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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 31 March

by Fran Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:01:43 PM EST

On this date in history:

1685 - Birth of Johann Sebastian Bach, a German composer and organist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity. (d. 1750)

More here and video


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by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:02:23 PM EST
This WEEK in the European Union - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / WEEKLY AGENDA (30 March to 5 April) - Barack Obama's first visit to Europe as US president and the world's first big attempt to jointly address the financial crisis - the "London Summit" - will dominate the coming week, putting Brussels far into the background.

The US leader arrives in the UK capital on Wednesday (1 April) for a reception at Buckingham Palace and dinner at No. 10 Downing Street with the other leaders of the G20 countries plus Spain, the Netherlands and Thailand.

Will Barack Obama still get a warm welcome six months into the financial crisis?

The summit proper on Thursday is expected to produce a broadly-worded declaration on global financial regulation, with swipes at hedge funds and tax havens. It is also set to increase IMF resources and push forward IMF voting rights reforms. Some analysts predict a surprise on restarting the Doha round of world trade talks.

The EU delegation - the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, the European Commission and the Czech EU presidency - may try to sell the bloc's template for financial regulation, the "Larosiere Report," unveiled earlier this month.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:05:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Aims to Present United Front at G20 Summit | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 30.03.2009
After refining its economic positions at a recent summit, the EU seems ready to present a united front at the upcoming G20 talks in London. But some issues are still being fought over within the 27-member bloc. 

At a summit in Brussels on March 20, the EU member states agreed on an extra 75 billion euros ($101.5 billion) for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as well as a further 25 billion euros in emergency credit for Eastern Europe. With that, the union appeared to have aligned the position it would take at the upcoming G20 summit in London on April 2.

Going by the words of French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the latest EU summit, it would seem that the European Union is marching to London in step as one unit.

"Everyone agrees on tax havens and a blacklist, on hedge funds and executive pay, on clear balancing rules for banks and the need for regulation," Sarkozy said.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:05:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Summit at the Abyss: Can the G-20 Save the World? - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

All eyes are on London this week as leaders from the world's leading economies gather to find a way out of the growing financial crisis. But tensions are growing between the US, Europe and China, and a common course has so far proven elusive.

It is an important test for the new US president. During his campaign, Barack Obama promised fundamental change, pledged to steer a determined course in combating the global economic crisis and said he would seek greater international cooperation. It was, he said, to be a "New Deal."

This week, an important international summit meeting is about to begin, and the time has come for Obama to demonstrate that he can deliver on his promises. At their meeting in London, the representatives of the world's leading industrialized nations will discuss the global recession, a financial industry in disarray and a sharp drop in world trade.

At issue is the steepest economic downturn in decades, and everyone is waiting to see what the new man in Washington will do. Will he be responsive to the Europeans' insistence on a new global financial order? Or will he focus instead on stimulating growth in his own country?

The president who determined the fate of the London Monetary and Economic Conference in 1933, at the height of the world economic crisis, was Franklin D. Roosevelt. His eventual decision to distance himself from the conference aggravated the global trade wars and deepened the Great Depression.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:19:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Either it's divided, or it's on the wrong position...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 07:09:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bonn Conference to Set Agenda for New UN Climate Deal | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 29.03.2009
The UN's climate chief urged industrialized countries to lead the way on controlling climate change as a new round of UN talks aimed at replacing the Kyoto Protocol got underway in Bonn on Sunday, March 29. 

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:  UN climate chief Yvo de Boer

Around 2,600 delegates from 175 countries gathered in the former German capital over the weekend for the first of several meetings ahead of December's Copenhagen summit, at which new global targets on emissions are to be set ahead of the 2012 expiry of the Kyoto agreement.

The Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement on stabilizing the output of greenhouse gases, entered into force in 2005.

Yvo De Boer, who heads climate change initiatives at the United Nations, said developing countries would only agree to a new climate pact if industrialized nations set clear targets for the reduction of greenhouse gases.

Additionally, those nations have to be prepared to offer financial support to poorer countries.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:05:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Djukanovic's pro-EU ruling party claims victory | France 24
Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic's For A European Montenegro' coalition claimed a landslide victory in Sunday's general elections. Djukanovic vowed to navigate the economic crisis and bring his country closer to EU and NATO membership.

REUTERS - Montenegro's Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic claimed victory in parliamentary elections on Sunday, saying voters had backed his plans for EU entry talks.
 
Djukanovic's For A European Montenegro coalition was set to win 49 of the 81 seats in parliament, according to a preliminary count by pollster Strategic Marketing and the Podgorica-based CEMI election monitors.
 
"Voters have clearly opted to vote for a safe life, for economic prosperity and a European future," Djukanovic, flanked by ministers and senior politicians, told hundreds of cheering party activists in the government building in central Podgorica.
 

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:08:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hahahaha
Djukanovic - gangster in power for life!
They never die...
However he is not alone...look at Berlusconi for example.
Not to mention USA "dynasties"...
At least Djukanovic has beautiful little country with gorgeous piece of coast and just a few hundred thousand blind citizens to lead.Lucky bastard!He made a deal on time...Karadzic was to late...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 11:38:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Ruling party leads, but fails to sweep local polls | France 24
Turkey's ruling AK Party is leading in local elections, but PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party failed to win the key Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, as well as the secularist stronghold of Izmir, amid a nationwide slide in support.

REUTERS - Turkey's ruling AK Party won local elections on Sunday but Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, hurt by a weak economy, fell short of a sweeping victory that would have smoothed the way for reforms in the EU candidate.

 

The AK Party was unable to win the city of Diyarbakir, the largest in the Kurdish southeast, and several other key cities, including Izmir. The secularist opposition also made inroads in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, and in the capital Ankara.

 

The vote, the first time the Islamist-rooted AK Party had suffered a slide in support since it swept to power in 2002, took place against a backdrop of record unemployment and a worsening economy. Turkey's once booming economy has been severely hit by the global economic crisis.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:08:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkey's Governing Party Wins City Races - NYTimes.com

ISTANBUL -- The governing party, led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, won a narrow victory in nationwide municipal elections on Sunday, preliminary results showed, but registered declines in a number of major cities.

By late evening, the CNN-Turk news channel was reporting that Mr. Erdogan's party, Justice and Development, led with 39.13 percent of the vote, while the main opposition, the Republican People's Party, had 22.83 percent, and the nationalist People's Action Party had 16.22 percent.

The elections were seen as a referendum on the performance of Turkey's politicians, in particular that of Mr. Erdogan, a former Islamist who has pressed for Turkey's membership in the European Union.

Early results seemed to send a message: Mr. Erdogan's party was winning by much narrower margins than in 2007, when it garnered 47 percent of the vote. Many attributed the decline to the economic downturn and to allegations of widespread corruption among members.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:15:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]

reforms in the EU candidate.

The way the media labels foreign politicians (our friend or our enemy) so casually never fails to impress me. It's discreet, persistent, and it shapes news very much.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 07:11:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lazy thinking, rubbish reporting.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 07:12:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NATO reaches out to online audience - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Four days ahead of its 60th anniversary summit in Strasbourg and Kehl, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has launched a web campaign aimed at raising awareness among young people on what it describes its commitment to providing peace and security.

NATO troops in Kosovo. The military alliance wants to reach out to youngsters

"After 60 years, NATO is changing its communication strategy. It is the first time that we run a web-only campaign, with three videos aimed at reaching a wider audience, especially the younger generation," Jean-Francois Bureau, NATO's assistant secretary-general for public diplomacy told journalists on Monday (30 March).

The acronym NATO was generally well known, even among youngsters, but what is not so much known is what the organisation was actually dealing with, Mr Bureau said.

The campaign includes three videos suggesting how thin the line between safety and violence is.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:09:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are ads for NATO in the metro here in Washington DC. stormy is supposed to take some pictures...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 07:12:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France, Germany remain cool on EU enlargement - EUobserver

EU foreign ministers meeting on Saturday (28 March) sought to reassure western Balkan countries on their EU future, but the bloc's heavyweights, France and Germany, reaffirmed their reluctance to accept further enlargement so long as the EU's own institutional future is in limbo.

"Clearly there will be no enlargement if there is no Lisbon treaty. Everybody knows it, so why not say it?" French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner was reported as saying by Reuters after the informal foreign ministers meeting in Hluboka Nad Vltavou in the Czech Republic.

The meeting took place in Hluboka Castle, a 13th-century mansion in southern Bohemia which once belonged to Mr Schwarzenberg's family

The Lisbon treaty was designed to make the bloc more efficient in the aftermath of the two latest enlargements to 12 new countries, in 2004 and 2007.

It has still to be fully ratified by four EU countries - Ireland, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic - in order to enter into force, following its rejection by Irish voters in June last year.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:10:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Extreme Right gains ground as Ukraine falls into crisis - Telegraph
Europe's economic crisis has allowed the extreme right in Ukraine to capitalise on the turmoil engulfing the former Soviet republic.

An unexpected regional election victory by a previously marginal ultra-nationalist party is among a string of developments in Ukraine that threaten to fulfil the worst fears of G20 leaders as they gather for their summit in London.

Lacking the protection of European Union membership, Ukraine has few of the safeguards that prevent its Western neighbours from falling into ruin.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:13:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From Mania to Mistrust: Europe's Obama Euphoria Wanes - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Europe was ecstatic when Barack Obama got elected, but the enthusiasm has dampened since he took office in January. On the eve of his first visit to Europe as president, some here are wondering how seriously he takes the Continent.

Some skepticism has crept in to European feelings about US President Barack Obama. Anne-Marie Slaughter, the new director of policy planning at the US State Department, was sitting on the stage at a conference on trans-Atlantic relations in Brussels. "Europe has a phone number," she said, and there was a satisfied murmuring of approval among her mainly European audience. Everyone remembers the famous remark by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who complained in the 1970s that he didn't know who to call when he wanted to talk to Europe.

But when the moderator asked Slaughter if she had that number on her, she was evidently caught off guard. "I have three," she replied. The hall erupted into loud laughter.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:14:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel Is Ready to Greet, and Then Resist, Obama - NYTimes.com

BERLIN -- Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, an avowed friend of the United States and the leader of the European Union's biggest economy, is diplomatic about the coming visit by President Obama. But she is clear that she is not about to give ground on new stimulus spending, stressing the need to maintain fiscal discipline even as she professes to want to work closely with the new American president. Skip to next paragraph Maurice Weiss/Ostkreuz, for The New York Times

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany in Berlin. She will meet with President Obama several times this week.

Speaking in her modern concrete-and-glass Chancellery building last week, she underscored the points of drama that may well delineate the three summit meetings during Mr. Obama's first trans-Atlantic trip since he was elected.

"International policy is, for all the friendship and commonality, always also about representing the interests of one's own country," Mrs. Merkel said in an interview with The New York Times and The International Herald Tribune.

At each summit meeting over the next week, Mr. Obama will find Mrs. Merkel, who first met him on his campaign trip in Europe last summer, across the table.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:15:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a really pathetic article about whiny entitlement. This is written as if the US cavalry will ride over the hill to save us because they're like some global superman who does good just cos they like to. No, they do this when it's in their interest and for no other reason. We are economic allies and we are economic competitors.

The US is grown up enough to recognise that and behaves accordingly. Can european thinking emerge from the kindergarten please ? We will be of most use to the world when we take responsibility for ourselves and stop waiting for permission to breathe from across the Atlantic.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 04:45:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Europe | Hungary parties back Bajnai as PM

Hungary's former junior coalition partners, the Free Democrats, have finally approved the ruling Socialists' nominee to replace PM Ferenc Gyurcsany.

Economy Minister Gordon Bajnai, a non-aligned technocrat, must now be formally nominated for the post at the Socialists' party conference on Sunday.

The Free Democrats had earlier rejected at least four other Socialist nominees.

Mr Gyurcsany announced this month that he would resign, saying he considered himself a hindrance to further reforms.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:17:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
God I love Bach. Just divine music... really just divine.
by vladimir on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 03:06:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The anti-mafia reporter and anchorman, Pino Maniaci, will be tried next May 8th for practicing the profession of journalist without a license. Pino Maniaci runs the family television station Telejato in Partinico, Sicily, in the province of Palermo. He is well known for his outspoken campaigns against major mafia figures in the area. He has received death menaces, has been sued for libel and was beaten up last year by a mafia boss's son. Nevertheless he went on air within hours with a swollen face.

The present incrimination recalls that in Italy one must belong to the Order of Journalists in order to write about or report current events- a state of affairs that may sound strange to foreign ears. Maniaci has declared he never had time to bother taking the examination to become a lawful journalist. He has, besides, been nominated an honorary journalist for his outstanding and courageous reporting.

It is eloquent that in an area with a heavy mafia presence a reporter can be charged with a continuous "criminal design" to abusively report facts and events. All the more so when those same events may never have been reported were it not for Pino Maniaci.

Maniaci's case is not the only case of libel suits brought against reporters and bloggers in Italy for doing their job with civic passion.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 06:03:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy is one country where I wouldn't like to live today...news are horrific and the fact that Italy is in Europe (and EU)and this is happening is appealing...
On the other hand Italy in my youth has been so lovable...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 11:55:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
of course I was about to say appalling...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 11:59:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sort of like I feel about the USA, (version with appalling.)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 12:12:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Big Brother is watching: surveillance box to track drivers is backed | UK news | The Guardian

The government is backing a project to install a "communication box" in new cars to track the whereabouts of drivers anywhere in Europe, the Guardian can reveal.

Under the proposals, vehicles will emit a constant "heartbeat" revealing their location, speed and direction of travel. The EU officials behind the plan believe it will significantly reduce road accidents, congestion and carbon emissions. A consortium of manufacturers has indicated that the router device could be installed in all new cars as early as 2013.

However, privacy campaigners warned last night that a European-wide car tracking system would create a system of almost total road surveillance.



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 Mar 30th, 2009 at 08:36:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Astonishing...
Oh my God...I wouldn't believe things that I am about to see in my life time...
Am I just getting old or this world is really such a mess as I see it?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 12:03:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the pre-EU election silly season in the UK :-)

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 02:27:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup, stand by for the EU preparing to demand straight bananas and banning british sausages. Oh, and banning the pint for beer in the pub.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 06:10:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AFP: EU defends three-year golden parachute

The European Commission on Monday defended its golden parachute system for former commissioners, under which they can get up to 65 percent of their salary for three years after leaving their post.

The European Commission "applies the rules which have been agreed by the EU member states," said commission spokeswoman Valerie Rampi.

The system is similar to those used in other international organisations, she added.
The system has come under fire in the media and from organisations such as the British eurosceptic Open Europe think-tank.

Open Europe has voiced outrage that former EU commissioners Peter Mandelson and Franco Frattini would continue to receive sizeable monthly sums even though they went straight into national government cabinet posts after quitting.

"Taxpayers around Europe, whose pensions have been swallowed up in the recession, will rightly question why they are footing such an enormous bill for a handful of remote officials who they never voted for in the first place," Open Europe analyst Sarah Gaskell said.

"It is a topsy-turvy world when an unelected EU official is earning the same wage as the democratically elected president of the United States."

by Magnifico on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 12:12:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See afew's recent deconstruction of this story here

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 07:13:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Le Monde Diplo
The fascination with Sarkozy is a product of the emptiness of French political life: a dearth of ideas gives way to the dominance of personalities. Reconsidering the role of Sarkozy is the first step towards understanding what is politically possible in France today.

Substitute Obama and it still makes sense.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 08:37:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:02:47 PM EST
EU Socialists disagree with early choice of commission chief - EUobserver

European Socialists do not agree with proposals to confirm a new European Commission president on 15 July, saying that the European Parliament would have too little time to make up its mind.

EU heads of state and government could decide at their 18 June summit if conservative Portuguese statesman Jose Manuel Barroso is to receive a second mandate at the head of the commission, provided the centre-right keeps its majority after the 4 to 7 June elections for the European Parliament.

Poul Nyrup Rasmussen wants more time for the election of the commission president

"This does not give enough time for the new parliament to express itself. The elections take place on 7 June. We would need a longer time afterwards," Socialist leader Poul Nyrup Rasmussen told French daily Le Monde over the weekend.

Under EU rules, MEPs must in a plenary sitting give their blessing to a new commission chief and his team.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:21:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, on the PS lists, Gilles Savary, one of the few PS MEPs that is actually working in the EP, doing some real work, got a position where he won't be elected, because of various influence jockeying within Royal's camp.

Getting fed up at a party completely unable to "do the right thing"...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 04:15:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ECONOMY & FINANCE
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:03:31 PM EST
SPIEGEL Interview with the Emir of Qatar: 'We Are Coming to Invest' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

In a SPIEGEL interview, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the emir of Qatar, discusses the global financial crisis as an opportunity for strategic investments, how it is changing the balance of economic powers and his country's role in fostering peace in the tinderbox Middle East and Gulf region.

New construction in Doha: After years of spending domestically, Qatar is now considering foreign investments as the crisis drives down the value of blue-chip firms in Europe.

SPIEGEL: Your Highness, Qatar's economy may grow another 13 percent in 2009, and your people, with a per capita income of €72,000 Euros, are one of the richest in the world. Are people in Qatar even noticing the fact we are currently experiencing a worldwide economic crisis?

FROM THE MAGAZINE Find out how you can reprint this DER SPIEGEL article in your publication. Hamad: Of course we feel this. Within one year the price of oil fell from almost $150 per barrel to less than $50. This limits our ambitions. But I expected the price of oil to go down one day because we already suffered from this after 1973. When the oil price went up we became so rich. People bought a lot of things and they travelled every summer. Then the oil price went down and everything shrank. Since then, I have sought to avoid letting this happen again.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:06:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh what a pity... I am about to cry for Qatar's destiny.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 12:06:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
SPIEGEL Interview with Airbus CEO Thomas Enders: 'EADS Should Never Have Signed the A400M Contract' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Airbus CEO Thomas Enders, 50, talks to SPIEGEL about the latest difficulties with the A380 super-jumbo, production cutbacks and why Airbus may have to scrap the A400M project.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Enders, on December 31 you won a bottle of champagne. You had wagered that Airbus would manage to complete 12 of your super-jumbo jets by the end of the year. That bottle could cost your company millions because, in the heat of the race against the clock, quality and safety may have fallen by the wayside.

Thomas Enders: No, we haven't made any compromises here. Our customers are generally very satisfied with the A380. But, as you know, it is an extremely complex aircraft, which now unfortunately -- like every new model during the introduction phase, I might add -- has some teething problems here and there. We're working intensively on this. And let me say this right away: None of these issues are related to safety. I've heard that SPIEGEL was recently leaked a very interesting document regarding this issue ...

SPIEGEL: ... in which Emirates, one of your major customers, complained on page after page about the current problems with your aircraft. These include singed power cables, bent sections of paneling and much more.

Enders: We take every piece of feedback from our customers very seriously. I don't want to play anything down. But I'll say it again: We're working on it and we'll soon have the problems solved.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:07:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | French PM announces bonus bans on bailed-out companies | France 24
French companies that have received government cash to help weather the economic downturn will be subject to stringent restrictions on bonuses and severance packages until 2010, under rules announced by Prime Minister Francois Fillon.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has unveiled stringent restrictions on stock options and other executive perks for companies that have been bailed out by the state.

Fillon, speaking at the Elysée Palace in Paris, announced that executives of hard-hit companies that have received public money to beat the downturn will have to "renounce their stock options and free share packages".

"The attribution of executive pay in these companies must be made public," Fillon said. "These are crisis rules and they will apply until at least the end of 2010."

"They can be extended indefinitely and come into effect immediately," he added.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:08:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rising Powers Challenge U.S. on Role in I.M.F. - NYTimes.com
WASHINGTON -- Barely six months ago, the International Monetary Fund emerged from years of declining relevance, hurriedly cobbling together emergency loans for countries from Iceland to Pakistan, as the first wave of the financial crisis hit.

Now, with world leaders gathering this week in London to plot a response to the gravest global economic downturn since World War II, the fund is becoming a chip in a contest to reshape the postcrisis landscape.
The Obama administration has made fortifying the I.M.F. one of its primary goals for the meeting of the Group of 20, which includes leading industrial and developing countries and the European Union. But China, India and other rising powers seem to believe that the made-in-America crisis has curtailed the ability of the United States to set the agenda. They view the Western-dominated fund as a place to begin staking their claim to a greater voice in global economic affairs.


by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:18:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AIG crisis could be the tip of an insurance iceberg
The company's situation reflects problems throughout the life insurance industry as investments suffer. Further strain could bring about a second financial crisis.
By Ralph Vartabedian and Tom Hamburger, Los Angeles Times

When insurance giant American International Group Inc. imploded last fall, the firm's problems were quickly blamed not on its core insurance business but on an obscure operation that traded exotic mortgage securities.

But as the economic crisis deepens, it has become clear that AIG's problems extend across most of its business lines, including its massive life insurance and retirement services operations, which reported a staggering $18-billion quarterly loss this month.

The company's situation is emblematic of problems across the life insurance industry, which is suffering deep losses on investments that underlie policies for millions of American families.

So far, some of the biggest companies have suffered sharp drops in their stock prices, and many of them are asking for federal assistance.

Industry conditions last year were the worst in memory and are expected to grow deeper this year amid credit rating downgrades, declining revenue and investment losses, according to credit rating firm A.M. Best Co.

The worst-case scenario is that a second financial crisis is looming if these life insurance companies come under too much stress.

I suppose with a baby boom there may be an accompanying funeral boom.

by Magnifico on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 04:51:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When a "financial adviser" was pitching annuities to me last summer I told him my concern with an annuity would be institution risk.  He almost scoffed at the notion that Hancock, Prudential or AXA could find themselves in trouble....

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 12:17:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
pensions are best provided by the markets, it's just true.

(and if your pensions is shrinking right now, it's because you were too incompetent to invest properly, and deserve your fate)

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 07:15:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Hat tip naked capitalism

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 07:22:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The statistical illiteracy of contraryinvestor.com is illustrated by their decision to plot a "average for the period" where there is a clear trend.

The proper way to plot these data is probably on a single chart with Marchetti Curves.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 07:26:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Business | Spain bank bail-out hits shares

The Bank of Spain is to take over Caja Castilla la Mancha in the first bank bail-out in Spain since the global financial crisis began.

The government will also back the bank with 9bn euros (£8.4bn) in guarantees.

Shares in banking giants Santander and BBVA declined on concern over the health of the banks in Spain, where the housing market has been badly hit.

The branches of Caja Castilla opened on Monday morning as scheduled.

Share slump

Santander, which owns the Abbey and Alliance & Leicester in the UK, saw its shares drop 5.6% to 5.04 euros.

 

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 Mar 30th, 2009 at 06:11:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
El Banco de España cuestiona las cuentas de Caja Castilla La Mancha · ELPAÍS.comThe Bank of Spain puts into question the accounts of Caja Castilla La Mancha - ElPais.com
Según diferentes fuentes, el supervisor considera que CCM necesita más capital porque la pérdida esperada de las inversiones bursátiles y las de la morosidad crediticia va a ser mayor de lo que ahora reflejan las cuentas. Por eso, las dotaciones que necesita superan los 156 millones acordados por la entidad, lo que provocará que CCM entre en pérdidas tras la reformulación de las cuentas de 2008.According to various sources, the [Spanish banking] supervisor considers that CCM needs more capital because the expected loss from its stock market investment and those [expected losses] from credit default [are] going to be greater than what [CCM's] accounts currently reflect, which will cause CCM to post losses after reformulating the 2008 accounts.
In other words, CCM cooked the books to try to forestall a takeover by the regulator.

IMHO the management could face criminal charges.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 05:04:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
La CCM ha sufrido en un año una fuga de depósitos de 2.000 millones | El Periódico de Catalunya | EconomíaThe CCM has suffered in a year a deposit drain of €2 billion | El Periódico de Catalunya | Economy
El vicepresidente económico del Gobierno, Pedro Solbes; el presidente de Castilla-La Mancha, José María Barreda, y las organizaciones sindicales denunciaron ayer la campaña de "rumores", "acoso" y "desprestigio" de la que Caja Castilla La Mancha (CCM) ha sido víctima durante el último año y que se ha traducido en una fuga de unos 2.000 millones de euros, según CCOO. La salida del 11% de los depósitos totales, sumada a la mala gestión de la entidad, hizo inevitable la intervención por parte del Estado el domingo para garantizar su normal funcionamiento y dar seguridad a los depositantes y los acreedores de la caja.[Spain's] economic vice-president Pedrio Solbes; the president of [the Autonomous Community of] Castilla La Mancha, and trade unions denounced yesterday the campaign of "rumours", "harassment" and "disrepute" that Caja Castilla La Mancha (CCM) suffered over the past year and which translated into a flight of approximately €2bn, according to [Communist trade Union] CCOO. The exit of 11% of deposits, added to the bad management of the entity, made Sunday's State intervention inevitable to guarantee its normal operation and reassure depositors and creditors of the Caja.
Había gran temor al día siguiente, pero en las oficinas de la CCM no hubo colas ni aglomeraciones de clientes exigiendo el reembolso de sus ahorros. "Sí ha habido retirada de fondos; algo más que otros días, pero el problema es que llevamos así año y medio", se quejaba un empleado de la CCM en Toledo.There was great fear the day after, but at CCM branches there were no queues or crowds of clients demanding the reimbursement of their savins. "There's been withdrawal of funds; a bit more than on other days, but the problem is that it's been like this for a year and a half", lamented an employee of CCM in Toledo [the capital of Castilla La Mancha].
El peor momento fue la semana del 16 al 23 de febrero, justo después de que la secretaria general del PP, María Dolores de Cospedal, impusiera a los consejeros de la entidad designados por su partido abandonar su puesto en protesta por la "falta de transparencia" en el intento de fusión de la CCM con Unicaja. Solo en esa semana se retiraron 320 millones de sucursales de la CCM según estados contables a los que ha tenido acceso EL PERIÓDICO. En lo que va de 2009 se han retirado 500 millones, según los mismos datos.The worst moment was the week of February 16 to 23, just after the secretary general of the [centre-right opposition party, both nationally and in Castilla La Mancha,] PP, María Dolores de Cospedal, imposed the departure from the board of the members designated by her party in protest over "lack of transparency" in the attempted merger of CCM with Unicaja. Only that week €320M were withdrawn from CCM branches according to accounting statements that El Periodico has had access to. So far in 2009, €500M have been withdrawn.
So, effectively, there has been a slow, quiet run on the bank.

€500M is about the size of the current "hole" in the CCM's accounts.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 06:29:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the hole is something like €1.3bn, though Unicaja wanted €3bn from the Government to sweeten the takeover deal. The Government baulked and here we are.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 12:28:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC:

The Bank of Spain is to take over Caja Castilla la Mancha in the first bank bail-out in Spain since the global financial crisis began.

Correction: the Bank of Spain has taken over CCM. This is not a bailout but receivership. It is the first bank failure since Banesto in 1993.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 09:34:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Global Economy - OECD predicts 10% jobless rate for 2010
One in 10 workers in advanced economies will be without a job next year, "practically with no exceptions", the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said on Monday.

In a graphic indication of the global recession's transmission from the financial sector to the rest of the economy, Angel Gurría warned that the ranks of the unemployed in the 30 advanced OECD countries would swell "by about 25m people, by far the largest and most rapid increase in OECD unemployment in the postwar period".



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 03:56:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Global Economy - World Bank warns of dip in remittances
Money sent home by migrants to families in developing countries is set to fall by up to 8 per cent this year, according to the World Bank.

But remittances could rise again as soon as next year, underscoring the resilience of such payments compared to other external flows of money during downturns in rich countries.

Globally, remittances to developing countries rose by only 8.8 per cent to $305bn last year after rising 16 per cent in 2007 and 18 per cent in 2006. The World Bank forecasts remittances will fall to $280-290bn this year and $280-299bn next year because of recession in many of the rich countries that host migrant employees.

Mr Ratha said the regional impact of lower remittances this year would be uneven. Developing countries in eastern Europe and central Asia are likely to see remittances fall by 10.1-12.7 per cent. Money sent home by Tajik migrants in Russia is affected by the depreciation of the rouble, which has fallen by 35 per cent since August 2008, he said.

On the other hand, developing countries in the Middle East and north Africa will suffer only a modest decline of 1.4-5.2 per cent in remittances. Flows from Gulf Co-operation Countries are not affected by falling oil prices, said Mr Ratha.

Poor countries in east Asia and the Pacific would probably see remittances slow by 4.2-7.5 per cent. The Philippines could see money sent home by migrants fall by only 4 per cent, said the World Bank economist.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 04:01:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Defaults Rise on Home Mortgages Insured by FHA
Defaults on home mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration in February increased from a year earlier.

A spokesman for the FHA said 7.5% of FHA loans were "seriously delinquent" at the end of February, up from 6.2% a year earlier. Seriously delinquent includes loans that are 90 days or more overdue, in the foreclosure process or in bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, Banks Starting to Walk Away on Foreclosures

Banks are quietly declining to take possession of properties at the end of the foreclosure process, most often because the cost of the ordeal -- from legal fees to maintenance -- exceeds the diminishing value of the real estate.

The so-called bank walkaways rarely mean relief for the property owners, caught unaware months after the fact, and often mean additional financial burdens and bureaucratic headaches. Technically, they still owe on the mortgage, but as a practicality, rarely would a mortgage holder receive any more payments on the loan. The way mortgages are bundled and resold, it can be enormously time-consuming just trying to determine what company holds the loan on a property thought to be in foreclosure.

.... In Buffalo, where officials said the problem had reached "epidemic" proportions in recent months, the city sued 37 banks last year, claiming they were responsible for the deterioration of at least 57 abandoned homes; the city chose a sampling of houses to include in the lawsuit, even though the banks had walked away from many more foreclosures. So far, five banks have settled.

What a wonderful world.

by das monde on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 05:55:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
2008-2009 Keynesian resurgence - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Many policymakers around the world currently see Keynesian solutions as the best option for shielding their populations from the current crisis. Nevertheless this revival of Keynesian ideas has attracted considerable criticism. Commentators on the left question whether policy has become sufficiently Keynesian - in their view Obama's economic team is disappointingly centrist, with its inclusion of liberal-leaning economists like Jason Furman and Larry Summers.[40] [41] In February 2009 Shiller and George Akerlof published Animal Spirits , a book where they argue the current US stimulus package is too small as it doesn't take into account the loss of confidence, or do enough to restore the availability of credit. Also there is Germany, whose administration, according to some, stands out in their reluctance to wholeheartedly embrace Keynesian policy.[42]

From the right, some commentators assert the late 2000s crisis was caused not by excessively free markets but by the remnants of Keynesian policy. Libertarian think tanks such as the Cato Institute have argued that markets in the United States suffered from harmful distortions caused by government stretching back to the Sherman Anti Trust Act of 1890. [43] Historian and Austrian School Economist Thomas Woods published a book in 2009 which again firmly places the blame for the crises on Government intervention.[44] Most critics focus on arguing that Keynesian policy will be counter-productive - as it will be inflationary, create more income disparity, cause consumers to rein in their spending even more as they anticipate future tax rises, as well as various other technical reasons.[45] [46] [47]



Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 07:16:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pension insurer shifted to stocks - The Boston Globe
Just months before the start of last year's stock market collapse, the federal agency that insures the retirement funds of 44 million Americans departed from its conservative investment strategy and decided to put much of its $64 billion insurance fund into stocks.

Switching from a heavy reliance on bonds, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation decided to pour billions of dollars into speculative investments such as stocks in emerging foreign markets, real estate, and private equity funds.

The agency refused to say how much of the new investment strategy has been implemented or how the fund has fared during the downturn. The agency would only say that its fund was down 6.5 percent - and all of its stock-related investments were down 23 percent - as of last Sept. 30, the end of its fiscal year. But that was before most of the recent stock market decline and just before the investment switch was scheduled to begin in earnest.

No statistics on the fund's subsequent performance were released.

Nonetheless, analysts expressed concern that large portions of the trust fund might have been lost at a time when many private pension plans are suffering major losses. The guarantee fund would be the only way to cover the plans if their companies go into bankruptcy.

"The truth is, this could be huge," said Zvi Bodie, a Boston University finance professor who in 2002 advised the agency to rely almost entirely on bonds. "This has the potential to be another several hundred billion dollars. If the auto companies go under, they have huge unfunded liabilities" in pension plans that would be passed on to the agency.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 10:35:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I forgot: hat tip Paul Krugman and TPM.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 10:35:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh boy. This kind of news doesn't make me want to go Wheeeee!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 10:38:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WTF?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 10:45:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Words EPIC FAIL.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 10:49:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bet their bonuses are sorted tho'.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 11:22:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See? This is why people's pensions should not be managed by the State and instead people should invest their savings in stocks... Oh, wait!

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 11:34:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of Raising Rates and the Stakes | afoe | A Fistful of Euros | European Opinion
As Edward put it recently, it is difficult not to note a irrevocable pattern in the (unfortunate) countries subject to IMF intervention whereby they collapse under the yoke of the measures demanded in trade for the loan.
The IMF hasn't learned anything from the 1997 Asian crisis, has it?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 10:53:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The IMF's actions are a result of the Nincompoopery of Neo-Classical Economics.

Knowledge begats Action and if your Knowledge is gibbering nonsense your Actions cannot be anything but foolish.  In order to align Actions with reality Knowledge needs to be aligned with reality.  The first step the IMF needs to take to align Knowledge with reality is admitting they're an alcoholic¹ their Knowledge -- NCE -- is bogus.  

¹  Lined it out but there is a truth in there

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 11:58:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:03:56 PM EST
Germany Critical of Unilateral Mission: US Used by Afghan Drug Clan to Take Out Rival - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

A "high-ranking" member of al-Qaida was seized during a recent US mission in Afghanistan which left five people dead. But the Americans were set up: The tip-off as to his location came from a drug clan who wanted to get rid of a rival.

A secret mission by elite American Delta Force commandos in northern Afghanistan has triggered resentment among German forces, SPIEGEL has learned.

An Afghan boy looks through a broken window at the site of the raid in Imam Sahib. The American forces were tricked by a drug clan into taking out a rival as part of an operation to seize an al-Qaida member. Now German soldiers are paying the price for the operation's civilian casualties.

The raid took place on March 21 in Kunduz province, where German forces are helping with security and reconstruction. A US liaison officer asked the German reconstruction team to keep the Kunduz airport clear but said nothing about the impending mission. Around half an hour later, a Hercules transport aircraft landed at the airfield, together with a whole fleet of combat and transport helicopters, which then took off for the nearby town of Imam Sahib.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:06:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US opens route to Afghanistan through Russia's backyard | World news | The Guardian

The road passes a shimmering green mountain pasture, then dips steeply to a new US-built bridge. Across the languid Panj river is Afghanistan and the dusty northern town of Kunduz. On this side is Tajikistan, Afghanistan's impoverished Central Asian neighbour.

It is here, at what used to be the far boundary of the Soviet empire, that the US and Nato are planning a new operation. Soon, Nato trucks loaded with non-military supplies will start rolling into Afghanistan along this northern route, avoiding Pakistan's perilous tribal areas and the ambush-prone Khyber Pass.

This northern corridor is essential if Barack Obama's Afghan-Pakistan strategy is to work. With convoys supplying US and Nato forces regularly attacked by the Taliban on the Pakistan route, the US is again courting the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:13:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US has always been used by factions playing off against each other. One taxi driver spent a couple of years in Guantanamo cos another driver reckoned he'd stolen a fare, so grassed him up. Half the people in Abu Ghraib were there cos of score settling.

this isn't new. what's awful is that the US still hasn't learnt a damn thing about how to behave when it's "winning" hearts and minds. But then again this isn't about h&m, it's about throwing your weight around cos you're "america" (f"ck yea !!) and you can do what you like when you like to whom you like and nobody will ever give a damn.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 04:52:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Arab leaders snub al-Bashir warrant

Arab Leaders meeting in Doha, the Qatari capital, have rejected an international arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president accused of war crimes in Darfur.

In a draft communique issued at the end of the first day of the 21st Arab League summit on Monday, the leaders said they considered the warrant to be in violation of the Vienna agreement of 1961.

It stated that any efforts to address the situation in Darfur would need an agreement between all Sudanese factions, rather the trial of the president.

Ibrahim al-Faqir, the Sudanese ambassador in Doha, told Al Jazeera: "We are very pleased at the Arab support to President al-bashir and we are hopeful to have the solidarity with the president in the final statement.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:12:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Middle East | Gaddafi storms out of Arab League

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has stormed out of the Arab League summit in Qatar having denounced the Saudi king for his ties with the West.

He disrupted the opening session by criticising King Abdullah, calling him a British product and an American ally.

Col Gaddafi has angered Arab leaders in the past with sharp remarks at summits.

Meanwhile, leaders have been urged to reject an international arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes in Darfur.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:17:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He came back.  Everyone's getting along just famously now.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 10:09:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MercoPress: US will no longer "dictate unilaterally", but Cuban embargo remains

"The time of the United States dictating unilaterally, the time where we only talk and don't listen is over" Biden said in Santiago after holding discussions with several Latinamerican leaders at the Progressive Governance forum in Chile.

Mr. Biden represented President Obama at the Progressive Governance conference in Viña del Mar and on Sunday left for Costa Rica.

"My visit here is just the beginning of a renewal of a partnership with the Americas. In the past, even when we engaged positively we tended to engage 'for' the (western) hemisphere. We're not engaging 'for,' this is 'with,'" Biden added.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet hailed the new US administration's "genuine wish to play a proactive and decisive role in the construction of a new world dialogue."

US Vice-president Biden met with the heads of state of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Chile during a two-day conference and before flying to Costa Rica for a Central American summit.

However in Chile Biden reiterated that the Obama administration supported a change in policy toward age-old foe Cuba, but added: "we think the Cuban people should determine their own fate and that they should be able to live in freedom and with some prospect of economic prosperity".

Of course, not sure how a U.S. blockade allows Cubans to determine their own fate.

by Magnifico on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 04:48:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Shorter biden : We will listen if you say things we want to hear.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 04:54:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"we think the Cuban American people should determine their own fate and that they should be able to live in freedom and with some prospect of economic prosperity".

Fixed.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 09:37:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
UN-ORTHODOX WEB SITE FOR JEWISH ADULTERERS | New York Post | 29.3.2009
Apparently God did not make the commandment "Thou shall not commit adultery" clear enough.

Hundreds of Jewish men and women who want to cheat on their spouses are flocking to a new Web site for ultra-Orthodox Jews seeking heretical hookups.

Shaindy.com -- named for the founder's first mistress -- was launched March 19 by a modern Orthodox man from Midwood, Brooklyn, who says he got the idea from Hasids he met in chat rooms seeking adulterous action.

The website has been already suspended...

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 02:11:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: 'Worse than the Taliban' - new law rolls back rights for Afghan women

Hamid Karzai has been accused of trying to win votes in Afghanistan's presidential election by backing a law the UN says legalises rape within marriage and bans wives from stepping outside their homes without their husbands' permission.

A briefing document prepared by the United Nations Development Fund for Women also warns that the law grants custody of children to fathers and grandfathers only.
by Sassafras on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 03:00:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Afghan war has never been about women's rights, despite constant protestations to the contrary by its cheerleaders (starting with Laura Bush in 2001).

Los Angeles Times: Laura Bush Addresses State of Afghan Women (November 18, 2001)

Seeking to draw attention to the treatment of women and children in Afghanistan, the White House assigned President Bush's weekly Saturday radio address to First Lady Laura Bush, who said the war on terrorism was "a fight for the rights and dignity of women."

Her speech--the latest in a series of steps by the first lady toward a more public role--was coordinated with the release of a State Department report condemning conditions for women and children in Afghanistan under the Taliban and the Al Qaeda terror network.

The broadcast marked the first time a presidential wife has given the entire radio address alone. In June, the first lady delivered a portion of the weekly speech, in a commemoration of Father's Day. Nancy Reagan and Hillary Rodham Clinton also joined their husbands in delivering radio addresses.

How to get women to support war: trot out a "presidential wife" to lie about it.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 03:28:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is Netanyahu's expected cabinet, about twice the size of Obama's...
Prime Minister: Binyamin Netanyahu, Likud
Vice Prime Minister: None
Vice Premier and Regional Cooperation Minister: Silvan Shalom, Likud
Defense: Ehud Barak, Labor
Foreign Affairs: Avigdor Lieberman, Israel Beiteinu
Finance: Binyamin Netanyahu, Likud
Minister-without-Portfolio in the Finance Ministry: Yuval Steinitz, Likud
Education: Gideon Sa'ar, Likud
Justice: Yaakov Neeman, Likud
Interior: Eli Yishai, Shas
Industry, Trade and Labor: Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Labor
Construction and Housing: Ariel Attias, Shas
Public Security: Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Israel Beiteinu
Transportation: Yisrael Katz, Likud
National Infrastructures: Uzi Landau, Israel Beiteinu
Health: Binyamin Netanyahu, Likud
Agriculture and Rural Development: Shalom Simhon, Labor
Communications (Media): Moshe Kahlon, Likud
Telecommunications and Diaspora Affairs: Yuli Edelstein, Likud
Tourism: Stas Meseznikov, Israel Beiteinu
Environmental Protection: Gilad Erdan, Likud
Science and Technology: Daniel Herschkowitz, Habayit Hayehudi
Immigrant Absorption: Sofa Landver, Israel Beiteinu
Culture and Sport: Limor Livnat, Likud
Religious Services: Ya'acov Margi, Shas
Pensioner Affairs: Michael Eitan, Likud
Strategic Affairs: Moshe Ya'alon, Likud
Minister-without-Portfolio for Intelligence Agencies: Dan Meridor, Likud
Minister-without-Portfolio for Minorities: Avishay Braverman, Labor
Minister-without-Portfolio in Prime Minister's Office: Meshulam Nahari, Shas
Minister-without-Portfolio: Bennie Begin, Likud
No vice prime minister. Is that because of what happened to the last one?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 05:14:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Trouble looms for Israel coalition

Israel's new government has found itself in increasing turmoil even before it has been sworn in, with coalition partner Yisrael Beiteinu already threatening to pull out.

The Yisrael Beiteinu website posted a statement on Tuesday warning that Avigdor Lieberman, the party's leader, would pull out if he is not given the foreign ministry as promised.

Recent rumours have suggested Netanyahu's Likud party could reclaim the foreign ministry, having promised it to Lieberman, and award it to Silvan Shalom, a Likud official.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 09:05:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think they've oversimplified the situation. Here is a more detailed explanation. Basically, Lieberman seems certain to be foreign minister.  But he may soon be charged with corruption, in which case he may have to step down. The fight is over whether the position will be guaranteed ahead of time to someone else in his party, or not.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 09:15:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yisrael Beiteinu: Not giving up Foreign Ministry - Israel News, Ynetnews
"Anyone counting on the fact that Lieberman will be dismissed from the post following an investigation needs to take into account that (an investigation) would take at least 13 years," said a party spokeswoman who noted that investigations against the chairman had begun as early as 1996.
The mind boggles.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 09:23:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:04:17 PM EST
Clothes Strictly Forbidden: Nudist Hotel Planned in Germany - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Clothes will be strictly forbidden on the premises of Germany's first hotel for nudists, which will open shortly in the southwestern Black Forest region.

DPA

Nudism has always been popular in Germany. Investors plan to set up a hotel catering exclusively to nudists in the picturesque Black Forest town of Freudenstadt, which incidentally translates as Town of Joys.

Guests will be required to remove their clothes at the entrance and must be naked at all times while on the premises, according to the strict house rules that have already been posted on the Internet.

"We hope to open as soon as possible," Silvia Probsthain, a member of staff at the planned Hotel Rosengarten, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "It will be the first comprehensively nudist hotel in Germany." There are similar hotels catering for nudists in Scandinavia, Croatia and the south of France, said Probsthain.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:14:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But what if you get cold?
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 05:41:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In that case I suspect you'd not really be cut out to be a nudist.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 05:45:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does a hot water bottle count as clothing?
by Sassafras on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 05:48:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and if not, how many am I allwed to use?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 09:07:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dissolved Iron Proves Ineffective at Slowing Climate Change | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 29.03.2009
According to Indian and German researchers, an experiment that involved dumping tons of dissolved iron into the Southern Ocean does not appear to be a viable way to prevent global warming. 

The experiment involved "fertilizing" a 300-square-kilometer (115-square-mile) area of ocean inside the core of an eddy with six tons of dissolved iron.

 

The iron stimulated growth of planktonic algae called phytoplankton, which researched had hoped would absorb and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

 

But the scientists from India's National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) and Germany's Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) did not expect the phytoplankton to be eaten by crustacean zooplankton.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:16:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LMAO.

Yeah.  Nobody could have predicted an increase in prey population would lead to an increase in predator population.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 10:57:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I offer this up not because I agree, which I don't, but because it is Lovelock.

Ministerial hectoring on green energy is fascism in the wind
A campaign is being fought that uses social rejection to make us accept industrial-scale wind energy stations across the UK
By James Lovelock - guardian.co.uk

In Prague Castle at a Forum 2000 conference hosted by President Vaclav Havel, I heard the distinguished novelist and freedom fighter Wole Soyinka say with great passion that political correctness is evil. He argued that while brute force is one way to take away our democratic rights, they can be lost as easily by the social rejection of political correctness.

It seems we are now subject to a campaign that uses social rejection as a force to make us accept industrial-scale wind energy stations across the UK; to call them windfarms is disingenuous.

As part of this campaign, the great and the good are hectoring on the moral need to embrace wind energy. No less a person than the environment minister, Ed Miliband, said: "Opposition to windfarms should be as unacceptable as failing to wear a seatbelt."

Knowing that seatbelts are a legal requirement, those who care for freedom should beware. To reinforce the minister's warning, the Green party pleaded for wind energy in a broadcast as if it were holier than motherhood. Even that much-loved and respected charity, the RSPB, is now using our subscriptions to lobby for wind energy.

If wind energy were the one practical and affordable answer to global warming then I would grit my teeth at the loss of the countryside and accept it. But I know that windfarms are no answer to global warming in northern Europe.

As far as I can tell, Lovelock does not address offshore wind farms. His sole solution is more expensive nuclear power.

In a follow-on story —

James Lovelock attacks climate change minister's 'preaching' on wind power
By James Randerson, guardian.co.uk

...

Lovelock said he was afraid that any move to smooth the passage of wind farms with the introduction of new planning laws would remove the right of local people to object. "The right to have public hearings over energy sources is threatened by legislation soon due. Although well-intentioned it is an erosion of our freedom and draws near to what I see as fascism," he said.

He added that his argument did not stem from "nimbyism".

"If wind energy were the one practical and affordable answer to global heating then I would grit my teeth at the loss of the countryside and accept it."

Lovelock sees nuclear power as a solution to reducing carbon emissions criticises the whole concept of renewable power. "There is no such thing as renewable energy; it belongs as an idea with perpetual motion and other delusions but politicians and ideologues have become skilled at using enticing words to cover essentially rotten ideas."

...

Lovelock also returned to a familiar theme that the planet will survive the climate crisis, but not necessarily humans. "It is false pride and hubris to think that we can do anything to 'save the planet'...It is time we fully and deeply understood that our Earth can and always has saved itself although not necessarily for our benefit."

Personally, I think Lovelock sometimes wants humans to go extinct.

by Magnifico on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 05:00:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I felt this was a nice and pithy response from BoredwithLabour

Germany is emitting more CO2 than before wind turbines because the turbines that they built are inefficient? Are you suggesting that if they hadn't built turbines, they would be emitting less CO2 right now? Are you really suggesting that the coal plants are less effiicient now because of the wind turbines? Then stop using the damn things.

There's no such thing as renewable energy? You really need to explain this point in more detail. Do you mean practically? Cost-effectively? Literally?

There are others. Lovelock sounds like he's out of his mind on this one. It's really some sort of Hardy-esque pastoral fantasy writ large, I had to check he wasn't a spokesman for Prince Charles.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 05:43:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup. He comes across as a Grumpy Old Man at best and borderline senile at worst.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 06:26:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
get off my planet!
by Magnifico on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 07:03:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What a stupid piece


Why? Because the turbines are only 17% efficient. The wind does not blow at the right speed often enough for them to do better.

As a result, 83% of the electricity that should have come from wind has to be made in coal-burning power stations that can never work at optimum efficiency because they are forever adjusting to the fluctuating flow from wind generation. Even with the huge attraction of subsidies, energy companies are increasingly abandoning wind as an effective and green source of energy.

There are so many things that are wrong in that paragraph... but they are the same lies peddled over and over again, that I discuss here about a similar NYT hit piece.

And maybe should tell him about the efficiency of thermal power plants (including nuclear ones) and how much of the chemical energy is wasted in the generation process...

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 07:21:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:04:40 PM EST
French composer Maurcie Jarre dies, aged 84 - Telegraph
French composer Maurice Jarre, who created the musical scores for several classic Hollywood films, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 84.

His death was announced by the manager of his son, electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre.


by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:11:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Monaco lays out red carpet for world's ultra-rich -Times Online

As you arrive in the Gucci store, other customers are ushered out. A helicopter is waiting to whisk you, on a mere whim, up and over the traffic jams and on an excursion down the coast and, when you sweep into the casino, the croupiers have been ordered instantly to spring to attention.

Like the sound of this? Then you might want to consider the latest holiday package being laid on in Monaco. There is just one small condition: you need assets, excluding your main residence, of $30 million (£21 million) to be eligible.

With the tiny principality fearful of finding itself on a blacklist of tax havens to be made public at the G20 summit in London this week, officials are seeking to bolster the inflow of millionaires through what may be the most exclusive tourist initiative ever.

Under the plan drawn up by the Government of Prince Albert - son of Rainier III and Grace Kelly, and Monaco's ruler since 2005 - the elite holidaymakers will be drawn from the estimated 94,970 people in the world who have the requisite sum in their bank accounts.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 30th, 2009 at 02:12:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Idiots!
In this class of rich they do not care about your skin color or your nationality or your sexual orientation or your education etc. ( so far so good) but they only care how bloody rich you are.It's world wide class and new phenomenon.
They just light a fire of racism, nationalism , gay bushing and false dream that everyone can be rich in to the poor people so that they "entertain" each other with hate while rich are grabbing and grabbing the wealth more and more.
But greed ( like all other sins) have a tendency to destroy the exact person(s) who fall for greed...they'll never find peace...
And it's only right...
I right now have few examples around me how greed actually make life of these people miserable after all.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 01:34:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I like what Emil Cioran said : "Without Bach, God would be a second rate figure"

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 01:21:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As an atheist I confess I am always staggered at the littleness of the God conceived by religionists. Emil cioran is entitled to his idea of god, but I cannot help but feel that any concept of a supreme being can't be large enough if a human can magnify it.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 06:07:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
God was made in the image of Man.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 06:14:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You and I both know that, but Emil Cioran evidently doesn't.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 08:10:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's precisely the reason why he is a second-rate figure...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 09:13:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And not by a particularly skilled craftsman.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 10:30:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
just a quick drop-by before going to my conference in DC.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 07:24:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
<waves>

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 31st, 2009 at 07:27:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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