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 EUROPE 



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:42:24 PM EST
Belgian minister vows to resist 'ultra-liberal' Commission | EurActiv

Belgium's enterprise minister Paul Magnette criticised the European Commission for being "too tough" on his country and pleaded for more "margin of manoeuvre" for national governments to enforce EU budget discipline rules.

Magnette made these statements at a conference, auspiciously titled "Can one criticize Europe?", organized by the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB).

The minister, who is also a Socialist leader and high profile professor in the same university, was recently in the centre of a controversy, after he made comments critical to the EU executive, for which he was reprimanded both by Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo and Council President Herman Van Rompuy, a former Belgian Prime Minister.

Reportedly, Magnette said that the economic and budgetary policy, imposed on EU countries, condemned them "to a 15-year-long recession". He added that he doubted that the Commission had the democratic legitimacy to impose such policy.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:42:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AUDIO: Green candidate Joly on 'xenophobic' election - 2012 French Presidential election - FRANCE 24

The tone of the French presidential debate took a decidedly populist turn this week as incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy declared his intention to halve the number of immigrants allowed into the country each year.

Accused of populism and of trying to attract disillusioned voters back from the far-right National Front (FN), Sarkozy's announcement follows a campaign launched in February by the FN's Marine Le Pen against Islamic halal and Jewish kosher butchering practices.

One candidate for May's presidential election, the Green Party's Eva Joly, has spoken out against what she calls "latent xenophobia in the French political discourse".

Joly told FRANCE 24 that the current obsession with foreigners had eclipsed more important international issues.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:42:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nick Clegg: Wealthy must pay more tax - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said any tax changes in this month's Budget should mean "the wealthy have to pay more".

He repeated his call for any money George Osborne has available for tax cuts to be spent on raising the income tax threshold.

Mr Clegg's comments are the latest in a series of high-profile interventions on the Budget negotiations by Liberal Democrat Cabinet ministers.

Business Secretary Vince Cable has said there was an "understanding" within Government that if the 50p top rate of income tax was scrapped, as favoured by many Conservatives, it would be replaced with a levy on wealth, such as the mansion tax favoured by Lib Dems.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:42:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Respekt (CZ) via Presseurop: A vote for the best and the worst
When Iveta Radičova's right-wing government fell last October after a dispute over Slovakia's participation in the financial bail-out of indebted eurozone countries, it seemed that the Europe issue would redraw the traditional political and mental map of the country.

...

But after a few months everything is different. Europe has been forgotten and life in the country is dominated by corruption scandals at home, whose unprecedented scale is corroding the very essence of politics. The published `Gorilla' file - a report from the SIS, Slovakia's secret service, on politicians' links to business - has turned traditional right-wing voters in particular towards new parties, which sprang up like mushrooms after a rain.

But, one after another, these have got caught up right away in their own scandals and scraps, from which they are emerging battered beyond recognition. The preliminary outcomes of this confusion are estimates of a frighteningly low turnout (45 percent), of which nearly a third do not yet know who they will vote for.



There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 02:29:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See: Gorila by DoDo on January 29th, 2012.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 02:30:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bloomberg: Slovakia Ex-Premier Fico Set to Win Elections With Pledge to Tax the Rich
Slovaks began voting in a snap election that former Premier Robert Fico is set to win on pledges to tax higher earners and companies as the country seeks budget-deficit cuts to avoid a credit-rating downgrade.

...

Premier Iveta Radicova's government collapsed in October when a coalition member refused to back the euro area's enhanced rescue mechanism, causing the administration to lose a confidence vote in parliament. The row has slowed efforts to trim the budget deficit. Worsening fiscal prospects, aggravated by the country's dependence on exports to the euro region, led Moody's Investors Service to cut Slovakia's credit rating by one level to A1 and impose a negative outlook.

"The sovereign rating will depend on the European debt crisis and the steps taken by the new government arising from early parliamentary elections." Erste Group Bank AG analysts wrote in a March 9 report. The government's ability to "proceed with fiscal consolidation in a sustainable way" will help determine the assessment of Slovakia's creditworthiness, it said.



There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 02:31:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I won't write a major election diary this time; for now I say that the last polls cause uncertainty at an unprecedented level: while Fico's 40% and the second and third place for the Catholic-conservative Christian Democrats and the moderate ethnic-Hungarian-based Most-Híd party [means "bridge" in two languages] seems assured, no less than five parties dance at the 5% limit (the liberal Christian Democrats who were hit by Gorila the most, the neoliberals, a populist outfit called 99%, the far-right, and the nationalist ethnic-Hungarian party), and one more is slightly above (a populist breakaway from the neoliberals whom Fico keeps calling the party of half-idiots). If all of these enter parliament or all but one or two, Fico's majority might be in danger. For whatever reason, Fico declared that he wants to govern in a coalition, irrespective of his majority; but only the far-right declared willingness to partner with him.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 07:36:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Polls closed at 22h so the count won't be finished until tomorrow late morning. Two exit polls bring some surprises – the first by Focus for public television:

  1. Smer (left-populist): 39.6%
  2. KDH (Catholic-Conservative): 9.9%
  3. OL (liberal-populist SaS breakaway): 8.8%
  4. SDKÚ (liberal Christian Democrat): 8.1%
  5. SaS (neoliberal): 7.1%
  6. Most-Híd (moderate ethnic-Hungarian-based): 6.3%
7) SMK/MKP (nationalist ethnic-Hungarian): 4.4%
  1. SNS (far-right): 4.1%
  2. 99% (fake Occupy-ish populist): ??

The second by MVK for a private television:

  1. Smer (left-populist): 37.3%
  2. KDH (Catholic-Conservative): 10.8%
  3. OL (liberal-populist SaS breakaway): 7.6%
  4. SDKÚ (liberal Christian Democrat): 7.5%
  5. Most-Híd (moderate ethnic-Hungarian-based): 6.8%
  6. SaS (neoliberal): 5.9%
  7. SMK/MKP (nationalist ethnic-Hungarian): 5.1%
  8. SNS (far-right): 4.8%
  9. 99% (fake Occupy-ish populist): 2.6%

The outgoing minority government consists of SDKÚ, KDH and Most-Híd, and became a minority government when SaS left. SDKÚ didn't fall as big as recent polls indicated. The vote is entirely proportional and there is a 5% limit. Thus, SNS and 99% and possibly MKP failed; and Smer looks to have failed to gain government majority either way.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 05:00:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are reports that turnout was above 50%, that is better than the 45% expected. It would appear that this was in large part due to a late mobilisation of the disgruntled voters of the two parties hit most by the scandals, SDKÚ (at the center of Gorila) and SaS (which had its own scandal of leaked telephone calls).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 05:47:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The exit polls were completely off. The preliminary final result:

Turnout: 59.11% (higher than both 2006 and 2010!)

  1. Smer-SD (left-populist): 44.41%
  2. KDH (Catholic-Conservative): 8.82%
  3. OĽaNO (liberal-populist SaS breakaway): 8.55%
  4. Most-Híd (moderate ethnic-Hungarian-based): 6.89%
  5. SDKÚ-DS (liberal Christian Democrat): 6.09%
  6. SaS (neoliberal): 5.88%
  7. SNS (far-right): 4.55%
  8. SMK/MKP (nationalist ethnic-Hungarian): 4.28%
  9. 99% (fake Occupy-ish populist): 1.58%
  10. ĽSNS (neo-fascist) 1.58%
  11. ZZ-DÚ (dwarf party around a Velvet Revolution figure): 1.29%
  12. SSS-NM (heir to the pre-2006 main liberal party): 1.22%
  13. ĽS-HZDS (party of 1992-1998 mafioso PM Mečiar): 0.93%

So Smer does have its comfortable majority, while neither KDH, nor SDKÚ, nor SaS, nor MKP did as well as predicted. Hopefully future PM Fico will now implement his promise to end the flat tax (he campaigned against it before his 2006 victory already but then rather didn't risk conflict with some special interests) and hopefully he will use SNS's dropping from parliament as occasion to focus less on nationalism.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Mar 11th, 2012 at 06:31:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Was SNS the party he allied with last time in power?
by IM on Sun Mar 11th, 2012 at 06:54:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In 2006-2010 Fico's Smer allied with both SNS and HZDS. To Fico's credit, he engineered the self-destruction of both ugly parties (even if SNS barely made it in 2010), though the damage done in the process was significant...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Mar 11th, 2012 at 07:06:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even after the pnch-out election victory (photo below), Fico is keeping up the rhetoric about wanting a coalition. Of course he is aiming at the supermajority to change the constitution (as Fidesz in Humgary), but has practically zero chance. At any rate, he invited all other parties that made it for roundtable talks, which is a nice step in the direction of civility in politics. He even said that a functioning democracy needs a strong opposition capable of controlling the government.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Mar 11th, 2012 at 07:10:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He even said that a functioning democracy needs a strong opposition capable of controlling the government.

That's cheap talk when you have an absolute majority in parliament.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 10:06:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I take it any day over Orbán's "we don't need an opposition" :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 10:18:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:43:12 PM EST
Greece secures debt swap and escapes default | EurActiv

Greece claimed a major success for its bond swap offer to private creditors today (9 March) after it won heavy acceptance for a deal that averts the immediate risk of an uncontrolled default on its massive public debt.

The finance ministry said 85.8% of its €177 billion in bonds regulated under Greek law had been tendered, adding that the rate would reach 95.7% with the use of collective action clauses to enforce the deal on creditors who refused to take part voluntarily.

The result should clear the way for the European Union and International Monetary Fund to release a €130 billion bailout package agreed with Greece last month.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:43:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Envoy says China wants to avert trade spat over ETS | EurActiv

A Chinese diplomat said yesterday (8 March) Beijing is keen to avoid a trade conflict with Europe after Airbus accused the country of blocking purchases of its aircraft in retaliation for the EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS).

The diplomat spoke hours after Louis Gallois, chief executive of Airbus parent EADS, had complained that the aircraft firm was suffering "retaliatory measures" from China including a refusal to approve orders for long-haul jets.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:43:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU to confront China with 'reciprocity' in public contracts | EurActiv

The controversial proposal is due to be presented by the end of March by Michel Barnier and Karel De Gucht, the EU commissioners for the internal market and trade.

Under the plan, seen by EurActiv, EU countries "will be given the possibility to reject foreign bids from third countries" that fail to open their own public procurement markets to European companies.

"If a third country repeatedly discriminates against European companies, the Commission will be able to take targeted restrictive measures vis-à-vis this third country and effectively close a part of the EU's procurement market," a Commission spokesperson told EurActiv.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:43:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:43:56 PM EST
Botched rescue mission sparks Italian anger at UK - NIGERIA - FRANCE 24
Prime Minister Mario Monti held security talks Friday amid rising anger over the UK's failure to notify Italy ahead of a failed British-Nigerian mission to rescue an Italian and a Briton being held in Nigeria. Both hostages died in the attempt.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:44:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Syrian forces kill dozens on eve of Kofi Annan visit - SYRIA - FRANCE 24
Syrian forces killed some 31 people across the country Friday, just a day before new UN-Arab League international envoy Kofi Annan was to arrive in Damascus to assess the situation. The resumption of violence followed a few days of relative calm.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:44:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ambassador says China opposes using force against Iran | EurActiv

Global partners should engage in diplomatic talks to solve the Iran deadlock as military action would have "devastating consequences" for the region, said Wu Hailong, the newly appointed Chinese ambassador to the EU.

This week, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton wrote to Iran's top nuclear negotiator, accepting an offer to meet to discuss Tehran's nuclear program.

"The best way forward is through diplomatic talk," said Hailong, a seasoned diplomat who has represented China in many international organisations, including the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Speaking to a small group of journalists, Hailong argued that the issues remain unresolved to this day and sanctions have not delivered results.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:44:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fox News: Sandra Fluke was a plant by the Obama administration.

Mercury News editorial: Why don't Democrats just make stuff up too? - San Jose Mercury News

The accusation advanced by Eric Bolling on Tuesday's "The Five," and given credence by most others in the Fox discussion, is this: President Barack Obama put Fluke up to creating a controversy over the all-male congressional committee's failure to let her speak at a hearing on birth control. It was an insidious plot to distract attention from the economy -- wait, isn't the economy improving? -- and to shore up Obama's flagging support among women. Naturally, they will be flocking to the party that conducts all-male hearings on birth control.

Oh, come on. The Democrats aren't that clever. Only people used to concocting crap themselves would come up with a theory like this.

by Bernard on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 04:23:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Sideshow - Stuart Zechman - How Rush won the week

He's helping to distract and misinform millions of people right now, which is what his show is about, from a political perspective. And, in this respect, he's not just an entertainer, he's a master.

So let's review how this misinformation spreads:

  1. the Obama Administration announces that they're drafting HHS regulations in a way that somehow mandates the state-based insurance oligopolies to pay for prescription birth control "at no extra cost" for those expensive pharmaceuticals.

  2. Rush says he's really unhappy about the Obama/Romney health care law, because he says it somehow mandates free birth control, and so he called somebody on the Democratic side a "slut" and a "prostitute."

  3. liberals and Democrats jump up and down about Rush's language, Rush apologizes for his language, the Republican presidential candidates disavow Rush's language, Obama gets asked in a press conference about Rush's language.

  4. movement conservatives still believe that they're somehow paying for someone else's free birth control, movement liberals also still believe that they're getting free birth control, and the political media get to focus on sensationalizing bad, sexy-time language, instead of explaining how health care policy works to the American people.

See how that works?


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 02:59:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No.  Rush did not win the week.  Rush is getting hammered in his advertisers in an unprecedented manner, and his broadcasts feature ample dead air, interspersed with unpaid public service announcements.

When the right "wins" a week's messaging war, the House puffs itself up with meaningless legislation that will never pass.  This week, it retreated from meaningless legislation on this topic.  It knows it lost.

Nobody understands policy details anyway.

by Zwackus on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 06:38:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Drug War:
Foreign Policy: Vice President Joe Biden was in Central America this week attempting to staunch the hemorrhaging of regional support for the U.S.-led War on Drugs. His trip follows one last week by Secretary for Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, who similarly decamped to the region to buoy a faltering U.S. flag as drug cartel-fueled violence continues wreaking havoc on Central American societies. What's caused this flurry of high-level administration attention to the region is a number of recent public statements by sitting Latin American presidents openly questioning the effectiveness of current counter-narcotics policies and calling for multilateral discussions on legalizing or decriminalizing the use of illicit drugs.

Colombia Reports: Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Friday the United States announcement that it is willing to discuss drug legalization was "very important." Responding to a U.S. statement that it would participate in talks on drug legalization at the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Colombia -- the first time it has discussed the issue in a multilateral setting -- Santos told W Radio, "I believe this is something that has to be valued and channeled in a positive way, so that if this discussion takes place, it is something that really brings, if we find it, a better solution to the world to the terrible issue of drug trafficking."

See coverage by Democracy Now!

Boz debates drug policy.

Colombia Reports: Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro, several leftist congressmen and human rights defenders have received a letter notifying prominent leftist political politicians they have been "sentenced to death" in a letter signed by the Bloque Capital of neo-paramilitary group "Aguilas Negras." In the letter, partially shown on the socialist party's website, the alleged paramilitary group warns it "has the order to execute" "the FARC guerrilla bitches who oppose the policies of our government and brainwash the displaced to act as human rights leaders."

Colombia Reports: Cuba's foreign minister on Thursday thanked Colombia for its support, while blaming the U.S. for its exclusion from the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena next month. (...) Rodriguez added that the U.S. position "offends the dignity" of Latin Americans.

BBC: Indigenous protesters in Ecuador have begun a two-week march across the country against plans for large-scale mining projects.  Several hundred protesters set off from an Amazon province where a Chinese company has been authorised to develop a huge open-cast copper mine.

Amnesty International: The killing of 21 people by Jamaican police in just six days must be subject to a thorough inquiry, Amnesty International said as it called on the authorities to mount an effective investigation into recent and past police operations. Six of the killings took place during a single police operation in Denham Town, West Kingston, on 5 March. A 13-year-old girl died after reportedly being caught up in the cross-fire between police and criminal suspects.

Caribbean Integration Movement:
Miami Herald: Caribbean Community leaders kicked off a two-day meeting in Suriname to discuss the future of their organization's machinery, cricket. (...) A report commissioned by the body has raised serious questions about its existence and future, saying its Guyana-based secretariat has lived "hand-to-mouth" and "in the absence of fundamental change, it is more likely that Caricom will expire slowly, over perhaps four or five years," the authors wrote.

Venezuelanalysis: Professor Norman Girvan of the University of the West Indies, a leading scholar in Caribbean political economy sees the recent regional shift towards ALBA as the result of the organization providing a more dynamic alternative to CARICOM, remarking that "(ALBA) poses the urgency of revitalising CARICOM and if CARICOM continues to be relatively moribund in its economic integration aspect then inevitably ALBA will become an attractive alternative for more and more CARICOM states."

And finally... an interesting tale.

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne

by maracatu on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 06:45:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, a pan-regional drug legalisation would really mess with US hegemony. they'd have to stage coups on a dozen states simultaneously

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 03:03:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's more, this is a case of left and right wing regimes coinciding and collaborating, instead of viewing everything through a cold war prism.  The extent to which this absolutely confounds and angers the reactionary right wing elements can be seen in the actions, and especially the recent apparent decision, by Neocon darling Alvaro Uribe of Colombia to challenge President Santos in the next election.  Ileana Ros Lehtinen, of Florida, has been having six, nay, sixteen kittens with the Venezuelan Colombian rapproachement.  Delicious!

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 05:22:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.mondo.rs/s236637/Info/Svet/Berluskoni_na_gozbi_kod_Putina.html

Berlusconi with Putin and Medvedev congratulating Putin on electoral victory. Hahahaha...
See how everything goes well when one cooperates. Italians couldn't get rid of Berlusconi for years. Then "they" stripped him of power over night. He was obedient and look everything is fine. Anyway he was western connection to Russia (Putin) all the time and is probably continuing to be. Deals have to be made...
If only Saddam, Gaddafi and now Syrian president were smart enough. They would now live on Florida and continue to do the "business"...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 08:52:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:44:38 PM EST
Danish compromise on GM crops headed for defeat | EurActiv

EU ministers are unlikely to agree draft rules to let countries decide themselves whether to grow or ban genetically modified (GM) crops, despite efforts by Denmark's EU presidency to reach a compromise.

EU environment ministers meeting in Brussels today (9 March) will vote on a Danish compromise designed to break a deadlock that has split governments since the draft rules were proposed in 2010.

The rule change was drafted by the executive European Commission to try to unblock EU decision-making on GM crop approvals, which has seen just two varieties authorised for cultivation in more than 12 years.

Hooray! And it was never a "compromise", it was a backdoor legislation.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:44:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rival forums set different course for water access | EurActiv

Organisers of the two events say they expect thousands of people to gather 12-17 March for discussions that will present ideas on how to improve global access to an increasingly threatened natural resource.

But the main difference pitting the two sides over the 6th World Water Forum and its alternative centres is the role of the private sector in providing water in both developed and developing countries.

The Alternative World Water Forum - known by its French acronym FAME, or Forum Alternatif Mondial de l'Eau - says it offers a "democratic" choice to the other Marseille gathering they say represents an élite that ignores the need for affordable water.

Promoting a motto of "water belongs to everyone," the trade unions, corporate watchdog groups sand environmentalists behind FAME accuse the World Water Forum of "hijacking" their agenda with its calls for universal water access and sustainability.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:44:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Energy companies reject binding EU efficiency targets | EurActiv
European energy retailers resisting a mandatory 1.5% annual efficiency target prefer to find their own way to improve productivity - through higher electricity prices or subsidies from the public sector - EurActiv heard at an industry conference.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:45:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fukushima Fallout: Cancer Fears and Depression Plague Japanese Refugees - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
Ever since the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power plant, many Japanese people have been living with the fear of cancer. Experts find it difficult to estimate how many people will actually fall ill, but they're more concerned about the psychological consequences of the catastrophe.

...Meanwhile, Japanese authorities have begun the first long-term studies to analyze possible effects of the disaster. In total about 2 million residents from the Fukushima area will be observed over the next 30 years. Those affected by the catastrophe will receive detailed questionnaires along with full-body scans and thyroid exams. The cost of the study will be exorbitant, and the analysis of the mass data immense.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:45:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japanese Nuclear Industry Nearly Idle - NYTimes.com
OHI, Japan -- All but two of Japan's 54 commercial reactors have gone offline since the nuclear disaster a year ago, after the earthquake and tsunami, and it is not clear when they can be restarted. With the last operating reactor scheduled to be idled as soon as next month, Japan -- once one of the world's leaders in atomic energy -- will have at least temporarily shut down an industry that once generated a third of its electricity.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:45:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Power Grid of Their Own: German Village Becomes Model for Renewable Energy - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
The tiny village of Feldheim, some 60 kilometers southwest of Berlin, was catapulted by chance to the forefront of the renewable energy movement. Now visitors from around the world are flocking to this otherwise unremarkable rural community to see if they can replicate its success.

...Feldheim is the only town in Germany that started its own energy grid and gets all of its electricity and heating through local renewable sources, primarily wind and biogas. This mix of energy self-sufficiency and reliance on renewables attracted 3,000 visitors in 2011. Visitors came from North and South Korea, South America, Canada, Iran, Iraq and Australia. About half of the visitors are from Japan.

...Before Knape became mayor in 2002 he hadn't given much thought to energy-related issues. Now he is leaving the Free Democrats (FDP), Germany's pro-business party, over differences on energy policy...

...In 2008 Feldheim decided to take control of its own grid. Cutting out the middleman was a natural step since the town was producing all of its own energy right in its backyard. But when E.on refused to sell or lease its energy grid, Feldheim, with help from Energiequelle, had to build its own smart grid. They completed the grid in October 2010 with each villager contributing €3,000 ($3,972). Now Feldheimers pay about 31 percent less for electricity and 10 percent less for heating. The project has created about 30 jobs in Feldheim.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:45:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brilliant stuff

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 03:08:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
totally the way forward... great news

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 05:57:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A Power Grid of Their Own: German Village Becomes Model for Renewable Energy - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
By 2008, after two years of planning, Feldheim built a €1.7 million biogas factory to be used for heat and fueled by slurry of unused corn and pig manure.

OK, this is why I wonder whether biogas is really a renewable energy source.

Not only is this a waste of food plus a consumption of products from an unsustainable form of animal husbandry (and waste or otherwise, if the process is unsustainable there's no guarantee of the product's availability). For much of human history up until the industrial revolution the invention of the Haber-Bosch process, these "waste" products were actually food production inputs. And to my mind a more sustainable energy economy implies, at least to some extent, replacing the energy inputs in food production with biomass inputs.

And once we do that, we have a lot less shit left over for gasification.

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

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 06:14:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looking at Swedish biogas it is (afaik) mainly waste from the food production, in effect the excesses that are largely due to our system of production, distribution (lots of waste from transport and stores), consumtion and lack of composts and use for good soil near homes. So yeah, in a more sustainable world were this is fixed, biogas goes too. But in the meanwhile, biogas is a good way of making use of the waste.

Actually, thinking about it, if we go back to the roots of gas in cities iirc it was gasified wood, in essence changing the system of distributing and burning wood. And so long as the forestry is sustainable, that could - in the more sustainable world - again be a possibility.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES!

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 06:49:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
so long as the forestry is sustainable, that could - in the more sustainable world - again be a possibility.

Ever since I found the following snippet I don't believe that's a possibility

The massive production of charcoal (at its height employing hundreds of thousands, mainly in Alpine and neighbouring forests) was a major cause of deforestation, especially in Central Europe. In England, many woods were managed as coppices, which were cut and regrew cyclically, so that a steady supply of charcoal would be available (in principle) forever; complaints (as early as the Stuart period) about shortages may relate to the results of temporary over-exploitation or the impossibility of increasing production to match growing demand. The increasing scarcity of easily harvested wood was a major factor for the switch to the fossil fuel equivalents, mainly coal and brown coal for industrial use.
In other words, fossil fuels were adopted in reaction to peak charcoal. I don't think sustainable forestry is going to be the answer to peak oil.

On the other hand, we'd better sustainably farm the renewable energy resources when the nonrenewable ones run out.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 09:01:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(wiki)

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 10:15:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the 19th century in Europe was horrible on the forests. Leading to early 20th century conservation movement that was very succesfull at least when it comes to Swedish forests.

Migeru:

In other words, fossil fuels were adopted in reaction to peak charcoal. I don't think sustainable forestry is going to be the answer to peak oil.

Depends on what you call an answer. Gasification of wood was in Sweden a partial answer to the lack of oil during wwII. Other parts included rationing of driving to essentials (afaik: busses, taxis, deliveries and military) and promotion of biking and public transports includig rail and light rail (saw a lovely propaganda motion picture that included a gentleman who, though reluctant at first, did his patriotic duty by biking to work and got healthier and more attractive).

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES!

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Mar 11th, 2012 at 05:26:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Didn't I post about this months ago, somewhere here, with photos?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 08:38:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Battle brewing between solar industry and utilities over 'net metering' - SiliconValley.com

A battle is brewing between the solar industry and utilities over "net metering," a popular policy that allows homeowners, school districts and businesses to offset the cost of their electric use with the rooftop solar power they generate and export to the grid.

Though wonky in name, net metering is a straightforward concept that has been in place in California for 15 years. Utilities give solar customers a credit on their monthly bill during sunny months when they generate more solar power than they use, and those credits can offset higher consumption of utility-generated electricity during the less sunny months of the year.

by Bernard on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 04:23:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Data Highlights - 25: Peak Meat: U.S. Meat Consumption Falling | EPI
U.S. meat consumption has peaked. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that meat eating across the country fell from the 2004 high point of 184 pounds (83 kilograms) per person to 171 pounds in 2011. Early estimates for 2012 project a further reduction in American meat eating to 166 pounds, making for a 10 percent drop over the eight-year period. For a society that lives high on the food chain, this new trend could signal the end of meat's mealtime dominance.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 04:36:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nuclear power: The dream that failed | The Economist

THE enormous power tucked away in the atomic nucleus, the chemist Frederick Soddy rhapsodised in 1908, could "transform a desert continent, thaw the frozen poles, and make the whole world one smiling Garden of Eden." Militarily, that power has threatened the opposite, with its ability to make deserts out of gardens on an unparalleled scale. Idealists hoped that, in civil garb, it might redress the balance, providing a cheap, plentiful, reliable and safe source of electricity for centuries to come. But it has not. Nor does it soon seem likely to.

Looking at nuclear power 26 years ago, this newspaper observed that the way forward for a somewhat moribund nuclear industry was "to get plenty of nuclear plants built, and then to accumulate, year after year, a record of no deaths, no serious accidents--and no dispute that the result is cheaper energy." It was a fair assessment; but our conclusion that the industry was "safe as a chocolate factory" proved something of a hostage to fortune. Less than a month later one of the reactors at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine ran out of control and exploded, killing the workers there at the time and some of those sent in to clean up afterwards, spreading contamination far and wide, leaving a swathe of countryside uninhabitable and tens of thousands banished from their homes. The harm done by radiation remains unknown to this day; the stress and anguish of the displaced has been plain to see.



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 10:43:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:46:04 PM EST
SPIEGEL Interview with Wolfgang Beltracchi: Confessions of a Genius Art Forger - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
In one of Germany's greatest art scandals, former hippie and talented artist Wolfgang Beltracchi forged dozens of paintings over a period of 35 years, earning millions and fooling top collectors and museums. Now he's about to go to jail. In a SPIEGEL interview, he reveals how he did it and why he eventually got caught.

...The Beltracchi case is the biggest art forgery scandal of the postwar era, in terms of both the scope and perfection of the works, as well as how the paintings were marketed. The forgeries were sold as works by Max Ernst, Fernand Léger, Heinrich Campendonk, André Derain, Max Pechstein, classic modernist paintings, most of them by French and German Expressionists. During the two days of interviews, Beltracchi said several times that he had forged paintings by more than 50 artists, although he was unwilling to cite the exact number. Under German criminal law, serious cases of fraud fall under the statute of limitations after 10 years, but injured parties can file civil suits relating to cases much further in the past.

Beltracchi's principle was not to copy the paintings of the Expressionists, but, as he says, to fill the gaps in their bodies of work. Either he invented new paintings and motifs, tying in to specific creative phases in the artists' lives, or he created paintings whose titles appear in lists of the respective painters' works but which were believed to have been lost -- and of which no images existed.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:46:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ta Ta! German Tabloid Strips Front Page of Daily Nude - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
For 28 years, readers of Germany's top tabloid have enjoyed a titillating treat. Almost every day, the paper's front page has featured a different girl-next-door in the nude. But citing changing times, Bild has now ended the "Page One Girl" feature. The paper promises that things will stay "sexy" inside, though.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:46:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - LSD 'helps alcoholics to give up drinking'

One dose of the hallucinogenic drug LSD could help alcoholics give up drinking, according to an analysis of studies performed in the 1960s.

A study, presented in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, looked at data from six trials and more than 500 patients.

It said there was a "significant beneficial effect" on alcohol abuse, which lasted several months after the drug was taken.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 04:19:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure that there will be proponents of the war against some drugs who will argue that these people would be better off left as alcoholics than allow anybody to demonstrate a good use of a proscribed drug.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 03:11:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Soon there will be a study which irrevocably shows that LSD-users will be able to stop their perfidious drug usage by drinking copious quantities of alcohol.
by Nomad on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 08:39:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ultra-efficient LED puts out more power than is pumped in (Wired UK)

MIT physicists have managed to build a light-emitting diode that has an electrical efficiency of more than 100 percent. You may ask, "Wouldn't that mean it breaks the first law of thermodynamics?" The answer, happily, is no.

The LED produces 69 picowatts of light using 30 picowatts of power, giving it an efficiency of 230 percent. That means it operates above "unity efficiency" -- putting it into a category normally occupied by perpetual motion machines.

However, while MIT's diode puts out more than twice as much energy in photons as it's fed in electrons, it doesn't violate the conservation of energy because it appears to draw in heat energy from its surroundings instead. When it gets more than 100 percent electrically-efficient, it begins to cool down, stealing energy from its environment to convert into more photons.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 05:30:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Awesome

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 05:37:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AND a solution to the burnt-out stove light bulb problem sweeping Sweden.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 06:39:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Finally!

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES!
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 06:47:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately not, however it is the solution to the burned out fridge light problem, if you ever encounter that one

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 07:34:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On some thought, this is not so surprising - LEDs can behave as lasers and a laser has negative temperature due to the population inversion necessary for lasing. Therefore, if a heat link can be established between the lasing population and the external environment, the laser can absorb heat from the environment.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 06:51:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In slightly more detail, the researchers chose an LED with a small band gap, and applied smaller and smaller voltages. Every time the voltage was halved, the electrical power was reduced by a factor of four, but the light power emitted only dropped by a factor of two. The extra energy came instead from lattice vibrations.
Phonon to photon conversion by a laser, how cool.

'The phonon gas' in the LED is at a positive temperature, and the 'photon  gas' at a negative temperature. Heat flows from the positive to the negative temperature.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 06:53:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the 'photonlasing electron gas' at a negative temperature

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 06:56:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now if they can turn heat directly into electrickery, we are into a different world entirely

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 03:15:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good point.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 03:27:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
can you do that without time running backwards? Um um entropy? Me confused.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 04:47:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Negative temperature...

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 05:20:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If all it takes to go back in time is a couple of LEDs, I'm a taker.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 05:47:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or a couple of LSDs...

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 07:03:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Put PV in front of it. With the LED running at 230 electrical efficiency, the PV needs to have an efficiency of about 44% to get more electricity then is put in. And isn't it around 40% that the best PV (in labs) are?

Then of course, it is just the matter of covering the energy cost of building the things and we are set.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES!

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 06:58:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You need to do better than that: You also need to power the laser.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 07:57:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's easy - you just open a negative energy wormhole to the center of the nearest star.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 08:07:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just a minute while I drop a tab.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 08:18:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That was not included in the calculation of the efficiency? Well, there is what happens when you put articles behind pay-walls.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES!
by A swedish kind of death on Sun Mar 11th, 2012 at 06:36:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OPEN LETTER FOR SPANISH SCIENCE
In the next few weeks, and contravening recommendation from the European Commission stating that public deficit control measures should not affect Research and Development (R&D) and innovation, the Spanish Government and Parliament could approve a State Budget that would cause considerable long-term damage to the already weakened Spanish research system, contributing to its collapse. This would imply the maintenance of an obsolete economic model that is not competitive and is especially vulnerable to all kinds of economic and political contingencies. Given the above, we ask the political representatives:
  • To avoid a new reduction of the investment in R&D and innovation. In the last few years, the investment in R&D (chapter 46 of the State Budget) has suffered a cut of 4.2% in 2010 and 7.38% in 2011; for 2012, a further 8.65% cut is being considered (where the percentages refer to the cut with respect to the previous year). If the budget cut for 2012 is ratified, during those years the Public Research Organisms would have suffered an accumulated 30% reduction of the resources coming from the State Budget. Investment in R&D was 1.39% of GDP in 2010 and it is estimated that in 2011 it was less than 1.35%. In the mid-term, it should reach the mean EU-27 value of 2.3% and converge toward the European Council goal of 3%.
  • To include R&D and innovation among the "priority sectors" allowing hiring in public research organisms, universities and technological centers during the fiscal year 2012. This will avoid a "brain drain" that would take decades to reverse.


There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 10th, 2012 at 02:42:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:46:37 PM EST
Cambridge debating society stands firm on Dominique Strauss-Kahn invite - Education News - Education - The Independent

Campaigners are expected to gather tonight in protest against his appearance which, they claim, displays a "callous desire" by the student body to "exploit gender crime allegations in the service of controversy".

In a firmly-worded response to an open letter which accused it of seeking to titillate its members, the Cambridge Union Society said: "We must state that the Union will not be rescinding its invitation to Mr Strauss-Kahn.

"The Society has been inviting him to address our members for several years, given his economic knowledge as then head of the IMF, and his experience of French politics.

"He was not invited after or as a result of the circumstances surrounding his departure from the IMF.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 9th, 2012 at 01:46:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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