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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch – 4 December

by Fran Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 12:38:33 AM EST

On this date in history:

1644 - 1st European peace congress opens in Munster

More here


Welcome to the new European Salon!

This will replace the former Breakfast Thread. Over time it looked like people show up in cycles, some for Breakfast, though less and less, many for Lunch and some stayed in to the Evening. Thus, a Salon that is open for discussions, exchange, and gossip and just plain socializing all day long, seems to be more appropriate.

The Salon has different rooms or sections for your enjoyment. If you would like to join the discussion, then to add a link or comment to a topic or section, please click on "Reply to this" in one of the following sections:

EUROPE - is the place for anything to do with Europe.

WORLD - here you can add the links to topics concerning the rest of the World.

THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER - is the place for everything from environment to health to curiosa.

KLATSCH - if you like gossip, this is the place. But you can also use this place as an Open Thread until the one in the Evening opens.

SPECIAL FOCUS - will be up only for special events and topics, like elections or other stuff.

I hope you will find this place inspiring – of course meaning the inspiration gained here to show up in interesting diaries. :-)

There is just one favor I would like to ask you – please do NOT click on “Post a Comment”, as this will put the link or your comment out of context at the bottom of the page.

Actually, there is another favor I would like to ask you – please, enjoy yourself and have fun at this place!

This link goes directly to the Klatsch section

Display:
EUROPE
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 12:39:36 AM EST
Deutsche Welle: Steinmeier to Visit Damascus for Talks with Assad

Four months after abruptly axing a trip to Damascus, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will travel to Syria Monday to hold talks with President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.

Officials traveling with the German delegation on a Middle East tour said Sunday that Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier planned to meet the Syrian officals during a one-day visit.

Steinmeier had in August cancelled a visit to Damascus hours before his planned arrival after Assad described Israel as "an enemy", said that it was an honor for Syria to support Shiite
militia Hezbollah in its struggle against Israel and described resistance against the Jewish state as legitimate.

Berlin has frequently indicated it is prepared to offer economic incentives to Damascus in exchange for "constructive" cooperation in Middle East peace efforts.

Steinmeier's spokesman Martin Jaeger had said Thursday that the minister would "possibly" stop in Syria at the end of his regional tour but that it would depend on developments in the Middle East "and particularly Lebanon."


by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 12:44:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deutsche Welle: Sunny Economic Forecast Prompts SPD Chief's Call for Pay Hike

The leader of Germany's co-ruling Social Democrats, Kurt Beck, on Sunday called for higher sector-wide pay hikes in next year's wage round due to the sunny economic forecast.

Beck, whose SPD traditionally enjoys close ties to Germany's powerful trade unions, said that after years of moderation, it was the workers' turn to get a bigger slice of the cake. "It is time for a wage policy that grants employees appropriate pay increases," Beck told the mass-market Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

"Out of fairness but also in the interest of the economy, we need wage agreements that are appropriate to the economic situation," he added.

Beck said that in recent years sector wage agreements had been "very moderate" due to anemic economic growth but that it was now sensible to boost workers' buying power.

The SPD serves in a left-right 'grand coalition' with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Union bloc.

The powerful electrical, engineering and metalworking sector union IG Metall agreed to a three-percent wage increase in April covering the period from June to March 2007. The next round of negotiations is set for early 2007.


by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 12:46:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Blair 'will need Tory support on Trident'

Tony Blair has been warned that he will have to rely on Conservative votes to press through plans to be announced today for the replacement of Britain's nuclear deterrent.

Mr Blair is likely to face one of his last parliamentary showdowns when MPs vote on the plans next year.

Analysis of parliamentary motions suggest that enough MPs are strongly opposed to replacing Britain's ageing Trident nuclear missile system to wipe out Mr Blair's working majority, forcing him to fall back on the Opposition when MPs vote on the proposals.

Mr Blair will unveil the long-awaited White Paper on nuclear defence this afternoon in a personal statement to the Commons.

It is expected to recommend that Britain replace Trident with a new submarine-launched nuclear ballistic missile system, when the current deterrent reaches the end of its life around 2024. It is likely to float the idea of reducing Britain's stockpile of nuclear warheads and include the possibility of cutting the country's fleet of nuclear missile submarines from four to three to minimise the anticipated £30bn cost of the new deterrent.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 12:56:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have tried to imagine what justification there could be for this, but simply cannot do so.

So, it seems that either Tony is buying this cos he thinks he hasn't been loyal enough to George, or he actually believes he'll be portrayed as weak on security if he doesn't.

Neither is a good reason.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 06:11:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What justification need there be, other than that Mr Blair ... believes that Britain owes it to the US to remain a member of the nuclear club (originally in The Independent)

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 06:36:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nukular weaponz also give the UK a seat on the UN Security Council.

The point of having a seat on the UNSC isn't entirely clear, except maybe as a post-colonial prestige kind of thing. But it's obvious that without nukes the UK would slide even further down the 'Not taken entirely seriously as a player' totem pole, towards the big pile of international insignificance reserved for countries like NZ and Micronesia.

At least, I suspect that's how the FO sees it.

There's that and lots of corporate welfare for the defence queens. (Lots of jobs, innit?)

Meanwhile the question of Trident's operational independence and its possible integration within a European defence force remains unanswered.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 07:11:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope londonbear crossposts his diary over here:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/12/4/52223/7255

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 10:38:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian/Gerard: This 'special relationship' is an abusive one

London Bridge, says a senior Bushite, is 'falling down'. Actually, it has never looked in better nick, probably because the Americans captured it and carted it back home; the old London Bridge resides in the most preposterous place I've visited, an English theme village in the Arizona desert. And, postwar, that has pretty much been America's way with Britain: coo over our quaintness, take what it wants, then ship out.
Yet the underlying point made by the State Department's Kendall Myers is sound: we can no longer act as bridge between America and Europe because George Bush has dynamited it at his end. Our 'special relationship' is more an abusive marriage crying all the way to the divorce courts, or a love-struck teenager's infatuation with an old crooner who can barely remember her name afterwards: 'Yo! Blair!'

There is, Myers confessed, 'no payback'. So now an American - who even Labour-Tory grandees cannot dismiss as a rabid Europhile bent on some dastardly plot to shoo Brenda from our banknotes - has had the decency to admit what many have long said. Yet still ministers ignore reality. So tomorrow Tony Blair, that battered wife in denial, will seek to renew Britain's 'independent' nuclear deterrent - perhaps forgetting to mention America will retain the key. Well, Washington wouldn't want the little wife getting ideas.

And, in America's defence, it has never hidden what kind of husband it is; Blair has just tactfully ignored the truth. I recall sitting in stunned silence as John Bolton, America's UN ambassador, told me that America will always remorselessly pursue its interests and other nations must follow simply in deference to American power. If this was courting, it smacked of rape, not romance.


by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 12:58:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Boo F-ing Hoo

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 02:24:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet if you're British and say this, as I and many others have for 20 years, you get told that we simply don't understnad and are naive etc etc

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 06:19:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deutsche Welle: Bulgarian EU Commissioner to Take On Consumer Protection

Meglena Kuneva has been Bulgarian minister for European affairs since 2002. Now the country's designated EU commissioner, she's slated for the consumer protection portfolio once Bulgaria joins the EU on Jan. 1, 2007.

Kuneva strongly believes that it's time Bulgarians gained a bit more self-confidence -- and is confident they're on the right path.

"I think the desire to be better is there," the 49-year-old said. "We are dreaming of a better life and this is a great vehicle for trying to be better and better every single day. It's for the benefit of the next generation -- I don't believe that people in the middle of their lives will harvest the fruits."

After four years as minister for European affairs, Kuneva is now headed for Brussels as her country's first-ever EU commissioner.

An international résumé

She studied law and spent time in the US, Finland and Britain before returning to Sofia. In May 2002 she was appointed Bulgaria's first minister of European affairs in the government of former Tsar Simeon Saxe-Coburg -- a job she held even after the 2005 parliamentary elections, when her party became a junior partner in the Bulgarian Socialist Party-dominated coalition government of Sergey Stanishev.


by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 01:00:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WaPo: The CIA and The Militant Who Eluded It in Norway

Counterterror Tactics Often Foiled in Europe

OSLO -- Two months after he helped kidnap a Muslim cleric in Italy, records show, an undercover CIA officer boarded a flight to Norway on another secret mission. Two other U.S. spies followed a few weeks later and checked into the same hotel.

Shortly after the agents arrived in the spring of 2003, an Islamic militant living in Oslo known as Mullah Krekar received a warning from an anonymous Norwegian official, according to Krekar's lawyer. The message: Krekar, then head of a Kurdish insurgent group, was a CIA target and should watch his back.

The spies left Norway by the end of the summer, according to records of their travels compiled by European investigators. If the CIA was planning to abduct Krekar, like other Islamic radicals it had secretly apprehended in Europe after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, those plans were quietly abandoned.

But it would not be the first or last time that the U.S. government had sought to push Krekar out of Norway. For more than a decade, the Kurdish cleric had enjoyed protection in the Nordic country as a political refugee, even as he frequently slipped back into his homeland in northern Iraq to lead an armed separatist movement called Ansar al-Islam, which has carried out attacks on civilians and U.S. troops.

The case shows how the United States has struggled to deal with Islamic militants who are allowed to live freely in Europe despite being labeled serious security risks. Others have included radical clerics in London and supporters of the Hamburg cell responsible for the Sept. 11 hijackings.

But the pursuit of Krekar also demonstrates how U.S. tactics in confronting those militants have sometimes backfired, giving ammunition to critics who accuse the Bush administration of skirting the law or relying on questionable evidence.

What I find most unsettling about this article is not the revelation of a further kidnap-and-render plot (no surprise, right?) so much as the implication conveyed in the subhead and the next-to-last paragraph cited that these attempts are part of legitimate security operations.

Did they lose their moral compass or simply decide that it was no longer opportune?

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 Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 05:59:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Revealed: the real rate of inflation

The cost of living for many British households is up to four times the Government's published rate of inflation, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

Millions of families are experiencing inflation far beyond the official rate of 2.4 per cent, new research suggests.

Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England  
The Government was last night accused of neglecting hard-up families as the research shatters the illusion that the Consumer Price Index - used by the Bank of England to set interest rates - represents the true cost of living as experienced by many households.

Pensioners are the hardest hit, with inflation rates of almost nine per cent, as record gas and electricity bills take a massive slice out of their budgets.

The revelation comes only days after the Government said there were no plans this year for extra cash for pensioners' winter fuel payments.

Both middle class and struggling families are also shown to be experiencing inflation well above the national average, as the increased costs of household bills, education and petrol erode their earnings.

(...)

The figures are calculated using the Office for National Statistics' own inflation data, but made more representative by creating individual "shopping baskets" of goods and services for different types of households.

The massive difference between the CPI and the price rises faced by many families will be particularly upsetting for wage earners in the public sector -- including teachers and nurses -- since Mr Brown, the Chancellor, has asked public sector bodies to base their salary increases on the CPI.

A similar debate has been simmering in France, but the differences between different indices were not as big as those outlined in this article. INSEE, the French statistics body, is supposed to publish today some new indices for various population categories.

Maybe Laurent Guerby can push this story?


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 08:32:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The cost of living for many British households is up to four times the Government's published rate of inflation, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

Confusing the order of derivatives again, are we?

Inflation is actually the rate of change of the cost of living.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 08:47:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 12:40:11 AM EST
BBC: Chavez wins Venezuela re-election

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has won a third term in office, with a clear victory over his nearest rival.

With most ballots counted in the presidential election, Mr Chavez had secured more than 60% of the vote, officials said.

The left-wing president told a cheering crowd in the capital, Caracas, that the poll had been a triumph for his "Bolivarian revolution".

His main opposition rival, Manuel Rosales, has admitted defeat.

He was credited with less than 40% of the vote.

In his concession speech, Mr Rosales said he would continue "fighting for democracy" in the streets if necessary.

Street party

Minutes after the preliminary results were announced, Mr Chavez appeared at the balcony of the presidential palace in Caracas.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 12:50:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See also DoDo's diary: Chávez to be reelected in Venezuela
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 12:51:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Adelante companeros!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

"The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819

by Ritter on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 09:14:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You have been missed.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 09:33:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, good to see you around again.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 10:35:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC: UN chief tells of Iraq war sorrow

The outgoing United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, has told the BBC that the situation in Iraq has become "much worse" than a civil war.

Mr Annan, who leaves office after 10 years on 31 December, said life for the average Iraqi was now worse than under the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Expressing his sadness for being unable to prevent the war, he urged regional and international powers to help Iraq.

But Mr Annan urged his successor, South Korean Ban Ki-moon, to "do it his way".

Asked by the BBC's Lyse Doucet whether the situation in Iraq could now be classified as a civil war, Mr Annan pointed to the level of "killing and bitterness" and the way forces in Iraq are now ranged against each other.

"A few years ago, when we had the strife in Lebanon and other places, we called that a civil war. This is much worse.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 01:02:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From Juan Cole's blog:

AP reports that President Jalal Talabani, Foreign Minister Barham Salih, and leader of the United Iraqi Alliance Abdul Aziz al-Hakim have all rejected United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's call for an international conference on Iraq. Talabani said, "We are an independent and a sovereign nation and it is we who decide the fate of the nation . . ."

If Talabani can decide the fate of Iraq, he should please go ahead and do it. It looks pretty out of control to the rest of us, and we don't think he's in a position to turn down Annan's offer of help. In fact there is something sinister about the top Kurdish and Shiite leaders rejecting an international conference that might help stop the Night of the Living Dead. Basically, they seem to be saying that they've come out on top and are happy with the status quo, and aren't interested in compromise or negotiation.

Noting that both Al Hakim the SCIRI-Badr Brigades Shi'ite leader - and a seriously scary guy IMHO - and Talabani the big Kurdish leader are in favour of partitioning Iraq to concentrate all the oil in Shi'ite and Kurdish hands, thus pauperizing the Sunnis.

....

Big news is that an alternative, anti-partitioning, pro-regional dialogue Sunni/Shi'ite coalition seems to be developing between Sadr and part of the Sunni leadership plus others:

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that secular Sunni politician Salih Mutlak, leader of the National Dialogue Front (11 seats in parliament) supports Annan's proposal for an international conference. Al-Zaman reports that Mutlak has formed a new coalition in parliament that will include the Shiite Sadr Movement. It will stand for the unity of Iraq and a withdrawal of US troops. It excludes the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the Da`wa Party, the two mainstays of the current government. The bloc will be announced in the coming days. Gunmen had attempted to assassinate Mutlak on Saturday.

More on the Mutlak-Sadr alliance via Uruknet - seems the new coalition also includes Allawi plus assorted smallish Sunni, Turkmen and Christian groups plus anti-partitioning Kurds.

It has been widely reported that Moqtada Al-Sadr, in a reaction to the Maliki-Bush meeting, has been at work on a parliamentary alliance that would call for US troop-withdrawal as an act of Parliament. The news today is from Aswat al-Iraq, and it is in the form of a statement by Saleh al-Matlak. Here is the whole news item:

"Head of the National Dialogue Front Saleh al-Matlak said today there will soon be an announcement about establishment of a National Salvation Front in Iraq to include various political and religious figures. He explained [in Amman] that the announcement comes by way of reviving a political movement that had been stalled (or words to that effect). He said this will include, besides [his own] National Dialogue Front, the Iraqi List led by Iyad Allawi, the coalition for Reconciliation and Freedom led by Mashaan Juburi, and the Sadrist movement led by Moqtada al-Sadr. It will also include groups from outside the political process including [something called] the Constituent Council led by Jawad al-Halasi, tribal elements from south and central Iraq, along with representatives of the Yazidis, and the Turkmen, Kurdish movements that oppose separation, a coalition of Christians, along with the [something called the] Arab Shiite Movement. And Matlak said the movement will be supported by religious figures of social and political weight, including al-Baghdadi, al-Jaqubi, al-Muiid, and al-Sarkhii, along with the Khalasia school."



"Ignoring moralities is always undesirable, but doing so systematically is really worrisome." Mohammed Khatami
by eternalcityblues (parvati_roma aaaat libero.it) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 02:20:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Haaretz: Israel fears Siniora government may fall (December 03, 2006)

Just 5 months ago...

BBC News: Lebanon condemns Israel 'madness' (18 July 2006)

Haaretz should brush up on their reading of the Hebrew Bible, especially the bit that says "they sow the wind and reap the whirlwind".

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 03:11:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 12:40:46 AM EST
Deutsche Welle: Column: My Run-in With Europe's New Liquid Laws

DW-WORLD.DE's Rachel Ryan shares her unpleasant introduction to the new regulations for carrying liquids, gels and aerosols on planes.

I knew the rules. Airport officials had announced that passengers should be prepared for changes aimed at preventing liquid explosives from being the next weapon of choice for terrorists. Carry-on liquids now have to be kept in 100-milliliter containers in sealed plastic bags and each person cannot bring along more than one liter in total.

But the full effect wasn't apparent until going through airport security myself.

Excessive plastic and waste

At Cologne airport on a flight to Paris, I was given a sealable bag at the service desk for the deodorant, toothpaste and perfume I was carrying. My bag came from a massive box holding thousands of sealable bags for travelers who didn't come prepared.

Long lines of anxious, Friday morning travelers were waiting at the security checkpoint to have their bags searched and scanned -- and their bodies patted down.

I was told to throw away my drink bottle. It was only 6:30 a.m. and the bin where my bottle was discarded was already full of containers, many unopened. I wondered what would happen to the tons of unnecessary waste.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 12:45:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is just a sop to the drinks vendors in duty-free. Everybody has to stock up on drinks there in order to survive a flight.

All totally silly.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 07:19:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The new generation of X-ray machines is expected to be tweaked to estimate Passenger Liquid Content (PALIC, so-called to avoid confusion with PLC, Public Limited Company).

Passengers containing more than one pint of intra-stomachal liquid will be required to spend the flight zipped into a plastic bag.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 10:33:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nzherald: Get a whiff of this - onions and garlic are health food

People who flavour their diets with plenty of onions and garlic may be reducing their chances of getting several types of cancer, a study suggests.

In an analysis of eight studies from Italy and Switzerland, researchers found that older adults with the highest onion and garlic intakes had the lowest risks of several cancers - including colon, ovarian and throat cancers.

The findings, which appear in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, are in line with some previous research. But most of those studies were done in China, and it is not known if the results are different in Western countries.

And it is still not certain that onions and garlic have a direct effect on cancer risk. It's possible, for instance, that onion and garlic lovers also have an overall diet that protects against cancer, say researcher Carlotta Galeone and her colleagues.

On the other hand, they note, animal studies and lab experiments with cancer cells have found that compounds in onions and garlic may inhibit the growth of tumours.

Sulphur compounds found in garlic and antioxidant flavonoids in onions are among the potentially protective substances.


by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 12:57:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Garlic - best vegetable ever.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 07:17:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Change your name to ThatFrenchGuy

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 08:27:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mais non!

Unfortunately any appeal for political asylum will founder when I let slip that I think all wine is revolting. Even when it's rare and expensive.

Oh well.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 10:32:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just move to Wales and agitate for independence.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 10:35:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can do that here in the West Country.

(Maybe not as convincingly. But still.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 10:38:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rare, expensive wine is in fact revolting.

(I can safely say this, never having been able to afford any).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 10:36:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can tell a good wine from a bad wine, but not an excellent wine from a good wine, so rare, expensive wines are wasted on me. Now, that batch of white Rioja that Trader Joe's imported to the US and was selling for $3.95 a bottle was really something. I haven't seen it for less than £7 here in the UK.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 10:47:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent, especially eaten raw.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 10:21:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Garlic is natural antibiotic" as our Russian-born family doctor used to say.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 10:23:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And also good for the heart und vascular system.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 10:45:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All well and good, and I eat as much of it as anyone.  But I feel compelled to say, for the record, that it does not cure AIDS.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 01:37:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: Water power puts climate in peril

Hydroelectric power plants - hailed as providers of clean energy - could be dangerous contributors to climate change. This is the startling claim of scientists who say that the dams the plants use produce large amounts of methane, one of the most potent causes of global warming.

At a meeting of Unesco in Paris this week, scientists from France and Brazil will present evidence to show that organic matter is often trapped in reservoirs when dams are built. This matter then decays with the result that the water emits carbon dioxide and - more importantly - methane, a gas that has 20 times the warming impact of carbon dioxide.

This problem is particularly severe in the tropics, add the scientists, who include Philip Fearnside, of the National Institute for Research in the Amazon, in Manaus. He argues in Nature magazine this week that a typical hydroelectric power station will, during the first 10 years of its life, produce four times the amount of carbon that a comparable fossil-fuel plant would emit.


by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 12:59:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Won't this matter decay anyway, the dam only determines where it occurs? What am I missing?
by det on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 02:42:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
New Scientist covered this five or six years ago.

I think after ten years, decay drops off. But it is something that has to be considered.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 07:19:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Chop off trees, burn the rest, then flood.

No?

by Laurent GUERBY on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 02:26:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure burning will help unless you plant replacements.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 02:30:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Methane comes from fermentation no? Burning will prevent it from happening.

Burning will release a few toxic stuff so you have to take your time.

by Laurent GUERBY on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 05:17:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Guacamole makers sued for using too little avocado

A Californian woman is taking on the giant food companies that, she says, are pushing "fake guacamole" to a public increasingly hooked on Mexico's avocado-based staple.

Brenda Lifsey was outraged to read in the fine print that a guacamole dip contained so little real avocado that its green colouring had to be made up from blue and yellow food dyes. She is suing its makers, Kraft Foods, and her lawyer says other manufacturers could be next.

"I found there was almost no avocado in it," she said. Most of the paste, she claimed, was made from hydrogenated soya bean, coconut oils, corn syrup, whey and food starch, with 2 per cent avocado.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 01:39:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yuk or 'pfui deufel'as we say here, is all I can think of.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 01:40:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Peter Mandelson can't tell the difference between guacamole and mushy peas. So there's an alrenative.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 06:25:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 12:41:19 AM EST
Reuters via Yahoo!  French rock bands cross Channel to boost careers

LONDON (Reuters) - In the Windmill, a dingy pub in south London, a rock band with a smouldering male singer is on stage, driving the sweating crowd wild with raw guitar riffs.

Another night on London's thriving gig scene? Not quite. The band may sing in English, but it's French.

Neimo, a stylish Parisian act with a touch of New Wave, is one of a growing number of young French bands crossing the Channel in the hope of boosting budding careers.

Britain's independent label scene and French radio's language quota system that limits the amount of air time groups singing in English get mean that landing a record deal is seen as easier overseas than at home.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 12:55:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it is a little easier in a French-speaking country to break through when you sing in French. There's even a thriving scene, in French. Oddly enough.

If, like this band, you're into guitar riffs and your models are Blondie, New Order, Bowie, and the Stooges (!?), it would seem logical to go to London, (where it's certainly true there's a big music industry).

What's annoying in the article is the underlying assumption, once again, that France is a stifling backwater anyone dynamic wants to get out of.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 01:50:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm especially intrigued by The Stooges' influence!

I was actually surprised that the rule is only 40% French -- is there that much music sung in other languages on the radio there?  or is this just an excuse crappy bands make for not being signed?  It doesn't seem like it would be a huge problem.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 01:55:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the English language that -- for reasons we know, like English is the world's N° 1 lingua franca, but also because the English-language entertainment industry has such clout -- tends to supplant other langauges. Radio tends to go with the big noise and amplify it. The quota system was implemented to leave the French language some breathing space. I think it's been a successful policy in that there really is/has been a thriving scene in chanson française (French song) and French-language World Music.

There have always been French rock bands, and many have sung in French. The thing is, if you want to break into a broader international market, you've got to sing in English. This problem isn't new, it's been talked about in France for decades.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 02:13:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not just English, but US English.

You're supposed to assume a fake US drawl if you want to look and sound cool. Even if you're from Romford or Milton Keynes.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 06:44:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, Europe produces more music than the US (counting in measurable metrics like turnover)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 08:26:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If, like this band, you're into guitar riffs and your models are Blondie, New Order, Bowie, and the Stooges (!?), it would seem logical to go to London, (where it's certainly true there's a big music industry).

What's annoying in the article is the underlying assumption, once again, that France is a stifling backwater anyone dynamic wants to get out of.

Another way of saying it is, if you're music is 25 years past its sell-by date, then come to London where they're still iving in the past.

Which would imply Paris is much more hip to the 21st century and can't be bothered with the retro-thing.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 06:08:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good night Izzy - guess your going to bed some time soon.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 01:09:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, Fran, and good morning to you!

Sorry if it took me long to reply -- I was just over at dKos reading a thread by our old pal, Ritter.  Things were pretty wild in the comments.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 01:40:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the link Izzy, some of these comments are hilarious.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 01:52:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And now there's a responding diary -- lol.  I didn't realize this was such a polarizing issue!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 01:58:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I really have a hard time taking dKos serious anymore. There was also this other Sirota/Obama spat - this stuff really amazes me. Why are these discussions so virulent?
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 02:13:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DKos (often) reminds me of badly-run college-kid debates.

(Apologies to student readers ;))

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 02:18:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Any challenge to American exceptionalism will stir up a hornets' nest on DKos. My word, it can do it on ET ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 02:21:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
no it can't ;-)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 09:42:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes it can. It can it can it can.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 10:44:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh my god are we having an attack of musical theatre?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 11:22:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ritter can't spell Venezolano. And DKos is right-wing.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 02:24:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought about popping a question about ET.

But I decided to stir up the  anti-Labor bigots instead.

I suceeded.

I take heart in the results of the poll.  It's just that that neo-liberal 10% do a good 40% of the commenting and try to silence opposition to the exclsion of Labor.

One the upside, I think that some hill staffer is going to have an inbox full of requests to include labor in the meeting.  This just really angered me, but the response so far, exucluding the vocal minority is encouraging.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 04:02:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding vocal minorities and silent majorities, we have a saying in Spain: el que no llora no mama. Of course, popular wisdom has to provide a saying for each occasion, otherwise it wouldn't be able to appear to be always right, so on the flip side there is oveja que bala pierde bocado.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 04:08:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good (time of day) to both of you!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 01:51:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good (fill-in-the-blank) to you, too!

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 01:56:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, so you are playing to both sides of us. :-) I mean about the daytime.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 02:00:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Followup on Saturday's Spanish Klatsch...

El Pais: La policía desbarata un montaje para sostener la teoría conspirativa en torno al 11-M (02/12/2006)El Pais: The police thwarts a set-up [intended] to support the conspiracy theory around March 11 (02/12/2006)
Detenidos por corrupción cuatro agentes y tres delincuentes que simularon un tráfico de Goma 2Arrested on corruption [charges] four [police] officers and three criminals who simulated trafficking with Goma 2 [the explosive used in the Madrid bombings]
La Brigada de Asuntos Internos de la policía ha detenido a cuatro agentes de Madrid por corrupción, así como por simulación de delito y denuncia falsa en relación con un caso de tráfico de explosivos. Los agentes detenidos supuestamente montaron una entrega de Goma 2 ECO por parte de un confidente para que éste lograra beneficios para un familiar. El montaje fue descubierto. A sabiendas de que sus teléfonos estaban pinchados, los policías contactaron con El Mundo, que vinculó ese delito simulado con la teoría conspirativa del 11-M para enmarañar la investigación, según fuentes jurídicas y policiales.The police's Internal Affairs Brigade has arrested four Madrid officers on corruption charges, as well as simulating a crime and reporting a flase crime in relation with a case of explosives trafficking. The arrested officers allegedly set up a delivery of Goma 2 ECO by an informant so he would obtain a benefit for a relative. The set-up was discovered. Knowing that their phones were tapped, they contacted [the newspaper] El Mundo, which linked that simulated crime with the March-11 conspiracy theory in order to tangle up the investigation, according to Police and Judiciary sources.
Of course, the conspiracy theorists claim that this was a sting operation set up by the government to discredit El Mundo, based on the fact that the officers knew their phone was tapped when they contacted El Mundo. (Both sides [interestingly, the "official" side is being carried by ABC, the traditional conservative newspaper] are linked by this Escolar.net story)

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 02:46:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT: Making Ends Meet
http://tinyurl.com/y56u86

Spanish ETeers, show your solidarity.  Not.  She is very capable of accepting the funds!


Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 08:12:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Check out 1 Euro For Espe.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 4th, 2006 at 08:15:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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