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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 30 December

by afew Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 04:15:31 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europe on this date in history:

1922 - Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is formed

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 29th, 2010 at 12:02:07 PM EST
Terror attack on Danish newspaper foiled | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 29.12.2010

Danish and Swedish police have arrested five people on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack against the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which printed the controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005.

The head of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service Jakob Scharf said the suspects were planning to force their way into the newspaper's Copenhagen offices with the intention of killing as many people as possible.

Scharf said several of the suspects could be described "as militant Islamists with connections to international terror networks."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:19:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
German airport boss sparks debate about passenger profiling | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 29.12.2010
The future president of the German Airport Association has called for checks based on age, sex and ethnicity for "high-risk passengers." But the German justice minister has flatly rejected the idea. 

The CEO of Dusseldorf Airport, Christoph Blume, said he wanted to introduce passenger profiling in German airports to fight terrorism. The system would be similar to that used in Israel, where passengers are categorized as high or low risk according to their age, sex, ethnic background and other criteria. 

"In this way, the security systems can be more effectively used to benefit all those involved," Blume, who will become president of the German Airport Association (ADV) in January, told the German Newspaper Rheinische Post on Tuesday.

High-risk passengers - those deemed more likely to carry out terrorist or illegal activity, such as organized crime, drug trafficking or espionage - would undergo more stringent security checks. This could mean anything from a bag search to a full body search.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:19:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anger grows at Northern Ireland water shortage | UK news | guardian.co.uk

There was growing anger against Northern Ireland Water as up to 40,000 homes and businesses were still without water supplies today after a thaw in icy conditions caused pipes to burst.

Business leaders and consumers called for "heads to roll" in the company over the disruption to the local water supply. Some families in west Belfast have been without water since Christmas Eve.

At a number of emergency water centres around Belfast there were demands that those at the top of Northern Ireland Water be held responsible for the shortages.

Outside Avoniel Leisure Centre in north Belfast, where people queued for bottled water, there was widespread discontent over the handling of the crisis.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:22:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French-Russian Ship Deal Criticized - NYTimes.com

PARIS -- Since a low-key Christmas Eve announcement of a French sale of assault ships to Russia, high-level government deal makers have boasted about the multimillion-euro deal like it was a soccer game triumph. "France wins," declares the Web site for the Élysée Palace.

But critics -- particularly among Russia's neighbors including Georgia, Estonia and Lithuania -- are raising alarms that France may have pioneered the way for other Western countries to sell Russia whatever they have to offer, from high-technology military equipment to rights for oil pipelines.

"It's a scandal," said André Glucksmann, a French philosopher and critic of the deal. He said in an interview on Tuesday that the announcement was timed for the busy Christmas season to bury the "dirty details."

The boxy, 600-foot-long Mistral vessel is an advanced helicopter carrier equipped with a command center and hospital for military landing operations. It is the first major arms purchase by Russia abroad and the first sale by a NATO country, illustrating the shifting role of an alliance once conceived to counter Soviet military power.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:28:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The range (6,000 nautical miles) doesn't get them anywhere if they are stationed in the Baltic or Murmansk.  And, let's face it, the Russians can control the Baltic anytime they feel like it; that, however, doesn't get them anywhere since they have to pass Sjelland using the Oresund or Storebaelt -- a perfect kill zone.  Which works the other way, too: the Russians have nothing to fear from the Baltic.

It's hard for me to see what would be accomplished by having them stuck on the Pacific at Vladivostok.  

Bet these things are going to be deployed in the Black Sea.

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

by ATinNM on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 12:39:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Macedonian media mogul under arrest (SETimes.com)

Supporters of a Macedonian media organisation are crying foul after its owner was arrested last week together with several relatives and company managers. They say the A1 TV station and affiliated newspapers -- Shpic, Vreme and Koha e re -- are being targeted by authorities for political reasons.

"The TV station A1 has the capacity to continue its operations," vowed A1's main desk editor, Mladen Chadikovski.

Police detained owner Velija Ramkovski on December 23rd as they investigate allegations of fraud and organised crime. Also arrested were his daughter, brother and the former and current directors of the TV station.

Meanwhile, a warrant has been released for Ramkovski's son Hedi, who could not be located by law enforcement authorities.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:58:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More fun from Spain on electricity. Back in May the Industry ministry made cuts in the systems of feed in tariffs (FITs) for solar renewables.  At that time they wanted to act preemptively on rising FITs for PV solar in order to show that they were acting to limit increases in home electric bills. News coming out today makes clear what the rush was. Electric bills are about to go way up.  



El Pais:Sebastián afirma que la subida de la luz equivale a "poco más que un café"El Pais: Sebastian says that electric increase is "little more than a coffee."
El ministro de Industria, Turismo y Comercio, Miguel Sebastián, ha salido hoy en defensa de la subida del precio de la electricidad aprobada el pasado lunes y ha restado importancia a su impacto final en las economías domésticas. En plena cascada de críticas por el encarecimiento en un 9,8% de media del recibo cuando el país todavía no ha salido de la crisis, Sebastián ha destacado que el Gobierno ha tomado esta medida por "necesidad, responsabilidad y sin olvidar a los más vulnerables".Industry, Tourism, and Commerce minister Miguel Sebastian came out today in defense of increases in electric prices approved last Monday and has minimized its final impact on households. Facing an avalanche of criticism of the 9.8% average increase when the country still hasn't emerged from economic crisis, Sebastian has stressed that the Government has taken this measure of "necessity, responsibility, and without forgetting the most vulnerable.
El ministro ha justificado la decisión en dos factores: uno estructural, que es el déficit tarifario (la diferencia entre lo que se paga y lo que cuesta producir la luz, una hipoteca de años que ya suma 20.000 millones y que deben pagar los consumidores a las eléctricas); y por otra parte, el incremento de los precios internacionales de la energía, un factor clave dado que España importa aproximadamente el 80% de su suministro. La guinda para la subida ha sido el alza del petróleo, que se ha encarecido un 40% en el último año, lo que ha tenido un efecto arrastre en la generación de energía. También han motivado la decisión del Gobierno las ayudas al carbón, que Sebastián ha defendido, ya que suponen el 3% del incremento que entrará en vigor el 1 de enero.The minister has justified the decision on two grounds: one structural, which is the tariff deficit (the difference between what one pays and what it costs to produce electricity, a years-old debt which now stands at 20 billion which consumers should pay to utilities); and on the other hand, an increase in international energy prices, a key factor given that Spain imports approximately 80% of its supplies. The last straw has been the rise in oil prices, which have increased 40% in the last year, which have dragged down energy generation. The Government decision on coal subsidies, which Sebastian has defended, already supposes a 3% increase entering into effect on January 1st.



And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 09:15:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Expect to hear a lot about how subsidies to renewables are the cause of the rise.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 03:03:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
renewables are guilty of every ill on the planet, since the sun first began shining on the earth. I call for as purge of sunlight.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - AnaÔs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 03:35:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:02:37 PM EST
China says corruption 'still very serious' problem
Beijing (AFP) Dec 29, 2010
China on Wednesday admitted its corruption problem was "still very serious" and pledged to work harder to crush widespread official graft and win the public's confidence.

In a new government report on the anti-corruption drive, the communist rulers in Beijing reiterated that the country's "harmony and stability" depended on efforts to build a clean government.

It said the ruling party had shifted its efforts to stamp out graft in the past decade to focus on senior officials who collude with corrupt businessmen or shield underworld figures, as well as cases "that cause mass disturbances".

"So far, China's effort to combat corruption... has yielded notable results," said the report issued by the State Council, or cabinet.

But it warned that "corruption persists, with some cases even involving huge sums of money. The situation in combating corruption is still very serious, and the tasks are still abundant," it said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:14:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Estonia's recession-hit economy prepares for euro introduction | Business | Deutsche Welle | 29.12.2010
Estonia will adopt the euro on January 1, but experts and citizens are wary of the fact. Once known for its ascendant economy, Estonia's financial prospects were changed drastically by the global economic crisis. 

Starting in the late 1990s, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia enjoyed an unprecedented economic boom. Dubbed the "Baltic Tigers", these three republics grew as much as 12 percent per year.

While tiny Estonia is the smallest of the three states, it was regarded as the poster child of these emerging economic hotbeds. With a flare for technology, the country was often jokingly called "E-Stonia".

One of the government's key economic goals was to become a member of the eurozone. Following years of negotiations, Estonia will introduce the common currency on January 1, 2011.

Unfortunately for many residents, the global financial crisis has wiped out many of the telltale signs of economic prosperity in Estonia.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:20:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Central Bank ups bond purchasing over Christmas period

28.12.2010 @ 07:57 CET

The European Central Bank on Monday announced that its purchase of eurozone government bonds jumped to €1.121 billion over the past week.

The increase, almost twice the previous week's purchase of €603 million in government bonds, comes despite the low level of trading over the Christmas period, as Frankfurt maintains its eurozone vigilance in Frankfurt even amid turkey dinners and carols.

Total government debt purchases by the ECB amount to €73.5 billion since it began a buying programme in May when the Greek government hit the wall in its attempts to sell public debt to investors.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:37:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / UK / Economy & Trade - House price declines forecast to continue

House prices have further to fall in 2011 as government austerity measures bite and banks continue to restrict the supply of mortgages, say economists polled by the Financial Times.

UK house prices fell 20 per cent from a peak in 2007 to a trough in 2009 and subsequently recovered roughly half those losses. But since the summer, prices have again been slipping and economists expect them to fall further.

Of the 56 economists who expressed a firm view in the FT's poll, 50 thought prices had further to fall, against six who thought they would rise. Most of the economists did not expect a crash but for prices to fall 5-10 per cent as households struggled with tight finances.

"Traditionally, in the absence of distress selling, the UK housing market adjusts more through volumes than prices, so prices are likely to slip rather than plummet next year," said Ian McCafferty, chief economist of the CBI employers' body.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:37:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of the 56 economists who expressed a firm view in the FT's poll, 50 thought prices had further to fall, against six who thought they would rise. Most of the economists did not expect a crash

Uh oh.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 08:33:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / UK / Economy & Trade - House price declines forecast to continue

When asked whether the nation should worry about house price declines, economists were split. Many believe prices are still fundamentally too high and causing social problems, so a movement lower represents a normalisation in the market.

Willem Buiter, chief economist of Citi and a former member of the monetary policy committee, said: "Anything that reduces UK house prices has to be a good thing on balance."

More affordable housing prices "a good thing", who would have thought?

by Bernard on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 10:21:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sweden Shows Central Bankers How to Fight Next Asset Bubble - Bloomberg.com

Dec. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Sweden's central bank may set the direction for other policy makers as it looks beyond conventional inflation targets to asset-price growth in an effort to prevent the next bubble.

"Not countering asset-price increases has been the conventional wisdom among central banks, but what has it actually resulted in?" said Tina Mortensen, an economist at Citigroup Inc. in London. "Surely the current crisis has made central bankers rethink policy; Sweden is actually facing this problem" because "asset prices and monetary policy are a hot topic," she said.

Riksbank Governor Stefan Ingves has raised the repo rate four times since July even as inflation remains below the bank's 2 percent target. The increases occurred as house prices move above pre-crisis levels and credit growth hovers near 9 percent. While Sweden raises rates, the U.S., the euro region, Japan and the U.K. are keeping borrowing costs at record lows.

The financial crisis that started more than two years ago was exacerbated by central banks holding rates too low as inflation gauges failed to capture asset-price growth, according to Johnny Akerholm, president of the Helsinki-based Nordic Investment Bank. He says most policy makers are repeating the mistake.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:41:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dodging Repatriation Tax Lets U.S. Companies Bring Home Cash - Bloomberg.com

Dec. 29 (Bloomberg) -- At the White House on Dec. 15, business executives asked President Obama for a tax holiday that would help them tap more than $1 trillion of offshore earnings, much of it sitting in island tax havens.

The money -- including hundreds of billions in profits that U.S. companies attribute to overseas subsidiaries to avoid taxes -- is supposed to be taxed at up to 35 percent when it's brought home, or "repatriated." Executives including John T. Chambers of Cisco Systems Inc. say a tax break would return a flood of cash and boost the economy.

What nobody's saying publicly is that U.S. multinationals are already finding legal ways to avoid that tax. Over the years, they've brought cash home, tax-free, employing strategies with nicknames worthy of 1970s conspiracy thrillers -- including "the Killer B" and "the Deadly D."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:45:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
M&A Bankers See Cross-Border Takeovers Propelling India Past Record 2010 - Bloomberg

Indian mergers and acquisitions in 2011 may surpass this year's record $71 billion of deals, led by oil and gas, metals and mining companies, according to M&A bankers including Topsy Mathew of Standard Chartered Plc.

Billionaire Sunil Mittal's $10.7 billion acquisition of mobile-phone operators in Africa led an almost four-fold increase in takeovers this year as deals surpassed 2007's $69 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

"Large Indian corporates are going through a growth phase: they think there is a lot of opportunity, they think they have access to capital," 35-year-old Mathew, managing director for M&A for India, said in an interview Dec. 27. The London-based bank climbed 13 places to No. 2 among Indian takeover advisers this year, its highest ranking, Bloomberg data show. "They are capitalizing on the positive sentiment to undertake long-term strategic transactions," he said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:53:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Staat: Steuereinnahmen - Angst vor dem Milliarden-Ausfall - Geld - sueddeutsche.deGovernment: Tax revenues - fear of shortfall in the billions

Und wieder profitieren die Firmen: Weil sie alte Verluste mit neuen Gewinnen verrechnen können, fehlen Bund und Ländern womöglich 180 Milliarden Euro. Finanzminister Schäuble kennt das Problem - weiß aber keine Lösung.

And once again the corporations benefit: Because they can offset old losses against new profits, federal, state and local governments my be short 180 billion euros. Finance Minister Schäuble is aware of the problem - but has no solution.
Bund, Ländern und Gemeinden drohen in den kommenden Jahren Steuerausfälle in dreistelliger Milliardenhöhe. Das ergibt sich aus einer Aufstellung des Bundesfinanzministeriums, die am Mittwoch bekannt wurde. Schuld sind sogenannte Verlustvorträge von Unternehmen. Die Koalition sucht nun nach Wegen, diese zu beschränken.National, state and local governments may face tax shortfalls running into the three-digit billions next year. This is the result of an accounting prepared by the Finance Ministry that was made public on Wednesday. The problem lies in corporate loss carry-forwards. The coalition is now seeking ways to limit this.


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 01:17:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US Mint runs out of silver blanks

Production of United States Mint American Eagle Silver Uncirculated Coins continues to be temporarily suspended because of unprecedented demand for American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins. Until recently, all available silver bullion blanks were being allocated to the American Eagle Silver Bullion Coin Program, as the United States Mint is required by Public Law 99-61 to produce these coins "in quantities sufficient to meet public demand . . . ."

Although the demand for precious metal coins remains high, the increase in supply of planchets--coupled with a lower demand for bullion orders in August and September--allowed the United States Mint to meet public demand and shift some capacity to produce numismatic versions of the American Eagle One Ounce Silver Proof Coin.

However, because of the continued demand for American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins, 2010-dated American Eagle Silver Uncirculated Coins will not be produced.

The United States Mint will resume production of American Eagle Silver Uncirculated Coins once sufficient inventories of silver bullion blanks can be acquired to meet market demand for all three American Eagle Silver Coin products.



Vencit omnia veritas.
by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]a[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]gmail[dot]com) on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 05:11:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:02:57 PM EST
Jailed China milk activist free on parole, supporters worry
Beijing (AFP) Dec 29, 2010
A Chinese father jailed after campaigning for victims of a huge tainted milk scandal has said he was freed on medical parole and regretted his actions, but supporters say his words may have been forced.

A statement posted on Zhao Lianhai's blog, apparently written by the 38-year-old himself, said he was being treated in hospital and did not want to have contact with anyone anymore.

Zhao -- whose child was one of 300,000 made ill by milk tainted with the industrial chemical melamine in 2008, during a scandal that saw at least six babies die -- was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in November.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:15:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A sentence which rather puts china's supposed desire to see an end to corruption in an interesting light

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 08:45:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Australia PM urges help for 'unprecedented' floods
Sydney (AFP) Dec 29, 2010
Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday warned "unprecedented" flooding would worsen after entire towns were cut off and soldiers airlifted hundreds of people from northeastern towns.

Drenching rains unleashed by a tropical cyclone have left vast tracts of the state of Queensland under water, with 1,000 evacuations and 38 regions declared natural disaster areas.

Gillard launched a public appeal for relief funds, pledging one million dollars (one million US) of government money to help those hit by the "particularly devastating" deluge.

"Some communities are seeing floodwaters higher than they've seen in decades, and for some communities floodwaters have never reached these levels before (in) the time that we have been recording floods," Gillard told reporters.

"For many communities we haven't even seen the peak of the floodwaters yet, that's a number of days away."

Hundreds fled their homes in the coastal city of Bundaberg, north of Brisbane, and in nearby Emerald, while the inundated town of Theodore was completely emptied by soldiers with Black Hawk helicopters.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:16:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Unprecedented" weather, huh?

Who Could Have Predicted?

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

by ATinNM on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 12:55:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU refuses to recognize Gbagbo diplomats | World | Deutsche Welle | 28.12.2010
The EU has announced it won't recognize diplomats selected by disputed Ivory Coast leader Laurent Gbagbo. Meanwhile, members of the African bloc of nations have threatened to remove him by force. 

The validity of Laurent Gbagbo's claim to the office of President of Ivory Coast took another hit on Wednesday, when the French Foreign Ministry announced that EU nations would recognize only representatives selected by his rival, Alassane Ouattara.

 

The decision was reached among EU heads of state meeting in Brussels, a French Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

 

Following presidential elections in November, Ouattara was recognized as the rightful winner by the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union and the United States, but incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo has so far refused to step down. The dispute has boiled over into violent clashes, and around 200 people have been killed.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:22:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Insurgents Set Aside Rivalries on Afghan Border - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON -- Rival militant organizations on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border have increasingly been teaming up in deadly raids, in what military and intelligence officials say is the insurgents' latest attempt to regain the initiative after months of withering attacks from American and allied forces.

New intelligence assessments from the region assert that insurgent factions now are setting aside their historic rivalries to behave like "a syndicate," joining forces in ways not seen before. After one recent attack on a remote base in eastern Afghanistan, a check of the dead insurgents found evidence that the fighters were from three different factions, military officials said.

In the past, these insurgent groups have been seen as sharing ideology and inspiration, but less often plans for specific missions.

Now the intelligence assessments offer evidence of a worrisome new trend in which extremist commanders and their insurgent organizations are coordinating attacks and even combining their foot soldiers into patchwork patrols sent to carry out specific raids.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:23:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aid groups in Afghanistan question U.S. claim of Taliban setbacks | McClatchy

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Citing evidence that Taliban insurgents have expanded their reach across Afghanistan, aid groups and security analysts in the country are challenging as misleading the Obama administration's recent claim that insurgents now control less territory than they did a year ago.

"Absolutely, without any reservation, it is our opinion that the situation is a lot more insecure this year than it was last year," said Nic Lee, the director of the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office, an independent organization that analyzes security dangers for aid groups.

"We don't see COIN has had any impact on the five-year trajectory," he said, referring to the counterinsurgency strategy that U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, has championed.

While U.S.-led forces have driven insurgents out of their strongholds in southern Afghanistan, Taliban advances in the rest of the country may have offset those gains, a cross section of year-end estimates suggests.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:33:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PERU: Army's Version of Civil War Events Questioned - IPS ipsnews.net
LIMA, Dec 28, 2010 (IPS) - A decade after the end of Peru's 20-year counterinsurgency war was officially declared, the army broke its silence, to give its own version of events.

The report, "In Honour of the Truth", based on dispatches by officers involved in combat missions, contradicts the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR), which issued a lengthy report on the 1980-2000 armed conflict in 2003, based principally on the testimony of survivors and relatives of victims.

According to the CVR, nearly 70,000 people, mainly indigenous peasants, were killed or forcibly disappeared, as victims of the Maoist Shining Path guerrillas or the state security forces.

"We are only giving our account of the events and facts, which are described in the war dispatches," said General Otto Guibovich, who was army chief until the first week of December, and who ordered the drafting of the report in 2009.

"To write the history of a conflict, anyone knows it is necessary to consult the war dispatches, because that's where the history is recorded," he told IPS.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:26:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gabon 'siphoned funds' to France - Africa - Al Jazeera English

Top-ranking Gabonese officials working for the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) colluded to embezzle millions, giving much of the money to members of France's two main political parties, according to a memo by the US embassy in Yaounde.

Around $36 million was stolen from the pooled reserves of the Central African Economic Community (BEAC) over a period of five years, the memo said.

Dated July 7, 2009, the memo was published on Tuesday by the Spanish newspaper El Pais, which obtained the document marked "Confidential" from WikiLeaks, the whistleblowing website.

The affair become public in October 2009, three months after the embassy memo was written.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:27:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some juicy bits:

Cable sobre la corrupción en seis países africanos · ELPAÍS.com

Asked what the officials did with the stolen
funds, the BEAC official responded, "sometimes they kept it
for themselves, sometimes they funneled it to French
political parties." Asked who received the funds, the
official responded, "both sides, but mostly the right;
especially Chirac and including Sarkozy." The BEAC
official said "Bongo was France's favorite President in
Africa," and "this is classic France Afrique."

Cable sobre la corrupción en seis países africanos · ELPAÍS.com

The Audit Committee includes representatives from
the six CEMAC economies plus a representative from the
French Treasury. The Heads of States agreed to conduct two
audits, a general review of internal accounts and a
specific investigation into Andzembe's unauthorized
placement of funds at Societe Generale. According to the BEAC
official, the investigators have yet to understand fully the
details of the SG account. "Even SG tells us that they are
unable to determine the structure of the investment that
Anzembe made!" he marveled. The official theorized that SG
had used the BEAC funds to help "plug the hole" created by
the Kerviel rogue trader scandal, but that the financial
crisis had overwhelmed SG and swallowed BEAC's funds.
by Bernard on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 07:15:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
South Korea indicates willingness to resume six-party talks | McClatchy

BEIJING -- South Korea's president indicated Wednesday that his administration may be willing to resume multilateral talks that include North Korea, a sign that tensions could be easing on the Korean Peninsula.

There is "no choice but to resolve the problem of dismantling North Korea's nuclear program diplomatically through the six-party talks," President Lee Myung-bak said after he received an annual policy report from the Foreign Ministry, according to South Korea's Yonhap news service.

Despite a long list of potential obstacles, chief among them another North Korean attack on the South, Lee's statement could prove a breakthrough in what's become an especially dangerous standoff.

Paik Hak-soon, an analyst in South Korea, said Lee's statement supporting the six-party talks -- which include Russia, China, Japan and the United States -- was a sign that the South was willing to scale down its confrontation with the North.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:32:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The War Nerd: War & Weather...Plus: Hyundai vs. Autism: Whoop-De-Doo! - By Gary Brecher - The eXiled

Guess I should start this off with Korea, the North hammering that Southern island and the South responding like a big sister dealing with her autistic little brother: "Ow, I wonder what made him hit me in the face that time. Maybe his diaper needs changing." We knew a family who actually had an autistic son like that, a huge handsome athletic-looking guy whose stereo wires had come unhooked some time around second grade, and if you went over to their house when he was around you definitely wanted to stay out of kicking, biting and punching range. He never telegraphed his bites or punches. Pro fighters could have taken lessons from him. He's giggling at some private brain-damaged little joke on the sofa next to you and wham! You're seeing cartoon birdies, and his sister and mom are busy trying to help him relax. "What's wrong, Kenny? Kenny? Honey?" And you're lying sideways on the couch like Chuck Liddell after his manager talked him into trying the Rampage Jackson road to the title one more time. They don't even notice you; all they care about is calming "little" Kenny (who was a head taller than me) down again.

I can understand that kind of behavior--Korea hasn't had a very cheerful history, they lost God knows how many people in the last war, maybe two million, they have a lot of good reasons not to go to war with themselves again--but excuse me if it doesn't turn me on much.

[...]

Prediction: What's going to happen? Nothing. Noise. Bullshit Kremlinology about what the artillery attack means: It's Kim III's way of asserting power, or it's his enemies' way of asserting power, or it's the NKPA's way of asserting power against the politicians...I say just blame autism. Why not? You can blame autism for anything these days. Just say, "You can't blame poor NK, he's autistic." Always makes me laugh, that "He's autistic" thing. Like somebody from Brooklyn talking about Picasso: "He's autistic? Whyn'cha buy'im some paints an'a caaaanvas den, huh?"



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:33:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
North Korea needs to purchase foodstuffs on the global market to keep its population from starving.  Since they don't make or have anything, that anybody wants, they have to do this kind of thing so the rest of the world will give them money to shut-up.

I don't know why China thinks having an economic basket case run by a deranged lunatic on their border is a Good Thing ... but they do.  Until they don't the situation isn't going to change.

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

by ATinNM on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 01:01:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To prevent a re-unification of the Korean peninsula, maybe?
Anyway, from China's perspective, the efforts/reward ratio is becoming less interesting by the day...
by Bernard on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 01:39:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anything's better to China than having US troops on the border, I guess. Also, they have a Corean minority on the border that could get strange separatist ideas if the other side of the border was becoming prosperous with SK cash...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misŤres
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 01:59:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Passenger Outrage Rises as Storm Snarls U.S. Travel (Update2) - Bloomberg.com

Dec. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Anger mounted over passengers stranded on airport tarmacs and in terminals as flight delays threatened to stretch into the weekend following the worst December snowstorm to hit New York City in six decades.

As many as 1.2 million airline customers may have been affected by almost 8,000 flight cancellations as the storm that hit three days ago closed major airports. Passengers were forced to try to make new plans, sometimes without being able to reach airlines by phone or online for help.

"There's a haphazard strategy to how airlines address these issues," said Brandon Macsata, executive director of the Association for Airline Passenger Rights. "That's why passengers get so angry. It's not about the weather. It's about how airlines communicate after weather occurs."

The disruptions affected the nation's largest and most- congested air travel market during one of the busiest times of the year. With planes already flying at their fullest since World War II, carriers were struggling to find empty seats to rebook travelers.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:41:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
With planes already flying at their fullest since World War II

Yes, you did read that right.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:42:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A March of Folly in Pakistan - NYTimes.com

LONDON -- News reports that senior U.S. commanders in Afghanistan want to expand Special Operations ground raids into Pakistan's tribal areas may well have been leaked deliberately in order to increase pressure on Pakistani military leaders to take tougher action against Taliban fighters seeking refugee in their country.

However, if American generals genuinely want to increase such raids, then it needs to be stated emphatically that this is not just a lunatic idea, but one that demonstrates how far senior American (and British) commanders have become obsessed with the war in Afghanistan at the expense of the struggle against terrorism as a whole.



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 29th, 2010 at 04:53:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that demonstrates how far senior American (and British) commanders have become obsessed with the war in Afghanistan at the expense of the struggle against terrorism as a whole.

what struggle against terrorism ? That would require a political campaign where all military action is subservient to the political goal. A strategy that has been noticeably absent since the moment bush decided to invade. Indeed, DC has entirely surrendered the conduct of the "struggle" over to the Pentagon, who are simply not equipped to do anything other than fight military battles. Which is what they've done, even if their every battlefield victory makes "winning", however defined, less likely.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 08:53:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
HONDURAS, TEGUCIGALPA - HRN radio reporter Henry Suazo was gunned down Tuesday in La Masica, a town on Honduras' Caribbean coast, his employers said. (...) The slaying of the HRN correspondent brings to 10 the number of journalists murdered this year in Honduras. All of the crimes remain unsolved.

BUENOS AIRES - A blistering heat wave, power outages and a fuel shortage added up Tuesday to a second day of hellish conditions in Greater Buenos Aires, home to about a quarter of Argentina's 40 million people.

Colombia Reports: Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday confirmed the death of "Cuchillo," one of Colombia's most wanted drug lords.

SAO PAULO - The population of Brazil's prison system currently stands at 494,237 inmates, or triple the number behind bars 15 years ago, according to official figures.

Bananama Republic: On August 5, we reported on these pages how the US government had tried to recoup wiretapping equipment it had previously donated to the Panamanian intelligence services, with unnamed sources claiming the equipment was being used for unlawful purposes such as political espionage. Newly released cables from the WikiLeaks stash of diplomatic messages from the US embassy in Panama now reveal how Martinelli tried to blackmail the US into assisting him with an illegal espionage operation.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 05:52:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ladies and Gentleman (and fellow aliens)
We present the 2010 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Mark Fiore

and his review of the year that wasn't, 2010.

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

by Crazy Horse on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 03:54:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:03:26 PM EST
Japan postpones launch of emission trading system: reports
Tokyo (AFP) Dec 28, 2010
Japan on Tuesday postponed the creation of a greenhouse gas emission trading system by a year until after April 2014 in the face of strong resistance from the business lobby, news reports said.

The centre-left government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan had planned to launch the system -- in which companies would essentially buy and sell 'licences to pollute' -- in the fiscal year starting in April 2013.

But his environment and other ministers decided to postpone the plan, saying the country will first "carefully consider it," Jiji Press and Kyodo News reported. Immediate confirmation was not available.

A carbon-trading system sets a cap on the pollutants companies can emit and then forces heavy polluters to buy credits from companies that pollute less -- creating financial incentives to cut emissions.

Japan has long championed the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, named after its ancient capital.

But Japan opposed its proposed extension at a UN meeting in Mexico this month, calling it unfair because it does not include 70 percent of the world's emissions, with top polluters China and the United States absent.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:13:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Study: Human error spreads GM crops
Tucson (UPI) Dec 28, 2010
Careless handling of the seeds of genetically modified crops may be the key reason for their unintended spread, U.S. researchers say.

The finding by researchers at the University of Arizona challenges the long-held belief that the main source of GM contamination is the transfer of pollen by bees, Britain's The Guardian reported Wednesday.

Entomologist Shannon Heuberger and her colleagues measured the movement of genes between different populations of Bacillus thuringiensis cotton, a widely-planted GM crop, in 15 fields in Arizona.

Gene flow via the transmission of pollen by bees was rare, they found. Fewer than 1 percent of seeds produced by ordinary cotton plants contained genes from Bt cotton that had been transmitted in this way, they said.

But poor seed sorting resulted in some seed bags intended for planting in non-GM fields containing as much as 20 percent GM seed, they discovered.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:17:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France rediscovers its forgotten wines
Gaillac, France (AFP) Dec 24, 2010
Bernard Plageoles' eyes flash with anger as he describes a largely futile 30-year struggle to dissuade fellow vintners from ripping up the now rare grape varietals that once defined this historic wine region.

Four decades ago, the rolling vineyards of Gaillac, in southwestern France, were laden with distinctive grapes even ardent wine lovers have probably never heard of: mauzac noir, prunelard, l'ondenc, duras, loin-de-l'oeil.

The last of these translates as "far-from-sight," and that's where these ancient varietals are today.

By the early 1990s, many had virtually disappeared, torn from their native soil and replaced with the handful of grapes made famous in the legendary vineyards of Bordeaux, Burgundy and the upper Rhone Valley.

"We were told that we would never be able to raise the quality of our wines with indigenous varietals," recalled Plageoles.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:24:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Keenan 2 Wind Farm Commences Commercial Operation
Silver Spring MD (SPX) Dec 28, 2010
CPV Renewable Energy Company has announced that it has completed construction and testing of its 152-megawatt (MW) Keenan II wind farm in Oklahoma and the project is now delivering clean, renewable energy into the electric grid.

Located on approximately 8,000 acres 12 miles southwest of Woodward, Oklahoma, the project is the second phase of a multi-phased wind generation project with a total build-out potential exceeding 350 MW. CPV developed and sold the 101 MW Keenan I wind farm to Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG and E) in September 2008.

The Keenan II project has secured a 20-year power purchase agreement with OG and E. In addition to CPV, the wind farm is co-owned by GE Energy Financial Services and Tyr Keenan II, LLC, an indirect subsidiary of ITOCHU Corporation.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:24:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dust shatters like glass: Several times more dust particles in atmosphere than previously thought

ScienceDaily (Dec. 27, 2010) -- Clues to future climate may be found in the way that an ordinary drinking glass shatters. A study appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that microscopic particles of dust, emitted into the atmosphere when dirt breaks apart, follow similar fragment patterns to broken glass and other brittle objects.

The research, by National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) scientist Jasper Kok, suggests there are several times more dust particles in the atmosphere than previously thought, since shattered dirt appears to produce an unexpectedly high number of large dust fragments.

The finding has implications for understanding future climate change because dust plays a significant role in controlling the amount of solar energy in the atmosphere. Depending on their size and other characteristics, some dust particles reflect solar energy and cool the planet, while others trap energy as heat.

"As small as they are, conglomerates of dust particles in soils behave the same way on impact as a glass dropped on a kitchen floor," Kok says. "Knowing this pattern can help us put together a clearer picture of what our future climate will look like."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:25:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CENTRAL AMERICA : Threats Churn in the San Juan River - IPS ipsnews.net
MANAGUA, Dec 29, 2010 (Tierramérica) - The San Juan River, centre of discord and diplomatic conflicts between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, is seeing its riverbanks fill up with economic projects that scientists and environmentalists say will irreversibly alter its course.

According to biologist Salvador Montenegro, director of Nicaragua's Centre for Aquatic Resource Investigation, a hydroelectric project agreed between the governments of Brazil and Nicaragua in 2007 would seriously harm the biodiversity of the San Juan and the nature reserves in the surrounding areas.

Montenegro said the planned Brito Hydroelectric project (Hidrobrito SA) would require a dam 10 metres high and 400 metres wide to achieve the water level necessary, and would reverse the natural draining of Lake Cocibolca (also known as Lake Nicaragua) to the Caribbean, sending it instead towards the Pacific Ocean.

The project is still going through studies, but would be built in 2015, has a price tag of more than 900 million dollars and, according to Nicaragua's ministries of Energy and Environment, would generate 250 megawatts of electricity.

In Montenegro's view, the damage to the plant and animal species of the San Juan would be "catastrophic." The dam would affect the biodiversity of the lake and the rivers, as well as the land, aquatic and marine ecosystems, and the livelihoods of fishers and farmers living in low-lying areas.

With the flow of freshwater to the Pacific, the coastal zone would lose salinity, potentially harming thousands of marine and coral reef species. It would likely affect the migration of endangered sea turtles, which arrive there each year to lay their eggs on the beach refuges of Chacocente and La Flor, in the southern Nicaraguan department of Rivas.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:28:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DEVELOPMENT-INDIA:: Less Water, But More Rice - IPS ipsnews.net
BHUBANESWAR, India, Dec 29, 2010 (IPS) - When French Jesuit priest and passionate agriculturist Henri de Laulanie developed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method of cultivation for Madagascar's poor farmers in the 1980s, he probably had no idea that millions of farmers elsewhere in the world would one day benefit from it as well.

Here in India, one of the 40 countries where SRI is now in use, poor tillers of the land are even helping propagate the method by coming up with all sorts of innovations to make it work better for them and their fellow rice farmers across the country.

Ranging from new tools to the use of local materials to create organic fertilisers, these innovations have resulted in higher yields at lower costs for many rice farmers using SRI.

"SRI in India has often been made possible by small networks of innovators who have dared to experiment with an untested system of practices," observes C Sambu Prasad, associate professor at Bhubaneswar's Xavier Institute of Management.

"SRI is a farmer-to-farmer extension," he adds. "Farmers experiment and their success convinces others to take up the innovations."
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:30:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but....but...  improved yields can surely only be achieved using GM crops and pesticides and weedkillers and industrialised fertilizers from your friendly chemical global corporate ?

Anything else is  socialism and will lead to the end of the world as we know it

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 09:00:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan admits whale meat scam - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Japan's Fisheries Agency has admitted its officials accepted gifts of whale meat from the body that runs the country's so-called scientific whaling program.

Six months ago the ABC broadcast allegations by two whaling crew members that officials and crew were illegally taking thousands of dollars worth of whale cuts.

At the time the Fisheries Agency denied the allegations, but it has now reprimanded five of its officials for taking more than $3,000 worth of whale meat.

Agency spokesman Toyohiko Ota has publicly apologised for the scandal.

"I deeply apologise for this act in which officials took whale meat," he said.



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 29th, 2010 at 04:50:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iran halts oil sales to India - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

An oil trading dispute between India and Iran has further escalated, with Tehran refusing to sell oil to India under new rules instituted by New Delhi.

The Reserve Bank of India has said that deals with Iran must be settled outside the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) system used by it and other member nations' central banks to settle bilateral trades.

Iran's state-owned oil company has refused to accept payments for oil sales to India without guarantees from India's central bank.

Iranian sources have confirmed the dispute and Indian sources said officials from the central banks of the two countries are set to meet on Friday to further discuss the matter



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 29th, 2010 at 06:09:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:03:50 PM EST
The Ideal Temperature For Keeping Fungi Away And Hunger At Bay
Bronx NY (SPX) Dec 29, 2010
Two researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found that our 98.6C F (37C C) body temperature strikes a perfect balance: warm enough to ward off fungal infection but not so hot that we need to eat nonstop to maintain our metabolism.

"One of the mysteries about humans and other advanced mammals has been why they are so hot compared with other animals," said study co-author Arturo Casadevall, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of microbiology and immunology at Einstein.

"This study helps to explain why mammalian temperatures are all around 37C C." Dr. Casadevall also holds the Leo and Julia Forchheimer Chair in Microbiology and Immunology.

The research builds upon earlier work by Dr. Casadevall showing that the number of fungal species that can thrive and therefore infect an animal declines by 6 percent for every 1C C rise in temperature.

This means that tens of thousands of fungal species infect reptiles, amphibians and other cold-blooded animals, but only a few hundred harm mammals.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:09:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You Are What Your Father Ate
Worcester MA (SPX) Dec 29, 2010
Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University of Texas at Austin have uncovered evidence that environmental influences experienced by a father can be passed down to the next generation, "reprogramming" how genes function in offspring. A new study published this week in Cell shows that environmental cues-in this case, diet-influence genes in mammals from one generation to the next, evidence that until now has been sparse.

These insights, coupled with previous human epidemiological studies, suggest that paternal environmental effects may play a more important role in complex diseases such as diabetes and heart disease than previously believed.

"Knowing what your parents were doing before you were conceived is turning out to be important in determining what disease risk factors you may be carrying," said Oliver J. Rando, MD, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular pharmacology at UMMS and principal investigator for the study, which details how paternal diet can increase production of cholesterol synthesis genes in first-generation offspring.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:12:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Magazine by popular China blogger shuts down
Shanghai (AFP) Dec 28, 2010
One of China's most famous and controversial bloggers Han Han on Tuesday announced he was shutting down his magazine "Party" after just one issue, but denied the move stemmed from a dispute over content.

Han, a 28-year-old writer and amateur champion race-car driver famous for his witty, scathing critiques of China's corrupt officials and social issues, unveiled the first issue of his literature-themed magazine in July.

The second issue, originally due to hit shelves in late August, was postponed. Han told state media in September that he had been unable to find a publisher.

In announcing the folding of the magazine, Han said on his blog that while he had made deals with both a publisher and a printing house, he had been abruptly informed by those partners that their cooperation had to cease.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:18:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One way to combat popular dissent regarding corruption is to prevent people knowing about it.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 09:02:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
International hackers convene in Berlin | Science & Technology | Deutsche Welle | 29.12.2010
The 27th annual Chaos Communication Congress is currently underway in Germany. These hackers say society should be worried about personal data collected by governments about us. 

On Monday, two Berlin mobile security researchers outlined what they've dubbed the "SMS of Death" attack, which they claim could potentially could affect significant portions of mobile phones worldwide, the overwhelming majority of which are non-smartphones, like an iPhone or Android.

By flooding these mobiles with hundreds of thousands of malicious texts, they were able to discover bugs within the phones text-message reading software, that in some cases would force the phone to get stuck in a reboot loop.

And that was just day one of the 27th annual Chaos Communication Congress, the annual gathering of the Chaos Computer Club, currently going on this week in the German capital.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:20:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My Parents Were Executed Under the Unconstitutional Espionage Act -- Here's Why We Must Fight to Protect Julian Assange | Civil Liberties | AlterNet

Rumors are swirling that the United States is preparing to indict Wikileaks leader Julian Assange for conspiring to violate the Espionage Act of 1917. The modern version of that act states among many, many other things that: "Whoever, for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States" causes the disclosure or publication of this material, could be subject to massive criminal penalties. It also states that: "If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions ... each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy." (18 U.S. Code, Chapter 37, Section 793.)

I view the Espionage Act of 1917 as a lifelong nemesis. My parents were charged, tried and ultimately executed after being indicted for Conspiracy to Commit Espionage under that act.



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 30th, 2010 at 07:21:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:04:47 PM EST
After the Blizzard, the Parking Wars in South Boston - NYTimes.com

BOSTON -- By dawn on Tuesday, the space savers were out in abundance on East Seventh Street in South Boston. Someone had staked out a neatly shoveled parking spot with a potted plant, its dead fronds trembling in the wind. Someone else had reserved a space with a hot-pink beach chair.

Elsewhere in the neighborhood, the epicenter of the parking wars that erupt here after a snowstorm, the narrow streets were lined with bar stools and coolers, end tables and shopping carts, all meant as warnings: This shoveled-out space is mine until the snow melts. Occupy it at your own risk.

Marguerite Maguire, who had an orange parking cone ready to guard her spot, was hoping to avoid the kind of confrontation she got into after a 2009 snowfall, when someone tried taking her space the minute she finished clearing it.

"I told her, `Forget it, lady,' and we yelled at each other for a few minutes until she pulled away," Mrs. Maguire, 50, recalled. "I think she must have been new here."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 12:29:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I have noted before, I decided to move to California while digging my car out after a giant snowstorm in Boston.

The reserving-your-parking-spot phenomena in that city is an unfunny intersection of giant snow storms, ineffectual city plowing, a city built out before cars were invented, the cult of individualism, and severe emotional retardation.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Dec 30th, 2010 at 02:15:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]


"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 Wed Dec 29th, 2010 at 04:41:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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