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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 16 December

by afew Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 04:02:40 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Our colonies on this date in history:

1773 - Boston Tea Party - members of the Sons of Liberty disguised as Mohawks dump crates of tea into Boston harbor as a protest against the Tea Act.

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 Dec 15th, 2010 at 06:17:48 AM EST
From Berlin, Swiss expats fight government
Berlin (UPI) Dec 10, 2010
With a thud, the home-made potato patty hits the facade of a Swiss-run bar in Berlin's Kreuzberg district, crumbles and drops to the pavement.

Called "roeschti," the potato patty is one of Switzerland's most beloved dishes. Yet in the Helvetia Roeschti Bar in the multicultural Kreuzberg district, Swiss expatriates hurl it away in a playful expression of their contempt with politics in current-day Switzerland.

"Switzerland is moving to the right and we want to take a stance against this development with our Dadaist art projects," Swiss-born artist Adam Tellmeister, who has been living in Berlin since 1989, told United Press International in an interview.

The Roeschti-hurl is such a Dadaist project. The bar has several roeschti on the menu, among them, for a relatively pricey $20, the "Blocher-roeschti." It's a reference to Christoph Blocher, the poster boy of the far-right Swiss People's Party, or SVP, which has been amassing voter support with populist campaigning. The Blocher-roeschti is made entirely of potato leftovers and intended for throwing rather than eating.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 11:43:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Berlin Potato Party?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 06:19:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU's 'mackerel war' with Iceland heats up
Brussels (AFP) Dec 14, 2010
The European Union could block Iceland's fishing boats from unloading mackerel in European ports unless a fishing row is resolved, a source close to the European Commission said Tuesday.

EU Maritime Affairs Commissioner Maria Damanaki told the 27-nation bloc's fisheries ministers she wanted to invoke the European Economic Area agreement to bar Iceland from unloading the fish in EU ports, the source said.

Damanaki has instructed her services to start working on an "ad hoc" regulation that would prohibit landings of fish stocks on a raw or processed form when an international sharing arrangement has not been found.

Negotiations between Iceland, Norway and the European Union failed this year.

Iceland, which has applied to join the EU, unilaterally raiseed its mackerel catch quota to 130,000 tonnes this year compared to 2,000 tonnes in previous years, a move that angered Brussels.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 11:44:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
New nuclear waste transport crosses into Germany | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 15.12.2010

The latest shipment of nuclear waste crossed the border into Germany from France on Wednesday afternoon.

The train had begun its journey on Tuesday evening when it set out from the southern French research center of Cadarache. It is expected to arrive at its destination - a storage facililty in the northern German town of Lubmin - on Thursday.

In the containers are around 2,500 spent fuel rods, that are originally from a research facility in the southwestern German city of Karlsruhe that went offline in 1991 and the research vessel Otto Hahn, which hasn't been used since 1979.

A number of anti-nuclear activists gathered in Saarbruecken on the French-German border to protest against the transport. Several hundred policemen were deployed in Saarbruecken, and other rail services were disrupted.



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 Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 11:56:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Phone hacking approved by top News of the World executive - new files | Media | The Guardian

Lawyers have secured explosive new evidence linking one of the News of the World's most senior editorial executives to the hacking of voicemail messages from the phones of Sienna Miller, Jude Law and their friends and employees.

In a document lodged in the high court, the lawyers also disclose evidence that the hacking of phones of the royal household was part of a scheme commissioned by the News of the World and not simply the unauthorised work of its former royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, acting as a "rogue reporter", as the paper has previously claimed.

The 20-page document, written by Sienna Miller's solicitor Mark Thomson and barrister Hugh Tomlinson, cites extracts from paperwork and other records that were seized by police from the News of the World's private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, in August 2006. The material has now been released to the lawyers on the orders of a high court judge.

The document claims Mulcaire's handwritten notes imply that the news editor of the News of the World, Ian Edmondson, instructed him to intercept Sienna Miller's voicemail and that the operation also involved targeting her mother, her publicist and one of her closest friends as well as her former partner, Jude Law, and his personal assistant. During the operation Mulcaire obtained confidential data held by mobile phone companies in relation to nine different phone numbers, the notes reveal.



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 Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 12:07:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Barroso promises to go ahead with EU project bonds | EurActiv
European Commission President José Manuel Barroso pledged yesterday (14 December) he would "insist" on tabling plans to introduce EU project bonds to fund infrastructure in Europe, as an alternative to the controversial idea of eurobonds.

Speaking at a European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg, Barroso supported the idea of "project bonds" as a new source of finance for major EU investments, dismissing an alternative plan for eurobonds, recently relaunched by a joint initiative from Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker and Italian Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti.

Barroso told MEPs that the idea of eurobonds was "interesting", but also repeatedly underlined that "at the moment there is no chance to have an agreement" on this issue, which is likely to "divide" the EU if it were pursued further by its supporters.

Indeed, Germany and France reiterated their stance against eurobonds in their last bilateral summit on 10 December in Freiburg, ahead of the European Council on 16/17 December.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 02:40:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Commission tries to simplify cross-border legal disputes | EurActiv
In a move to speed up cross-border legal disputes and cut costs, the European Commission on Tuesday (14 December) approved broad changes to rules concerning court cases for businesses and consumers.

The reform of rules known as Brussels I, first enacted in 2001, aims to promote better cooperation between civil courts in EU countries, and that should help improve trade in the 27-country bloc.

Almost 40% of businesses said they would be more inclined to trade outside their home market if procedures for settling court disputes were simpler.

The Commission made four main changes to the 2001 rules, but the most significant was abolishing the procedure by which one court approves a settlement handed down from a court in another member state.

Under the current system, for example, if a Polish entrepreneur wins a judgement against a French construction company in a Warsaw court, the award may still have to be approved by a French court in what is called an exequatur procedure. Eliminating this step, which can cost a business up to €3,000, could save businesses a total of almost €50 million a year in legal fees, according to the Commission.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 02:42:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / One EU budget battle closes, another prepares to open

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - A long-running battle over the EU's 2011 budget has drawn to a close after MEPs backed a recently revised spending plan that foresees a 2.9 percent expenditure increase on this year's figure.

Euro deputies approved the spending plan by 508 votes to 141 in a Strasbourg plenary session on Wednesday (15 December), also pledging their support for a new petition procedure that will enable one million European citizens to call for EU action in a particular area.

A series of 11th-hour compromises opened the way for the belated approval after months of wrangling between national capitals and parliament appeared to make a mockery of a new budgetary agreement procedure introduced under the Lisbon Treaty. Member states approved the package on Tuesday after MEPs backed down from their earlier calls for a six-percent increase in spending next year.

"It took us longer than expected but finally we got there," said the EU's budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski. "Europe is far more about addressing concrete issues then inter institutional wrangling."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 02:44:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Russian ethnic riots: Hundreds arrested in Moscow

Hundreds of people have been arrested in central Moscow in an attempt to prevent further ethnic clashes over the shooting of a football fan, police say.

The arrests came as groups of youths, many shouting nationalist slogans, gathered near a Moscow train station.

The death of a Moscow Spartak fan, allegedly in a fight with North Caucasians, has prompted riots and attacks targeting ethnic minorities.

Dozens more people were reportedly detained in other Russian cities.

Police in St Petersburg held 60 people and another 100 were arrested in Samara, according to Interfax news agency.

Estimates of the numbers arrested in Moscow ranged from 800 to 1,200.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 02:47:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Clashes as Greece gripped by fresh strike

Greek police have clashed with protesters in the capital Athens as unions stage a general strike against government austerity measures.

Demonstrators threw petrol bombs and police responded with tear gas as the violence flared outside parliament.

A former minister was chased and beaten by a mob and forced to seek shelter in a building.

The day of action has grounded flights, disrupted public transport and closed schools across the country.

It is the seventh general strike this year following tough reforms needed to receive a 110bn euro (£84bn) bail-out from international organisations.

Police said about 15,000 people were taking part in marches in Athens.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 02:50:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tackling the Debt Crisis: Protests in Europe Ahead of Euro Summit - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Greece was hit by violent protests and a general strike on Wednesday and workers also demonstrated in other EU nations ahead of a summit on the euro. Merkel, under fire for her handling of the crisis, repeated her tough stance as Luxembourg's foreign minister accused Berlin and Paris of "arrogance."

Greece was paralyzed by a general strike and violent protests on Wednesday and trade unions staged demonstrations in France, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark and the Czech Republic against government austerity measures one day ahead of what promises to be a fractious European Union summit to agree on a permanent mechanism to handle future debt crises.

In Greece, which has been undergoing radical belt-tightening to meet the conditions of its €110 billion bailout by the EU and International Monetary Fund in May, a demonstration by 20,000 people turned violent when masked protestors clashed with riot police, hurling petrol bombs and stones. Police responded by firing tear gas canisters and flash grenades.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 11:19:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French unions protest over spending cuts | euronews, world news

Unions took to the streets of Paris on Wednesday to voice their disgust at tough spending cuts being made by governments throughout Europe.

Organisers said some 2,000 protesters rallied outside the French finance ministry against moves to slash wages and pensions.

France is currently running a record public deficit of 7.7 percent of GDP, pushing up its borrowing costs.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 11:51:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia's response to Litvinenko case may disappoint U.K. - Lugovoi | Russia | RIA Novosti

Moscow's response to a European Court of Human Rights request to provide information on former Russian security agent Alexander Litvinenko poisoning is likely to disappoint Britain, London's main suspect said on Wednesday.

The Strasbourg court on Tuesday gave Russia until March 16 to provide information on the Litvinenko murder case. The ruling came after a complaint from his widow, Marina Litvinenko.

In the request, the court suspects Russia of involvement in Litvinenko's death, expresses doubt over the thoroughness of the probe into his murder and questions the possible role in it of agent-turned-businessman-turned-politician Lugovoi.

"If Russian prosecutors respond to this request, I think that this response will disappoint, first of all, Britain's Scotland Yard," Andrei Lugovoi, who has repeatedly denied involvement in Litvinenko's death, said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 03:30:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Naomi Wolf: Sweden's Serial Negligence in Prosecuting Rape Further Highlights the Politics Behind Julian Assange's Arrest

As I have been making the case on media outlets in the past few days that the British and Swedish sex crime charges related actions against Julian Assange are so extraordinarily and unprecedentedly severe -- compared to how prosecutors always treat far more cut-and-dry allegations than those in question in this case worldwide, including in the Scandinavian countries, and that thus the pretext of using these charges against Assange is a pimping of feminism by the State and an insult to rape victims -- I have found myself up against a bizarre fantasy in the minds of my (mostly male) debating opponents.

The fantasy is that somehow this treatment -- a global manhunt, solitary confinement in the Victorian cell that drove Oscar Wilde to suicidal despair within a matter of days, and now a bracelet tracking his movements -- is not atypical, because somehow Sweden must be a progressively hot-blooded but still progressively post-feminist paradise for sexual norms in which any woman in any context can bring the full force of the law against any man who oversteps any sexual boundary.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 11:08:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Barroso: Up to member states to clarify WikiLeaks revelations

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said it is not the task of his institution to explain revelations contained in US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, insisting that EU member states are better positioned for the role.

MEPs in Strasbourg on Tuesday (14 December) repeatedly asked Mr Barroso to outline his position on the diplomatic cables and the legal action currently being taken against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who was granted bail on the same day, but the Portuguese politician fended off questions saying the issue was outside the commission's domain.

"All the leaks have really related to member states," said Mr Barroso. "It's up to them to carry out clarifications."

Several senior EU officials have been mentioned in the classified cables, providing an interesting insight into their private views, working methods and how they are seen by Washington.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 11:17:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / WikiLeaks copycat site targets EU institutions

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - A self-funded group of former EU officials and NGO, media and PR-sector workers based in Belgium has set up an EU version of WikiLeaks, in what is just one of several copycat sites springing up since Cablegate began.

Brusselsleaks.com, which set up shop on Thursday (9 December), has a homepage on the WordPress blog-hosting service and has invited people to anonymously send in sensitive EU-related documents using an encrypted contact form.

Statue outside EU commission building in Brussels. Brussels Leaks says documents are leaked 'very often' in the EU capital

Unlike WikiLeaks, Brussels Leaks will not publishing anything itself but will instead check the documents' authenticity and pass them on to selected media.

The site is planning to shortly release its first batch of papers in the transport and energy sector. "In terms of submissions, we have already had a few via the website which is a good sign," a Brussels Leaks contact said in comments emailed to EUobserver on Monday.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 11:17:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Report links Kosovo PM to crime - Europe - Al Jazeera English
Council of Europe report alleges Hashim Thaci headed a crime ring that smuggled drugs, weapons and human organs.

Hashim Thaci, Kosovo's prime minister, headed up a "mafia like" crime ring responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs, a Council of Europe report alleges.

The draft report, which follows a two-year investigation, says civilians detained by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) were shot dead in northern Albania for their kidneys, which were then sold on the black market.

The Kosovo government on Wednesday denounced the report, which does not name its sources or give the number of victims, as baseless and slanderous, threatening legal and political action.

Its release comes as Thaci, a former key leader in the KLA, tries to form a coalition government after claiming victory in last week's election.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 11:39:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain uses GPS trackers to protect women from domestic violence | Society | Guardian Weekly
Madrid surveillance centre receives 1,200 alerts a month from 450 tags now in use

Maria Dolores, 40, has short hair, an expressionless face, dark smudges under her eyes and a wry sense of humour no doubt left over from her recent troubles. She takes a black object from her handbag, a little bigger than a mobile phone but much heavier and without a keypad. "Here it is," she says. In the offices of the Centro Mujer 24 Horas, a centre for battered women in Valencia, Loli, as she asks to be called, displays a mixture of pride and anxiety as she shows the GPS device that has stayed with her at all times since June.

Night and day, when out for a meal or to see a film, Loli is never without the transmitter-receiver that connects her directly to the national surveillance centre in the suburbs of Madrid. There, they know where she is at all times - and where her husband is. "The court decided to give him a chance, but it deprived me of any hope of living in peace," Loli says. She never refers to her husband by name, always as "him". Juan (as we shall call him) was imprisoned in January after nearly killing her and released on 7 June. He will be tried next month.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 11:43:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Julian Assange bail decision made by UK authorities, not Sweden | Media | The Guardian
Swedish prosecutor's office says it has 'not got a view at all on bail' and that Britain made decision to oppose it

The decision to have Julian Assange sent to a London jail and kept there was taken by the British authorities and not by prosecutors in Sweden, as previously thought, the Guardian has learned.

The Crown Prosecution Service will go to the high court tomorrow to seek the reversal of a decision to free the WikiLeaks founder on bail, made yesterday by a judge at City of Westminster magistrates court.

It had been widely thought Sweden had made the decision to oppose bail, with the CPS acting merely as its representative. But today the Swedish prosecutor's office told the Guardian it had "not got a view at all on bail" and that Britain had made the decision to oppose bail.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 12:03:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Italian court ups sentences for 23 CIA agents | Raw Story

ROME -- An Italian court on Wednesday upped the sentences for 23 CIA agents convicted in absentia of abducting an Egyptian imam in one of the biggest cases against the US "extraordinary rendition" program.

The 23 CIA agents, originally sentenced in November 2009 to five to eight years in prison, had their sentences increased to seven to nine years on appeal in what one of the defense lawyers described as a "shocking blow" for the US.

They were also ordered to pay 1.5 million euros (2.0 million dollars) in damages to the imam and his wife for the 2003 abduction.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 12:04:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WikiLeaks: Swedish government 'hid' anti-terror operations with America from Parliament - Telegraph

The secret cables, seen by The Daily Telegraph, disclose how Swedish officials wanted discussions about anti-terrorism operations kept from public scrutiny.

They describe how officials from the Swedish Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs had a "strong degree of satisfaction with current informal information sharing arrangements" with the American government.

Making the arrangement formal would result in the need for it to be disclosed to Parliament, they said.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 12:07:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 06:18:24 AM EST
FT.com / UK / Politics & policy - There is no `Plan B', insists Treasury

The Treasury has insisted it is not drawing up a "Plan B" to prop up the economy if the recovery falters next year, in spite of proposals from Britain's top civil servant that stimulus measures should be put on standby.

The suggestion, in a private memo by Sir Gus O'Donnell, the cabinet secretary, was revealed in Monday's Financial Times. It caused irritation in the Treasury, which says its austerity plan is working.

Officials confirmed they had examined various models in which the recovery was knocked off track - for instance, through an escalating crisis in the eurozone - but denied this amounted to "contingency planning".

The Treasury said officials had not worked on potential policy responses to a significant change in the economic outlook, since such work had not been requested by George Osborne, the chancellor

One might think, from the tone of this article, that being prepared for contingencies was something to be ashamed of.

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 Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 12:00:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Economy Vulnerable to Rare Earth Shortages, Report Says - NYTimes.com

HONG KONG -- The United States is too reliant on China for minerals crucial to new clean energy technologies, making the American economy vulnerable to shortages of materials needed for a range of green products -- from compact fluorescent light bulbs to electric cars to giant wind turbines.

The report, which predicts that it could take 15 years to break American dependence on Chinese supplies, calls for the nation to increase research and expand diplomatic contacts to find alternative sources, and to develop ways to recycle the minerals or replace them with other materials.

At least 96 percent of the most crucial types of the so-called rare earth minerals are now produced in China, and Beijing has wielded various export controls to limit the minerals' supply to other countries while favoring its own manufacturers that use them.



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 Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 12:17:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a hard time getting exited about this particular shortage. It's a matter of balancing the environmental considerations of mining with the value of the minerals. China is able to produce these because their environmental controls are currently pretty loose (to non-existent) while ours make mining very expensive. This can change on both sides...
by asdf on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 09:59:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Comment / Opinion - Germany must lead fightback

By Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Peer Steinbrück

Published: December 14 2010 20:47 | Last updated: December 14 2010 20:47

The time for stumbling through the euro crisis is over. Piecemeal approaches and wait-and-see attitudes are endangering European integration. We now need a more radical, targeted effort to end the current uncertainty, and provide stronger support for the future of Europe's common institutions. This must also protect the European Central Bank from becoming Europe's "bad bank", and ensuring its credibility and independence in guarding a strong euro.

The required solution is a combination of a haircut for debt holders, debt guarantees for stable countries and the limited introduction of European-wide bonds in the medium term, accompanied by more aligned fiscal policies. These measures would only work together; none alone would restore stability.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 03:09:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
SPD in favour of eurozone bonds - as crisis worsens ahead of summit

This is a huge departure from the German opposition on this issue. Coming right on the eve of the summit, it may impact, or possibly undermine, Merkel's position at tomorrow's summit.

The SPD is an opposition party, and the shift in its position does not have an immediate consequence. But the important political point about this statement is Merkel can no longer claim that the Bundestag would not support a more supportive German position. In their article in the FT, Steinmeier and Steinbrück argue that "for the first time in decades, German isolation has become a real concern," they write. They conclude that this week's summit would be a fateful one. EU leaders will either extend the crisis by continuing to stumble through, or regain the momentum to end it.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 03:09:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel vows not to 'abandon' euro nations - The Local

German Chancellor Angela Merkel moved Wednesday to silence fears of a eurozone break-up, saying that although some members faced tough challenges, Europe's paymaster would not desert them.

"No one in Europe will be left alone, no one in Europe will be abandoned. Europe succeeds when it acts together and I would add, Europe succeeds only when it acts together," Merkel said in a speech to parliament.

Merkel said that some in the 16-nation eurozone faced an uphill task in repairing their public finances but she expressed confidence that the single currency would survive.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 03:13:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany tops world for shrinking wages - The Local

Worker's pay packets over the past decade have shrunk more in Germany than any other industrialised country, a report released Wednesday has found.

The Global Wage Report by the International Labor Organization - a United Nations agency in which workers, employers and governments are represented - found that gross wages fell 4.5 percent when adjusted for inflation, according to news magazine Der Spiegel.

Low wage growth has been widely credited for the competitiveness that has allowed Europe's biggest economy to recover swiftly from the global downturn.

But the ILO challenged this idea, pointing out that the slump results from the increasing number of part-time jobs in Germany.

No other industrialised country experienced such a backslide, the report said. Of all the industrialised nations, Norway, Cyprus and Finland enjoyed the strongest wage growth, with Norway posting an increase of 25.1 percent.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 03:15:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PBOC bids to maintain stability

BEIJING, Dec. 15 (Xinhuanet) -- The People's Bank of China, the nation's central bank, reiterated on Monday that it would give priority to "stabilizing the general price level", a policy promoted during the three-day Central Economic Work Conference that ended on Sunday.

Zhou Xiaochuan, the central bank's governor also emphasized the need to strengthen the relevance, flexibility and effectiveness of financial control, and to adopt a "prudent" monetary policy, from the current "moderately loose" one to lock in liquidity.

China's consumer price index, the major gauge of inflation, jumped to a 28-month high of 5.1 percent in November.

Meanwhile, new lending by banks reached a higher-than-expected level of 7.46 trillion yuan ($1.12 trillion) in the first 11 months of the year.

The lending spree will make the government's annual loan target of 7.5 trillion yuan difficult to achieve.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 03:38:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sociologist Matti Virtanen lashes out at planned spending cuts

Virtanen says that growth will be spurred by the fact that those who retire will be replaced by others.He says that as the labour force is not expected to shrink from the present 2.4 million in the coming years, the emergence of half a million new pensioners will stimulate growth.

 "Many pensioners have more or less paid their major debts. In this way there is wealth as well as reserves for consumption and support for children." He estimates that the baby boom generation will not start needing expensive health care and institutional services for 15 to 20 years.




You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 06:15:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As noted elsewhere here today, Finnish wages have also been rising at quite a pace compared to the OECD average.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 06:16:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sven Triloqvist:
reserves for consumption and support for children

Oh, so pensions can be useful?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 06:52:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Finland has a whole different point of view on these matters ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 07:35:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
El precio por emitir deuda alcanza su nivel más alto de la década · ELPAÍS.com[Spain's] cost of issuing debt rises to the highest level in the decade - ElPais.com
Las peores expectativas se han cumplido y el Tesoro se ha visto obligado hoy a elevar el precio que paga por emitir deuda hasta niveles desconocidos desde 2000 por el rebrote de la crisis en los mercados tras el descalabro de Irlanda. En la última subasta del año a largo plazo y tras la amenaza de ayer de Moody's de que va a revisar la nota de solvencia de España por las dudas sobre sus finanzas y bancos, el organismo dependiente del Ministerio de Economía ha vendido 2.400 millones en bonos a 10 y 15 años, con lo que alcanza los objetivos previstos dentro de un rango de entre 2.000 a 3.000 millones pero a costa de abonar una factura muy cara. The worst expectation were met today and the Treasury was forced today to raise the price it pays for its debt to levels unknown since 2000 due to the resurgence of the crisis in the markets after Ireland's mishap. In the last long-term auction of the year and after Moody's threat yesterday that it would revise spain's solvency score because of doubts over its finances and banks, €2.4bn were sold in 10 and 15-year bonds, meeting the stated goal of between 2 and 3 billion, but at the cost of paying a hefty bill.


Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 06:16:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seriously, one is led to wonder whether somebody paid Moody's to release its statement about Spain the day before an auction...

Germany is rising up against Merkel's euroscepticism

Another bad day on the markets, as Moody's yesterday threatened a downgrade of Spain, a decision that had a significant impact on bond and stock markets, and the euro. El Pais called the decision a new blog to the credibility of Spain. The article says this is about trust, and whom you believe. It is clear that Moody's does not believe the banks, nor the Bank of Spain, when it speaks of a recapitalisation requirement of 8% of GDP, some €80bn. The Spanish government, and theregions, will next year have to raise a total of €300bn. The rating agency, which downgraded Spain from a AAA status earlier this year to AA1, has now put Spain on a watch for a further downgrade. Moody's made it clear that it regards Spain as solvent. The downgrade is the result of concerns over funding.
This is self-perpetuating bull-shit. If Moody's expresses its concern over funding, funding becomes expensive and the concern is validated. If it doesn't express its concern, funding costs remain stable.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 06:16:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For some reason, the project of a European ratings agency has been quietly shelved.

(Comment created without the use of the term "Anglo-Saxon" ;))

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 06:50:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think a European ratings agency is the solution. The solution is removing the regulatory placet from credit rating agencies.

Everyone, including the Central Banks, should have to perform in-house credit assessments. People can sell credit ratings and use off-the-shelf credit ratings to compose their own assessments, but prudential regulation shouldn't enshrine those agency ratings as official.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 06:52:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, but that isn't being pushed either. So we have to put up with self-fulfilling prophecies from New York agencies that, not long ago, backed steaming piles of US subprime to the hilt.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 08:25:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Should I start to push it?

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 09:43:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it's better than a European agency, that would be constantly undermined by propaganda fair and balanced media commentary, and it's more universal.

How soon do you think you could get the world to agree?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 10:48:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't need to convince the world, just the ECB...

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 10:49:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with a European agency is that it could (fairly) be criticised for its conflict of interest in rating EU debt (both sovereign and non-sovereign).

What is a joke here is the pretense that market competition among the rating agencies will keep them honest.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 10:51:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And remember, one of the main agencies, Fitch ratings, is "European": it is owned by the very French FIMALAC...

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 04:31:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is French owned but absolutely American in outlook.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 17th, 2010 at 04:50:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Five weeks ago... I criticised:
Zapatero, the last best hope of Social Democracy in Europe [sic], joins forces with the Conservative-Neoliberal governments of Germany, France, Britain and Italy in a futile attempt to protect his own bond spreads, only to find a few weeks/months from now that the other 4 larger economies hang him out to dry...
Who Could Have Predicted?

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 09:34:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some Anglo prosecutions recommended - Kenny - RTÉ News

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has said the files gardaí have prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions regarding their investigation of Anglo Irish Bank run to several hundred pages.

Speaking in Brussels this morning, Mr Kenny said it was his understanding that the gardaí were recommending that fewer than half a dozen people should be prosecuted.

It will be up to the DPP to decide whether to bring anyone to court.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 07:52:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See JakeS's classic Odious debts have odious debtors
Odious debts don't just happen to happen from time to time. Somebody has to agree to borrow the money.

So it is clearly a necessary (but not necessarily sufficient) condition for repudiating debt as odious that somebody in the defaulting country goes to prison. In the case of countries emerging from colonial or otherwise repressive governments, it is fairly simple to tell who needs to go to prison: The dictator or colonial magistrate, sometimes his family, usually a number of military people too.

In the case of a country that has been shock therapied by the IMF, it is less clear who needs to go to prison. But the people who precipitated the crisis that caused the IMF to bail out foreign lenders seem like good candidates. And the politicians who signed up for the IMF programme should arguably serve some time too.



Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 08:11:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 06:18:47 AM EST
U.S. mulls north Africa air base
Algiers, Algeria (UPI) Dec 14, 2010
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reported to be seeking "expressions of interest" in building a military airbase in a "North African country," indicating the Americans may be planning to take a more active role in the regional war against al-Qaida.

Intelligence Online, a Paris Web site that specializes in global intelligence, reported the call was issued Dec. 2 but didn't specify which country the Pentagon might have in mind.

The report stressed that "the project is lacking both authorization and funding at the moment, and there's nothing to say that (the airbase) will ever be built."

But it is known that U.S. military planners have been interested in establishing an airbase in the desert region for some time and has in the past focused on Algeria's Tamanrasset facility deep in the Sahara Desert.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 11:40:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ICC names Kenya violence suspects - Africa - Al Jazeera English

The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecution office has named six Kenyans, including the deputy prime minister and finance minister, for allegedly masterminding the country's worst post-independence bloodletting that claimed at least 1,200 lives.

Uhuru Kenyatta, the finance minister, and William Ruto, a former minister, had been widely suspected of involvement in the violence before the Hague-based ICC named them, according to Kenyan media.

Ruto had told Al Jazeera a day before the ICC announcement: "I will defend myself against any unfair treatment".

Announcing names of the suspects on Wednesday, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the chief ICC prosecutor, said that "members of the government also committed crimes".

"We identified two individuals. The first is Francis Muthaura," Moreno-Ocampo said.



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 Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 12:01:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Red Cross says Afghan conditions worst in 30 years | Reuters

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Spreading violence in Afghanistan is preventing aid organizations from providing help, with access to those in need at its worst level in three decades, the Red Cross said on Wednesday.

"The proliferation of armed groups threatens the ability of humanitarian organizations to access those in need. Access for the ICRC has over the last 30 years never been as poor," said Reto Stocker, Afghanistan head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which rarely makes public comments.

"The sheer fact the ICRC has organized a press conference... is an expression of us being extremely concerned of yet another year of fighting with dramatic consequences for an ever-growing number of people in by now almost the entire country."

The comments came a day before U.S. President Barack Obama was due to deliver the results of his Afghanistan war strategy,

and were the second warning in two weeks by the ICRC.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 12:08:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MIDEAST: Israel Now Builds Separation Wall With Africa - IPS ipsnews.net
CAIRO, Dec 15, 2010 (IPS) - After the separation barrier against Palestinian territories, Israel has begun to build a new wall, this one to keep migrants from Africa out. The new wall is coming up on the Egyptian border, and with Egyptian support.

The Israeli government approved plans late last month to build a detention camp near its border with Egypt to house illegal African immigrants. Local activists decried the move, which they say flies in the face of internationally accepted human rights norms.

"The idea of a prison built expressly for African immigrants is not only racist, it also contravenes basic tenets of international law," Hafez Abu Saeda, president of the Cairo-based Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights told IPS.

On Nov. 28, Israel's cabinet approved construction of a camp to temporarily accommodate undocumented African immigrants that enter Israel from neighbouring Egypt. According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who provided little else by way of detail, the project comes within the context of a wider plan to halt the "wave of illegal immigrants" entering the country in search of employment.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 02:52:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I said once before, soon they will put a massive roof over the country to complete their isolation from the "encroaching" world.

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 07:30:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dozens Die After Refugee Boat Sinks Off Christmas Island - NYTimes.com

HONG KONG -- More than two dozen people thought to be seeking asylum in Australia died on Wednesday after their boat smashed into the rocks of Christmas Island, setting off a desperate rescue effort by Australian authorities.

Authorities had retrieved 27 bodies while another 41 people were pulled from the ocean, according to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. One person aboard the small boat reached the island independently, the agency said.

The search and rescue operation was continuing into Wednesday evening, suggesting the number of people aboard the boat may be higher than earlier estimates by local news media.



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 Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 03:17:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WikiLeaks: Power politics at play - Features - Al Jazeera English

New Zealand and the United States have secretly re-initiated full intelligence collaboration, 25 years after they were first suspended.

The revelation was first reported by New Zealand's Sunday Star-Times weekly newspaper, which has obtained 1,490 diplomatic cables from the US embassy in Wellington, courtesy of WikiLeaks.

The report is the first in a series of articles by Nicky Hager, a reporter and researcher whose penetrative work regularly jolts New Zealand's political landscape - fellow antipodean journalist John Pilger has called him "quite simply, one of the world's leading investigative journalists".

The revived relationship come decades after United States first shunned military and intelligence ties with the South Pacific nation, as a retaliatory action in protest to New Zealand's adoption of nuclear-free legislation. US navy ships which were nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed were negatively impacted by the legislation.

The nuclear-free policy has become one of the cornerstones of national identity in New Zealand, and is generally supported across the political spectrum. It embodies what many New Zealanders like to think of as their nation's rebellious, independent streak.

While the nuclear-free zone remains intact, despite ongoing pressure from the US, the diplomatic cables show that the small country's leaders are much more pliant on other defence-related matters behind closed doors.

Is IdiotSavant around?

by Nomad on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 03:20:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
S. Korea stages nationwide civil defense drill amid tensions

SEOUL, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- South Korea staged a nationwide civil defense drill Wednesday amid heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula following the deadly shelling of Yeonpyeong Island by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) last month.

The drill took place at 2 p.m., with air raid sirens sounding across country. As the drill began, civilians were asked to take cover in nearby air raid shelters, subway stations or other designated underground facilities.

Traffic stopped for 15 minutes as drivers and pedestrians took part in the nationwide evacuation drill.

A dozen of KF-16 jets flied over major cities including Seoul and Busan to simulate an air raid.

Classes were also suspended as students and teachers took shelter.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 03:34:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WikiLeaks cables: Thai leaders doubt suitability of prince to become king | World news | The Guardian

Thai leaders harbour grave misgivings about the crown prince's fitness to become king owing to his reputation as a womaniser and links to a fugitive former prime minister, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable.

Three senior members of Thailand's powerful privy council, a group of advisers appointed by the king, make clear their preference for an alternative to Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, who is considered a political liability because of his extramarital affairs in several European countries.

The succession is of pressing concern as King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who turned 83 this month, is in poor health. Revered by most Thais, he is one of the few unifying figures in a country deeply divided between an urban elite and a rural poor.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 05:01:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MJ Rosenberg: AIPAC Palestinian Bashing Bill Rushed to House Floor

At last the United States is responding to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's refusal to freeze settlements and re-start negotiations with the Palestinians.

Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is today rushing to the House floor with an AIPAC-drafted resolution condemning the Palestinians for publicly suggesting that, in the wake of Netanyahu's refusal to freeze settlements and negotiate, they will consider a unilateral declaration of statehood. (As is usual with Berman, his resolution exclusively blames Palestinians for the collapse of peace talks; not a word of criticism of Israel appears.)



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 05:21:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ElPais.com: Cable in which it is claimed that [Portuguese PM] Socrates authorised flights to repatriate Guantanamo inmates
Socrates agreed to allow the repatriation of enemy combatants out of Guatanamo through Lajes Air Base on a case-by-case basis. This was a difficult decision, given the sustained criticism by Portuguese media and leftist elements of his own party over the government's handling of the CIA rendition flights controversy. Socrates's agreement has never been made public. The Attorney General's Office was forced to review a dossier of news clippings and unsubstantiated allegations regarding CIA rendition operations through Portugal provided by a member of the European Parliament. The AG's report should be released in the near future. Although we cannot predict its conclusions, government insiders and legal scholars have told us there was no useful or prosecutable information in the dossier.


Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 07:06:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 06:19:22 AM EST
Clouds Likely Created Positive Climate Feedback In Past Decade
College Station TX (SPX) Dec 15, 2010
A Texas A and M scientist's study of 10 years of NASA and other data found that clouds likely responded to carbon dioxide-induced global warming by amplifying that warming.

This amplified response is what scientists call a "positive feedback." The uncertainty about the feedback clouds will exhibit to increased greenhouse gases and a warmer climate remains one of the most difficult problems in long-term climate prediction.

This new research, to be published Dec. 10 by Andrew Dessler in Science, is the first to look at real-world observations of global clouds at low and high altitudes. And when Dessler did that he found evidence of a positive feedback, and evidence that despite the uncertainty levels, current climate models are doing a reasonable job simulating cloud feedback.

"We've used observations to show that clouds amplify the warming we get from carbon dioxide," Dessler said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 11:36:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What happened (and why): an assessment of the Cancun Agreements | Grist

The international climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, have concluded, and despite the gloom-and-doom predictions that dominated the weeks and months leading up to Cancun, the Sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 16) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) [PDF] must be judged a success. It represents a set of modest steps forward. Nothing more should be expected from this process.

As I said in my Nov. 19 essay -- Defining Success for Climate Negotiations in Cancun -- the key challenge was to continue the process of constructing a sound foundation for meaningful, long-term global action (not necessarily some notion of immediate, highly-visible triumph). This was accomplished in Cancun.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 11:47:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Forgotten vines help wine makers fight climate change | Grist

LE GRAU DU ROI, France -- Grapes on the vine crave sunshine, but wine growers in France and elsewhere are starting to worry that global warming is giving them too much of a good thing. And worry they should, if scientists are right.

Predicted increases in average temperatures of 3.6 to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit this century could spell the ruin of many of Europe's most fabled vineyards. Already, warning signs are abundant.

Serious wine makers embrace the fickle weather that yields more or less memorable vintages. Dealing with yearly fluctuations is part of the alchemy of turning grape juice into elixir.

But veterans who have nurtured and nursed vineyards over a period of decades are today reporting changes that chime perfectly with these threatening climate scenarios.

"Overall, we are seeing a rise in alcohol content and a drop in acidity. That's a problem," said Laurent Audeguin, head of research and development at the French Institute for Vineyards and Wine (IFV), a national repository for grape varietals.

I can confirm this from conversations with wine-makers, and it's a problem for them because it changes the nature of traditional wines.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 11:49:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Corn lobby cashes in on tax compromise | Grist

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) delivered a pretty good rant Friday against the Obama/GOP tax compromise. In his eight-hour quasi-filibuster, he highlighted the stupidity and injustice on doling out tax breaks to the wealthy when what the nation needs instead is a big dose of job-creating green-infrastructure spending.

But Bernie missed a spot. Deep in the shadows of the sausage machine, his Congressional colleagues managed to drop in a goodie for an industry that deserves no more goodies: industrial corn processing.

The latest version of the compromise, which is expected to, pass this week, would deliver a one-year extension of a tax break for ethanol use that costs the public about $5 billion per year.

The tax break is absurd. It adds to farmers' incentives to plant as much corn as possible and goose up yields by dumping on fertilizer. As such, it helps underwrite the Gulf of Mexico's gigantic annual dead zone -- yet more pressure on a vital ecosystem also being trashed by Big Oil. All this, for a fuel that likely does nothing to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 11:51:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ghana joins ranks of oil producers - Africa - Al Jazeera English

Ghana has joined the ranks of the world's oil producers, pumping crude oil for the first time from an offshore field in the Gulf of Guinea.

Ghanaian President John Atta Mills turned on the oil valves Wednesday in a ceremony that was broadcast live from a 330-metre-long floating platform located 60km off Ghana's Atlantic coast.

The Jubilee oil field, discovered three years ago, holds an estimated 1.8 million barrels of oil, and will begin producing around 55,000 barrels per day in the coming weeks.

Oil production is expected, however, to rise to about 120,000 barrels over the next six months, making the country Africa's seventh largest oil producer.



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 Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 12:05:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
`Perverse' CO2 Payments Send Flood of Money to China by Mark Schapiro: Yale Environment 360
European legislators in Brussels have discovered that the strategy they devised to combat climate change is helping subsidize the economy of their, and America's, major global competitor -- China. European companies have been overpaying Chinese companies more than 70 times the cost to eliminate a potent greenhouse gas -- triflouromethane, or hfc 23, a byproduct of manufacturing a refrigerant that has been banned in developed countries and is being phased out in developing ones.

In order to offset their own greenhouse gases, companies and utilities in Europe that are subject to the emission limits of the Kyoto Protocol have been paying vastly inflated prices to Chinese companies to destroy hfc 23, and in the process have been providing the Chinese government with hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue to compete against Europe's own "green" industries.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 12:37:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are Gun-Toting Climate Skeptics Taking Pot Shots at Wind Turbines? | Discoblog | Discover Magazine

It seems wind turbines aren't just stirring up energy, but a fair bit of emotion, too. And when that emotion comes in the form of gunshots, it makes the news.

In early December someone sabotaged poor wind turbine number 8 in a wind farm in Bingham township, Michigan by taking out its transformer. The Huron Daily Tribune reports:

A hole found in the transformer's radiator resulted in damage, which caused oil to leak out. The exact amount of damage to the $50,000 transformer was not reported. The hole in the transformer, according to police, appears to be from a small caliber firearm.... Huron County Sheriff Kelly J. Hanson said the damage to the transformer appears to be "intentional sabotage."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 03:28:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WikiLeaks cables: Chevron discussed oil project with Tehran, claims Iraqi PM | World news | The Guardian

The US energy firm Chevron negotiated with Tehran about developing an Iraq-Iran cross-border oilfield in spite of tight US sanctions, according to the Iraqi prime minister in leaked diplomatic cables.

Nouri al-Maliki's claim, reported in the cables, that Chevron was in discussions with the Iranian government will raise eyebrows in Europe and other parts of the world where international companies have come under significant pressure from Washington to end investments and other financial dealings with Tehran.

Chevron declined to either confirm or deny that it had been in contact with Iran, and confined its reaction to a statement saying it had not done, and would not do, anything in violation of US law.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 04:59:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WikiLeaks cables: BP accused by Azerbaijan of stealing oil worth $10bn | World news | The Guardian

The president of Azerbaijan accused BP of stealing billions of dollars of oil from his country and using "mild blackmail" to secure the rights to develop vast gas reserves in the Caspian Sea region, according to leaked US cables.

Ilham Aliyev said the oil firm tried to exploit his country's "temporary troubles" during a gas shortage in December 2006. In return for making more gas supplies available for domestic consumption that winter, BP wanted an extension of its lucrative profit-sharing contract with the government and the go-ahead to develop Caspian gas reserves, one cable from the US embassy in Baku reports. Aliyev also threatened to make BP's alleged "cheating" public, cables show.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 05:00:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WikiLeaks cables: BP suffered blowout on Azerbaijan gas platform | World news | The Guardian

Striking resemblances between BP's Gulf of Mexico disaster and a little-reported giant gas leak in Azerbaijan experienced by the UK firm only 18 months before have emerged from leaked US embassy cables.

The cables reveal that some of BP's partners in the gas field were upset that the company was so secretive about the incident that it even allegedly withheld information from them. They also say that BP was lucky that it was able to evacuate its 212 workers safely after the incident, which resulted in two fields being shut and output being cut by at least 500,000 barrels a day with production disrupted for months.

Other cables leaked tonight claim that the president of Azerbaijan accused BP of stealing $10bn of oil from his country and using "mild blackmail" to secure the rights to develop vast gas reserves in the Caspian Sea region



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 05:00:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WikiLeaks cables: Azerbaijan complains of BP clout in country | World news | The Guardian

In the 21st-century equivalent of the "Great Game", it seems that some Azeri ministers knew that there is likely to be only one winner in pipeline politics - BP.

Azerbaijan will become even more important in the future in supplying Europe with energy as new pipelines are planned to transport the vast oil and gas reserves in the Caspian Sea region westwards. But the US diplomatic cables show that in reality, despite threats and bluster from the government, it is BP who holds the key to how, when and where Azerbaijan's reserves are developed.

In a cable written in April 2007, the country's energy and industry minister, Natiq Aliyev, complains that "for much, if not most, of the GOAJ's [government of Azerbaijan] gas production, 'we depend on BP.'"



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 05:00:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good article by Jeff Masters on arctic sea ice, the North Atlantic Oscillation, and the crappy weather Europe and the US Eastern Seaboard is having.

However, the strongly negative NAO is back again this winter. High pressure has replaced low pressure over the North Pole, and according to NOAA, the NAO index during November 2010 was the second lowest since 1950. This strongly negative NAO has continued into December, and we are on course to have a top-five most extreme December NAO. Cold air is once again spilling southwards into the Eastern U.S. And Europe, bringing record cold and fierce snowstorms. At the same time, warm air is flowing into the Arctic to replace the cold air spilling south--temperatures averaged more than 10°C (18°F) above average over much of Greenland so far this month. The latest 2-week forecast from the GFS model predicts that the Hot Arctic-Cold Continents pattern will continue for the next two weeks.

And for some good news ...

However, the coldest air has sloshed over into Europe and Asia, and North America will see relatively seasonable temperatures the next two weeks.


Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 12:38:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 06:19:44 AM EST
FOXLEAKS: Fox boss ordered staff to cast doubt on climate science | Media Matters for America

In the midst of global climate change talks last December, a top Fox News official sent an email questioning the "veracity of climate change data" and ordering the network's journalists to "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question."

The directive, sent by Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon, was issued less than 15 minutes after Fox correspondent Wendell Goler accurately reported on-air that the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization announced that 2000-2009 was "on track to be the warmest [decade] on record."

This latest revelation comes after Media Matters uncovered an email sent by Sammon to Fox journalists at the peak of the health care reform debate, ordering them to avoid using the term "public option" and instead use variations of "government option." That email echoed advice from a prominent Republican pollster on how to help turn public opinion against health care reform.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 10:55:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Controversial East German-themed computer game finally goes online | Science & Technology | Deutsche Welle | 14.12.2010
1378 km' gives players a glimpse of border guard life along Germany's Cold War-era inner border. It is now available for download, months after the game's planned release sparked outrage among victims' groups. 

The developer of a "first-person shooter"-style computer game, which lets participants take on the role of an East German border guard or escapee along the former East-West border, defended his project ahead of its release last Friday evening, calling the game a way for younger generations to learn about Germany's history during the Cold War.

The 24-year-old media arts student behind the controversial computer download, Jens Stober, said critics had never even seen the game, which was held back from its planned launch on Germany's anniversary of reunification, October 3, following heated criticism.

"It has to be released today so that finally, everyone can form an opinion of it," Stober told a crowd of 100 gathered at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design, ahead of the project's premiere.



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 Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 12:06:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US air force blocks staff from websites carrying WikiLeaks cables | World news | The Guardian

The US air force has blocked employees from accessing the websites of the Guardian, the New York Times and other news organisations carrying the WikiLeaks US embassy cables.

At least 25 sites that have posted WikiLeaks files had been barred, said Major Toni Tones of the US air force's space command in Colorado. Tones said the action was taken in accordance with a policy that "routinely blocks air force network access to websites hosting inappropriate materials".

According to the Wall Street Journal, staff who attempt to access the blocked sites instead see an on-screen message saying: "Access denied. Internet usage is logged and monitored."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 12:34:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Q&A: "Child Marriage Is a Form of Violence Against Women" - IPS ipsnews.net
A: Whether it occurs in developed or developing countries, child marriage undermines the health and human rights of girls. Worldwide, more than 60 million girls between the ages of 20 and 24 were married before the age of 18 - often at the encouragement of their parents and often to much older men - with no say in the decision.

Child marriage can often lead to death during pregnancy and childbirth, and young brides also are more likely to experience gender-based violence, and are highly vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Every girl deserves a choice and the chance to chart the course of her life, and this legislation will help make this a reality for girls worldwide.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 02:54:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning's detention - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com
From the beginning of his detention, Manning has been held in intensive solitary confinement.  For 23 out of 24 hours every day -- for seven straight months and counting -- he sits completely alone in his cell.  Even inside his cell, his activities are heavily restricted; he's barred even from exercising and is under constant surveillance to enforce those restrictions.  For reasons that appear completely punitive, he's being denied many of the most basic attributes of civilized imprisonment, including even a pillow or sheets for his bed (he is not and never has been on suicide watch).  For the one hour per day when he is freed from this isolation, he is barred from accessing any news or current events programs.  Lt. Villiard protested that the conditions are not "like jail movies where someone gets thrown into the hole," but confirmed that he is in solitary confinement, entirely alone in his cell except for the one hour per day he is taken out.


Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 06:20:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Was the Yahoo hack techies' payback? | Media Monkey | Media | guardian.co.uk
Was it more than a coincidence that Yahoo's site seems to have been hacked on the day 600 staff were made redundant? The Independent reports that for at least an hour on Tuesday, virtually every picture result from a search linked to a distinctly not-safe-for-work photo. That's the risk you take when making techies redundant two weeks before Christmas.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 07:46:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 06:20:15 AM EST
Birther faces court martial for refusing deployment orders - Yahoo! News

According to The Associated Press, Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin disobeyed orders to report to a Kentucky base earlier this year because he doubts whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States and questions his eligibility to be president. Click here to view the charges.

Lakin served in Afghanistan, Korea, Bosnia, Germany, Honduras and El Salvador before taking up an occupational and environmental medicine residency in Maryland. In 2009, he became the chief of primary care at the Army's DiLorenzo TRICARE Health Clinic at the Pentagon. If Lakin is found guilty, he faces a dishonorable discharge, several years in prison and a forfeiture of his pay, which totals nearly $8,000 a month, CNN reported.

by Nomad on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 03:31:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A very strange event occurred in Porvoo, not 5 minutes ago.

It is very cold outside. It is dark. Forbidding. Nothing stirs. Then I hear a tap on my window, then a gentle tap on my door. Is it the Grim Reaper? No, it's Klaus. He went outside to look for 'ice taps' (icicles) for his G&T and locked himself out. Madame must be semi-comatose on the upstairs sofa - or playing hard to impress.

Luckily I had a little something cubic in my freezer. Let this be a lesson, Klaus. Never fuck with Jack Frost.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 04:49:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 05:43:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorely tempted to write "ice cubes" in a certain place and demand 500 euros for silence.

(LOL)

(again)


Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 05:49:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He'd just revel in the glory of madness...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 06:04:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Christmas ornament causes Pentagon bomb scare - U.S. news - Security - msnbc.com

WASHINGTON -- Authorities shut down the subway station at the Pentagon and diverted hundreds of passengers in frigid temperatures early Wednesday while investigating a suspicious object that turned out to be a blinking Christmas ornament.

Trains on the Washington area Metro system were forced to bypass the huge Defense Department headquarters after the object was discovered in the station at 7:15 a.m., said Chris Layman, spokesman for the Pentagon police force.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 05:05:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Finally - in the War Against Christmas, Christmas fights back.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 06:32:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nah, it's a false flag op.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 06:47:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Saw a comment somewhere in the last few days (and if here I can't find it) "In the war against Christmas, Christmas appears to be winning, as It's already annexed December and parts of November"

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 07:48:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"parts of November"

No, that's the War Against Thanksgiving.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 08:19:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
King of flamenco dies | Presseurop - English
"Farewell to the poet of flamenco," headlines ABC. In the wake of the death of acclaimed singer,  Enrique Morente, the daily laments the loss of  "a rebel who revolutionised the art of flamenco singing," which came as a shock to the world of Spanish music and culture. Morente, who was 67, died in hospital from complications that arose following a routine operation on a ulcer, and ABC reports that his family has now requested an autopsy. Born in Grenada, Morente was an innovator who enriched flamenco through his experiments with other musical styles. His parting, concludes ABC, "will bring to a close a major chapter in the history of flamenco."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 15th, 2010 at 11:27:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Morente, who was 67, died in hospital from complications that arose following a routine operation on a ulcer, and ABC reports that his family has now requested an autopsy.

This is far behind the curve. It has been known for days that he suffered from metastasizing esophagal cancer, not an ulcer.

The family has also sued the clinic where he died for medical malpractice.

From ElPais.com in English: Enrique Morente, flamenco's great innovative force, dies at 67: Singer had been in coma for several days after cancer surgery

He had spent several days in an induced coma following surgery to treat stomach cancer, which then led to hemorrhaging and a second emergency operation.


Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 02:23:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How do you make a blond, former top Nokia executive's eyes light up?

Answer: Shine a torch in his ear.

Anssi Vanjoki resigned from Nokia in September when he failed to get the top spot, after over a decade on the board.

Is he sad? Well, yes and no...

He's just made a big investment in Valkee, along with Esther Dyson a well-known angel investor.

Reduced exposure to light affects all of us. Symptoms are ranging from mood swings to the more serious seasonal affective disorder. The VALKEE bright light headset increases light exposure easily and effectively by bringing light very close to the brain via the ear canals.

Researchers at the University of Oulu, Finland, have researched bright light headsets since 2008, and are convinced that this is a significant method for the prevention and treatment of seasonal affective disorders and other depression types.



You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 02:25:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I must say I'm rather surprised no one has remarked on

European Tribune - European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 16 December

Our colonies on this date in history:


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 Dec 16th, 2010 at 04:14:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I found it intensely funny.

But in the wake of the Wikileaks cables we should call them Our Lords and Masters.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 04:15:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sneaked it by.

:D

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 04:36:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You should have also sneaked in a link to this.
On the night of December 16, 1773, the Sons of Liberty, a loosely knit secret organization of American colonists in favor of American independence, illegally boarded three British East India cargo ships in the Boston Harbor and threw 45 tons of tea into the harbor, rather than let the tea be landed. Today, as some have argued, this protest might be considered an act of terrorism, since it was property sabotage designed to bring to wide attention the political objectives of a non-state group, the American colonists.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 04:44:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm a national hero, you're a freedom fighter, they are terrorists.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 06:53:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
'Time For Adults': The Onion Mercilessly Spoofs Time Magazine

now that Time has poached Fareed Zakaria -- an actual grown-up who often pronounces multi-syllable words correctly -- from Newsweek, it makes sense to consider the magazine in a new light. And that's precisely what the good people at the Onion have done, with a fake-news-with-more-than-a-few-grains-of-truth report that announces that Time will be launching Time Advanced, a magazine for "adults," and, in some cases, pre-tween children soured on "out-of-touch trend pieces about virginity pledges."

WATCH

YouTube - TIME Announces New Version Of Magazine Aimed At Adults

Doing away with kid-friendly info bubbles and colorful photos, new 'TIME Advanced' will cater to adults with an interest in news.



Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 04:21:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lost in the hoopla is that the Mohawks were known in those days for their democracy. period.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 04:49:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The tea party imposters were Fauxhawks.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 05:09:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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