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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 14 October

by afew Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 04:27:15 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1926 - A A Milne (and not Disney) published the children's book Winnie The Pooh

More here and here

 The European Salon is a daily selection of news items to which you are invited to contribute. Post links to news stories that interest you, or just your comments. Come in and join us!


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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:39:40 PM EST
EUobserver / Rolling general strike hits France

Massive demonstrations and a rolling strike have hit France in the biggest protest yet against the government's attempt to increase the retirement age from 60 to 62, although Paris insists it will not be moved.

With 3.5 million taking part in the rallies and marches across the country, according to organisers, it beats the 2 million that in 1995 forced a retreat over a similar move and ultimately led to the fall of the government.

Police put the figures at 1.23 million, although in Marseilles, a police union actually attacked the estimate as false, while some police joined the protests in the capital.

Half the flights at Orly Airport and a third of flights at Charles de Gaulle Airport were cancelled. Two thirds of high-speed trains were stilled, although Eurostar reported that its Paris-London service has been uninterrupted.

The country's largest oil port, Fos-Lavera, has been closed for 15 days as a result of industrial action.

by Nomad on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:46:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarkozy stands firm as pension protests escalate - Europe, World - The Independent

President Nicolas Sarkozy could face the greatest challenge of his presidency in the next few days as a month-old protest against pension reform swells towards outright confrontation.

More than 3 million demonstrators - one in 20 of all French people - marched yesterday against the President's plans to raise the standard retirement age from 60 to 62. Tens of thousands of students joined the marches for the first time, threatening to radicalise the protests and broaden them into a rebellion against a deeply unpopular presidency.

Militant union branches in the railway and oil-refining industries were pushing last night for a showdown with Mr Sarkozy, who has made reform of the loss-making state pension system the make-or-break issue of his final 20 months in office.

by Nomad on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:47:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Strike spreads, Marseilles blocked | Presseurop - English
"The demonstration," headlines Libération after the fourth day of protests against the pension reforms in France. Somewhere between 1,230,000 (according to the police) and 3.5 million people (according to unions) took to the streets, including a great many high school and university students. The strike is to continue in certain sectors, including the port of Marseille that supplies six big oil refineries in the south of France. "The strikes are now renewable," reports Libération. "Under the umbrella of a majority-opinion movement, the most determined union activists, although a minority, are trying to block public transport and petrol deliveries. Invented in 1995 at the time of the Juppé reform [also of pensions], the `strike by proxy' is back." More protests are planned, moreover, but the government has let it be known that it will not backtrack on its decision to raise the retirement age to 62.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 04:20:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ryanair ditches Marseille base in row over pay | Reuters

(Reuters) - Irish airline Ryanair said on Wednesday it would close its only French base at Marseille Airport from January next year following a dispute with French authorities over how its workers are paid.

Europe's biggest low-cost carrier effectively treats the 200 pilots and cabin crew it has working in Marseille as Irish employees -- receiving their pay from Ireland and paying their tax and social insurance contributions to Ireland.

Should read: France ditches Ryanair.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:48:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As someone noted, how can Ryanair claim at the same time that (i) Marseilles will lose jobs and that (ii) it is perfectly legal to use Irish employment contracts. Or are the jobs counted twice?

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 03:16:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You expect logic from Michael O'Leary?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 04:40:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No - just PR.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 07:58:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Call for tougher oil-drilling safety checks, but no ban | European Voice
Commission stops short of calling for a ban on building new platforms.

The European Commission wants oil companies to face more stringent safety and financial barriers before they can get permits for offshore drilling, but has stopped short of calling for a ban on building new platforms.

Günther Oettinger, the European commissioner for energy, today (13 October) said: "Safety is non-negotiable. We have to make sure that a disaster similar to the one in the Gulf of Mexico will never happen in European waters."

He promised that the first-ever EU legislative proposals on oil platforms would be published next year. These would require companies to prove that they have funds to cover the costs of environmental damage in the event of an accident, and to demonstrate that their technical equipment meets the highest-possible standards. The Commission would also like to set up an independent panel of experts to oversee national authorities, to `regulate the regulators', he said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:56:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France to miss EU deadline on Roma | EurActiv
As it appears that France will miss the 15 October deadline given by the European Commission to prove the legality of its Roma expulsions policy, the EU executive will make its case "stronger" against Paris, EU officials told EurActiv.

 Two days ahead of the deadline set by the Commission, Paris had reportedly "not done much" to abide by the requests. "It's unrealistic that relevant measures will be notified by the deadline," said a Commission source.

France was asked to provide by 15 October the text of a draft law aimed at transposing into national law those elements of a directive on the free movement of EU citizens that are not currently part of French legislation, as exposed by the Roma row between Brussels and Paris (see 'Background').

In a letter seen by EurActiv which EU Justice and Fundamental Rights Commissioner Viviane Reding sent to the French government at the end of September, she clearly requests the transposition of Articles 27 and 28 of the directive.

These articles regulate expulsions of EU citizens from a member state different from the one of origin, and set out citizens' rights to protect them from expulsions.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:59:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Extreme Opinions: Right-Wing Attitudes On the Rise in Germany - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

A new study has revealed that far-right attitudes are deeply rooted in German society. One-third of Germans would send foreigners home if there weren't enough jobs, while one-sixth think Jews have too much influence.

"Germany is in serious danger of being overrun by foreigners." It's a sentence one would expect to find on an election poster for Germany's far-right NPD party. As it happens, it's a view that is held by over one-third of the German population -- a new survey has revealed that 35.6 percent of Germans agree with the statement.

Additionally, more than 30 percent think that "foreigners come to take advantage of the welfare state" and that when jobs are scarce foreigners should be sent "back to their own country." More than one-tenth would like a "Führer" -- the survey deliberately used the German word for "leader" that is associated with Adolf Hitler -- who would govern the country "with a firm hand" for the benefit of all.

by Nomad on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 04:09:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great!
They keep forgetting that foreigners are their citizens now and that they are working and paying taxes to the state...So it's OK for foreigners to come and work and build their country when they are needed and when times are bad they would send them " home"...except that they do not have a home any more other then home in Germany. But who cares...
I am not surprised...I expect this to happen everywhere ...absolutely everywhere...and it's happening ...USA , EU, Australia, Canada...as things are becoming worse...The easier way is " blame it on immigrants". I do understand that EU (and others) is overcrowded with immigrants...but it was your policy guys...and you had to choose back then ...either you'll have large and speedy growth and have to take immigrants ( with all the consequences) or have a slow unimpressive growth and live your traditional lives as it goes. You wanted to lead...now you have it. But it is going to get ugly I am sure...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 07:26:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do understand that EU (and others) is overcrowded with immigrants...
WTF are you talking about?

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 07:50:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I mean it.
"Overcrowded" is definitely not right word, so what I meant and that is fact that there are a lot of Africans, Asians and people from other continents that immigrated in EU lately (last few decades). Until recently I would say East Europeans too but they are now EU members. Even they are not welcomed to "immigrate" in western part of EU as we see.
Immigrants obviously were needed at the time but now when things are not rosy quite a few western Europeans would like to "send them home".
I do not know numbers (if anybody knows them) I tried to find it on internet but failed. Numbers may not look like much but still I believe that there was significant immigration to EU at least last decade (or longer).
As for Australia it's unbelievable but Brits that came here consider themselves like only real Australians...everybody else is immigrant for them except Aborigines who are not even mentioned in constitution...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 08:53:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the problem that arise when this topic is discussed is that the word "immigrant" is ill defined and so different people mean different things.

To take the example of the UK. white immigrants, such as poles etc who come from within europe are generally accepted the moment they speak english well and their children are instantly unequivocally British. However, coloured immigrants are always immigrants and their offspring are considered to be immigrants down the generations until such time as they are invisibly inter-married with white people.

So, who is an immigrant ? The pole who arrived yesterday, or the 3rd or 4th generation British Asian ? In popular culture it would be the British asian.

People talk about the british and their thousand years of undiluted british bloodline. Except of course that this british bloodline was principally Viking and german/celtic. Then we added a dash of french with the Norman invasion. Then over the years we have had Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Dutch, Flemish, more French, Chinese, then during the war we took in refugees from all over europe (although shamefully few jewish) and then afterwards we have commonwealth Asian and African.

So we have an absolutely undiluted English bloodline (apart from all the immigrants).

the discussion about immigration is utterly flawed until you define who you mean, which invariably means revealing who you're prejudiced against. Yet most people are unwilling to admit to blatant racism, so they talk about their culture being swamped as Enoch Powell did in his notorious "Rivers of blood" speech and which thatcher approvingly alluded to a decade later.

What they never understood was that not everybody shared their prejudice and not all people view immigrants so negatively. In short they underestimated the generosity and humanity of the British people, the very people they venerated for their warlike behaviour when it suited them.

And that's the problem with it. It's a subject shot through with dishonesty and it's difficult to discuss.  

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 09:49:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that's Australia you're thinking of. I'm pretty sure if you look around you'll be able to find a few.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 02:56:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and it's happening ...USA , EU, Australia, Canada...as things are becoming worse...The easier way is " blame it on immigrants"

I'm sure the aborigines do

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 09:30:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More than one-tenth would like a "Führer" ...

I'm available, and will do kids' parties on weekends.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 08:08:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Moscow scores against Brussels again | Presseurop - English

"In the muted but high-stakes war between the EU and Russia to control the gas pipelines from Central Asia to Europe, Moscow has just racked up another point against Brussels," writes La Tribune. Wintershall, a German subsidiary of the chemical colossus BASF, is about to sign on to the South Stream project. "This is another hard knock for Nabucco, the rival gas pipeline project backed by the EU, which was to bypass Russia in transporting gas from Central Asia." According to the French financial daily, "the advent of a German company will end up discrediting this $25bn-plus (€18bn-plus) project". Initiated by Russia's Gazprom, South Stream is backed by the Italian oil and gas utility ENI. In the spring of 2010, the two corporations bolstered the project's European credentials by both pledging to transfer 10% of theirs stakes to the French utility EDF.

Nabucco, on the other hand, appears increasingly unconvincing, adds the French daily, for want of sufficient natural gas reserves to justify its construction. Gazprom has in fact "methodically drained the Central Asian gas reserves by clinching multiple long-term purchase contracts in the region, thereby reducing by as much the volumes that Nabucco could carry". As Pierre Noël, an energy specialist at Cambridge University, explains to La Tribune, "By announcing the construction of the gas pipeline even before securing the gas reserves, Brussels killed the project."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 04:22:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would not be a "defeat for the EU" if stupid commentators had not put so much importance on a pipeline that makes no sense and cannot be built (that would be Nabucco) - and if our politicians had not listened to these and given their grand theories so much publicity.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 03:18:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True. The problem is that the commentators did that (and will continue, probably), and our politicians did in fact listen. So it is a defeat for the EU, which backed the wrong horse.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 04:48:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
VDM Fuck My Life
Aujourd'hui, je suis agent d'accueil dans une gare SNCF de la banlieue parisienne. Me faire engueuler par un client un jour de grève n'a rien d'exceptionnel. Mais me faire engueuler parce que je ne fais PAS grève, c'est troublant. VDMToday, I am a ticket seller in an SNCF train station in the Paris suburbs. Getting shouted at by a customer on a strike day is not exceptional. But getting shouted at because I'm NOT on strike, that's troubling. FML


Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 12:19:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Independent [UK] Serbia face Uefa ban after night of violence in Genoa
Uefa's Control and Disciplinary Body will decide on punishment on 28 October, and has several sanctions available, ranging from a large fine to disqualification from competitions in progress and/or exclusion from future competitions. Group C leaders Italy are also likely to be awarded a 3-0 walkover victory.

Reports from Serbia yesterday said the riot was an orchestrated demonstration of political violence designed to destabilise the pro-Western government and alienate the country from the rest of Europe.

The drug baron Darko Saric, who is on the run, was allegedly behind the ugly scenes that included thugs fighting with riot police and throwing flares on to the pitch, one of which nearly hit the Italy goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano.



By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 09:28:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:40:05 PM EST
States probe mortgage industry practices | Reuters

(Reuters) - All 50 states launched a joint investigation of the mortgage industry on Wednesday, a move some experts fear will cause uncertainty and threaten the recovery of the fragile housing market.

The state attorneys general are looking at allegations some banks used shoddy or fraudulent paperwork to remove struggling borrowers from their homes during a foreclosure crisis that is one of the most visible wounds of the 2007-2009 recession.

"We are in the fourth year of a housing and economic crisis that was brought on by lax practices of the mortgage lending industry," Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson said in a statement. "The latest allegations of corner cutting and slipshod paperwork are troubling, but perhaps not surprising."

Industry experts warn the investigation could put the brakes on foreclosure proceedings. One of every four homes sold in the second quarter was a foreclosed property and any slowing could have an impact on the broader economy, as the housing market traditionally drives recoveries after a downturn.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:45:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Wheels Are Coming Off in MBS Land: All 50 State AGs Join Probe; Banks Abandoning MERS Foreclosures « naked capitalism
Even though the headline item is the fact that the attorneys general in all 50 states are joining the mortgage fraud investigation, the real indicator that the banks are stressed is that they have started abandoning MERS, the electronic database that passes itself off as a registry for mortgages. JP Morgan has quit using it as an agent on foreclosures; it clearly can't withdraw from it fully, given that it has become a central information service.

Despite this being treated as a pretty routine event in the JP Morgan earnings call, trust me, it isn't. The withdrawal of JP Morgan from the use of MERS as the face in foreclosures is a tacit admission that the past practice of using MERS as the stand -in for the trust is problematic. I've heard lawyers discuss the possibility of class action litigation to invalidate all MERS-initiated foreclosures in states with strong anti-MERS rulings; this idea no doubt will get more traction given JP Morgan's move. (An attorney who is in the thick of this situation told me another major bank has made the same move as JPM, but I see no confirmation in the news as of this writing).



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 06:04:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a move some experts fear will cause uncertainty and threaten the recovery of the fragile housing market.

Well, it is good to be able to fob blame onto those trying to uphold the law for the consequences of lawless behavior by the mortgage industry. The recovery is not "fragile" it is non-existent. In Mt. Home, AR the Building Committee of the City Council has canceled meetings for the second month in a row for lack of new work to review and the work they last reviewed had been set in motion at least a year previously, except for some permits for advertising billboards.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 12:19:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did not have to search for an article promoting that talking point in line one - the Reuters piece was the first I looked at. (And will of course be picked up by numerous news outlets).
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 04:51:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did not have to search for an article promoting that talking point in line one...

Yeah, it's obvious to the merest bankster, I would imagine. No memo required. Investigate us and the world will collapse. Obama clearly can see that.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 09:33:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Concern trolling is part of the Zeitgeist...

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 09:38:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How 2 civilian sleuths brought foreclosure problems to light | McClatchy

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- More than a year before lenders, law firms and document companies began owning up to widespread paperwork problems with their foreclosure filings, Lisa Epstein and Michael Redman already knew that something was wrong -- very wrong.

Redman, a former online automobile consultant, got his first taste of the problem in early 2008, when he tried to help a relative who was facing foreclosure.

As he tried to determine which of three or four supposed lenders held the note, Redman, 35, realized that not only did he not know the answer, neither did any of the companies that were asking for payment.

Epstein, a nurse who cares for cancer patients, also is going through foreclosure. She got her baptism in the world of shoddy foreclosure paperwork in the summer of 2009, however, when she tried to help a brain tumor patient keep her home.

[...]

Equal parts agitators, activists and advocates, Redman and Epstein have made their presence felt in Florida and nationally through their respective websites, 4closureFraud.org and foreclosurehamlet.org.

Now we know whom to thank.

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 Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 03:00:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and the banks know who to blame.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 10:25:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Companies / Banks - Wells adds to crisis over home seizures
The US mortgage foreclosure crisis deepened as it emerged that Wells Fargo may have used practices that prompted rivals to halt home repossessions, and JPMorgan Chase said banks might be fined over the issue.

Bank of America, JPMorgan and GMAC have halted foreclosures after learning that "robo signers" had rubber-stamped thousands of mortgage documents without checking their accuracy. Attorneys-general in 50 states have launched a joint investigation into the matter.
More FT video

Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan chief executive, on Wednesday became the first top banking executive to say some attorneys-general may levy penalties on banks for their foreclosure practices.

Legal documents obtained by the Financial Times suggest that Wells Fargo, the second-largest US mortgage servicer, also used a "robo signer". Unlike its rivals, Wells Fargo has not halted foreclosures. The San Francisco-based bank said on Tuesday it was reviewing some pending cases, but it has maintained that it has checks and balances designed to prevent serious procedural lapses.

In a sworn deposition on March 9 seen by the FT, Xee Moua, identified in court documents as a vice-president of loan documentation for Wells, said she signed as many as 500 foreclosure-related papers a day on behalf of the bank.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 05:55:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This should probably read

Wells Fargo may have used practices that prompted rivals to "halt" home repossessions

According to Naked Capitalism

GMAC announced a foreclosure halt in all 50 states; JP Morgan and Bank of America have stopped in 23 judicial foreclosure states.

Or have they? Florida is a judicial foreclosure state, and local reports suggest the banks are pressing forward with foreclosures. Note the inconsistencies between the statements of the bank employees versus the action on the ground.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 06:10:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No surprise in Florida. A bank friendly state government and friendly judges have created "Kangaroo" foreclosure courts that allow 90 seconds for the defendants to make their case, according to one report I posted previously.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 09:42:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thinking about this from another direction, I think about my dad's office building. For years he had the mortgage with banks that kept getting bought out, eventually turning into CitiBank. They have routinely told him to forget it when he asks them for loans to do such things as repair the roof.

But, odds are that the fobbed off the original loan, or it was fobbed off long before Citi came in. As a person with a record of decades of good payment, his was probably sold with packages of trash loans to balance them out.

Citi could straighten it all out by giving him a new loan...which he wants since it would give him lower payments at a time when 3 different clients have run out on their leases over the last year, leaving a basically empty building except for the lessee who hasn't paid in two years...but he has been paying the mortgage out of his savings.

Citi could get a new clean note, my dad would get a lower payment, everyone happy. Are they that clever. No. They won't even consider giving him a new loan.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 07:15:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Banks propose £1.5 billion business growth fund | Reuters

(Reuters) - A taskforce of six major British banks has unveiled a 1.5 billion pounds business growth fund to kickstart funding to small businesses in the wake of a sharp downturn in business lending after the credit crisis.

The fund will offer equity support to UK businesses with an average turnover from 10 to 100 million pounds and funding requirements of up to 10 million pounds, as part of 17 initiatives proposed on Wednesday by the British Bankers' Association and the industry.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:48:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The fund will offer equity support to UK businesses with an average turnover from 10 to 100 million pounds

That would seem to be the medium-large definition of 'small.'

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 08:01:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - China's trade surplus falls to $16.9bn

The gap between China's imports and exports narrowed in September, official data has shown.

But analysts say the decline is unlikely to ease the pressure on Beijing to strengthen its currency.

The US has been among its strongest critics, claiming China deliberately undervalues the yuan, boosting China's exports by making them cheap.

China's trade surplus fell to a five-month low of $16.9bn (£10.7bn), down from $20bn in August.

Exports rose 25.1% year-on-year in September to $145bn, but the pace of growth was slower than the 34.4% growth seen in August.

Imports rose 24.1% year-on-year to a record high of $128.1bn, compared with August's growth of 35.2%.

by Nomad on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:53:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... narrowed?

Exports rose 25.1% year-on-year
Imports rose 24.1% year-on-year

Mind-boggling numbers eh?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 04:38:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes; bindmoggling.

So, essentially, the unstated lead should have been, prices to the consumer are a lot lower because China hasn't revalued as fast as the criminal financiers want them to. (Because, China has been revaluing for the last couple years...just not as drastically as 'they' want.)

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 07:21:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fed Mulls Raising Inflation Expectations to Boost Economy - Bloomberg

Federal Reserve policy makers may want Americans to expect inflation to accelerate in the future so they spend more of their money now.

Central bankers, seeking ways to boost flagging growth after lowering interest rates almost to zero and buying $1.7 trillion of securities, are weighing strategies for raising inflation expectations as well as expanding the balance sheet by purchasing Treasuries, according to minutes of the Fed's Sept. 21 meeting released yesterday.

Some Fed officials are concerned that expectations of lower inflation will become self-fulfilling, damping demand by increasing borrowing costs in real terms, the minutes said. By encouraging Americans to believe prices will start rising at a faster pace, the Fed would reduce inflation-adjusted interest rates and stimulate the economy. Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said in 2003 that Japan could beat deflation by using a "publicly announced, gradually rising price-level target."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 04:02:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Columnists / Martin Wolf - Why America is going to win the global currency battle

The cries of pain now heard around the world, as markets push currencies up against the dollar, partly reflect the uneven impact of US policy. Still more, they reflect the stubborn unwillingness to accept the needed changes, with each capital recipient trying to deflect the unwanted adjustment elsewhere.

To put it crudely, the US wants to inflate the rest of the world, while the latter is trying to deflate the US. The US must win, since it has infinite ammunition: there is no limit to the dollars the Federal Reserve can create. What needs to be discussed is the terms of the world's surrender: the needed changes in nominal exchange rates and domestic policies around the world.

If you wish to understand how aggressive US policy might become, read a recent speech by William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He notes that "in recent quarters the pace of growth has been disappointing even relative to our modest expectations at the start of the year". Behind this lies deleveraging by US households, in particular. So what can monetary policy do about it? His answer is that "very low interest rates can help smooth the adjustment process by supporting asset valuations, including making housing more affordable and by allowing some borrowers to reduce debt interest payments. Beyond this ... to the extent that monetary policy can `cut off the tail' of the distribution of potential adverse economic outcomes ... it can help encourage those households and businesses with money to spend to do so".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 04:06:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny how when the euro was going down it was the eurozone collapsing, and when the dollar is going down it's the US winning the currency wars...

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 03:28:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By encouraging Americans to believe prices will start rising at a faster pace, the Fed would reduce inflation-adjusted interest rates and stimulate the economy.

Wait - what? Inflation goes up, real purchasing power decreases, people borrow more from bankrupt banks that aren't lending to make up the gap, the economy grows?

Is this a plan or a comedy sketch?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 08:10:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stagflation as a strategy for recovery!

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 08:11:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, "everyone" was clamoring for the Fed "to do something"! But the lurking danger is that if they go too far in promoting "currency revulsion" as a way to get people to spend they could end up getting hyperinflation. That would solve the debt problem.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 09:52:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hyperinflation? No, I don't think so.

BruceMcF:

A structural imbalance of the external accounts is part of the story in all the hyperinflationary episodes that I can bring to mind, with notable examples from the Confederate States of America in the 1860's through the Wiemar Republic, through Brazil in the 1970's, through Argentina at the turn of this century.
Unless the US' trade deficit is a structural imbalance large enough to trigger hyperinflation. If the US dollar collapsed, would the US stop importing, or would it continue to inflate its currency in a futile attempt to import more than it can possibly?

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 10:08:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The US has a major domestic economic crisis in that the entire finance industry is built on foundations of mortgage debt and property laws that are just about to get pulled out from under and the whole edifice may come crashing down.

I don't think we can predict what the US finance industry will look like at the end (although I'd be willing to bet Goldman sachs do well) but I really doubt they're gonna be in any position to protect the dollar at the end of it.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 10:34:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The "lurking danger" to which I alluded is largely that of the Fed going overboard with QE directed overseas. I can see that such a development could lead to a revulsion for the US$ by other countries, but I doubt that it would. But sometimes plans go astray.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 11:50:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Were oil to go back well over $100/bl., were China to retaliate for newly imposed import restrictions on their goods by dumping US$ reserves and were the Fed to persist in an externally directed QE strategy things might get out of hand. I don't think it is wise to totally discount such a possibility, especially if you want to guard against it.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 11:55:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
oil would go to, say, $120 fairly mechanically. China would be forced to re-evaluate against the $, the American way of life would be very negotiable indeed... a real Marshall plan for alternative energy...

Where's the downside?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 04:21:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Where's the downside?" -- likely will depend on where you live. In the USA the downside would be the consequences of allowing the existing financial sector to continue to squeeze the life out of the rest of the economy while we attempt to transition to a more sustainable energy regime. And German industry, especially, would not be too happy with the super strong euro, though no doubt many unemployed Germans would take great pride in its strength. So you might well see the ECB engaging in massive "easing" of its own. Hello competitive devaluations.  

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 15th, 2010 at 02:01:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why would such a large swaps market be a possible exemption from FinReg?:

The traded foreign exchange market is the big enchilada. It is the largest financial market in the world. The Bank for International Settlements estimates that the daily turnover in this market, including swaps, futures and spot purchases, is $4 trillion as of April 2010. This turnover increased more than 20% in the last 3 years. Trading is concentrated in London, accounting for 36.7%, while the New York share of the market is around 18%.

Since FX swaps and forwards are based on currency values, it is very easy to embed other financial transactions in a dealtransaction that involves exchange rates on its face. For instance, a loan can be the primary purpose for a swap of currency values. The danger in such obfuscation is illustrated by the foreign exchange transactions between the Greek government and Goldman Sachs, which disguised the debt burden of Greece and triggered a crisis.

In the Dodd-Frank Act, clearing (if available) is mandated for most derivatives, with "end user" hedging transactions carved out. But a second carve out, for FX swaps and forwards, is permitted if the Treasury orders it. There is significant concern among progressives monitoring the implementation of Dodd-Frank that the Secretary will soon exempt FX instruments from the clearing mandate.



"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 05:47:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:40:23 PM EST
Beirut gives Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a warm welcome | World news | The Guardian

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was given a warm welcome in Lebanon today despite fears that his visit will aggravate domestic tensions in the politically divided country by boosting the militant Shia group Hezbollah, which is supported by Tehran.

Thousands of Hezbollah supporters cheered Iran's president and waved Iranian flags as he spoke, partly in Arabic, at a mass rally in a football stadium in Beirut's Shia southern suburbs this evening. "Lebanon is the school of resistance and steadfastness against all the bullying forces in the world," he told the crowd.

Earlier, Ahmadinejad was showered with rice and flowers - a traditional greeting - by crowds lining the highway from the airport as he defied security fears and stood to wave through the roof of his car.

by Nomad on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:52:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China says Nobel won't change nation's political system
Beijing (AFP) Oct 12, 2010
China said Tuesday that the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Liu Xiaobo would not influence the country's political system, as the United States urged Beijing to lift restrictions on the activist's wife.

The comments came as Liu's lawyers said they were considering asking for a retrial of the jailed dissident, the co-author of a manifesto calling for bold democratic reforms in the communist state who won the prestigious award Friday.

"Some politicians from other countries are trying to use this opportunity to attack China," foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told reporters, adding the Nobel committee's decision "shows no respect for China's judicial system".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 04:08:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Former Chinese communist officials in blunt reform call
Beijing (AFP) Oct 13, 2010
A group of former top communist officials and media leaders has issued an open letter to China's government calling for political reform, but authorities have attempted to suppress the appeal.

The bluntly-worded letter focused on the lack of freedom of expression and comes as the Communist Party readies for a pivotal meeting later this week expected to give hints on the country's future political direction.

"If the Communist Party does not reform itself, does not transform, it will lose its vitality and die a natural death," said the letter which was posted on the Internet.

The letter has since been deleted from chatrooms on major portals, apparently by government censors, but was still popping up in some more obscure chat rooms.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 04:08:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lunar Probe And Space Exploration Is China's Duty To Mankind
Beijing, China (XNA) Oct 07, 2010
A chief designer with China's second lunar probe project has said that the country's lunar pursuit, while lagging behind Russia and the United States for more than 40 years, is still important because space exploration is part of the country's responsibility towards mankind.

"The most fundamental task for human beings' space exploration is to research on human origins and find a way for mankind to live and develop sustainably," said Qian Weiping, chief designer of the Chang'e-2 mission's tracking and control system.

Chang'e-2 blasted off on a Long-March-3C carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, in southwest China's Sichuan province, at about 7 p.m. Friday.

"As a major country, China has the responsibility to participate in the activities of outer space for peaceful use and make its own contributions," Qian said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 04:10:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Egypt imposes SMS restrictions - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Egypt's telecommunications regulator has imposed new restrictions on mobile text messages ahead of legislative elections.

Mahmoud el-Gweini, adviser to Egypt's telecommunications minister, said on Tuesday that companies sending out text messages en masse - known as SMS aggregators - must now obtain licenses.

Opposition activists say the new regulation stifles their ability to mobilise voters.

Reform groups in Egypt have come to rely increasingly on the internet and mobile phones to organise and mobilise their supporters, tools which have enabled them to sidestep government harassment.

The Muslim Brotherhood, a well-established but technically outlawed Islamist party, used text messages as a campaign tool for its candidates in the elections five years ago. The party surprised the government in 2005 by winning 20 per cent of parliament seats. 
 
El-Gweini said the decision was not supposed to curb political activity, but rather to protect people from "random" text messages about sensitive issues.

by Nomad on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 04:20:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Talks on Sudan's Abyei break down - Africa - Al Jazeera English

The latest round of talks between north and south Sudan over the future of the oil-producing Abyei region has failed to reach an agreement.

The issue stands as a key hurdle ahead of referendums in the country, and according to the north's National Congress party (NCP) and the south's ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), "serious efforts and many productive discussions, [the delegations] did not succeed in reaching agreement on the eligibility criteria for voters in the Abyei Area referendum".

The NCP and SPLM also said in a joint statement on Tuesday that both parties "will meet again in Ethiopia toward the end of October to continue their discussions. The parties continue to commit themselves to their mutual goal of avoiding a return to conflict".

Local residents in Abyei will vote on whether the region should join north or south Sudan in a plebiscite scheduled for early next year, which was promised as part of the 2005 peace deal that ended decades of north-south civil war.

The vote is set to be held alongside south Sudan's referendum on independence from the north.

by Nomad on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 04:22:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Lede is providing updates in real time on the final stage of the rescue of 33 Chilean miners who have been trapped in a collapsed mine shaft for 68 days. There is live video of the operation embedded above (courtesy of Chile's government and MSNBC) and the latest text updates will appear automatically below -- including news from other Web sites and reports from our colleagues Simon Romero and Alexei Barrionuevo, who are at the San José mine, near the Chilean city of Copiapó, along with family members of the miners and more than 1,400 journalists. M. Amedeo Tumolillo contributed reporting.

Colombia Reports: Some estimated 20,000 demonstrators took to the streets in Bogota  on Tuesday to demand respect for indigenous rights.

AFP, BOGOTA -- A former Colombian army officer was sentenced to 44 years in prison for his role in the deaths of more than 245 civilians, many of whom were hacked to pieces with a power saw, officials said.  Retired major Alirio Antonio Urena received the sentence for killings systematically carried out out against the local population of the town of Trujillo in western Colombia between 1986 and 1994. At the time, Urena was a commander in Colombia's Valle de Cauca state of an army brigade with ties to right-wing paramilitaries which was said to be responsible for the systematic assassinations of people in Trujillo, prosecutors said.

SANTIAGO, Dominican Republic - One person was killed and four more were injured Tuesday during a protest in the northern Dominican Republic, an activist said, blaming the violence on police. A spokesman for the Broad Front of Popular Struggle, or FALPO, told Efe that residents of several towns peacefully mobilized to demand the creation of local public infrastructure when they were fired upon by the National Police.

HAVANA, Oct 12, 2010 (IPS) - Raúl Regueiro remembers every detail about the creation, 10 years ago in Cuba, of the project for the prevention of HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men, and the way the initiative crossed the boundaries of purely health-related concerns to address the question of social inclusion. "Although homosexuality had been mentioned before, up to that point no work had been done with men," Regueiro told IPS. A co-founder of the project, Regueiro's idea is now applied in 14 provinces on the island and involves around 1,700 volunteer health outreach workers who act as direct links with Cuban communities.

Mexico: Just the Facts: Institutional impunity, human rights violations, and terror continue to fuel Mexico's weakening security environment. Among the latest pieces of news related to violence in Mexico and drug trafficking...

NACLA: Coup in Ecuador?: Both Correa and former National Police commander Freddy Martínez, who resigned after his failure to control his troops, argue that outside instigators infiltrated the police, misled police about the austerity measures in the Public Service Law, and provoked the uprising. Labor and indigenous organizations in Ecuador, however, have taken a more nuanced line. The police rebellion occurred, they argue, because Ecuador's right wing is taking advantage of weaknesses created by Correa's alienating governing style. Although they opposed any coup attempt and demanded that constitutional order be respected, they also criticized Correa for marginalizing his natural allies in the social movements and leaving himself vulnerable to attacks from the right.

Peru's dirty little mining secret is getting bigger and dirtier [Re-Print] : This, quite honestly, beggars belief. Yesterday's Peru metals production figures bear witness to the ongoing environmental disaster that is the Madre De Dios Amazon Basin region, the wholesale rape of one of the world's most ecologically sensitive regions and the utter tripe and two-faced lies spewed by President Alan Garcia, his lying toady of an Environment Minister Antonio Brack and the total disregard Peru has for anything except genuflexion at the altar of growth and short-term profit.

The Cuban Triangle: Odds & Ends

Hurricane Paula


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne

by maracatu on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 05:20:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like Netanyahu is getting all upset that the media has been focussing on the Chilean mine and ignoring him. So he had to do something about it. The following is from Ha'aretz, not The Onion.
"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following the rescue of the Chilean miners today that it was one of those rare moments of elation," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement Wednesday, adding that "the entire world has been moved by this human act of saving miners trapped in the belly of the earth. We extend our blessings and the blessing of the people of Israel to the Chilean nation and to everyone who assisted in the rescue."

The statement goes on to mention that "Netanyahu predicted such an event - a mine disaster - in his book Terrorism: How the West can win from 1987." Quotes from the book were sent to reporters in addition to a scanned page from the actual volume.

In his book, Netanyahu described a possible mine disaster, saying that even though only a handful of miners may be trapped, the entire world's attention would be riveted to their welfare "for a long time." He explained his argument, saying that it would not only be the intense media coverage of such an event that would turn people's attention to the event, but every individual's private feeling that it could be him or her trapped in a similar situation.

I repeat, not The Onion.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 02:25:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
reporting that the US has achieved a major milestone in offshore wind...

1500 people at a conference!!!

the real milestone, J was there, reporting on financing the damn things. for comparison's sake, Europe has more offshore MWs actually installed and operating than people at the conference.

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

by Crazy Horse on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 04:03:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah, that'll teach me.

reading further into the article, i discover a host of interesting facts and comments, and discover the article was written by old colleague Peter Asmus, who wrote the book about me and others from the pioneering days in California (Reaping the Wind).

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

by Crazy Horse on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 04:08:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:40:48 PM EST
Berlin Takes on Brussels: Merkel's Ongoing Fight to Extend Coal Subsidies - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The European Commission has decided to end coal subsidies by 2014, a decision which does not sit well with Chancellor Angela Merkel. She wants Europe to revisit the decision, but support is lacking. Even her own economics minister is standing in the way. By SPIEGEL Staff

When Chancellor Angela Merkel sees Economics Minister Rainer Brüderle at her weekly cabinet meetings on Wednesdays, it quickly becomes clear that the relationship between the two politicians is marked by distrust. Some time ago Brüderle, a member of the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), ignored an important call from the chancellor on his mobile phone, a move which didn't exactly improve an already frosty relationship.

The relationship is likely to sink to a new low in the coming weeks. Once again, there are disagreements over energy policy. In the wake of the debate over the future of nuclear power, the government must now address what is to become of Germany's coal industry. There are no indications that the wrangling will produce an outcome that the government will be able to portray as a victory.

Merkel is fighting to keep German coal mines alive, with government subsidies, until 2018, and she is doing so against the wishes of the European Union. In mid-July, the European Commission decided that coal subsidies were to be phased out by 2014. Günther Oettinger, the former governor of the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg, who Merkel had installed as energy commissioner in Brussels, had unfortunately skipped an important meeting in the negotiations.

by Nomad on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:48:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What strikes me is how this discussions appears to be treated as unrelated to the recent flap on nuclear plants and renewables, or to other discussions on the "cost" of renewable energy support mechanisms. Renewable energy appears costlier, and in need of subsidies, precisely because basic power generation is subsidized through other means, like payments to coal mines.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 03:36:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So true, as Germany's energy policies begin to be schizophrenic.

The good news, if i recall correctly, is that germany is now down to 20,000 in the mining industry from a peak of 600,000, and just 4 mines.

the bad news is politicians in both major parties, but particularly the SPD, remain committed to what was once their base (at least in NRW and Saarland.)

for comparison, windpower alone has some 110,000 (est.) working here.

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

by Crazy Horse on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 03:48:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course. And in the same vein, back on this side of the Rhine river: Sakozy's pal Henri Proglio wants to jam yet another electricity rate increase down the French people, all in the name of "subsidizing the renewable energies":

Solar power may cause French electricity price rise | RFI

Renewable energy is a budget burden for France's energy company EDF, and the industry's rapid-fire growth is only adding to the strain.

EDF's mission has long been to support sustainable producers by buying at prices set by the government. But the industry's success has seen costs skyrocket - and the government in turn has cut subsidies.

Les Echos on Tuesday reported that EDF chief Henri Proglio wrote a letter to French Energy Minister Jean-Louis Borloo warning that EDF's 2009 budget gap of 1.6 billion euros stands to increase to 2.6 billion by the end 2010.

He added that this could exceed 15 billion after 2015.

Somebody has to cover the costs of renewable industry development - and the National Assembly's Finance Commission is proposing that private power bills should bear the shortfall.

by Bernard on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 11:08:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / EU to define positions ahead of Nagoya and Cancun

European Union environment ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Thursday (14 October) are set to agree the bloc's main negotiating positions ahead of two key international conferences on biodiversity and climate change in the coming weeks.

MEPs last week urged the EU to play a leading role at the UN conference on biodiversity - due to start in Nagoya, Japan in a few days time - voicing their concern at an apparent lack of urgency among nations to protect habitats and species, estimated to be disappearing at up to 1000 times the normal rate.

 Officials preparing the environment ministers' meeting said the EU had three broad goals for the two-week gathering in Japan (18-29 October) - cumbersomely known as the Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD) 10th Conference of the Parties (COP 10).

These include the definition of a new strategic plan to protect the world's biodiversity after earlier targets to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 were missed. A current draft of the strategy contains 20 new targets for 2020, such as halving the loss and degradation of forests and other natural habitats, and ensuring that agriculture and aquaculture are sustainably managed.

by Nomad on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:58:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dutch export success story: vaccines hidden in meaty bones | Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Looking at the plant of the veterinary pharmaceutical giant Intervet on the outskirts of the Brabant town of Boxmeer, it would be easy to delude yourself into believing you have just arrived at Charlie's chocolate factory from Roald Dahl's famous children's book. The merger with a French competitor, which is to be finalised soon, will make Intervet one of the world's largest producers of veterinary medicines. In the tranquil environment of Intervet's laboratories, young scientists are at work developing cures for viral infections affecting both humans and animals.

A sign warns visitors in no uncertain terms to "Make sure to use the correct entrance". The sign is testimony to the size of the sprawling plant, which covers an area equal to no less than 17 football fields. Two flags are fluttering in the wind outside the main office building. The US Stars and Stripes - parent company Merck has its headquarters in the United States - and the Dutch national flag. Soon, the plant will have to add another flagpole.

Collaboration
The French flag will probably be first raised at the site in 2011. Intervet, leader in animal vaccines is to merge with the French company Merial, the proud producers of a leading remedy against fleas and of anti-parasitical drugs for farm animals. The two businesses appear to be complimentary, but the merger has yet to be approved by the European and US competition authorities.

Giant cauldrons
Hidden behind the main gate on the outskirts of Boxmeer lies Charlie's magical world. White-clad Umpa Lumpas are performing their incomprehensible duties; huge cylindrical cauldrons can make you disappear forever and, to perfect the image, here and there coloured liquids can be seen bubbling away. The fantasy is cruelly disrupted by research director René Aerts, who provides crystal-clear explanations off what his associates are up to.

by Nomad on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 04:03:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Google's Reicher Aims at Another Fledgling Industry: Wind Farms - Bloomberg

Google Inc., the Web company that a decade ago used engineering prowess to conquer the nascent online advertising market, is now aiming technology and its cash pile at another fledgling industry: offshore wind farming.

The company said yesterday that it's investing in a $5 billion underwater network that can channel electricity from wind turbines scattered off the Atlantic coast, enough to light up 1.9 million homes from New York to Virginia.

"This project is Google's signal that we want to have some real impact as we are also making serious financial returns in our energy project investing," Dan Reicher, who directs Google's energy and climate projects, said in an interview. "We couldn't be in a better place at a better moment to be making an investment like this."

Google is betting that its support will encourage other investors to back wind farming, which the Global Wind Energy Council says will generate more than 22 percent of the world's electricity in two decades. The investment also may help the U.S. narrow a lead held by China, which is installing more than twice the wind-generating power of the U.S.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 04:03:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
1) the Google plan is rather confusing for now,and bad journalism doesn't help. They made an announcement to invest in an offshore transmission line, which seems more like a gambit to do onshore transmission via a simpler (easier to permit) route than anything else; and they vaguely talked about investing in offshore wind farms.

The two are not really related as offshore windfarms need individual cables to shore anyway (because of their size and the typical carrying power of cables) and I fail to see how an offshore "superhighway" would help them (or would be paid by them).

But journalists have happily conflated the two and mixed up investments numbers, demonstrating once more than they do not understand what they are talking about.

But Google gets a lot of publicity, I guess.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 03:39:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's Peter Asmus's take.

Interesting to learn that the Goog invested in kite turbine technology, which is about a sensible as investing in harnessing jet wash at airports.

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

by Crazy Horse on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 04:27:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What Monsanto's fall from grace reveals about the GMO seed industry | Grist

take note of Andrew Pollack's Oct. 4 New York Times story on the recent plight of genetically modified (GM) seed giant Monsanto, long-time Wall Street darling and bête noire of the sustainable food movement.

Pollack summed up Monsanto's woes like this:

As recently as late December, Monsanto was named "company of the year" by Forbes magazine. Last week, the company earned a different accolade from Jim Cramer, the television stock market commentator. "This may be the worst stock of 2010," he proclaimed.     

On Tuesday, Forbes publicly lamented its decision to deem Monsanto "company of the year." The headline was cutting: "Forbes was wrong about Monsanto. Really wrong." How did Monsanto go from the from Wall Street hero to Wall Street doormat?

According to The Times' Pollack, Monsanto's troubles are two-fold: 1) the patent on Roundup, Monsanto's market-dominating herbicide, has run out, exposing the company to competition from cheap Chinese imports; and 2) its target audience -- large-scale commodity farmers in the south and Midwest -- are turning against its core offerings in genetically modified corn, soy, and cotton seed traits.

I agree with Pollack's diagnosis, but I want to add a third and even more fundamental problem to the mix: Monsanto's once-celebrated product pipeline is looking empty.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 04:15:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that's a real shame ;-))

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 10:41:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dogs can be optimistic or pessimistic? - Yahoo! News

If your dog destroys the furniture when you are away, it could be a pessimist, researchers have concluded.

A study has found that some dogs are natural gloom-mongers while others have sunnier dispositions.

"We know that people's emotional states affect their judgments and that happy people are more likely to judge an ambiguous situation positively," said professor Mike Mendl, an author of the study and head of animal welfare and behavior at Bristol University.

"What our study has shown is that this applies similarly to dogs."

To measure canine psychology, researchers trained dogs to recognize that bowls on one side of a room contained food, while bowls on the other side were empty. They then placed the bowls in "neutral" locations between the two sides.

Just as happy people tend to see the positive in any situation, so optimistic dogs sprinted toward the bowl, expecting to find food, while pessimistic dogs hesitated or ran more slowly.

by Nomad on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 04:22:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't science wonderful?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 05:01:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was kinda wondering if the experiment used dogs of the same breed, identical age, similar life experiences, and at the same stage of hunger.

Article in Current Biology (pdf) :

The subjects were 24 dogs (50% male; estimated age range: 9-108
months) at two UK animal re-homing centres.

The experiment in fact concerned behaviour in circumstances of separation from usual human companions (no evidence offered on the dogs' affect wrt those humans). It proved, the authors say, that "pessimism" is caused by underlying mood.

Science is even more wonderful than I thought. Journalism too.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 05:25:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder how many were psychology students.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 08:12:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But maybe it destroys the furniture hoping to find food inside. Shouldn't that make it an optimist? More research is needed.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 05:32:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More research is always needed. It's the scientific equivalent of economic growth.
by Nomad on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 06:52:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:41:10 PM EST
BBC News - Howard Jacobson wins Booker Prize

Author and columnist Howard Jacobson has won the Man Booker Prize for his comic novel The Finkler Question.

Jacobson, who beat contenders including double winner Peter Carey, received the £50,000 prize at London's Guildhall.

Chair of judges, Sir Andrew Motion, described the 68-year-old author's book as "very funny, of course, but also very clever, very sad and very subtle".

It explores Jewishness through the lives of three friends - two of them Jewish and one who wishes he was.

by Nomad on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:48:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Chilean mine rescue freeing trapped men one by one
Twenty of the 33 miners trapped underground for more than two months in northern Chile have been rescued amid scenes of jubilation.

In a continuing operation, a specially-made capsule has been winching the men one by one to the surface.

The Chilean president and first lady, and the miners' loved ones, have been at the top of the shaft to greet them.

The process has gone smoothly, with the entire operation expected to be completed within 30 hours.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:51:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - China-Brazil 'friendly' ends in mass 'basket-brawl'

The Chinese Basketball Association has apologised for a fight which broke out during a friendly match against a visiting team from Brazil.

The game on Tuesday degenerated into a brawl as players from both sides exchanged kicks and punches - forcing an end to play.

The Chinese association said training for the Asian Games had been put on hold while it investigated.

It said players found to be at fault would be dealt with severely.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:52:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Two porn companies postpone filming over HIV test

An actor's positive HIV test has caused two of the US adult film industry's largest studios to postpone filming.

Wicked Pictures and Vivid Entertainment told The Los Angeles Times that production had stopped as a precaution.

The unnamed actor was a member of the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation.

Clinic spokeswoman Jennifer Miller said efforts were being made to notify other performers who may have had sexual contact with the actor.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:54:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Disgruntled airline passenger ordered to forfeit 'I Hate Ryanair' website - Telegraph

A tribunal has ordered Robert Tyler to cease using the web address because it earned him money through commercial links to third party websites.

Mr Tyler established the site in February 2007 to publish "horror stories" about Ryanair, which he describes at the beginning of each of his articles as "the world's most hated airline".

by Nomad on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 04:09:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 13th, 2010 at 03:41:32 PM EST
Since there's no people news today... anyone wanna complain about their job today?



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

by Crazy Horse on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 03:53:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eating Coal to Survive


Two Chinese brothers who tunnelled their way out of a coal mine collapse after being trapped for nearly six days survived by eating coal and drinking urine, according to a newspaper report.
.....
He said because they were eating coal and were in the mine for nearly six days, they did not defecate.

"We were only able to do that the day before yesterday in hospital. It was full of coal," he said.

Both men say they will not go back into mining.



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 04:51:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shit a briquette!

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 07:15:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tea Party Nazi Reenactor Rick Iott Defends Himself - ABC News
In the press release, titled "Rich Iott Statement on the Latest Kaptur Campaign Lie," Iott also published several images of him dressed for other military reenactments that he participated in with the group Wiking from 2003 to 2007, including an image of him in a U.S. World War I military uniform and one with him and his son Ian in Union soldier uniforms from the Civil War.

Iott said he has been involved with historical reenactments from different eras since graduating from college and his interest in reenactment is purely historical.

...

Kaptur spokesman Steve Fought said the Wiking reenactment group promotes "a twisted and dangerous view of history" and Iott's involvement with the organization is "outrageous and indefensible."



By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 08:36:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We've known at least since Reagan that the Republican party is a racist party.

"in Union soldier uniforms from the Civil War."

This kind of thing just doesn't help to to diminish that perception.

by shergald on Thu Oct 14th, 2010 at 05:30:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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