of an inner-city comprehensive.

Trevor Averre-Beeson, who used to be headteacher of Islington Green comprehensive in north London, now works as the education director of one of the UK's biggest for-profit education firms, Lilac Sky Schools.

He said many of the 1,310 primary schools and 107 secondaries that ministers had declared to be underperforming could be "transformed" by companies such as his own.

The debate over whether for-profit firms should have a greater role in running schools is highly political and is expected to intensify this week when Policy Exchange, a right-of-centre thinktank, publishes a report calling on ministers to go further in allowing for-profits into state schools.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 12:47:26 PM EST
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the headline would be more honest if it read "Let for-profit firms transform weak state schools, urges urges man who wishes to profit from it"

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 02:47:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Sun on Sunday to launch next week

The Sun on Sunday is to publish for the first time next weekend, News International has announced.

An email to all staff said that Rupert Murdoch, boss of parent company News Corporation, would "be staying in London to oversee the launch".

Mr Murdoch flew in to the UK last week, and told Sun staff that a Sunday edition would be launched "very soon".

News International shut down its Sunday paper, the News of the World, last year amid the scandal over phone hacking.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Feb 19th, 2012 at 08:12:21 PM EST
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given the current internal politics at New Corpse this sounds like a power play from Rupe more than it does a considered view on the UK media market

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 02:50:01 AM EST
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Well Im thinking he's seen a problem as an opportunity, and he's downsized the business, getting rid of all the expensive senior staff

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 01:32:43 PM EST
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Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Second bailout for Greece expected to be approved today
Eurozone finance ministers will meet in Brussels today to decide on second bailout for Greece; There is a momentum building up for approval according to Reuters; Over the weekend the Austrian finance minister gave an upbeat assessment; Greece seemed to have approved the setup of an escrow account; An IMF analysis suggests that Greek debt would reach 129% in 2020; Greek parliament set to approve the pension cuts to save the €325m required by the lenders; Dimitris Kontogiannis warns that an es[c]row account could trigger an internal default; Wolfgang Munchau argues that Wolfgang Schauble's call to postpone elections violates Kant's categoric imperative; Joachim Gauck is nominated to become the new German president after Christian Wulff had to resign over expenses scandals; Merkel had to give up her resistance against Gauck to save her coalition government; In his first interview as ECB board member Joerg Assmussen said ECB supports to the EFSF alongside the ESM; Peter Praet repeated the ECB was not participating in the rescheduling of debt; Praet also said any ECB profits on Greek bond holdings would be transfered to national central banks, which transfer it to the governments, which would lend then to Greece; There are protests in Greece and Spain. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets in Madrid in protest against the new labour market reform with cuts in sever[a]nce payments; Wolfgang Schäuble aims for a balance budget by 2014 instead of 2016; In Germany, meanwhile, there is a debate going on about Hans Werner Sinn's claim  that Germany's Target 2 balances present a counterparty risk in the case of a breakdown of the euro.


tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 04:12:03 AM EST
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Economic Times: Greece 'dangerous flashpoint,' EU must react: Italy
The premier, who has called on Europe several times to balance austerity with growth, said a group of European countries, including Italy but excluding France and Germany, were sending Brussels a letter pushing for growth.

"The letter from seven or eight countries from the European Union, and not just from the eurozone, will be made public today, if it has not already been."

...

"Barring last minute changes, France and Germany will not be among the signatories," he added, without specifying which countries were taking part.



tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 09:10:45 AM EST
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Eurozone crisis live: Greece bailout decision due today | Business | guardian.co.uk

If the Greek debt/default saga is a series of marathons and we're in the last mile of this one, as Olli Rehn's spokesman put it earlier today, then we're just about to enter the stadium for the final lap. There are, as always, one or two hurdles such as the ECB giving up some of its nominal profits on its holdings of Greek bonds, screwing the private bondholders a bit more and getting that nice Christine Lagarde to be less miserly in the IMF's contributions to the bailout than she's planned up to now. But, several sources have reassured me, the deal is all but done and dusted.

But.....

There is, of course, a wee problem: the package has to be ratified by the 17 countries, including by three parliaments, I'm told. They just happen to be...those of Germany, the Netherlands and Finland, the triple-A rated euro zone members and big-time payers, which have been hardest to win over.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 09:13:26 AM EST
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