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While on the topic ...

Oddly it can work the other way too.  A friend's Russian is better than most Russians - as I was told from native Russians* - since he learned it from his upper middle class family after they left in 1922.

* one evening when out drinking vodka.  I also learned another valuable life lesson that night:  NEVER go out drinking vodka with Russians.

by ATinNM on
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Not always.  A friend's family immigrated from Kiev, he was born in the US and has the standard American accent.  

by ATinNM on
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In story: 28 January 2015

Re: Living Off The Planet
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Electricity is fungible how do they know the origin of what they're importing?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on
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In story: 28 January 2015

Re: Living Off The Planet
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Important event in non-English speaking country "unreported in the English-speaking world". Film at 11.
by Bernard on
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In story: 29 January 2015

Re: That depends
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ah, well that's all right then

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on
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I always think it's amazing how the thuggish right swagger around in their skinhead gear intimidating people, yet scream like children when someone makes a vague threat on the internet

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on
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In story: 29 January 2015

Re: Economy and Finance
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THE Twank:
When in human history has this every been achieved without bloodshed?

In the 1780s, when the states of America decided to become a federal republic. Next?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on
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In story: 29 January 2015

Re: Economy and Finance
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"... and make rapid progress towards a fiscal union that would transfer resources from rich to poor countries."

When in human history has this every been achieved without bloodshed?

Here's a thought. A rich country will want something in exchange for its resources. The poor countries should find volunteers who will either donate their bodily organs or be subjects in research into human immortality.  At this stage the only thing the ultra-rich still crave is immortality ... death is for those "other folks". Look at Dick(less) Cheney. He was looking like shit at the end of W's second term, but then he got an artificial heart and now has a flesh and blood donated one, and he is back in the game.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on
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on how you have defined 'worked'. If it means: sanctions bring setbacks and financial hardship to the majority of a nation's population and companies while most of the country's elite exploits creative loopholes to successfully import their batches of oysters while stubbornly holding the course for at least a number of years, then yes, they work quite well.
by Bjinse (bjinsedankert at gmail dot com) on
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The sanctions are doing an excellent job of encouraging Russia to become independent of any goods needed from those countries imposing the sanctions, of accelerating the development of an international payments clearing system not under the control of The West and of encouraging the further integration of the Russian economy with those of China, the former Soviet states, India, and Brazil. Of course all of this is immensely counterproductive to the economic interests of The West, but our leaders have to publicly masturbate to show the depth of their commitment.

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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What flavor of "worked" are you referring to? Putin backing out of Youcrane? Russians giving the heave-ho to Pooty?

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on
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In story: Greek Elections Open Thread

'Moment of truth is at hand'
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Please read in full and note the author.

After Syriza's Victory, Confrontation or Capitulation | Jacobin

The new government (whose composition was unknown at the time of writing) will have to deal with truly staggering obstacles. The coffers are empty, and the state's revenues are collapsing quicker than expected. It will very soon become apparent that the financing plan set out in the "Thessaloniki program" was based on very over-optimistic estimates (or even simply wrong ones).

The goal, here, was to give the impression that the program could be realized half by redirecting the European credits (which are earmarked, some of them already allocated, and whose payment is entirely dependent on European Union agreement) and half through a more effective collection of tax receipts, without tax reform and without a need for increased budget deficits.

The government's strategic orientation toward the EU is also rather unclear. After the win, Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras was keen to reassure the EU and the markets, speaking of a "sincere dialogue" and "mutually advantageous solution." He didn't mention the word "debt."

If Syriza truly has no structurally sound plan to find the funding to cover their promised expenses, but has it based on just electorally appealing bluster, there will be storms ahead.

by Bjinse (bjinsedankert at gmail dot com) on
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Is there any evidence that sanctions have ever worked?

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on
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In story: Greek Elections Open Thread

Re: Greek Elections Open Thread
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A summary of Tsipras first two days in office from eKathimerini. If he continue like this he will be labeled The Most Dangerous Man in Europe not least because of the cult following he will inspire.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_28/01/2015_546603

by Ivo on
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In story: 29 January 2015

Re: Living off the Planet
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What Do Farmers Think about Climate Change? - Scientific American

As a sociologist, J. Gordon Arbuckle Jr. spends a lot of time studying what shapes farmers' views and responses to climate change. It's a subject that has not gotten much attention, even as more research focuses on how to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and how to make farming more resilient to the impacts of extreme weather.

"Our research so far has shown pretty clearly that although most farmers believe that climate change is occurring, a minority attribute it to human activity," said Arbuckle, an associate sociology professor at Iowa State University.

Arbuckle's research is not just a matter of academic interest. Previous studies have found that belief in climate change is linked to more support for climate change actions. Getting a better sense of farmers' views on climate change will also help researchers develop ways to protect food security over the long term.

In 2011, Arbuckle and his colleagues used the annual Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll to survey over 1,200 farmers in the state about their views on the subject.



by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on
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In story: 29 January 2015

Re: Living off the Planet
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IVF is best chance to save endangered northern white rhino, scientists say | Environment | The Guardian

Conservationists and scientists have held talks in Kenya this week to come up with a last ditch plan to save the northern white rhinoceros from extinction.

There are only five northern whites left on the planet: three live in a 700-acre enclosure on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in central Kenya, where the emergency meeting was held on Tuesday, while the other two are kept in zoos in the Czech Republic and the US.

"The battle is to work out what is feasible scientifically in the short time still available to us," Richard Vigne, Ol Pejeta's chief executive, told AFP.

Northern white rhinos have suffered from the loss of their traditional habitats in Central African Republic, Chad, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, nations that have been hit by decades of chronic conflict, lawlessness and misrule that made conservation impossible.



by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on
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In story: 29 January 2015

Re: Living off the Planet
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Beijing smog makes city unliveable, says mayor | World news | The Guardian

Beijing's mayor, Wang Anshun, has called the city "unliveable" because of its noxious smog, according to state media.

"To establish a first-tier, international, liveable and harmonious city, it is very important to establish a system of standards, and Beijing is currently doing this," he said last Friday, according to the China Youth Daily newspaper.

"At the present time, however, Beijing is not a liveable city."

Anshun's speech came days before the market research company Euromonitor International announced, in its findings on the global tourism market in 2013, that tourism to Beijing had declined by 10% from the year before due to pollution and a countrywide economic slowdown.

The company's top 100 city destination rankings, released on Tuesday, ranked Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok in its top three spots, followed by London and Paris. Beijing ranked 34th, in between Johannesburg and Sofia, Bulgaria.



by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on
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In story: 29 January 2015

Re: Living off the Planet
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Something Really, Really Terrible Is About to Happen to Our Coral | Mother Jones

Coral reefs cover just 0.1 percent of the ocean floor, but provide habitat to 25 percent of sea-dwelling fish species. That's why coral scientist C. Mark Eakin, who coordinates the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coral Reef Watch program, is surprised that the warning he has been sounding since last year (PDF)--that the globe's reefs appear to be on the verge of a mass-scale bleaching event--hasn't drawn more media attention. During the last mass bleaching event, we lost almost a fifth of the world's coral reefs. Only some have recovered.

Bleaching happens when coral loses contact with zooxanthellae, an algae that essentially feeds them nutrients in symbiotic exchange for a stable habitat. The coral/zooxanthellae relationship thrives within a pretty tight range of ocean temperatures, and when water warms above normal levels, coral tends to expel its algal lifeline. In doing so, coral not only loses the brilliant colors zooxanthellae deliver--hence, "bleaching"--but also its main source of food. A bleached coral reef rapidly begins to decline. Coral can reunite with healthy zooxanthellae and recover, Eakin says, but even then they often become diseased and may die. That's rotten news, because bleaching outbreaks are increasingly common.

Before the 1980s, large-scale coral bleaching had never been observed before, Eakin says. After that, regionally isolated bleaching began to crop up, drawing the attention of marine scientists. Then, in 1998, an unusually strong El Niño warming phase caused ocean temperatures to rise, triggering the first known global bleaching event in Earth's history. It whitened coral off the coasts of 60 countries and island nations, spanning the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Mediterranean, and the Caribbean. We functionally "lost between 15 percent and 20 percent of the world's coral reefs" in '98, Eakin said. Only some have recovered.



by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on
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In story: 29 January 2015

Re: Living off the Planet
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How America became addicted to road salt -- and why it's a problem

The US economy doesn't grind to a halt every time there's a snowstorm. And a big reason for that is the more than 15 million tons of salt we dump on our highways, roads, and sidewalks each winter to melt away the snow and ice.

There are massive benefits to salting the roads. One 1992 study found that spreading salt can reduce accidents by 87 percent during and after a snowstorm. (The salt works by lowering the freezing temperature of water, making it harder for ice to form.) De-icing allows traffic to keep moving on highways and roads -- a benefit worth many billions of dollars.

But road salt also comes with big downsides: Salt is corrosive, chewing through cars, trucks, concrete, and steel bridges. Worse still, when all that salt dissolves and washes away, it steadily accumulates in rivers and streams. In some areas, that makes drinking water saltier (bad news for people on low-sodium diets). All that salt also kill off fish, plants, and amphibians. Other times, moose and elk get attracted to the salt and wander onto roads, raising the risk of crashes.

"We've become salt-addicted over the last 50 years, and we're now discovering that there are all these hidden costs," says Xianming Shi, an associate professor in civil and environmental engineering at the University of Washington. He estimates the US now spends $2.3 billion each year to remove snow and ice from highways. It then costs another $5 billion to pay for the resulting damage. And that's not even counting the cost of salting cities or rural roads.



by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on
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In story: 29 January 2015

Re: Living on the Planet
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Chemists Confirm the Existence of New Type of Bond - Scientific American

hemistry has many laws, one of which is that the rate of a reaction speeds up as temperature rises. So, in 1989, when chemists experimenting at a nuclear accelerator in Vancouver observed that a reaction between bromine and muonium--a hydrogen isotope--slowed down when they increased the temperature, they were flummoxed.

Donald Fleming, a University of British Columbia chemist involved with the experiment, thought that perhaps as bromine and muonium co-mingled, they formed an intermediate structure held together by a "vibrational" bond--a bond that other chemists had posed as a theoretical possibility earlier that decade. In this scenario, the lightweight muonium atom would move rapidly between two heavy bromine atoms, "like a Ping Pong ball bouncing between two bowling balls," Fleming says. The oscillating atom would briefly hold the two bromine atoms together and reduce the overall energy, and therefore speed, of the reaction. (With a Fleming working on a bond, you could say the atomic interaction is shaken, not stirred.)

At the time of the experiment, the necessary equipment was not available to examine the milliseconds-long reaction closely enough to determine whether such vibrational bonding existed. Over the past 25 years, however, chemists' ability to track subtle changes in energy levels within reactions has greatly improved, so Fleming and his colleagues ran their reaction again three years ago in the nuclear accelerator at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in England. Based on calculations from both experiments and the work of collaborating theoretical chemists at Free University of Berlin and Saitama University in Japan, they concluded that muonium and bromine were indeed forming a new type of temporary bond. Its vibrational nature lowered the total energy of the intermediate bromine-muonium structure--thereby explaining why the reaction slowed even though the temperature was rising.



by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on
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In story: 29 January 2015

Re: Living on the Planet
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Unconscious Thought Not So Smart after All - Scientific American

If you have to make a complex decision, will you do a better job if you absorb yourself in, say, a crossword puzzle instead of ruminating about your options? The idea that unconscious thought is sometimes more powerful than conscious thought is attractive, and echoes ideas popularized by books such as writer Malcolm Gladwell's best-selling Blink.

But within the scientific community, `unconscious-thought advantage' (UTA) has been controversial. Now Dutch psychologists have carried out the most rigorous study yet of UTA--and find no evidence for it.

Their conclusion, published this week in Judgement and Decision Making, is based on a large experiment that they designed to provide the best chance of capturing the effect should it exist, along with a sophisticated statistical analysis of previously published data.



by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on
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In story: 29 January 2015

Re: Living on the Planet
( / )
Skull discovery suggests location where humans first had sex with Neanderthals | Science | The Guardian

An ancient skull found in a cave in northern Israel has cast light on the migration of modern humans out of Africa and the dawn of humanity's colonisation of the world.

For most palaeontologists that might be enough for a single fossil, but the braincase has offered much more: a likely location where the first prehistoric trysts resulted in modern humans having sex with their heavy-browed Neanderthal cousins.

Discovered in a cave in western Galilee, the partial skull belonged to an individual, probably a woman, who lived and died in the region about 55,000 years ago, placing modern humans there and then for the first time ever.

Homo sapiens walked out of Africa at least 60,000 years ago, but the harsh climate in parts of Europe at the time hampered their spread across much of the continent until about 45,000 years ago.



by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on
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In story: 29 January 2015

Guess who's coming to dinner
( / )
North Korea leader 'to visit Russia' - Al Jazeera English

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has confirmed he will attend celebrations in Russia in May marking the Soviet victory over Germany in World War II, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said, citing a Kremlin spokesman.

The trip would mark Kim's first official foreign trip since taking power in 2011 after the death of his father, Kim Jong-il. The celebrations would be attended by a host of world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Yonhap said the Kremlin, responding to an emailed query, said 20 leaders had confirmed their attendance so far.

According to Yonhap, the Kremlin response also noted that the confirmation process was "still ongoing" and a final list of participants had yet to be drawn up.



by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on
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Spies, cover-ups and the mysterious death of an Argentinian prosecutor | World news | The Guardian

The CCTV images are both familiar and sinister: the recordings show Buenos Aires' Ezeiza International airport on the day that prosecutor Alberto Nisman flew home for the last time.

Nisman looks like any father might after interrupting a family holiday for a work emergency. He seems tired, busy and bored as the cameras track his progress through immigration, beyond the luggage carousel, into the arrival lounge and out to the street.

But he appears to be treated as more than an ordinary traveller. The security cameras dwell on Nisman more than anyone around him. He comes across as a marked man.

The footage, which has aired on Argentinian TV this week, captures a moment of calm before the storm that has left Nisman dead, threatened a president and plunged Argentina into an espionage scandal.



by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on
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Iran sends 'warning to Israel via US officials' - Al Jazeera English

Tehran said it sent a warning to Israel through the United States over the recent killing of an Iranian general in an Israeli air strike in Syria, the official IRNA news agency reports.

"We told the Americans that the leaders of the Zionist regime should await the consequences of their act,'' IRNA quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian as saying. Israel has "crossed our red lines'', he added.

Amirabdollahian said Iran had sent the message on Tuesday through diplomatic channels to US officials, to hand over to Israel. He did not elaborate.

The January 18 strike in the Syrian-controlled part of the disputed Golan Heights killed Iranian General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi, a senior commander in the Revolutionary Guards, along with six Lebanese Hezbollah fighters.



by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on
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Jordan 'ready to swap' inmate for pilot held by ISIL - Al Jazeera English

Jordan has said it is willing to swap an Iraqi woman held on death row in Jordan for a Jordanian pilot captured in December by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

The statement by Jordanian government spokesman Mohammed al-Momani made no mention of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, who is also being held by the ISIL.

Efforts to release the Jordanian pilot and the journalist gained urgency with the release late on Tuesday of a purported online ultimatum claiming the ISIL would kill both hostages within 24 hours if the Iraqi woman was not freed.

On Wednesday, al-Momani said in a statement: "Jordan is ready to release the Iraqi prisoner, Sajida al-Rishawi, if the Jordanian pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, is released unharmed.''



by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on
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Syria Kurds return to 'destroyed' Kobane - Al Jazeera English

Tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds who fled their homes due to fighting in Kobane have returned to find at least half of the town destroyed, Kobane officials said.

Kurdish forces announced they had pushed ISIL fighters out of the strategic border town, which lies on Syria's northern border with Turkey.

Thousands of Kurdish refugees who were in Turkey came to the border on Tuesday hoping to cross and reach their homes as many celebrated after their town was liberated.

Al Jazeera's Rafaat Al Rifai, reporting from Kobane, said destruction was visible everywhere, especially in places where ISIL fighters were based and later targeted by US-led air strikes.



by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on
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Tsipras has first clash with EU - over Russia | EurActiv

The newly elected government of Alexis Tsipras argued with Brussels yesterday (27 January) over an EU Council statement threatening Russia with further sanctions. Athens claims its objections were not taken into account. EurActiv Greece reports.

The leftist Syriza party, which won a stunning victory at Sunday's snap elections, formed a coalition government with the right-wing anti-austerity Independent Greeks party.

And it didn't take long before the new Greek leadership made its mark. The inauguration of the new government on Monday (26 January) was marked by the first "clash" with the European Union.

Ahead of an extraordinary meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels today (28 January), the European Council representing the 28 EU heads of states and governments issued a statement blaming Russia for the escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine, threatening Moscow with new sanctions.



by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on
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In story: 29 January 2015

Re: Economy and Finance
( / )
Portugal Repays IMF Early; Greece Prepares Fight - Bloomberg Business

Bloomberg) -- As Greece gets ready to fight the International Monetary Fund, Portugal wants to pay it off early.

While Greece catapulted Alexis Tsipras into power and set up a confrontation with its creditors, Portugal has raised almost half of its planned gross bond issuance for this year. With falling borrowing costs, Portugal now plans to make an early repayment of its IMF bailout loans.

"Portugal has already covered about 40 percent of the maximum size of its own target, and it extended its curve by eight years," said David Schnautz, a New York-based fixed-income strategist at Commerzbank AG. "After this start, Portugal should be able to wrap up its `must do' bond supply activities soon, maybe before the slow supply summer season."

Portugal's message to investors is this: the country is more like Ireland than Greece. The Irish government has already taken advantage of record low borrowing costs and relative political stability to refinance about 9 billion euros ($10.2 billion) of its IMF loans.



by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on
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In story: 29 January 2015

Re: Economy and Finance
( / )
German Finance Minister Says Greece Can Forget About a Debt Reduction - Bloomberg Business

(Bloomberg) -- German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said a debt reduction for Greece is not on the table because there will be no strain on public finances for another five years thanks to interest-free European aid loans through 2020.

Speaking to reporters after a two-day meeting of European finance ministers in Brussels, Schaeuble said the situation for Greece's European creditors hasn't changed since their last meeting in December even after the victory of Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras in the Jan. 25 Greek election.

"Greece has reached better results faster in reducing its deficit, in its economic growth figures and in achieving a primary surplus than was assumed when the program was drafted," Schaeuble said. "The question of debt forgiveness doesn't arise."

Prime Minister Tsipras has vowed to try to write down the country's debt, over the objections of the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Germany respects Greece's vote, Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Monday in Berlin, reiterating that Greece must adhere to its previously negotiated commitments.



by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on
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News and Views

 29 January 2015

by dvx - Jan 28, 39 comments

Your take on today's news media

 28 January 2015

by afew - Jan 27, 46 comments

Your take on today's news media

 The Week's Open Thread

by afew - Jan 26, 15 comments

26 Jan - 1 Feb

 This Week - Open Thread

by afew - Jan 19, 46 comments

19-25 January

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