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 EUROPE 



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

by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:26:24 PM EST
Romanian government toppled in no confidence vote | EurActiv
The Romanian government, which had been in office for just two months, fell on Friday (27 April) after losing a vote of confidence in parliament. A new government is expected to be formed within the next ten days.

...The social-liberal coalition, the so-called "social liberal union" (USL) hailed itself as "the only one capable of holding power" in the current political environment. Liberal leader Crin Antonescu (PNL) said he had informed president Băsescu of their position and was waiting for a response shortly.

...The government's collapse came as a mission from the International Monetary Fund was in Bucharest to discuss a re-engagement with Romania. The IMF mission stopped its negotiations and delayed the disbursement of its next tranche of funds to Bucharest.

The USL opposition  alliance's priority is battling President Băsescu, and they are close to victory. But, once in government, they will be up against an even bigger wolf.

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

by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:26:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarkozy aide brings election campaign to EU meeting | EurActiv
French Interior Minister Claude Guéant pleaded yesterday (26 April) for a Schengen revamp in line with the anti-immigration rhetoric of Nicolas Sarkozy, who faces an uphill battle for re-election  on 6 May. He obtained the support of Germany and Austria, but was rebuked by Belgium and Sweden.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:26:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France's socialist candidate Francois Hollande says he'd keep 'burqa ban' - Europe - World - The Independent

On RTL radio Friday, Hollande said he would keep the ban, but "have it applied in the best way." He did not elaborate.

Controversy surrounded the law that took effect last year. Muslim leaders say it unfairly stigmatizes Muslims. Supporters insist it helps defend France's secular state. Only a tiny number of women wear the veils.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:26:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece denounces Turkish 'blackmail' on border issues | EurActiv
Greece cannot control its borders without the cooperation of its Turkish neighbour, Greek Minister for Citizen Protection Michalis Chrisochoidis told the European Parliament on Wednesday (25 April), denouncing France's lack of solidarity on the matter and Turkey's attempts at "blackmail".


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:27:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hunt on borrowed time as Whitehall digs in - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

Jeremy Hunt was under mounting pressure last night after his most senior civil servant appeared to undermine the Culture Secretary's version of events surrounding the secret briefing of News Corp during its attempted £8 billion takeover of the satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

Jonathan Stephens, the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, refused 10 times to confirm that he "agreed" to let Mr Hunt's special adviser, Adam Smith, speak to Rupert Murdoch executives about the deal - as Mr Hunt claimed in Parliament as he battled to keep his job. The revelation adds to Labour Party suspicions that Mr Hunt may have overruled his Permanent Secretary to insist on a role for Mr Smith, who on Wednesday resigned over the affair, in the takeover talks. Mr Stephens repeatedly dodged the questions from MPs on the Commons Public Accounts Committee, to their clear irritation.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:27:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Panic, cover-up and a 'shameful lie': Murdoch's final outing with Leveson - Crime - UK - The Independent
...On day two of his appearance at the Royal Courts of Justice, the global media boss admitted he'd "panicked" when he closed the News of the World last year - but said he was glad he had.

He might have looked more vulnerable and confused than he did on Wednesday, but during what could well be his last major public outing in the UK, his excuses and desire to blame others for what happened inside Wapping continued along much the same lines.

...The global head of News Corp claimed he had been "shielded and misinformed" about the extent of criminal wrong-doing within the Sunday tabloid. The alleged cover-up prevented reports of hacking reaching NI's chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, and his son James, the executive chairman.

Last night, NI's former legal manager, Tom Crone, claiming that Mr Murdoch evidence "can only refer to me", branded Mr Murdoch's assertion of a cover-up "a shameful lie".



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:27:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Harman uses Clegg's backyard to launch all-out attack on Lib Dems - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

Harriet Harman, Labour's deputy leader, will travel to Nick Clegg's Sheffield constituency base to launch an all-out attack on the Lib Dems ahead of next Thursday's local elections.

Yesterday Ms Harman told The Independent the Lib Dems were being "duplicitous" by opposing the cuts during their town hall campaign even though they were "complicit" in them by backing the Conservatives' deficit-reduction strategy. Labour singled out Sarah Teather, the Schools minister, for opposing library closures in her Brent Central constituency.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:27:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Foreign Affairs / Top PR firm in EU capital joins anti-Tymoshenko campaign

BRUSSELS - Ukraine's Party of Regions (PoR) has hired Burson-Marsteller, one of the biggest PR companies in Brussels, amid a smear campaign against former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

A senior manager at the US firm's Brussels branch, Robert Mack, told EUobserver by email: "Our brief is to help the PoR communicate its activities as the governing party of Ukraine, as well as to help it explain better its position on the Yulia Tymoshenko case." One of his staff said it was hired "several weeks ago."

Its tasks include setting up press interviews for Ukraine's deputy prosecutor general, Renat Kuzmin, when he visits the EU capital on 8 to 10 May.

Kuzmin in a Burson-Marsteller-linked interview in the Financial Times on 1 April accused Tymoshenko of involvement in a 1990s contract killing. On a visit to Brussels in November he accused her of buying "cars, furs, jewellery, restaurants" while in office and declaring a tiny income.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:28:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:28:53 PM EST
Spain hits record jobless rate, credit score downgraded - ECONOMY - FRANCE 24

The unemployment rate soared to 24.44 percent of the potential workforce at the end of March from 22.85 percent three months earlier, the National Statistics Insitute report showed.

Some 365,900 jobs were destroyed in the first quarter of the year, pushing the unemployment rate to its highest level since records began in their existing format in 1996, it said.

Hours earlier, Standard and Poor's downgraded Spain's sovereign credit rating to BBB-plus and added a negative outlook, warning of recession this year and next, making it even harder to meet deficit-cutting targets.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:29:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US GDP growth slows amid weak business spending - US - ECONOMY - FRANCE 24
The US Department of Commerce said Friday that economic growth expansion slowed to from a 3 to a 2.2 percent annual rate between the last two fiscal quarters. Despite businesses cutting back on investments, analysts assured the economy was stable.

...Motor vehicle output contributed 1.12 percentage points to first-quarter GDP growth, more than double compared to the prior quarter.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:29:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:29:25 PM EST
Deadly attack hits Damascus mosque during prayers - SYRIA - FRANCE 24

REUTERS - A suicide bomber killed nine people and wounded 20 outside a central Damascus mosque on Friday, Syrian state television said, in another blow to a peace plan that the United Nations says President Bashar al-Assad has failed to honour.

The blast ripped through worshippers at the Zain al-Abideen mosque, which was under heavy security for Friday prayers, often a launchpad for anti-Assad protests, opposition activists said. State media said security officials were among the wounded.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:29:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pakistan deports bin Laden relatives to Saudi Arabia - PAKISTAN - FRANCE 24
Pakistan deported 14 members of Osama bin Laden's family, including his three widows, to Saudi Arabia early Friday. Several of the late al Qaeda leader's relatives had been in Pakistani custody since he died in a May 2011 raid by US forces.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:29:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US, Japan agree to relocate troops from Okinawa - US MILITARY - FRANCE 24
The United States said Thursday that it had reached a deal with Japan to relocate 9,000 troops from Okinawa to bases in Guam, Hawaii and Australia. US troops on Okinawa have long been a source of friction between Tokyo and Washington.

...The deal will go ahead regardless of any progress on moving the busy Futenma airbase from Okinawa, which had originally been a key plank of the deal.

In a joint statement issued in Washington and Tokyo, the two sides said they remained committed to the relocation of the base from its present urban location to a coastal spot -- a move that is heavily resisted in Okinawa, where activists want it to be completely removed.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:29:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great...now we'll have them here...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 11:58:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Blind Chinese activist pleads for family's safety - CHINA - FRANCE 24

AFP - Fugitive Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng made an emotional video appeal Friday to Premier Wen Jiabao to look after his family, while exposing those he said abused him when he was under house arrest.

In the video, an emotional Chen -- speaking in a dark room in an undisclosed location -- revealed the names of several government officials he said had beaten him and his wife, and made his son's life a misery.

...Chen -- a blind lawyer who won acclaim for his campaigning on forced sterilisations and late-term abortions under China's restrictive births policy -- escaped from his village in the eastern province of Shandong on Sunday.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:30:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC reporting he is in US embassy in Beijing

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-17877005

sidd

by sidd on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 11:02:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:30:17 PM EST
Danes ring the alarm over EU energy savings bill | EurActiv

Denmark, the country currently holding the rotating EU Presidency, has hit out at EU countries for defanging the proposed Energy Efficiency Directive, and called for ring-fencing a key article imposing an annual 1.5% energy savings target on power companies.

"It's true that the member states have been more eager to water down the [energy efficiency] rates than support them," Martin Lidegaard, the Danish climate minister told EurActiv on the fringes of the London clean energy summit on Wednesday (25 April).

"Some of the articles in the directive - especially Article 6 - have been too watered down and, if we should have a chance to reach agreement with the European Parliament, we have to increase the ambition level of that article again," he said.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:30:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nuclear stress tests go over deadline | EurActiv
European states will be given extra time to carry out tests on nuclear plants, to ensure they can withstand natural and man-made disasters, before any laws to improve nuclear safety are proposed, the EU's Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger has said.

...Oettinger said on Thursday (26 April) that some reactors still needed to be assessed and it was more important to be thorough than fast. A final report is not now expected until the autumn.

So far, 38 nuclear reactors have been visited out of the total of 147 in the European Union. The commissioner did not specify how many more needed to be inspected, but said it was important to have "a complete overview", taking into account all types of reactor.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:30:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Green groups demand Brazil veto forestry law | NRS-Import | DW.DE | 27.04.2012

Brazil's government would have preferred to have avoided a showdown over the forestry bill, but that's not how things turned out.

President Dilma Rousseff's party lost Wednesday's vote on the law, which critics fear will unleash a wave of deforestation, by 274 votes to 184.

The bill contains few of the revisions recommended by her cabinet. It is now up to her to decide whether or not to veto it.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:30:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:31:01 PM EST
EUobserver.com / Justice & Home Affairs / EU ministers back new bill to help protect victims of crime

BRUSSELS - Justice ministers meeting in Luxemburg on Friday (April 27) have backed a new EU law to strengthen legal and police protection for victims of crime.

The measures would help streamline judicial and legislative procedures for EU nationals in civil law cases who currently risk struggling with different languages, cultures and legal systems when moving to another member state.

...Under the proposal, victims would be issued an EU-wide standard certificate containing all the relevant information on their case. They could then present the certificate to police in any other member state.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:31:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Justice & Home Affairs / EU police warn of new-model jihad threat
BRUSSELS - The EU's joint police body, Europol has noted there were no succesful Islamist attacks in Europe last year, while warning about future Toulouse-type 'lone wolves.'

...The development comes not for want of trying. "The al-Qaeda-affiliated or inspired threat towards Scandinavia and Germany rose steadily during 2011, whilst other member states, such as France, Spain and the UK, remained constant targets and centres for radical activities," it added.

...Police forces arrested 17 people for planning Islamist attacks, down from 89 in 2010...



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:31:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Norwegian justice system 'not about revenge' | Europe | DW.DE | 27.04.2012

...Many survivors and victims' families have been in court to watch the proceedings, yet there has been no display of anger or desire for revenge. The same is true for people outside of the court in Oslo or elsewhere in Norway.

One man, giving his name only as Carl, tied roses to the fence surrounding the court entrance. It formed part of a growing sea of flowers with written messages of hope, peace and condolences - an echo of last summer when flowers covered nearly every one of Oslo's public squares in a response to the violence.

"We can't show any anger here, because everything is so crazy," he said.

"So this is our way of - not forgetting it - but thinking of something else and focusing on what happened last summer after the explosion ... all the flowers in Oslo. I think it is the same thing we want to do, just to show what we mean about this."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:31:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Really smart. Treat this asshole like a rock star. Wonder what lesson the kids are learning?

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 07:40:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And yet the prison population of Finland is 52 per 100.000 inhabitants (2002), compared to  702 per 100k in the USA. Perhaps this may give you a clue as to why systems based not on punishment but on rehabilitation are cheaper and socially more effective.

In Finland the only penal punishment is loss of freedom.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 07:54:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about an even cheaper solution? Why is he still alive, costing taxpayers valuable resources in short supply?

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 05:18:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Justice may be a question of economics for right-wingers, but not for people with more advanced ethics. In addition, the right-winger economics argument is actually false:

Costs of the Death Penalty | Death Penalty Information Center

"The additional cost of confining an inmate to death row, as compared to the maximum security prisons where those sentenced to life without possibility of parole ordinarily serve their sentences, is $90,000 per year per inmate. With California's current death row population of 670, that accounts for $63.3 million annually."

  • Using conservative rough projections, the Commission estimates the annual costs of the present (death penalty) system to be $137 million per year.
  • The cost of the present system with reforms recommended by the Commission to ensure a fair process would be $232.7 million per year.
  • The cost of a system in which the number of death-eligible crimes was significantly narrowed would be $130 million per year.
  • The cost of a system which imposes a maximum penalty of lifetime incarceration instead of the death penalty would be $11.5 million per year.

Similar data for other states on that page.

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

by DoDo on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 03:56:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Twank may have the Chinese model in mind. While I don't have any details, I suspect it is a lot cheaper.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Apr 30th, 2012 at 05:27:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh? What are you talking about? Are you mixing up trials perhaps? Who's treating Breivik like a rock star?
by Katrin on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 07:58:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IMHO the international media does guive too much attention to what he is saying in the trial, but just the article I quoted focused on something else...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 09:28:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's related. Breivik, like every defendant, has the right to explain in court why he did what he did. Thanks to the admirable way this trial is conducted, he can do that, but he never "has the stage". The prosecutor always responds with questions that spoil his performance. Am I consuming other media than you? And the Norwegian public is amazing, never refusing him his rights, but 40,000 singing a song he hates in front of the court is the best in the art of trolling I have ever heard of. Admirable. I don't think all this would be possible anywhere else, certainly not here.
by Katrin on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 10:01:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...he never "has the stage". The prosecutor always responds with questions that spoil his performance. Am I consuming other media than you?

I wonder. The bulk of the articles I see quote the defendant and that at length, but barely mention what the prosecutor says (even though a week or two ago there was an article about the prosecutor being the new hero for cornering Breivik repeatedly). Reporting of the 40,000 singing a song on Thursday and the above article which marvels at the un-vengefulness of the average Norwegian and the court system are the exceptions.

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

by DoDo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 12:36:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany announces plans for gun registry | Germany | DW.DE | 27.04.2012

On the morning of April 26, 2002, a 19-year-old who had been expelled from Gutenberg High School in the eastern German city of Erfurt began a deadly rampage. ...The perpetrator killed 12 teachers, one secretary, one police officer and two students before taking his own life. Germany's first school shooting put the country into a state of shock, and triggered an earnest debate on how to toughen gun laws.

Exactly ten years after the massacre, Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, decided to establish a central weapons registry. It will gather information from the 600 offices that issue weapons permits throughout Germany in one place.

The Erfurt massacre was not in fact the main impetus for the registry. Rather, the Bundestag is aiming to follow a European Union directive calling for every member country to set up a computerized, constantly updated weapons register by 2014.

Registration is a nice thing, but it would be much more effective to ban the storage of sports weapons at home. Something demanded after the previous amok runs, but there were enough influential weapons lobby supporters in the CDU, CSU and SPD so far to prevent it. Last month though Bremen city-state's SPD interior minister advocated it again.

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

by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:31:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Competing under False Pretenses: Fake Handicaps a Growing Problem for Disabled Sports - SPIEGEL ONLINE
Cheating is becoming an increasing problem in sports events for athletes with disabilities. Rigorous inspections are supposed to root out those who are only faking a handicap, but some imposters get through -- like the supposedly blind athlete who cheered when she saw her result on the board.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:31:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole point of sports is to come as close to cheating as you can without breaking the rules. That's what's being taught under the heading of "good sportsmanship."
by asdf on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 07:30:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:32:12 PM EST
Pep Guardiola confirms decision to leave Barcelona - European - Football - The Independent

Pep Guardiola has confirmed he will leave Barcelona at the end of the season.

At a press conference this lunchtime the announcement that had been expected was made. Barcelona have also been swift to appoint his successor, naming Guardiola's assistant Tito Vilanova as the new manager.

...Speculation about Guardiola's future has been rumbling all season, with the former Barca player noncommittal over his plans to renew his rolling contract. That speculation reached a crescendo these past few days following defeats to Chelsea and Real Madrid.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:32:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Snooker: Great Scots meet for first time on the biggest stage - Others - More Sports - The Independent

Stephen Hendry and John Higgins have won an impressive 11 world championships between them, but surprisingly they have never played each other on the game's biggest stage.

That is until today when Hendry, the seven-time world champion, and Higgins, a four-time Crucible winner and defending champion, go head to head for the first time at the sport's spiritual home in Sheffield.

Was 5-3 for Hendry after the first stage.

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

by DoDo on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 02:32:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hahahaha...good.

   Humor in Belgium.

To launch the high quality TV channel TNT in Belgium we placed a big
red push button on an average Flemish square of an average Flemish
town. A sign with the text "Push to add drama" invited people to use
the button. And then we waited.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=316AzLYfAzw

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

by vbo on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 12:07:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Danke DoDo, und schnell Gute Besserung.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaďs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Apr 28th, 2012 at 04:57:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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