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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 11 December

by Fran Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 04:08:47 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1810 – Alfred de Musset, French dramatist, poet, and novelist, was born. (d. 1857)

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 11:32:51 AM EST
BBC News - Carwyn Jones sworn in as new Welsh first minister

The ceremony was administered by a senior judge at the Welsh Assembly Government offices in central Cardiff.

Mr Jones said he looked forward to fulfilling the coalition agreement with Plaid Cymru which he inherited from his predecessor Rhodri Morgan.

He is expected to announce his cabinet over the next few days, after submitting the names to the Queen.

Assembly Members nominated him to succeed Mr Morgan on Wednesday after he was elected Welsh Labour leader last week.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 11:38:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rhodri Morgan stands down with call for further Welsh devolution | Politics | guardian.co.uk

Rhodri Morgan formally stood down as Welsh first minister today with a call for the Cardiff assembly to take the next step on the road of devolution.

Morgan tendered his resignation and departed for the backbenches after nearly a decade at the helm.

In a farewell statement in the Senedd chamber, the Labour veteran told AMs that Wales's model of devolution was very different to Scotland's and Northern Ireland's.

It was up to the people of Wales to decide whether to grant the assembly full law-making powers in a referendum.

His successor will inherit a coalition deal with Plaid Cymru that offers the prospect of holding a referendum before elections in 2011 if it looks winnable.

Morgan said: "It's a model based on the principle of: learn to walk before you run.

"The point is, when the people of Wales start to understand whether we have walked long enough, have we served our apprenticeship and are we in a position to say to them we are now ready to run? Of course, the choice is theirs."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 11:40:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WalesOnline - News - Wales News - House of Lords? Not on your nelly, insists Rhodri Morgan

RHODRI MORGAN has scotched speculation that he will head for the red benches of the House of Lords when he leaves the National Assembly for the last time.

Asked if he was en route for a peerage, Mr Morgan, who yesterday resigned as First Minister, replied: "Not on your nelly!"

Instead, the 70-year-old said he was looking forward to "standing on muddy touchlines cheering on my grandson playing rugby".

He also said he planned to spend time wood-carving and "working more with my hands" when he quits as Cardiff West AM in 2011.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 11:42:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It demonstrates how far we have fallen when an honourable man refuses to cash in on his seniority and he's regarded as odd and exceptional.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 04:35:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh come on, he's not regarded as odd, and he's greatly liked in Wales.

Unless you want to say the Welsh are odd and exceptional, which...

Never mind.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 04:52:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She's saying newsies consider his move odd and exceptional.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 04:02:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Merkel proposes direct EU action on Greece

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested the European Union should play a greater role in tackling the embattled Greek economy.

She referred to a "common responsibility" towards the eurozone member following a meeting of centre-right EU leaders in Bonn on Thursday (10 December), in which she indicated pressure could be brought to bear on the national parliaments of countries in budgetary difficulties.

"If, for example, there are problems with the Stability and Growth Pact in one country and it can only be solved by having social reforms carried out in this country, then of course the question arises, what influence does Europe have on national parliaments to see to it that Europe is not stopped," said the leader of Europe's largest economy in a speech.

"This is going to be a very difficult task because of course national parliaments certainly don't wish to be told what to do. We must be aware of such problems in the next few years."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 12:26:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is very close to using the EU as a tool of German economic imperialism. "Common responsibility towards Greece" means forcing the member's parliament to enact "social reforms" to save the Growth and Stability Pact? Is the Growth and Stability Pact the only thing guaranteeing that "Europe is not stopped"?

This is really saying that the responsibility of the EU is towards the Growth and Stability Pact, national parliaments and social safety nets notwithstanding.

The "Washington Consensus" would be replaced with a "Brussels Consensus" as neoliberal and destructive as the former. Especially because the neoclassical economic conventional wisdom behind the GSP and the current Hooverian fiscal tightening when the growth phase of the cycle still hasn't set in are utter bollocks.

But anyway, the EU has been forcing these kinds of IMF-style "structural adjustment" policies to "peripheral" (outside the Eurozone) economies for a year now, so why not force them on Greece?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 12:53:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I imagine it might be regarded that when a country buys into a level of commonality that it retains fiscal obligations to the centre which, if it defaults, requires action from the centre towards rectifying that failure. Like you, I think there's a certain patronising attitude going on that will bode ill.

I think there are real problems with the relationship between the Greek political system and the voter/taxpayers with regard to a perceived democratic deficit that, while not unique to Greece, is perhaps more advanced than in other countries. It will be interesting how that evolves when the delegation from Brussels put their big feet in it. It will be a taste of things to come for all of us.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 04:44:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece's budget deficit is forecast to exceed 12 percent of its GDP this year, with the country's total debt levels expected to reach 125 percent of GDP in 2010 - the highest in the EU.

Inflation fears vs. deflation period considerations notwithstanding, a debt explosion means an explosion of interest payments load on budgets in years to come; which in turn means an even stronger say of creditors in economic and fiscal policy in years to come. This is a trap I'm all too familiar with.

Meanwhile, from SPIEGEL's business paper subsidiary [and origin of the neoliberals currently dominating its economic section], what some other players said:

Regierungstreffen: Schuldenschock erschüttert EU-Gipfel - manager-magazin.deGovernments' meeting: debt shock eshakes EU summit - manager-magazin.de
Der luxemburgische Regierungschef und Chef der Eurogruppe, Jean-Claude Juncker, wies zugleich Befürchtungen zurück, dass Griechenland kurz vor dem Staatsbankrott stehe. "Das entspricht überhaupt nicht meiner Beobachtung." ...At the same time, Luxembourg PM and head of Eurogroup Jean-Claude Juncker dismissed fears that Greece was on the brink of national bankruptcy. "That's not at all consistent with my observations." ...
Finnland und Schweden wandten sich bereits gegen eine finanzielle Unterstützung Griechenlands. "Die EU kann nicht helfen, das ist Teil unserer Regeln. Sie wurden festgelegt, damit die Mitgliedstaaten sich selbst um finanzielle Stabilität bemühen", sagte der finnische Ministerpräsident Matti Vanhanen bei seiner Ankunft in Brüssel.Finland and Sweden have already spoken out against financial support for Greece. "The EU can not help, that's part of our rules. They have been adopted so that Member States themselves strive for financial stability," said Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, on his arrival in Brussels.

Cold shoulders all around, repeated in more diplomatic toney by Sweden's PM and Germany's finance minister. Even the sole voice for EU financial intervention implicitely suggests 'reforms':

Dessen ungeachtet erklärte der belgische Finanzminister Didier Reynders, im Notfall wäre eine europäische Hilfsaktion für Griechenland durchaus denkbar: "Das ist immer eine Möglichkeit gewesen", sagte Reynders am Rande eines Spitzentreffens der europäischen Liberalen. Zunächst aber sei die griechische Regierung selbst am Zug: "Wenn man durch Maßnahmen in dem betroffenen Land selbst zu einer Lösung kommen kann, ist das immer vorzuziehen."Nevertheless, Belgian finance minister Didier Reynders said that in case of an emergency, a European relief operation for Greece would be quite possible: "That has always been a possibility," Reynders said on the sidelines of a top level meeting of the European Liberals. First, however, the Greek government must move itself: "If you can come to a solution through measures in the affected country itself, that is always preferable."


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 03:54:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Norway and EU kick fishing boats out of each other's waters

Following weeks of talks between the EU and Norway, the two sides have ended up kicking each other out of their respective fishing waters.

"The commission deeply regrets that, despite all the efforts made to reach agreement with Norway, the respective approaches of the two parties at this stage have proved to be irreconcilable," European commissioner for fish Joe Borg said following the breakdown.

Talks in Bergen, Norway, hit the buffers over the issue of access to mackerel for 2010 in the North sea, stalling on the subject of Norwegian access to fish for a portion of its mackerel quota in EU waters.

According to the commission, Brussels offered increased access to Norway to fish for mackerel in EU waters, "without asking for compensation by Norway," but this was rejected.

A provisional rollover arrangement, which would have allowed the two sides to continue fishing in each others' waters in early 2010 while talks continued in the expectation that an agreement would eventually be reached, was also not acceptable to Oslo. The commission expressed "surprise" at the move.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 02:12:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EurActiv.com - France, Germany ponder Iceland EU accession fallout | EU - European Information on Enlargement
Paris and Berlin are generally positive towards Iceland's EU membership bid but will give the country "no presents" in its accession process, a survey of EurActiv France and EurActiv Germany reveals.

As soon as the EU decides to formally launch accession negotiations with Iceland, probably in March 2010, France will heavily scrutinise the stakes for two sectors - fisheries and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), said Michel Sallé, a French expert on Iceland.

"Iceland is not ready to accept the invasion of its coasts by foreign fishing boats," Sallé said, adding that Reykjavik does not want EU fishing quotas either. Fisheries represent 10 to 15% of the Nordic country's GDP and a quarter of its exports. But France is also struggling to safeguard the interests of its fishermen, who have been hit hard by the economic crisis, the expert noted.

As for agriculture, Iceland's 3,000 farmers are staunch opponents of the CAP, Sallé said, as they estimate that its introduction to the island will bring about a drop in local agricultural production of 40 to 50%.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 02:19:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Socialists are "reckless spenders" and Europe's political tricksters NEW EUROPE - The European News Source
What is the key to EPP's political success in the European Union?

European voters have greater confidence in the EPP and our member-parties. We inspire trust and security in European societies and in a moment  of  crisis, such as the current economic and financial one, we are viewed as the only steady hand that can  rapidly  lead Europe to renewed economic development and prosperity via effective and measured policies. The Socialists, on the other hand, have a reputation of being reckless public spenders, of over-inflating the state and civil service, of focusing on tactics and communication tricks at the expense of serious policy-making.

Antonio Lopez-Isturiz  is  the Secretary General of the European People's Party EPP-ED

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 02:25:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Myths over reality. Barroso in Portugal, the last right-wing Greek government, the right-wing French governments after Jospin, Berlusconi, and so on haven't been stellar examples of budget prudence...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 03:58:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or of serious policy-making at the expense of tactics and communication.

In fact, from a Spanish perspective I would say Antonio López-Istúriz is forgetting the beam in Aznar's eye in terms of governance-as-media-management.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 04:28:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that the truth doesn't matter anymore? what matter is whether you say things loud enough, and whether the media mindlessly repeats them.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 05:26:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 08:00:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bogdan Aurescu pleaded at the ICJ against Kosovo's independence - Top News - HotNews.ro
Romania's agent and co-agent in the process from Hague last year, namely Bogdan Aurescu and Cosmin Dinescu, pleaded in the International Court of Justice on Thursday, supporting Romania's position regarding Kosovo's independence.

Aurescu argued the necessity for the Court in Hague to not limit itself strictly to the question raised by the General Assembly - whether or not the declaration of independence of the autonomous administration temporary institutions from Kosovo complies with the international law - and stressed that the real judicial problem the Court needs to solve was, in Romania's vision, to evaluate if the international law forbids or not the creation of a new state through unilateral secession, in the circumstances of the examined case.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 02:38:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arguments presented in Kosovo case at ICJ (SETimes.com)

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) continued to hear oral arguments this week concerning the independence of Kosovo. Debate centres on whether the fledging country's declaration of sovereignty falls under international law, whether Serbia's territorial integrity has been violated, and whether UN Resolution 1244 allowed for the possibility of independence.

On Wednesday (December 9th) Kosovo received support from France, Jordan and Norway, a day after the United States did so. Russia presented the opposing view.

Declaring independence did not violate the principle of territorial integrity, permanent UN Security Council member France said, because that principle applies only to relations between countries, and not between countries and entities.

Norway's representative, Rolf Einar Fife, reminded the court that his own country unilaterally dissolved its union with Sweden in 1905, and said declarations of independence are not, in themselves, "the object of regulation by public international law".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 02:46:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So sad that neighbouring countries' positions on the matter are a simple consequence of their post-WWI situation. (Read: for Romania, fears about calls for autonomy in Transylvania; for Hungary, especially the right-wing opposition that is to take over in six months, support for the same.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 04:05:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the most shocking things about the Yugoslav wars was how quickly the WWI alliances were reconstituted - Germany with Croatia, France with Serbia, and so on...

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 04:29:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WWII.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 04:36:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]

It appears WWII was a replay of WWI...

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 04:58:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are there immigrant groups to bootstrap/lobby for alliances?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 05:28:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Serbia told to take EU accession in steps (SETimes.com)

Encouraged by several recent breakthroughs in its relations with the EU, Serbia is now considering the best timing for submitting its official application for membership in the 27-nation bloc. But some senior EU officials indicated on Wednesday (December 9th) that Belgrade should hold off on that move for the time being.

"We should take one step at a time," Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said during a conference on the Western Balkans in Brussels, two days after the EU decided to unblock the Interim Trade Agreement signed with Serbia in April 2008. Monday's approval followed UN war crimes chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz's positive assessment of Belgrade's co-operation with The Hague tribunal.

Enforcement of the trade pact, which is part of Serbia's Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU, came on the heels of another major breakthrough in the country's relations with the bloc. On November 30th, the EU interior ministers voted to allow Serbian citizens, along with those of Macedonia and Montenegro, to travel to most of Europe without visas, as of December 19th.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 02:46:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bloggers: dark days for Croatian journalism (SETimes.com)

Human Rights Day will be observed around the world next week and Croatian journalists are working to demonstrate that their profession, in the words of Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) head Zdenko Duka, has reached "its lowest levels".

A roundtable discussion will be held on Friday (December 10th) to discuss the future of the industry.

Many journalists say they work under the pressure of censorship, and fear losing their jobs. Duka explains that the uncertain future of print newspapers and the financial crisis add another element, which is strategically used by media bosses to discourage investigative reporting.

The result is that journalists are often suspended or fired for investigating corruption and organised crime, both of which seem to plague Croatian society.

Some, like independent journalist Zeljko Peratovic, say they can't take the pressure. Peratovic has investigated corruption on his blog 45 lines, but said he is going to leave Croatia next month and move to Switzerland.

In mid-November, national broadcaster HTV editor-in-chief Hloverka Novak Srzic suspended Ana Jelinic -- editor of the popular TV show Dossier.hr -- after she interviewed a corruption expert who linked Croatian institutions and leading figures to organised crime.

The show was removed from HTV's portal, but not before someone transferred it to YouTube..

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 02:52:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ILGA Europe: Austrian parliament adopts registered partnership law for same-sex partners
On 10 December 2009, the International Human Rights day, the Austrian parliament passed a law on registered partnerships for same-sex partners. ILGA-Europe welcomes this development which makes Austria the 18th country in Europe which provides legal recognition for same-sex partners. The law will come into effect on 1 January 2010.

The other 17 countries in Europe which have gender neutral marriage law or provide registered partnership schemes for same-sex partners or have both are: Andorra, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

The law was prepared by the ruling coalition government between Social Democrats (SPÖ) and Christian Democrats (ÖVP - conservative People's Party) who have parliamentary majority.

Homosexuelle Initiative (HOSI) Wien, ILGA-Europe's member in Austria, has always been fighting for a modern alternative to marriage such as registered partnership based on the Scandinavian or Swiss models. "What we have got now is actually quite comparable with the law in Switzerland where access to adoption and artificial insemination has also been excluded from the partnership law", explains HOSI Wien president Jona Solomon. "That was again a categorical no-go for the Christian Democrats." However, both adoption and artificial insemination are not exclusively linked to marriage in Austria as adoption is possible by a single person, too, and artificial insemination is also possible for non-married opposite-sex couples living in a domestic partnership.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 05:38:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if Greens and SPÖ wanted more, this is really something, to have it passed with ÖVP support too. What's more, it seems the revelations about the late Jörg Haider had their effect on his far-right BZÖ, which didn't oppose it, some MPs even voted for it. Solely the FPÖ (from which BZÖ broke away years ago) remained to articulate homophobia and "defense of marriage".

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 04:12:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
La Quadrature du Net: ACTA: A Global Threat to Freedoms (Open Letter)
A worldwide coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations, consumers unions and online service providers associations publish an open letter to the European institutions regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) currently under negotiation. They call on the European Parliament and the EU negotiators to oppose any provision into the multilateral agreement that would undermine the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens in Europe and across the world.

By December 17th, 2009, European negotiators will submit their position regarding the proposal put forward by the U.S Trade Representative for the Internet chapter of the ACTA. It is now time for the European Union to firmly oppose the dangerous measures secretly being negotiated. They cover not only "three strikes" schemes, but also include Internet service providers liability that would result in Internet filtering, and dispositions undermining interoperability and usability of digitial music and films.

The first signatories of the open letter include: Consumers International (world federation of 220 consumer groups in 115 countries), EDRi (27 European civil rights and privacy NGOs), the Free Software Foundation (FSF), the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), ASIC (French trade association for web2.0 companies), and civil liberties organizations from all around Europe (9 Member States so far...). The letter is open for signature by other organizations.


by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 06:03:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.lemonde.fr/opinions/article/2009/12/08/m-sarkozy-respecter-ceux-qui-arrivent-respecter-ce ux-qui-accueillent_1277422_3232.html#ens_id=1258775
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/08/AR2009120802018.html?wprss=rss_world

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/08/AR2009120802018.html?wprss=rss_world


"I address my Muslim countrymen to say I will do everything to make them feel they are citizens like any other, enjoying the same rights as all the others to live their faith and practice their religion with the same liberty and dignity," he said. "I will combat any form of discrimination.

"But I also want to tell them," he continued, "that in our country, where Christian civilization has left such a deep trace, where republican values are an integral part of our national identity, everything that could be taken as a challenge to this heritage and its values would condemn to failure the necessary inauguration of a French Islam."
...Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner had said he was "a little scandalized" by the Swiss vote and suggested it "means a religion is being oppressed." Intellectuals in the Paris chattering class took their criticism further, suggesting the Swiss vote betrayed bigotry and isolationism.
...But Xavier Bertrand, head of Sarkozy's political coalition, the Union for a Popular Movement, seemed to indicate that a referendum like the one in Switzerland would be a good idea for France. In an appearance before reporters, he questioned whether French Muslims "necessarily need" minarets for their mosques.



Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 01:20:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 11:33:53 AM EST
Hedge funds tip-toe toward an uncertain future | Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - It wasn't too long ago big-time hedge fund managers like James Pallotta were erecting monuments to themselves. In Pallotta's case, it was a $21 million Georgian-style mansion he built in 2007 in Weston, a leafy Boston suburb uncomfortable with such displays of wealth.

Yet Pallotta soon would become a symbol not of conspicuous consumption but of the dramatic comedown of a once seemingly indomitable industry. In July, Pallotta, a protege of hedge fund legend Paul Tudor Jones, said he was liquidating Raptor Global Funds, a firm that once managed $9 billion but was hit hard by losses and redemptions last year.

He had plenty of company in that regard. After the worst performance in decades, investors yanked $300 billion of cash over three quarters starting late last year. And more than 2,100 funds were liquidated since the end of 2007, according to Hedge Fund Research Inc.

As if the market meltdown weren't enough, the hedge fund industry took a beating over Bernie Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme one year ago, followed by the widening Galleon Group insider-trading case. The upshot is that an industry never comfortable with scrutiny and second-guessing has come under the microscope, with regulators and investors clamoring for change.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 12:06:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
an industry never comfortable with scrutiny and second-guessing

A lot of it was a confidence trick, riding the bull market while falsely (and unverifiably) claiming to be "market-neutral".

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 04:24:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bank executive searches soaring: Korn/Ferry CEO | Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Demand for executive talent at Wall Street firms has rebounded strongly, and the coming bonus season may see an exodus to overseas rivals that have no limits on pay, the CEO of the world's largest executive search firm, Korn/Ferry International Inc (KFY.N), said.

Economy

Even banks still in the U.S. government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) -- which restricts pay packages -- are actively seeking executive-level talent, Korn/Ferry CEO Gary Burnison told Reuters on Wednesday. However, banks with no curbs on pay have an advantage, he added.

At the height of the crisis 14 months ago, Korn/Ferry saw its business cut in half in a matter of weeks, as CEOs around the world hoarded cash, giving up on consulting services. But business has "come back pretty strong," Burnison said.

Finance, known for over-firing in bad times and over-hiring in booms, often comes back first after a recession, Burnison said, adding there are no signs of over-hiring so far.

Korn/Ferry, which generates three-quarters of its business from senior-level searches, posted a 43 percent jump in financial services fee revenue from the previous quarter, double the increase across all industries. It cited demand for executive searches across the financial sector, except real estate.

"Over the last three quarters, there's been a move afoot, musical chairs, as non-U.S., non-UK institutions have tried to make a big foothold in the United States," Burnison said. "You've seen people going out of companies that got TARP money into places where the restrictions aren't so great around compensation."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 12:07:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Europe - France to impose tax on bank bonuses

President Nicolas Sarkozy is to follow Britain's lead and impose a one-off tax on bonus pay-outs by banks operating in France.

The French government intends to include the 50 per cent tax in the budget bill going through parliament. It will be levied on bonus pay-outs above €27,000 and will be paid by the banks, bringing Paris in line with London.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 12:08:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PM seeks EU action on bonuses | Reuters

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged European Union leaders to consider moves to tax bankers' bonuses at a summit on Thursday that was also likely to discuss debt problems in Greece.

Brown wrote to other EU leaders urging them to put bankers' bonuses on the agenda at the two-day summit in Brussels, which had been expected to focus on climate change.

Many voters blamed bankers for the global economic crisis and are angry they could now receive huge bonuses, even though some of their banks were bailed out with taxpayers' money.

Brown also wrote a newspaper article with French President Nicolas Sarkozy calling for an exceptional tax on global bank bonuses, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel described a one-off tax on such bonuses as a charming idea.

"Both preceding the crisis and again now, banks have made very large profits, and some of their employees have received bonuses equal to many multiples of average earnings in our countries," Brown wrote in the letter to EU leaders.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 12:13:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Shorter Brown: please allow me to claim at home that my chancellor's tax on bonuses was imposed by Brussels.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 04:23:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - EU bankers' bonus tax plan gains momentum in Brussels

Momentum is building for a tax on bankers' bonuses as European leaders gather for an EU summit in Brussels.

The leaders of France and Germany have swung behind the idea after the UK announced a one-off supertax on banker bonuses in a pre-Budget report.

The two-day summit will also address climate change and financing.

The European Council's meeting is the first since the Lisbon Treaty came into effect and Belgium's Herman van Rompuy was elected as its first president.

Ahead of the summit, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy held talks which were expected to cover the controversial appointment of a Frenchman to oversee European banking.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 02:27:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exodus! Brain Drain! Talent will vote with its talented little feet!

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 03:45:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At which point I think it important that nations start erecting self-protecting financial firewalls. You can play if you obey rules/regulations, if you don't then we tax the shit out of your transactions. Nobody but nobody claims tax exempt status and trades for free.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 04:50:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So are they to decamp to Europe, where their compadres have just suffered a 50% tax on bonuses? How about Hong Kong or Singapore? My recommended destination for such talent would be The Central African Republic.

Meanwhile, if the presumably less talented successors at Wall Street banks rein in their ambitions to accord with their perceived talent, perhaps we all will be the better for it.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 09:54:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We should send them to North Korea or Zimbabwe, the only countries in the world where they can't damage the economy further, if only because there hardly is any economy to damage.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 10:34:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I like North Korea, as a suggestion.

Just think of the free-market magic these talented people could sprinkle all over the country.

Surely if they're as gifted as claim to be, restoring North Korea to its rightful place as the world's prime piece of banking-friendly real estate shouldn't take more than a lunch break or two.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 08:04:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dubai is "unfortunately" out, but it was a favourite destination for London bankers in the past 2 years.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 04:32:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EurActiv.com - Brussels angry about new Chinese tech wall | EU - European Information on InfoSociety
Brussels-based ICT federations are in the middle of a public procurement battle with China as the country is pursuing a "protectionist" new law favouring home-grown technology over foreign innovation, according to industry insiders.

Insiders and diplomats reveal that Brussels is putting pressure on their Chinese counterparts to lobby against a public procurement law favouring home-grown Chinese technology.

Sources say a registry for foreign companies closed yesterday afternoon (9 December) asking companies to fulfil a set of criteria for access to the Chinese market.

The law's provisions, according to sources, stipulate that at least some of a product's component parts or technology should be developed locally in order to be considered for government tenders.

Sources say the law will affect all ICT and clean-tech companies and is the extension of an earlier spat over leaks of confidential information from foreign companies to Chinese competitors. Government agencies that demanded detailed data on clean-tech products were caught leaking product information to home-grown firms (EurActiv 07/09/09).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 02:20:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are Food Stamps the Soup Lines of this Great Recession? George Washington  Zero Hedge

Bloomberg notes that, as of 2007:

   In Missouri, about 100 percent who were eligible [for food stamps] that year took advantage of the program, the highest rate in the nation, followed by residents of Maine and Michigan, at 91 percent and 89 percent, respectively ...

Things have gotten much worse since 2007:

As the New York Times notes, "one in eight Americans and one in four children" receive food stamps.

Many economists and financial experts have said that we are in a depression. See this, this and this

....

But it is indisputable that the unemployment numbers are still grim. Specifically:
    * More people will be unemployed than during the Great Depression
    * Some of the top economists say that America has suffered a permanent loss of jobs
    * By some measures, unemployment is worse than it was during a comparable time-frame in the Great Depression
    * Vice President Biden said recently: "It's a depression for millions of Americans"

Given the above, Stacy Herbert's question of today is compelling:

   The food stamps story seems to be one that keeps popping up; I guess food stamps are the soup lines of this Great Depression?


The bold this link is a worthy diary by itself--an argument for a deflationary scenario.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 11:10:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the graph food stamp use appears to be up 35% since October, 2008.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 11:12:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When people were estimating the "multiplier" effect of various forms of fiscal stimulus before Obama got his bill through congress, food stamps was the one with the highest multiplier.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 04:33:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Putting the start of the financial crisis in August 2007 you have an increase from 27 million to 36 million, or +33% in 2 years (15% annual rate).

The increase since October, 2008 is from 31 to 36 million, or +16%.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 04:37:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Calls For Protectionist Retaliation Against China Rise   Yves Smith  Naked Capitalism

What is truly remarkable about two comments in the last two days in the august Financial Times, is that they both say protectionism against China is likely. One actually urges it, the other pretty much says it's a-comin' unless China mends its ways. And both pieces were written by reputable economists, the last people you'd expect to be talking about trade barriers as a last ditch option.

....

But as the sabre-rattling from Robert Aliber yesterday and Martin Wolf today suggests (hat tip reader Michael), relationships come under serious stress in bad times. Yet China seems determined to repeat the mistakes of the US with Smoot Hawley in a different form. China maintaining its peg against the dollar has bettered its position against other exporters (witness the collapse in the Japanese trade surplus in particular) and the US needs the dollar to fall relative to the RMB (as in that is our biggest imbalance, ergo, that is where the adjustment most needs to occur). Aliber puts it bluntly:

Beijing's unprecedented accumulation of $2bn (€1.4bn, £1.2bn) of US dollar securities is the product of its "beggar-thy-neighbour" policy in importing jobs. The undervaluation of the renminbi has the same impact as an import tariff of 50 or 60 per cent.

....

Americans have been patient - too patient - in accepting the loss of several million US manufacturing jobs because of China's determined pursuit of mindless mercantilist policies...The US can help China make the necessary adjustments toward a reduction in imbalances by adopting a uniform tariff of 10 per cent on all Chinese imports, based on their values when they enter the US. Six months after the establishment of this tariff, the rate would increase by one percentage point a month until the Chinese trade surplus with the US declines to $5bn a month.

The precedent is clear. In August 1971 the US adopted a 10 per cent tariff on dutiable imports to induce Japan and several European countries to allow their currencies to float. The measure quickly accomplished its goal - the European countries stopped pegging their currencies immediately and the Japanese allowed the yen to float a week later. The tariff was eliminated after a few months....

It should not take long for the Chinese to learn that they are much more dependent on access to the US market than Americans are dependent on Chinese goods. Virtually all of the goods that the US imports from China could be sourced at home or in Indonesia, the Philippines or South Korea. China would find it difficult to find other foreign markets for the goods that it no longer sold in the US.... Such an initiative by the Obama administration would be much more significant as a jobs-creation measure than anything else it could adopt.



Yves doesn't think this will happen as Obama is no Nixon. I suspect that the reason the peg is tolerated is because it is in the overall interest of Wall Street firms---the US economy be damned. The vampire wants its last good fix. And because Obama is a creature of Wall Street he is powerless to stop them.

She also quotes Martin Wolf who has some trenchant observations:

Martin Wolf is far more measured but just as troubled:

   Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, complained about demands for Beijing to allow its currency to appreciate. He protested that "some countries on the one hand want the renminbi to appreciate, but on the other hand engage in brazen trade protectionism against China. This is unfair. Their measures are a restriction on China's development." ...

    We can make four obvious replies to Mr Wen. First, whatever the Chinese may feel, the degree of protectionism directed at their exports has been astonishingly small, given the depth of the recession. Second, the policy of keeping the exchange rate down is equivalent to an export subsidy and tariff, at a uniform rate - in other words, to protectionism. Third, having accumulated $2,273bn in foreign currency reserves by September, China has kept its exchange rate down, to a degree unmatched in world economic history. Finally, China has, as a result, distorted its own economy and that of the rest of the world. Its real exchange rate is, for example, no higher than in early 1998 and has depreciated by 12 per cent over the past seven months, even though China has the world's fastest-growing economy and largest current account surplus.....

    Unfortunately, as we have also long known, two classes of countries are immune to external pressure to change policies that affect global "imbalances": one is the issuer of the world's key currency; and the other consists of the surplus countries. Thus, the present stalemate might continue for some time. But the dangers this would create are also evident: if, for example, China's current account surplus were to rise towards 10 per cent of GDP once again, the country's surplus could be $800bn (€543bn, £491bn), in today's dollars, by 2018. Who might absorb such sums? US households are broken on the wheel of debt, as are those of most of the other countries that ran large current account deficits. That is why governments are now borrowers of last resort.

Yves here. Did you catch that, sports fans? The US will not be able to deleverage (absent explicit default) unless we move to a trade surplus. As long as we run a current account deficit, we need to run a capital account surplus. That means (if the deficit and therefore corresponding surplus are more than trivial) rising levels of debt, and high odds of speculative asset bubbles. As Wolf warns:

China's exchange rate regime and structural policies are, indeed, of concern to the world. So, too, are the policies of other significant powers. What would happen if the deficit countries did slash spending relative to incomes while their trading partners were determined to sustain their own excess of output over incomes and export the difference? Answer: a depression. What would happen if deficit countries sustained domestic demand with massive and open-ended fiscal deficits? Answer: a wave of fiscal crises.


Lots of nice graphs at the Wolf FT link.

I have trouble believing that we could not resolve the problem we have with China were it not for "our" government's concern with the profits of Wall Street. China might be destabilized. But so might be the USA if we continue on this course and this course is like flying a plane into a mountain. Its going to blow up if we don't change course.

Glad to see some "serious people" agree. Better we pull the chain on China and be done with it. If that brings down GS and JPM, that is a bonus. Time for those bastards to start feeling some of the pain also. They are almost entirely responsible for creating the mess. But it might be necessary for Congress to take some decisive action, like passing Ron Paul's bill, to trigger a change.  My sense is that the longer we wait the worse it will be.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 12:15:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as Wall Street and the City hold sway over our policies, we will choose the bubble "way out" of the dilemma described by Martin Wolf.

Cutting the financial sector down to size is the big task we need to accomplish, and it's eminently political. Who do we have in politics with the guts to do it?

<soundtrack cue: whispering pines, crickets>

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 02:13:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This sounds like another rehash of the savings glut theory...

But the interesting thing is when Martin Wolf says (in his Why China's exchange rate policy concerns us)

We can make four obvious replies to Mr Wen. First, whatever the Chinese may feel, the degree of protectionism directed at their exports has been astonishingly small, given the depth of the recession. Second, the policy of keeping the exchange rate down is equivalent to an export subsidy and tariff, at a uniform rate - in other words, to protectionism. Third, having accumulated $2,273bn in foreign currency reserves by September, China has kept its exchange rate down, to a degree unmatched in world economic history. Finally, China has, as a result, distorted its own economy and that of the rest of the world. Its real exchange rate is, for example, no higher than in early 1998 and has depreciated by 12 per cent over the past seven months, even though China has the world's fastest-growing economy and largest current account surplus.
he seems to be contradicting his own data. He includes the following chart:

which is a continuation of the one I posted a while ago:

The Yuan has appreciated to just under 7 to the dollar, and then stayed put for a year or two. When Wolf says it has "depreciated by 12 per cent" in real terms over the part 7 months, what is he referring to? His chart overlays the yuan exchange rate with JP Morgan's "trade-weighted index" and if the yuan had stayed pegged to the trade-weighted index it would have had to depreciate. Am I misunderstanding the meaning of the trade-weighted index?

Recent comment threads about the Savings Glut theory include:

I'll take the following quote from these threads:
The concern behind Pettis' article is that regardless of whether the savings glut theory is correct it may be harder for China to reconfigure its economy for internal consumption than it is for the US to stop consuming on credit.


En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 05:44:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So if you look at the share of GDP graph, and compare it to the world population percentage then China still has an undersized economy? And is the UK and Western Europe intentionally kept seperate to keep US superiority since the 1940s and so prove europe to be doomed?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 11:07:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This sounds like another rehash of the savings glut theory...

Savings glut, savings smut. That is like trying to figure out "Who hit Johnnie". I could give a FF. Savings glut and Wall Street profiteering from job export are just the two sides of the same coin. But to me the ones for the USA to be concerned about are those in the USA who organized and are still profiting from the arrangements that have led to the current sorry state of affairs. Further, the power to do this, but not the will, lies in US hands.  

Personally, I believe that some, probably many of those who profited by shipping all of the manufacturing to China knew what the impact on US employment would be--trading $20/hr jobs for $8/hr jobs--and that that was just fine with them. And I expect that belief to be substantiated in time, perhaps even in my lifetime, if we manage to retain any vestage of "free speech."

The policy needs to be rolled back regardless of who it hurts. "Let justice be done or let the Heavens fall!" Justice aside, as it usually is, the system is unstable and HAS to be unwound or it will soon blow up. Unwind or blow-up are really our choices.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 12:08:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ARGeezer:
Savings glut, savings smut. That is like trying to figure out "Who hit Johnnie". I could give a FF.
I couldn't agree more.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 12:16:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 11:34:28 AM EST
Nobel peace prize: Norwegians incensed over Barack Obama's snubs | World news | guardian.co.uk

Barack Obama's trip to Oslo to pick up his Nobel peace award is in danger of being overshadowed by a row over the cancellation of a series of events normally attended by the prizewinner.

Norwegians are incensed over what they view as his shabby response to the prize by cutting short his visit.

The White House has cancelled many of the events peace prize laureates traditionally submit to, including a dinner with the Norwegian Nobel committee, a press conference, a television interview, appearances at a children's event promoting peace and a music concert, as well as a visit to an exhibition in his honour at the Nobel peace centre.

He has also turned down a lunch invitation from the King of Norway.

According to a poll published by the daily tabloid VG, 44% of Norwegians believe it was rude of Obama to cancel his scheduled lunch with King Harald, with only 34% saying they believe it was acceptable.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 11:43:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama accepts peace prize, defends just wars | Reuters

OSLO (Reuters) - President Barack Obama, accepting the Nobel Prize for Peace, on Thursday defended the right of the United States to wage "just wars" like the one in Afghanistan.

Barack Obama  |  Science

In a speech at the award ceremony in Oslo, preceded by a fanfare of trumpets, Obama declared he would not "stand idle" in the face of threats to the United States.

He raised the specter of a new nuclear arms race, potentially in the Middle East or East Asia, and called for tough sanctions against nations that did not abide by international laws, a warning to Iran and North Korea.

Obama also acknowledged criticism that he does not deserve the prize and has few tangible gains to show from his nearly 11 months in office, saying he was "at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 12:09:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So now Obama totally owns the war in Afghanistan.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 12:20:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As Tom Tomorrow (among others) points out, it's the war he always wanted.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 04:55:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sad because true.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 05:15:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
POLITICS: Neo-Cons Get Warm and Fuzzy Over "War President" - IPS ipsnews.net
WASHINGTON, Dec 4 (IPS) - U.S. President Barack Obama's plan for a 30,000-troop surge and a troop withdrawal timeline beginning in 18 months has caught criticism from both Democrat and Republican lawmakers.

But a small group of hawkish foreign policy experts - who have lobbied the White House since August to escalate U.S. involvement in Afghanistan - are christening Obama the new "War President".

The response to Obama's Tuesday night speech at the West Point Military Academy has largely been less than enthusiastic, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle finding plenty in the administration's Afghanistan plan that fails to live up to their expectations. Republicans have hammered the White House on Obama's decision to begin a drawdown of U.S. forces in 18 months, while Democrats largely expressed ambivalence or dismay over the administration's willingness to commit 30,000 more soldiers to a war seen by many as unwinnable and costly at a time when the U.S. economy is barely in recovery from the global financial crisis.

The White House's rollout of the 30,000 troop surge did little to convince an already sceptical Congress, but foreign policy hawks who have accused the president of "dithering" in making a decision on Afghanistan are praising the administration's willingness to make the "tough" commitment to escalate the U.S. commitment in the war in Afghanistan.

Indeed, their approval of the White House's decision to commit 30,000 troops is the culmination of a campaign led by the newly formed Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI).

FPI held its first event in March, titled "Afghanistan: Planning for Success", and a second event in September - "Advancing and Defending Democracy" - which focused on counterinsurgency in combating the Taliban and al Qaeda.

The newly formed group is headed up by the Weekly Standard's editor Bill Kristol; foreign policy adviser to the McCain presidential campaign Robert Kagan; and former policy adviser in the George W. Bush administration Dan Senor.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 12:20:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kristol, Kagan and Senor are the most visible supporters of Obama's Afghanistan policy!?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 12:23:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, they never saw a war they didn't like. All those profits, all the glory; what's not to like ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 05:00:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just neocons who haven't gone away.

Mission Statement | Foreign Policy Initiative

In 2009 the United States--and its democratic allies--face many foreign policy challenges. They come from rising and resurgent powers, including China and Russia. They come from other autocracies that violate the rights of their citizens. They come from rogue states that work with each other in ways inimical to our interests and principles, and that sponsor terrorism and pursue weapons of mass destruction. They come from Al Qaeda and its affiliates who continue to plot attacks against the United States and our allies. They come from failed states that serve as havens for terrorists and criminals and spread instability to their neighbors.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 05:09:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, do we know know what produced that interesting spiral in Norway yesterday?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 10:04:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I still think it was a failed Bulava launch.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 10:33:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aww! And here I thought it was Norwegians angry at Obama for snubbing King Harald blowing off steam in a spectacular manner.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 12:13:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ozone effects of MLK spinning in his grave?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 12:41:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Norwegian Nobel comittee only has itself to blame. Obama repays the very unwanted embarrasment they thrust upon him.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 10:33:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gaudirand:
Norwegians are incensed over what they view as his shabby response to the prize by cutting short his visit.

Why isn't there an international prize for irony?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 08:09:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you want to start the diary calling for candidates for the prize, or shall I?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 09:23:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Egypt building underground metal wall to curb smuggling into Gaza | World news | guardian.co.uk

Work has begun on Egypt's northern border to dig the foundations for what reports say will be a vast underground metal wall in the latest effort to prevent weapons smuggling into the Gaza Strip.

Egyptian security officials have said they are digging steel tubes into the ground on their side of the border and are paving a road that will have devices along its route to monitor smuggling. The US Army Corps of Engineers, which is reportedly involved, has worked with the Egyptians on preventing smuggling along this border for at least two years.

Palestinian smugglers in Gaza have built dozens, perhaps hundreds, of underground tunnels through the sand to bring a wide range of goods into the small territory, from food to fuel to cattle, to skirt Israel's economic blockade. Armed groups, notably Hamas, also operate more secret tunnels to bring in weapons and these are often targeted by Israeli jets. After Israel's three-week war in Gaza last January the US said it would provide technical and intelligence assistance to Egypt to stop weapons smuggling into the strip.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 11:47:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
MIDEAST: In a Muddle Over Mixed Signals - IPS ipsnews.net
JERUSALEM, Dec 10 (IPS) - "Get your hands off the Land of Israel and the people of the Land of Israel - that's what we need to tell Mr. Obama - get on the phone to the White House each and every one of you!"

That's the message from Danny Danon, a parliamentarian of Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, when ten thousand irate Israeli settlers rally Wednesday night outside the Prime Minister's residence to protest his government's proclaimed partial freeze on settlement building in the West Bank.

It is the latest in a campaign of angry protests mounted by the settlers against the decision last month of Netanyahu's security cabinet to impose a ten-month partial freeze on the building of new homes in all the settlements.

At the gates of the settlement of Kedumim near the major Palestinian town of Nablus, hundreds of Jewish religious teenagers lie down on the road. They are backed up by their rabbis, the inspiration behind settler attempts to foil the Israeli government curb.

On this occasion, it takes three hours until the contingent of 200 Israeli policemen and women manage to clear a path into the settlement, guiding government building inspectors into the settlement through a fence that separates Kedumim from the Palestinian village Qadum.

The inspectors are finally able to deliver stop-work orders to the settlers. They tell them they will be back in a fortnight to check if they are abiding by the government building freeze injunction.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 12:17:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Get your hands off the Land of Israel and the people of the Land of Israel - that's what we need to tell Mr. Obama - get on the phone to the White House each and every one of you!"

Sure, so long as Obama can stop the annual $3b subsidy and all the military hardware the Israelis get for free.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 05:03:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]

(here)

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 Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 03:28:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 11:35:08 AM EST
AFP: China, US clash at climate talks

By Marlowe Hood (AFP) - 4 hours ago

COPENHAGEN -- The United States and China were at odds Thursday at the UN climate conference over who to blame and who should pay for global warming with Washington saying Beijing was a low priority for compensation.

Earlier China's top delegate in Copenhagen blamed rich countries like the United States for global warming and said they had a duty to pay out billions of dollars in compensation to poorer, developing countries.

However, China would not be the top of any US list of countries receiving compensation for the effects of global warming.

"The Chinese have enormous capacity," US negotiator Jonathan Pershing told AFP.

"If you think about what will be prioritised in terms of the needs of the community for most of the countries, the poorest countries, the countries that are hardest hit -- I wouldn't start with China," he said.

China and the United States are the world's two largest carbon polluters and it is widely agreed that no climate deal at the crunch summit will be possible unless the two superpowers find common ground.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 11:45:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Copenhagen climate summit: BusinessEurope attacked over lobbying - Telegraph
BusinessEurope, the collective of European business groups, has written directly to Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, urging him not to allow increased emissions cuts from 20pc to 30pc by 2020.

The letter was sent after Gordon Brown said the UK was prepared to sign up to cuts of 30pc to show the country's commitment to an international deal.

Folker Franz, senior environmental adviser for BusinessEurope, said the group would not be opposed in principal to 30pc cuts if all countries were prepared to take an aggressive stance to limit their emissions, protect intellectual property and ensure a level playing field for internationally traded goods.

However, this is looking unlikely given the current proposals on the table, he added, giving rise to concerns about how European companies will compete with those in developing nations not bound by tough carbon reduction regulations.

British negotiators have already admitted that they are not requiring developing countries to accept any binding targets on reducing their emissions.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 11:47:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Climate: France at loggerheads with EU allies on forests
France clashed with other EU nations Thursday over how to calculate carbon emissions absorbed and emitted by forests, a key component of a climate deal being hammered out at UN talks in Copenhagen.

French climate ambassador Brice Lalonde slammed a proposal favoured by countries with huge forestry industries -- especially Finland, Sweden and Austria -- as containing "sloppy, even fraudulent" accounting methods.

Worldwide, deforestation and forest fires account for 12 to 20 percent of total greenhouse gas output, so being able to accurately measure changes in those emissions is critical in the overall effort to tame global warming.

How that is best done is what has divided the EU bloc of 27 nations.

France has taken the lead in calling for a totally transparent accounting practices, a position applauded by green groups.

But other countries, notably major consumers of wood as a heating fuel, have proposed to project generous envelopes of their forest-related emissions up to 2020, which they would then promise not to use up.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 02:36:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
COP15: Soros suggests IMF funding - Politiken.dk

The Hungarian-born financier George Soros has suggested that an immediate way for industrialised nations to get USD 100 billion to fund developing country climate mitigation would be to tap into the wealth of Special Drawing Rights resources at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The issue of funding developing nations in their attempts to offset the effects of climate change, is one of the major topics of contention at the COP15 Climate Summit.

Soros suggests that the funds could be paid into a Green Fund which could pay for climate projects in the developing world.

"It's a simple and practical idea on how to make USD 100 billion available to developing countries to battle climate change. All that is needed is the political will," Soros tells a 100-person audience in one of the COP15 meeting rooms at the Bella Center.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 02:49:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FINLAND: Biodiesel Breakthrough or Environmental Nightmare? - IPS ipsnews.net
HELSINKI, Dec 9 (IPS) - As Finnish energy major Neste Oil scales up production of its `green' diesel NExBTL, environmental activists fear that more land will go under palm oil plantations at the expense of Southeast Asia's threatened rainforests.

Palm oil is the main feedstock that goes into the production of NExBTL of which Neste Oil expects to use 50,000 tonnes this year and scale up that figure in subsequent years.

Neste Oil claims that its NExBTL diesel is effective in reducing carbon dioxide emissions - the main green house gas (GhG) tresponsible for global warming - that are spewed into the atmosphere by fossil fuel burning automobiles.

The advantage with NExBTL is that it can be used to run both old and new diesel engines without modification and Neste Oil says it is the first energy company to come out with such a product.

While Neste Oil hopes to reap profits from NExBTL, activists and experts say it could well turn into a future environmental nightmare.

Environmentalists are concerned that the widespread use of NExBTL would add a new demand factor for palm oil - in addition to the cosmetics and the food industry - that would eventually lead to further depletion of rainforests.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 12:19:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fragmented Tropical Forests Store Less Biomass And CO2
Deforestation in tropical rain forests could have an even greater impact on climate change than has previously been thought. The combined biomass of a large number of small forest fragments left over after habitat fragmentation can be up to 40 per cent less than in a continuous natural forest of the same overall size.

This is the conclusion reached by German and Brazilian researchers who used a simulation model on data from the Atlantic Forest, a coastal rain forest in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, around 88 per cent of which has already been cleared. The remaining forest fragments are smaller, so the ratio between area and edge is less favourable.

The reason for the reduction in biomass is the higher mortality rate of trees at the edges of forest fragments, according to the results published by researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research and the University of São Paulo in Ecological Modelling. This reduces the number of big old trees, which contain a disproportionately high amount of biomass.

Altered wind conditions and light climate lead to a general change in the microclimate at the forest edges. Big old trees are particularly vulnerable to these factors. With the help of FORMIND, a forest simulation software developed at the UFZ, the researchers modelled different sizes of forest patches left over after landscape fragmentation. The smaller a patch of forest is, the worse is the ratio between edge and area.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 02:30:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Global Pollution and Prevention News: Dairy Pollution Sparks 'Manure War' in New Mexico

The picture on many milk cartons shows cows grazing on a pasture next to a country barn and a silo -- but the reality is very different.

More and more milk comes from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), where large herds live in feedlots, awaiting their thrice-daily trip to the milking barn. A factory farm with 2,000 cows produces as much sewage as a small city, yet there's no treatment plant.

Across the country, big dairies are coming under increased criticism for polluting the air and the water. In New Mexico, they're in the midst of a manure war.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 02:32:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Impact Of The Diffusion Of Maize To The Southwestern United States
An international group of anthropologists offers a new theory about the diffusion of maize to the Southwestern United States and the impact it had.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study, co-authored by Gayle Fritz, Ph.D., professor of anthropology in Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues, suggests that maize was passed from group to group of Southwestern hunter-gatherers.

These people took advantage of improved moisture conditions by integrating a storable and potentially high-yielding crop into their broad-spectrum subsistence strategy.

"For decades, there have been two competing scenarios for the spread of maize and other crops into what is now the U.S. Southwest," Fritz said.

According to the first, groups of farmers migrated northward from central Mexico into northwest Mexico and from there into the Southwest, bringing their crops and associated lifeways with them.

In the second scenario, maize moved northward from central Mexico to be Southwest by being passed from one hunter-gatherer band to the next, who incorporated the crop into their subsistence economies and eventually became farmers themselves.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 02:35:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Wind farm research triggers CO2 row

Energy experts this week challenged claims that an over-reliance on wind power would undermine Britain's efforts to cut carbon emissions.

Last month Parsons Brinckerhoff warned that plans to install up to 30GW of wind energy around the UK would not necessarily deliver the carbon reductions expected.

Its report Powering the Future says that extra back-up power generation capacity will be needed to pick up shortfalls in wind generated electricity during calm weather.It argues that this capacity would have to come from high emission gas fired plants (NCE 26 November).

This week it has emerged that two key pieces of research used by the consultant were published by an anti-wind lobby group the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF).

(...)

"In general, that report makes no distinction between power capacity and its rate of use: keeping fossil-fuel burning power plants available for those times wind does not blow does not mean that they will emit at high rates, as they will be used only very rarely," said Jerome Guillet, head of energy at Belgian bank Dexia. Guillet also said the report can be read as being in support of a major roll-out of wind power capacity because back-up power can be sourced from elsewhere in the national grid.

"That argument suggests that wind can easily be integrated if other capacity exists or can be connected to, and that is the case in the UK," he said.


National Grid OKs deal to buy Deepwater's wind-generated power

PROVIDENCE -- National Grid has agreed to purchase electricity from Deepwater Wind's proposed wind farm off Block Island in a critical step forward for the offshore wind developer's plans to bring clean energy to Rhode Island.

(...)

National Grid will pay Deepwater 24.4 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity starting in 2013 when the eight-turbine wind farm three miles from Block Island is expected to go on line. The price will then rise by 3.5 percent annually over the 20-year agreement.

National Grid estimates that the typical Rhode Island household's annual electric bill -- which currently stands at about $957 -- will see an increase of $16.20 in the first year of the contract. That includes a 2.75-percent markup on electricity generated from renewable sources that National Grid is allowed by state law. It also includes the cost of a power cable from Block Island to the mainland that would be required for the project. The wind farm would supply power to Block Island, but any excess would be fed to the rest of the state.

(...)

At an offshore wind-energy conference in Boston last week, an executive from a leading European bank that finances wind-energy projects said that a long-term contract is the most important incentive for lenders. Such a contract ensures pricing stability and guarantees a return on investment, said Jerome Guillet, head of energy in Dexia Credit Local's Structured Finance group.

In an interview, William Moore, chief executive officer of Deepwater, said the agreement is critically important to his company in securing financing for the project.

"A project like this would not happen without a PPA [power-purchase agreement]," he said. In a letter filed with the signed agreement, National Grid attorney Ronald T. Gerwatowski said power from the wind farm will be more expensive than from conventional sources, which average about 9.2 cents per kilowatt hour.




In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 06:06:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So it seems someone suddenly decided gas-fired powerplants are no longer "clean burning" but "high emission".

And it seems someone is now refered to as an "executive"... ;)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 10:33:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that's "Sir" to you ;-))

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 05:41:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarkozy Wants To Tax France's Carbon Footprint : NPR
... While France is not the first country in Europe to impose a carbon tax, it is the largest one to do so. Until now, only a few smaller countries had levied fines on the use of fossil fuels.

<...>

The carbon tax has touched off a fierce debate with opposition from the political left and right, and polls show two-thirds of French voters are against it.

<...>

Sarkozy also said that the carbon tax will take into account larger families and those who live in rural areas without public transport. Richard Baron, head of the climate change unit of the Paris-based International Energy Agency, says this kind of refundable tax is a great way to get people to think about their energy consumption.

<...>

Barron says the carbon tax is a step in the right direction, but the government hasn't explained it very well. He says Sarkozy should've sweetened the medicine by reminding French consumers of all the measures already in place to help slash carbon output, like bonuses for buying fuel efficient automobiles and zero interest loans for improving home energy efficiency. ...



La Chine dorme. Laisse la dormir. Quand la Chine s'éveillera, le monde tremblera.
by marco on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 09:00:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To catch an American jaguar  LA Times

In February, the Arizona Game and Fish Department announced excitedly that it had collared the first jaguar in U.S. history, in the desert southwest of Tucson.

Some environmentalists, however, received this news with dismay. State officials found the exceedingly rare, 118-pound cat because it wandered into snares set for cougars and bears as part of a separate state project. And within weeks, the state announced it had to euthanize the animal because it was injured -- possibly by the same snare that initially captured him.

The Center for Biological Diversity sued, alleging that the state violated the Endangered Species Act by engaging in activity that put a federally protected animal at risk. The state replied that the claim was moot because it had halted the bear and cougar monitoring project that snared the initial cat, known as "Macho B."

Today the plaintiffs strike back. In papers filed in federal court in Tucson, they claim Arizona is still engaged in a host of activities that could threaten the jaguars, who are more frequently spotted in Mexico but roam across southern Arizona and New Mexico as well.

The department, the center alleges in its filing, is engaged in cougar captures near Tucson, Payson and Prescott and in the vast western desert near the Koffa National Wildlife Refuge. These projects are similar to the one that inadvertently snared Macho B and may have led to his demise.


From its weight and sex this would seem to be a yearling jaguar. There is a lot of really rugged country between the I-10 and the Mexican border.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 12:34:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Woops, it appears to be an adult. The top of the range appears to be 120 lbs for males. (Memo to self: Check before posting!)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 12:39:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 11:35:45 AM EST
RIGHTS-UGANDA: Anti-homosexuality Bill Means 'Targeted Killings' - IPS ipsnews.net
KAMPALA, Dec 10 (IPS) - Uganda will be going back to the days of the Idi Amin regime if it passes a Bill which will arrest or kill people for being gay or lesbian and for repeatedly engaging in homosexual sex, say rights activists.

Pro-gay activists compare the provisions in the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill to the 1972 order former dictator, president Idi Amin gave expelling Ugandan born Asians because of their colour.

"This is a form of targeted killings similar to Idi Amin. We already have a law on homosexuality but you see people like David Bahati, instead of concentrating on more pressing issues in his constituency, he is spending time to write a forty-page document aimed at gays and lesbians," said Jacqueline Kasha, a lesbian Ugandan human rights activist.

Rights activists say the Bill, which has stirred local and international controversy, could in effect exile close to half a million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) Ugandans who would most likely flee the country to escape prosecution. There are no official figures of the number of LGBT people in Uganda because the question on one's sexual orientation is not part of the past national census questionnaire.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 12:16:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And finally even Rick Warren has come off the fence and decided that actually passing a law to kill gay people in the name of god is perhaps a bit much.

It's bad pr. Guys, just do it quietly and let Rick pretend he's not banging the drum for you with his hatespeech.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 05:06:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are no official figures of the number of LGBT people in Uganda because the question on one's sexual orientation is not part of the past national census questionnaire.

Which is probably a good thing given the content of this proposed law...

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 05:09:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Press Association

The swine flu pandemic is "considerably less lethal" than feared, with a death rate lower than 0.1%, research by England's chief medical officer shows.

Twenty-six people have died for every 100,000 cases in England, an analysis of deaths to November 8 revealed.

About 1% of the population in England has had swine flu with symptoms, of which 0.026% died, the research added.

Sir Liam Donaldson, the Government's chief medical officer for England, led the study, published online in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), which described the low death rates as "fortunate".

His study concluded: "The first influenza pandemic of the 21st century is considerably less lethal than was feared in advance."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 12:23:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did the British vaccination drive focus on risk groups?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 04:34:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Belly dancing: liberating or sleazy? | Radio Netherlands Worldwide

"In Europe I feel like a real star," says Egyptian belly dancer Randa Kamel. "But at home I am blamed for being some kind of prostitute." Randa is the top act of the first Dutch Belly Dancing Gala in Amsterdam. Her audience consists primarily of Western women who do not necessarily view belly dancing just entertainment for men.
 
The audience in the hall of the Amsterdam Krasnapolsky hotel gets excited when Randa Kamel appears on the stage. Her dance is erotic, but it is more than an ordinary male fantasy. It contains a particular mix of power and femininity that somehow seems to have got lost in the West.
 
Some of the visitors are of Arabic or Turkish origin, but the majority are Dutch women who practice belly dancing themselves. "In the past years, belly dancing has become very popular in the Netherlands," says organiser and belly dancing teacher Amira Ates. She thinks that women practice the dance primarily for themselves:

"Women love this way of dancing because it allows them to be themselves. The dance consists of natural, feminine movements. You do not have to act unnaturally or feel ashamed of your body."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 02:40:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some of the visitors are of Arabic or Turkish origin, but the majority are Dutch women who practice belly dancing themselves.

Erotic ? Erotic ? She's dancing for women, any men at that event are there because they're professionally involved. do they think this a lesbian show ? What's going on in the reporter's head cos it's nothing to do with what he's looking at (as opposed to what he sees in his head).

She's wearing a long dress and she's in her 30s and is being consderably less raunchy than a cheerleader, a hip hop dancer or a ballroom dancer come to that. But no, a woman dancing on her own, must be gagging for it and the western mind interprets it like it's a come on. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 05:14:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 11:36:18 AM EST
Quentin Davies MP submits £20,700 expenses claim for bell tower - Telegraph
Quentin Davies, the defence minister, submitted a £20,700 bill for building work including repairs to a bell tower at his stately home in Lincolnshire, according to the latest MPs' expenses claims which have been posted online.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 11:45:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, an MP is an important person and has certain standards to live up to. It's only right the state support that.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 05:15:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]

The Man Upstairs who recorded this track describes his music as Brunch Music - best enjoyed with a Bloody Mary in hand. My daughter provides some vocal accompaniment, it is rumoured.

This piece is perhaps a better illustration of the genre. However, as far as I know he has never sailed or dived in his life, and he has never ever made or drunk coffee. Such are the fantasies we purvey...

But the straights seem to like it. No-one serves them anymore. Supply and demand in niche markets is my analysis, but then I haven't had a hit in 20 years....

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 05:13:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Haven't heard the second one yet. What does it say of me that I quite liked it ? I'm not sure I'd buy it but it didn't offend me as manufactured pap in the way that most music does these days. Nor is it trying to appeal to a sentimentality I don't recognise.

It's there and it's nice.

Very Gilmour-esque guitar solo doesn't hurt either.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 05:23:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I shall convey your comments to the perpetrators. The guitarist is very very good and he drives a taxi for a living. There is no justice ;-)

Both were mixed by an excellent engineer (and experienced musician) who always does a good job of stripping down music to its essentials.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 05:33:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If that's your daughter at around 1:40 on the second track, it's the best part of the record.

I prefer the first one, but they're both a bit nice and interior-design-y.

I'm somewhat disturbed by Scandinavians trying to sing with an American accent.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 08:27:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is her.

And I know what you mean about interior-design-y ;-) I argue often and annoyingly about the lyrics, which to me are wallpaperish, though well intended. Though not his first language - or even the second - there is often a premature satisfaction at having written any lyrics at all. And I know his process well: construct a melody from chord progressions (almost every composer has their signature progressions) and add a few anodyne phrases to develop the melody. Problem is these phrases tend to remain, even though they were markers. Then a long process of developing the song structure and harmonies with endless demo recordings. But the lyrics tend to remain as they were at the beginning.

I've tried to introduce the working practices of the Brill building, and the fine polishing that used to go on with lyrics to make them both simple AND resonant. But no.

However this is a hobby intended to keep him sane, so it really has nothing to do with me.

The American accent is a product of the amount of US TV programs, music and other media here. But interestingly his son speaks in Stockholm 'court' singsong (Bernadotteish) because the best kid's TV programs in Finland come from Sweden. Even the fact that his parents speak the much older form of Finnish-Swedish called Moomin Swedish by the Swedes. Now that's weird.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 09:45:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]

My kid has also been slumming it with Swedish musicians for another band. I do miss the backstage excitement and the manner in which different people psych themselves for a gig - whether it's music, theatre, seminar or some other performance. I've never had butterflies before going on stage - a bad thing according to the pros.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 05:28:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If it hadnt been for the interference of my bank, (the humourless individuals decided that my overdraft no longer exists) I would have been in that town today

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 07:37:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ha, I got it. It's reminiscent of floyd from their soundtrack days "More, Obscured by clouds" and you're daughter adds a touch of Prefab Sprout to the affair.

there's something else I'm not getting but it'll come.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 05:33:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh yes its very sprout, with a touch of The The  to my way of thinking.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 08:00:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, yea, The The, I would also have added a touch of David Gray White ladder.

however, I much prefer the first to the second.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 11th, 2009 at 06:16:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Copenhagen harbor.



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 09:15:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't nuke the climate; nuke the grid!

(Yes you silly Danes, I'm looking at you, with the B-word on tip of my tongue.) :)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Dec 10th, 2009 at 10:32:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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