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by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:22:22 AM EST
Pirate Party sets out to change Germany's course | Germany | DW.DE | 27.04.2012

The Pirates are riding a wave of political success. Many voters are supporting the upstarts out of frustration with the traditional parties. But the Pirates themselves want to be much more than a protest group.

"We have the funds of a party with 0.2 percent of the vote and the program and structure of a two percent party," said Marina Weisband, the acting political director of Germany's Pirate Party. "But the expectations people have is that of a 12 percent party."

Pollsters attribute the great success of the Pirates to voter frustration with the established parties.

"The slick answers of politicians are no longer credible," said Manfred Güllner of polling group Forsa, adding "the Pirates provide a shell for this resentment."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:33:56 AM EST
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New Romanian government plans new measures | News | DW.DE | 28.04.2012

The new Romanian government under leftist leader Victor Ponta faces ongoing economic problems. Romania's interim leader has said his new cabinet will be unveiled next week.

The new Romanian government under social democrat Victor Ponta faces ongoing economic challenges and promised to restart talks with international lenders as soon as possible.

Speaking to supporters in the Transylvanian city of Brasov on Saturday Ponta, leader of the Social-Liberal Union (USL) said "A top priority would be to meet the International Monetary Fund delegation in Bucharest ... They must see proof there is continuity in Romania. May 7 is the most probable date for parliamentary endorsement."

Ponta added "our term as new government is limited until the November parliamentary elections. We will stick to our USL programme."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:35:23 AM EST
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EUobserver.com / Justice & Home Affairs / EU auditor used public funds to hamper anti-fraud inquiry

BRUSSELS - The secretary general of the European Court of Auditors used public funds to hire lawyers and to sue the EU's anti-fraud office (Olaf) over an inquiry into how he hired security guards. He lost the case, but no action was taken against him

A ruling by the European Court of Justice dating back to 28 February dismissed Eduardo Ruiz Garcia's claim for Olaf to withhold publication of a report into alleged irregularities regarding the security tender he had overseen.

It also dismissed his claim for the EU commission, which is the over-arching body Olaf is part of, to pay €6,000 in damages plus legal costs.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:36:32 AM EST
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BBC News - France President Nicolas Sarkozy snaps at Strauss-Kahn

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has rejected claims by Dominique Strauss-Kahn that his party was behind the former IMF chief's downfall.

Mr Sarkozy told reporters Mr Strauss-Kahn should keep quiet and "spare the French his remarks."

Mr Strauss-Kahn told Britain's Guardian newspaper that sex allegations against him were orchestrated by opponents.

He said although he did not believe he had been set up, events were "shaped by those with a political agenda".

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:37:33 AM EST
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Sarkozy hits back at DSK after setup allegations | News | DW.DE | 29.04.2012

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has rejected claims from Dominique Strauss-Kahn that agents loyal to Sarkozy had a hand in politicizing a sex scandal last May that cost the former IMF boss his job.

Nicolas Sarkozy adopted a combative tone on the campaign trail in central France on Saturday, saying that former IMF director general Dominique Strauss-Kahn should file a legal complaint if he believes that he was the victim of a political plot. The remarks followed claims by Strauss-Kahn that after a sex scandal last May in New York, "those with a political agenda" had orchestrated the event's aftermath.

"Enough is enough! I would tell Mr. Strauss-Kahn to explain himself to the judicial authorities and spare the French people his remarks," Sarkozy told thousands of supporters at a rally in Clermont-Ferrand.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:38:20 AM EST
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Sarko is sounding very pissy. Is it his time of the month?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 06:36:37 PM EST
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BBC News - London 2012: Missiles may be placed at residential flats

The Ministry of Defence says it is evaluating sites for surface-to-air missiles for the Olympic Games, and could place them at residential flats.

Residents at an estate in east London have received a leaflet saying soldiers could be placed there during the Games.

It says part of an air defence system might be based at a water tower on the estate, where 700 people live.

A spokesman said the MoD had not yet decided whether to deploy ground based air defence systems during the Games.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:41:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can I get some?!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 06:37:13 PM EST
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Ground-to-air missiles are for shooting down attacking aircraft at altitudes of many thousands of meters. But since presumably "the terrorists" don't have access to high altitude bombers, they might attack the Olympics by hijacking a commercial airliner. After all, planning to re-fight the last battle is the tradition.

So the plan is to shoot down the A380 that is about to crash into the Olympic stadium, generating a debris field that is completely contained within East London.


by asdf on Mon Apr 30th, 2012 at 02:15:49 AM EST
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Never mind that terrrrrists, should they decide to exist, would have any number of far more interesting targets to aim at in the London area.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Apr 30th, 2012 at 05:07:16 AM EST
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by Bernard on Mon Apr 30th, 2012 at 07:51:26 AM EST
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Regional Authorities' Madcap Spending - Corriere della Sera

Regional Authorities' Madcap Spending

Outgoings up 75% in ten years in the name of autonomy.

"€454,000 for Zelkova!" When Sicilians read the news, they might have thought Zelkova was one of the bunga bunga girls. But no. It's actually a rare plant that the island's regional authority wants to protect, starting with a €150,000 consultancy contract ("having verified the lack of staff on the payroll"). It's an egregious example of how, in the name of autonomy, Italy's regions remain deaf to belt-tightening appeals. Sicily's regional chair Raffaele Lombardo writes in his blog that the recent financial law is "a budget of extraordinary rigour". Well, if he says so... But there again Sicilian newspapers have been pointing out for weeks that nothing has changed.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:44:37 AM EST
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Exclusive: Hunt on the brink as he is accused of misleading Parliament - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

Jeremy Hunt today stands accused of misleading Parliament over his dealings with the Murdoch empire, an offence which would trigger the Culture Secretary's immediate resignation.

As the Prime Minister battled to save his minister, an Independent on Sunday investigation has established that Mr Hunt appears to have misled the Commons on three occasions in his handling of News Corp's takeover bid of BSkyB.

In what could turn out to be the final blow to the under-fire Culture Secretary, a letter written by his permanent secretary, Jonathan Stephens, seen by this newspaper, challenges Mr Hunt's version of events.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:47:20 AM EST
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Vitali Klitschko on Tymoshenko Case: 'Ukraine Is Becoming Increasingly Authoritarian' - SPIEGEL ONLINE
In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, boxer and pro-democracy activist Vitali Klitschko talks about the worsening situation in his country and the case of the jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko. While he rejects calls to boycott the upcoming European Football Championships, he says the event is a good opportunity to draw attention to the Ukraine government's failures.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Klitschko, eastern Ukraine has been shaken by bombing attacks. What's behind them?

OAS_RICH('Middle2'); Klitschko: One can only speculate about the originator of the bombing attack at this point in time. We will have to wait for further developments and an investigation.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is it understandable to you that German President Joachim Gauck has cancelled his planned trip to Ukraine because he wants to send a message that he opposes the mistreatment of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko?

Klitschko: In light of the events in Ukraine it is an absolutely logical step. It is the country's leaders alone who are responsible for the damage to Ukraine's image.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:48:46 AM EST
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Merkel reported to be mulling Euro 2012 boycott | News | DW.DE | 29.04.2012

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is reported to be considering boycotting Euro 2012 football matches in Ukraine to protest its government's treatment of the country's jailed former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko.

There is a growing debate among German politicians about whether they should boycott Euro 2012 soccer games played in Ukraine.

The news website Spiegel Online reports that if former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko isn't released from jail by the time the tournament starts, Chancellor Angela Merkel is planning to advise ministers in her cabinet to refrain from attending any games played in the country. An exception would be made for Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, whose portfolio includes sports.

Friedrich has said last week that he intended to attend Germany's Group B game against the Netherlands, which is to be played in Kharkiv, where Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year sentence for abuse of power. However Friedrich said he would only attend the game if he was allowed to first visit Tymoshenko, who was forcibly taken from jail and moved to a hospital last weekend.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 01:29:10 PM EST
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Of course of this isn't a boycott: As long as "die Mannschaft" plays nobody cares.
by IM on Mon Apr 30th, 2012 at 10:23:52 AM EST
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German 'Blue Card' to simplify immigration | Germany | DW.DE | 28.04.2012

Germany is introducing "Blue Cards" designed to make the immigration process easier for skilled workers. Among other measures, the program rewards immigrants who learn German.

The United States has its green card, and now Europe is trying its hand at a "Blue Card." An EU directive created in 2009 aims to attract highly qualified non-EU nationals by simplifying entry procedures and residence rights.

While Germany was supposed to implement the directive by last June, it has taken its time - partially because immigration has remained a sensitive topic. That once again became evident when the draft law was passed on Friday, bringing Germany's coalition and opposition into the boxing ring.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:50:10 AM EST
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Former prime minister Geir Haarde of Iceland says he did not cause financial chaos - Telegraph

The small whitewashed museum, on the coast of a volcanic island in the middle of the Atlantic, is about as far away from the gleaming skyscrapers of Manhattan and Hong Kong as it is possible to be. And yet last week this unprepossessing building was the setting for yet another dramatic act in the global financial crisis.

Geir Haarde, the former prime minister of Iceland, was the first head of state to be tried before a court for his role in the financial crisis. Mr Haarde, 61, called the whole process "preposterous" and raged that it was ridiculous for one man to held to account for the collapse of his country's banking system - and the earthquake it provoked in financial capitals around the world.

But Iceland's people wanted someone to pay.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 11:10:44 AM EST
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Italy cuts the size of its army - Telegraph
As Italy attempts to chip away at its mountainous public debt, the government's austerity drive has found a new target - the armed forces.

Long considered a hallowed institution that was immune from reform, the top-heavy army, navy and air force now face swingeing cuts in budgets and manpower.

The number of generals and admirals will be cut by a third, one in five colonels will be axed and the armed forces overall will be reduced from 183,000 to 150,000.

Civilian staff will be reduced from 30,000 to 20,000.

Italy is one of the largest European contributors to the Nato-led force in Afghanistan and also has peacekeepers deployed in Kosovo and Lebanon.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 11:12:27 AM EST
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Dutch government decrees that all cannabis cafes are off-limits to tourists | World news | guardian.co.uk
Non-Dutch visitors will no longer be able to legally buy soft drugs after judge upholds change to government policy

Long famous for "coffee shops" where joints and cappuccinos share the menu, the Netherlands' famed tolerance for drugs could be going up in smoke.

A judge on Friday upheld a government plan to ban non-Dutch residents from buying cannabis by introducing a "weed pass" available only to residents.

The regulation reins in one of the best known symbols of the country's reputation of tolerance.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 11:18:49 AM EST
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They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 06:39:14 PM EST
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Because the whole prohibition/ drug war thing has failed in any way or form except at providing slave labour.
So everyone who stops being retarded about it is an embarrassment to all the other governments and gets the evil eye.
Just like with Austerity.
by generic on Mon Apr 30th, 2012 at 06:28:11 AM EST
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So everyone who stops being retarded about it is an embarrassment to all the other governments and gets the evil eye.

If that's true, ET is populated by a bunch of unpopular folk.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Apr 30th, 2012 at 06:37:13 AM EST
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"Most Dutch very negative about country" | Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Between 75 and 80 percent of the Dutch are negative or even very negative about the country's state of affairs, Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad writes.

Just seven percent of those interviewed are positive about the country's political, social and economic state, the paper reports. On 11 April, before the government fell, the paper interviewed 503 people in a range of neighbourhoods across the country, the same where it conducted a similar survey ten years ago.

The worries people had ten years ago, the paper says, have become reality: health care costs more and offers less; real estate prices are lower while unemployment is higher; petrol is up, subsidies are down.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 01:32:27 PM EST
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It's just those wooden shoes they're forced to wear. Would piss anyone off.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 06:40:23 PM EST
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Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: On to the next diversion: The EU now plans a Marshall Fund
El Pais reports that the European Commission is planning a €200bn Marshall Fund type project by bundling and redirecting resources from the European Investment Bank; goal is to focus on infrastructure and green technologies; there is no fiscal component to the plan, and it involves no change whatsoever of the austerity policies; Angela Merkel puts her weight behind the plan, but says the opposes any attempts to water down the fiscal pact; says she wants to pursue growth through structural reforms; the latest poll in France shows Francois Hollande at 55% against 45% for Nicolas Sarkozy; Mediapart says Ghaddafi had offered $50m to help finance Sarkozy's 2007 campaign; French billionaire Francois Pinault, a former Sarkozy supporter, says the president was losing his mind, as he is now lurching towards the right; Holger Stelzner accuses Hollande of a failure to understand globalisation, Stephan Cornelius is shocked that Hollande wants to challenge the carefully crafted euro rescue strategy; Wolfgang Munchau welcomes Hollande because he is going to challenge that consensus; Dominique Moisi says Hollande is going to win, but his impact in Europe is going to be incremental; economists are calling for direct ESM capital injections in banks; Le Monde says the ECB should tolerate higher inflation; the latest polls in Greece put Pasok at 20% and New Democracy at 25% - enough for a majority of parliamentary seats; Mario Draghi says he has no plans to relax attitude on Irish promissory notes; Larry Summers, meanwhile, says the eurozone government have misdiagnosed the crisis, and are now pursuing policies that will lead to a debt explosion.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 30th, 2012 at 05:08:55 AM EST
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by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:22:57 AM EST
China wants to invest €7.5 billion euros in central Europe - Gazeta Wyborcza/ Presseurop (English)

China wants to invest $10 billion (€7.5 billion) in new technologies and the green economy in Central Europe, according to declarations made by Chinese Prime Minister, reports Gazeta Wyborcza. At a two-day summit of the region's fourteen countries the Chinese head of government also said that China will double imports from Central Europe from today's $50 billion (€37.8 billion) to  $100 billion (€75 billion) within the next three years.

According to Polish experts, this is yet another indication that following massive investment in Africa, America and Asia, Beijing is now seriously considering expansion in Central Europe, including Poland, which may become its main partner among the "new" EU member states. But not everyone is happy about the prospect. According to the Warsaw daily -

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:46:45 AM EST
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Setting Sun: Eastern Germany Hit Hard by Decline of Solar - SPIEGEL ONLINE
The global solar industry has entered a brutal phase of consolidation and nowhere are the effects as dramatic as in eastern Germany. Several companies have already declared bankruptcy, leaving towns and cities in the region struggling with job losses and tax revenue shortfalls. The future bodes ill.

The sun, it was said, was going to save Frankfurt an der Oder, a city of 60,000 on the Polish border. After years of post-reunification economic doldrums, whose nadir came with the 2003 failure of a much-ballyhooed microchip factory project, the burgeoning German solar industry took an interest in the down-on-its-luck city.

OAS_RICH('Middle2'); In 2006, solar-panel manufacturer Conergy moved into the never-used computer chip factory, joining Odersun, already headquartered in the city. In 2007, the United States solar giant First Solar opened a factory as well, followed by a second one last year.

Now, though, the future suddenly looks decidedly dark. Odersun declared bankruptcy in March and Conergy, while pledging to return to profit this year, has seen its share price lose 99.6 percent of its value in the last five years. Many doubt the company will survive. Worst of all, however, was the announcement earlier this month that First Solar was closing both of its factories in Frankfurt an der Oder; 1,200 people will soon be jobless as a result.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:49:21 AM EST
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Exports are the answer.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Apr 30th, 2012 at 08:57:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sunday Times Rich List 2012: Wealth of richest grows to record levels - Telegraph

Their total fortune has risen by just under five per cent since 2011, to £414 billion, according to the latest Sunday Times Rich List.

That exceeds the previous record of £412.8 billion set in 2008, which came just a few months before the financial crash from which the wider British economy has yet to recover.

Heading the list for the seventh year running is the steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, although his wealth has fallen £4,814m to £12,700m, placing him just £385m ahead of Alisher Usmanov, whose Metalloinvest is Russia's biggest iron ore producer.

Usmanov's fortune has also fallen, in his case by £85m in the past year, in part because of charitable donations of £91m.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 11:05:43 AM EST
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Who Could Have Predicted?
by Bernard on Mon Apr 30th, 2012 at 07:53:00 AM EST
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BBC News - Spanish unemployment hits record 5.64 million

Spanish unemployment has hit a new record high, official figures have shown.

The number of unemployed people reached 5,639,500 at the end of March, with the unemployment rate hitting 24.4%, the national statistics agency said.

The figures came hours after rating agency Standard & Poor's downgraded Spanish sovereign debt.

Official figures due out on Monday are expected to confirm that Spain has fallen back into recession.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 11:25:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:23:21 AM EST
Lebanon halts ship with arms 'destined for Syrian rebels' - LEBANON - FRANCE 24

REUTERS - Lebanese authorities seized a large consignment of Libyan weapons including rocket-propelled grenades and heavy calibre ammunition from a ship intercepted in the Mediterranean, the army said on Saturday.

It did not say where the vessel was heading but the ship's owner told Reuters it was due to unload in the northern Lebanese port of Tripoli.

The mainly Sunni Muslim city has seen regular protests in support of the 13-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in neighbouring Syria, and any arms shipped there could have been smuggled across the border to anti-Assad rebels.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:41:45 AM EST
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BBC News - Secret Service Colombia scandal prompts new rules

The US Secret Service has tightened staff guidelines in an attempt to stop any repeat of the Colombia sex scandal.

Agents travelling overseas will be banned from drinking on duty, visiting "disreputable establishments" and bringing foreigners into hotel rooms.

"Consider your conduct through the lens of the past several weeks," Director Mark Sullivan reportedly told staff.

The agency will also hold ethics sessions for staff as it attempts to move on from the Cartagena episode.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 11:21:27 AM EST
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Cispa approved by House but critics urge Senate to block 'horrible' bill | Technology | guardian.co.uk
Free speech groups say the bill - which Obama has vowed to veto - hands US authorities too much power to use private data

Free speech advocates are calling for the Senate to block controversial cybersecurity legislation they claim will give the US authorities unprecedented access to online communications.

The House of Representatives on Thursday ignored the threat of a White House veto to pass the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (Cispa). The bill aims to make it easier for companies to share information collected on the internet with the federal government in order to help prevent electronic attacks from cybercriminals, foreign governments and terrorists.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 11:23:34 AM EST
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by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:23:56 AM EST
EUobserver.com / Environment / Nuclear stress tests fail EU scrutiny
BRUSSELS - Twenty-six years to the day after the Chernobyl disaster, the European Commission has said Europe's nuclear stress test study is lacking in essential data.

The year-long tests - initiated in March 2011 following the Fukushima meltdown in Japan - are designed to show that European-based nuclear power plants pose no threat.

The European Commission, a self-declared friend of the nuclear sector, on Thursday (26 April) said the study has failed to provide a complete picture however. The commission intends to fill in the missing data by returning to the sites.

"We will do additional visits of power plants and analyse some safety aspects in more detail. EU citizens have the right to know and understand how safe the nuclear power plants are they live close to. Soundness is more important than timing," EU energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger in a statement.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:39:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The year-long tests...are designed to show that European-based nuclear power plants pose no threat."

If all they want to do is document a pre-determined conclusion, what is so hard about it?

by asdf on Mon Apr 30th, 2012 at 02:23:52 AM EST
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And the 'tests' (such as they are) won't be completed for years, so Fukushima will hopefully be just a unpleasant memory and not a presentiment of looming doom. If ever there was an industry built on bullshit the boiling-water-while-producing-a-motherlode-of-poison (nuclear energy) business must be it.
by Andhakari on Mon Apr 30th, 2012 at 03:08:38 AM EST
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Slaughter of rhinos at record high - Nature - Environment - The Independent

Rhinos are being killed in such unprecedented numbers that there are realistic fears they could be wiped from the face of the planet within a generation. If this happens, it will be the first major extinction of an animal in the wild since the worldwide conservation movement began.

The bare statistics are horrifying. In South Africa, more rhinos are being slaughtered for their horns in a single week than were killed in a whole year a decade ago. And the death toll is fast accelerating. In 2007, a mere 13 were killed. In 2008, it was 83, and, a year later, 122. Last year it was 448, and this year, by 19 April, it was 181. That is equivalent to 600 a year in a country which is home to 93 per cent of all white rhinos. One expert thinks that at this rate the species could be wiped out by 2025. Others think it could take longer. Patrick Bergin, chief executive of African Wildlife Foundation, said: "If the poaching of rhino continues at current rates, we could see their extinction within our lifetime. The situation is absolutely at crisis levels."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:42:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I might have predicted that rhinos would get a break after the introduction of Viagra - a cheap reliable method of inducing an erection. Perhaps this is just more proof that many humans (?) can't get their rocks off unless they're destroying something.
by Andhakari on Mon Apr 30th, 2012 at 03:53:52 AM EST
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by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:24:30 AM EST
7th Berlin Biennale showcases protest art | Culture | DW.DE | 28.04.2012

The 7th Berlin Biennale is an appeal to the art world to become more politically responsible and socially progressive. It is also an attempt to make people angry. But can art still get people riled up?

What can art do in the political arena? Does it even have a function there? And can art change reality? Can it be critical, useful and political? These and similar questions stir Artur Zmijewski, a Polish artist and the curator of the 7th Berlin Bienniale. In order to get closer to the answers, he has invited some 30 international artists with "a tendency toward the political" to explore the topic in Berlin from April 27 to July 1.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:34:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Max Schrems, the man who de-friended Facebook -Süddeutsche Zeitung/ Presseurop (English)
A law student from Vienna is accusing Facebook of contempt for Europe's data protection laws. For the company, which wants to go public soon, the attention comes at a bad time.

At some point Max Schrems wanted a precise answer. Writing to Facebook, he asked them for information on all the data he had stored on his account. The answer he got back was worse than he had feared: all the data he had ever deleted were still there. Status messages, friend requests and private messages. Against his will and contrary to the European Union's data privacy laws, which prohibit the permanent storage of user data, Facebook had continued to store all the young Austrian's personal information.

That was a year ago. The 24-year-old law student actually only wanted to exercise his rights. Any European can request information about his personal data, and Schrems knew that - though he was wholly unaware that he would be unleashing the most comprehensive data protection procedures in Facebook's history. He also had no idea that his action would bring him into massive conflict not just with Facebook, but with a European authority: the Irish Data Protection Commission, which is blocking any further action against Facebook.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:47:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good Luck.
by asdf on Mon Apr 30th, 2012 at 02:26:57 AM EST
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by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:25:00 AM EST
BBC News - Bangladeshi computer whizz kid eyes record books

A six-year-old boy from Bangladesh is hoping to become the world's youngest computer expert after becoming obsessed with his mother's PC at the age of two.

Wasik Farhan-Roopkotha, who turned six in January, is hoping his skills will be recognised by Microsoft and Guinness World Records.

As a toddler, Wasik started to show an aptitude for computers and before long he had mastered several popular video games, including Modern Warfare and Metal Gear Solid.

He began typing in Microsoft Word as a three year-old and knew how to programme and

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:40:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Queen Beatrix not set to abdicate quite yet | Radio Netherlands Worldwide

On 30 April the Netherlands will be celebrating Queen's Day. This year, Queen Beatrix will be making walkabouts in provincial Dutch towns as usual. This year, it's the turn of Rhenen and Veenendaal. But the question on everyone's lips is: how long will she continue on the throne?

By Dutch royalty expert Ben Kolster

The question of when she will abdicate in favour of her son, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander comes up regularly both on her real birthday and on Queen's Day. Dutch law says the sovereign alone decides how and when the abdication should take place.There would seem to be no point to speculation, but some Dutch royalty watchers like to think they know a bit more than most people.

What might be the reasons for Queen Beatrix to choose a particular moment to hand over the post of head of state to her son? The state of her physical and mental health perhaps, but she appears to be in fine shape. Insiders point out that she still enjoys her `job'.

What about family circumstances? It's well known that her son and his wife would like to enjoy their young family as long as possible. Her memories of happy years with her late husband, Prince Claus, and her children at Drakensteyn Castle is said to play a major role in her deliberations.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 10:46:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is this the bravest marathon athlete of all? - Telegraph
Five years ago, Claire Lomas was paralysed from the chest down. She cannot stand, let alone walk, without the aid of a pioneering £43,000 robotic suit. But slowly, one step at a time, she is walking the London Marathon.

She grimaces as the wind and rain lash her face and a bus thunders past, somewhere south of the river. "This is really hard," she says, seeing danger in a flooded drain. "Every little thing is an obstacle."

The frame that encloses her legs and torso is the first of its kind in the country. "You have to focus, tilt your pelvis and shift your weight - which is difficult when you're paralysed."

One shift triggers the motors that take her right leg forward in a single step, with a hiss like RoboCop. Another shift triggers the left leg. And so she goes, slowly. Physiotherapist Matt White holds her belt, while Claire keeps her balance with crutches. A cracked slab or slippery manhole cover could send her fragile body and all that kit crashing to the floor.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 11:08:31 AM EST
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BBC News - Rare Louis Armstrong recording released

A rare recording of one of the last live performances by jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong has been made public.

The star played at the National Press Club in Washington DC, against the advice of his doctors, in January 1971, just over five months before he died.

The What A Wonderful World singer had been in ill health because of heart and kidney trouble, but felt strong enough to play five songs at the event.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 11:20:38 AM EST
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Slow News Sunday - hope you enjoy the Salon anyway!
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 03:26:49 PM EST
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Nice news roundup, thanks Fran!
by sgr2 on Sun Apr 29th, 2012 at 03:53:36 PM EST
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