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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 5 February

by DoDo Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 03:49:43 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1740 - Pope Clemente XII ends Cardinal Giulio Alberoni's attempt to subjugate the Republic of San Marino for the Papal State, celebrated to this day as Liberation from the Alberoni Occupation Day.

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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*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:32:59 PM EST
France24 - Sarkozy, Merkel call for eurozone summit, tighter regulation
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined forces on Friday to propose holding a special eurozone summit in March as they announced plans to tighten economic regulation in the 17 nations sharing the common currency.

Commission, begone!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:33:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Franco-German 'Pact for Competitiveness' hits immediate opposition

...The plans for enhanced joint governance of the 17-nation eurozone economy appeared to hit a hurdle almost immediately however, with Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme blasting them as being overly constrictive.

"There must be more economic cooperation, but member states must be left the room to carry out their own policies," Mr Leterme said on arriving at the one-day summit, originally scheduled to discuss energy issues.

"Each member state has its own accents, its own traditions. We will not allow our social model to be undone," he added.

Critics also hit out at the pact's intergovernmental nature, with little role for the EU's institutions envisaged.

"We welcome the move towards greater economic governance as step in the right direction. However, the method being proposed will not provide the required result as it is purely intergovernmental," said the leader of the European Parliament's Liberal group, Guy Verhofstadt.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:33:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The axis reclaims its power | Presseurop - English

The `competitiveness pact' hammered out between Paris and Berlin could yet be a milestone in the construction of Europe, says Le Monde. If only they had not relegated the other member states and the Commission itself to mere onlookers.

Paris and Berlin have not always seen eye-to-eye on issues of economic governance, but now that is set to change with the a pact designed to bring about policy convergence in the 17 Eurozone countries, and ideally in the rest of the Union, which will include provisions on public sector wages, corporation tax, retirement, and public spending. The initiative marks a major shift in the position of Chancellor Angela Merkel and her colleagues in the German government, who were so reluctant to come to the aid of the Greece in the spring of 2010 -- and should be hailed as a positive development.

There is no longer any question of German isolationism. On the contrary, Mrs Merkel now aims to launch a major drive for economic and monetary consolidation within the EU, and her renewed commitment to the European project should certainly be praised. At the same time, however, her proposal raises a number of questions that are cause for concern.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:45:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Cartoonist attacker sentenced to nine years in jail
AFP - A court on Thursday convicted a 29-year-old Somali man of attempted terrorism and attempted murder for attacking a Danish cartoonist who caricatured the Prophet Mohammed.

The court in the central Danish town of Aarhus ruled that Mohamed Geele not only tried to kill Kurt Westergaard when he broke into his home on January 1, 2010, wielding an axe and a knife, but that the attack also amounted to an act of terrorism.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:33:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New expenses watchdog is too tough, say MPs - and Cameron agrees - UK Politics, UK - The Independent

The leader of the House of Commons has released a damning critique of the Parliamentary expenses watchdog, as the authority named and shamed more than 100 MPs whose claims it had rejected. Sir George Young said the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) was "failing" to support MPs and its regime must be radically reformed.

The more stringent expenses system, he said, would deter people from less affluent backgrounds from becoming MPs and put "undue pressure" on the family lives of existing parliamentarians. Downing Street backed his critical remarks. David Cameron does not believe that Ipsa is working properly. "The Prime Minister's view is that we have got to deal with this," said a spokesman.

My translation: "We Want Our Perks Back!"

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:34:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if they were all trustworthy and weren't going to abuse the system I might be tempted to sympathise. But this system was introduced because they weren't trustworthy and abused the system.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 06:23:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pope John Paul II's beatification sees Rome hotels quadruple prices | The Guardian
It will take two miracles for Pope John Paul II to become a saint. But Roman Catholics hoping to attend his beatification ceremony may also need divine intervention if they want a bed for the night.

Millions of people - including an estimated 700,000 Poles - are expected to flock to Rome this year to witness his progress towards sainthood.

[...]

Of nine hotels approached by the Guardian, four said they no longer had availability for the nights before and after the beatification. One, a two-star in the down-at-heel Esquilino district, was offering a three-bed room on the internet at €720 (£607) a night.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 04:14:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bloomberg: Germany, France Face Opposition on Debt-Crisis Exit Strategy
The euro area's two top economic powers were forced to scale back a proposed "pact for competitiveness" that would flank more immediate steps -- themselves still under dispute -- to put an end to the year-old fiscal trauma.

...

European leaders gave no indication whether they are closer to retooling the rescue fund, with Germany holding out against a French-backed proposal for repurchases that would enable high- debt countries to buy their own bonds at a discount on the market.

...

Germany, the biggest of the 17 euro nations, is tying its approval of a stepped-up rescue effort to a toughening of controls on budget shortfalls that have gone unenforced since the euro's birth in 1999.

...

Merkel's competitiveness proposal calls for debt-limitation rules in national constitutions, a revival of EU plans to harmonize the corporate-tax base, the abolition of wage indexation and promises to clean up the banking system.

"Competitiveness" is just a shibooleth - what Merkel is asking for is a deflation death pact.
... A French official told reporters that there is no question of further raising France's retirement age after it was lifted to 62 from 60 last year.

Luxembourg and Belgium rebelled against suggestions that they might be forced to scrap wage-indexation policies that automatically lift workers' salaries in line with inflation.

If France, Belgium and Luxembourg oppose key planks of Germany's proposal, why is the Spanish press (for instance) reporting as if this was a full Franco-German agreement and a done deal?
The conflicts risk fracturing Europe into a two-tier economy, with fiscally prudent northern countries posting trade surpluses and weaker southern economies being submerged by debt, billionaire investor George Soros said.

"The structure that's being currently discussed will cast that divergence in stone," Soros said at the Munich conference.



Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 05:59:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]

The conflicts risk fracturing Europe into a two-tier economy,

Methinks that was already under discussion here.

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

by Crazy Horse on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 08:23:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Germany, the biggest of the 17 euro nations, is tying its approval of a stepped-up rescue effort to a toughening of controls on budget shortfalls that have gone unenforced since the euro's birth in 1999."

"The conflicts risk fracturing Europe into a two-tier economy, with fiscally prudent northern countries"

Such as Germany, a country which respected the SGP in all years but...
Actually, when exactly did it respect the SGP?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 03:33:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Everybody knows...

For instance Der Spiegel (h/t Crazy Horse)

On this point [of sanctions], however, the paper remains rather vague. Nonetheless, the issue of sanctions is key to the whole endeavor. After all, the competitiveness pact is not the first attempt to harmonize economic and financial policies on the continent. Ever since European leaders agreed nearly 20 years ago to create a common currency, they have been trying to coordinate their economic policies. So far, their efforts have been in vain.

Nothing demonstrates this as clearly as the Stability and Growth Pact, which the EU countries agreed to in the mid-1990s. The agreement was designed to ensure that national governments did not amass too many debts. But when Berlin and Paris violated the deficit criteria in 2003, they did not submit to the agreed-upon sanctions. Instead, the two most powerful countries in the EU managed to have the Stability Pact suspended. Thanks to their efforts, it was subsequently watered down.

The story of the so-called Lisbon Strategy was just as disappointing. In 2000, EU leaders meeting in the Portuguese capital resolved to make Europe the world's most competitive economic region. The lofty intention was never implemented, however, because the member states were unwilling to introduce the required reforms.

Nevertheless, the conventional wisdom in Germany and the heart of their policy stance is the self-serving trope that the Euro debt crisis is the result of fiscal irresponsibility in the periphery. To this day, there are "excessive deficit procedures" but no "excessive debt procedures".

They're really trying to have their cake and eat it, too. Two years ago, in the middle of the G20 debate over fiscal stimulus, the German position was Germany Says Its Spending Package Is Already Big Enough (WSJ, March 12, 2009)

Here's a message from Berlin to U.S. officials arguing that Europe's governments should pony up as much as Washington has to stimulate their economies: Germany's already doing it.
By implication, European government didn't need to stimulate as much as the US because...
But the trans-Atlantic debate over stimulus packages has touched a nerve in Germany, which believes many U.S. critics fail to take into account differences between the U.S. and European economies. One big one: In Europe's generous welfare states,when recession strikes, governments automatically start paying out more than in the U.S. in the form of welfare checks and other so-called automatic stabilizers.

These stabilizers are stimulus measures, many economists say. The IMF agrees with much of this view. "Countries that have a bigger government footprint will have larger stabilizers, which will add to any stimulus package," said a senior fund official. He added that the U.S. "can borrow more, and more cheaply" than other countries, so also "can and should do more."

You cannot turn around a year later and call the automatic stabilizers "fiscal profligacy". But they do.

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 03:48:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're never going to get around the fact that you need competitive export companies or you won't be able to afford vital imports like oil.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 08:27:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From The Guardian
The 383 suspects include 105 from Iraq, 75 from Afghanistan, 73 from Sri Lanka, 39 from Rwanda, 32 from Zimbabwe and 26 from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are believed to include senior officials from Saddam Hussein's regime, a senior Afghan intelligence service official alleged to be involved in torture and a former police chief from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who confessed in a radio interview to overseeing torture
That leaves 45 unaccounted for. Could Blair be among them?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 01:54:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does the name "Bush" come to mind?

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 08:16:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brewers blame the drop in beer consumption on "an increasing proportion of citizens of migrant background, whose affinity for beer remains far behind that of Bavarians' -- if they take to alcohol at all".

But by not "migrant background", they don't just mean foreigners, but Germans from other parts of the country:

Bierflaute in Bayern: Brauer beklagen niedrigen Bierkonsum von Migranten - SPIEGEL

In Bayern wird immer weniger Bier getrunken - und wer ist schuld daran? Einem Zeitungsbericht zufolge hat der bayerische Brauerbund Migranten für die Flaute mitverantwortlich gemacht. Der Verband fühlt sich völlig falsch verstanden.

<...>

Vollkommen daneben interpretiert, meint der Verband. Mit Migrationshintergrund seien nicht die vielen Einwanderer aus dem internationalen Ausland gemeint, sondern die aus anderen Bundesländern.

Der Geschäftsführer vom Bayerischen Brauerbund erklärt der "Abendzeitung": Migration sei selbstverständlich als Synonym für "Umziehen" zu verstehen, auch innerhalb Deutschlands. "Das Verhältnis echter Bayern zum Bier ist ein anderes als das von Leuten aus anderen Kulturkreisen." ...



Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire
by marco on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 08:10:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh the humanity!

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 08:17:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Google Translate:

In Bavaria, beer is drunk less and less - and who's to blame? A newspaper report that the Bavarian Brewers Federation has made migrants engaged in the doldrums. The association feels understood completely wrong.

<...>

Interpreted completely wrong, says the association. Migrant not the many immigrants from international countries are meant, but those from other states.

The managing director of the Bavarian Brewers Federation said the "Evening News": Migration is of course a synonym for "Move" to understand, even within Germany. "The ratio of real to Bayern Beer is different from that of people from other cultures." ...




keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 08:22:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not surprising really. consdier the people from Koln who are used to drinking the local ale, Kolsch

wikipedia

Kölsch should be served at cellar temperature (about 10°C/50°F, not near freezing). It is usually served in long, thin, cylindrical 0.2 litre glasses. This glass is known as a Stange (pole), but is often derisively called a Reagenzglas (test tube), or Fingerhut (thimble). Recently though, many bars have moved to satisfy their more thirsty customers by offering larger, less traditional glasses, (0.3 L or 0.4 L) of the same shape, but connoisseurs would even drink it from smaller (0.1 L) glasses, called "Stößche" (Cologne dialect noun for a German noun "Stößchen" = little push), as the taste of Kölsch, which has no carbonic acid added, is at its best when fresh on draught. Since 1936 Kölsch has also been available in bottled form.


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 08:26:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:34:22 PM EST
EUobserver / EU leaders set deadlines for energy market

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU leaders on Friday (4 February) agreed to set new deadlines for the completion of the bloc's internal energy market, linking up gas and electricity grids and consulting with the EU commission before doing bilateral energy deals with foreign suppliers.

"The internal market should be completed by 2014 so as to allow gas and electricity to flow freely," the final conclusions read.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:34:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / EU parliament chief: energy security needs public money

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Europe's multi-billion-euro needs for energy infrastructure and new technologies cannot be funded only by the private sector, European Parliament chief Jerzy Buzek has said, in a position putting him on collision course with Germany.

"We need both: regulation and money. The annual EU budget for energy today is €20 million. It's negligible, if we compare it to what a few kilometres of pipeline cost," the Polish politician told EUobserver in an interview on Thursday (3 February).

Earlier this week, German officials said that Berlin - the largest net contributor to the EU budget - said the private sector should foot the bill, with the EU role to be limited to "smart regulation."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:34:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oettinger on the Energy Summit: EU Commissioner Wants to Fund Super Grid with Euro Bonds - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
EU leaders meeting in Brussels are discussing the conditions for expanding Europe's internal electricity market. In an interview, European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger of Germany discusses his vision for Europe and proposes what might be a surprising method for financing the ambitious project.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:34:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour markets continue to evolve through crisis | EurActiv

The latest official figures, which were released by the EU's statistics agency this week (1 February), confirm that unemployment across the EU remains at record levels, with more than 23 million people looking for work.

Last week, EurActiv reported that EU Employment Commissioner László Andor is concerned that the EU seems to be experiencing a 'jobless recovery', with early signs of economic growth failing to be reflected in the creation of new jobs.

Despite this generally gloomy picture, those willing to look beyond the headline figures might be surprised to find a few glimmers of hope.

Germany, Finland and Sweden all saw significant falls in their unemployment rates during 2010, which shows that the decline in demand for labour is not irreversible.

Growth of temporary employment

Meanwhile, data collected from private employment agencies shows that the total number of hours worked by temporary agency workers across Europe went up by more than 23% during the 12 months leading up to October 2010.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:35:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Railway Gazette: LGV Rhin-Rhône tracklaying completed

FRANCE: Prime Minister François Fillon marked the completion of tracklaying on the first phase of LGV Rhin-Rhône, with a symbolic final weld ceremony at Villiers-les-Pots on January 31.

...According to RFF, construction of the country's first inter-regional high speed line is now in its final phase, with work on course for commercial operation to begin on December 11. The next few months will see comprehensive testing of the fixed equipment and the start of test running.

By inter-regional, they mean connecting regions not including the Paris area.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:35:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Railway Gazette: RZD's first 2ES10 locomotive unveiled
RUSSIA: The Ural Locomotives joint venture of Sinara Transport Machines and Siemens Mobility has completed production of the first of two prototype 2ES10 electric locomotives at the Verkhnyaya Pyshma plant near Yekaterinburg.

...Fitted with integrated asynchronous traction motors, the 2ES10 design is expected to reduce whole-life operating and maintenance costs by a quarter, whilst offering twice the power output of a VL11. Series production is expected to begin in 2012.

Ugh, ugly... but efficient.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:35:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lawsuit Claims JP Morgan Ignored Signs Of Madoff Fraud, 'Stood At The Very Center' | Crooks and Liars

I think we can safely say that the preponderance of the evidence indicates that the Wall St. bankers are an outright criminal class. Does anyone other than Jamie "bankers, bankers, bankers" Dimon still say otherwise? It's time we stopped talking about whether they're criminals and started insisting that these people go to jail:

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. ignored or dismissed warning signs about the Madoff fraud even as it earned hundreds of millions of dollars from its relationship with his firm, according to a lawsuit unsealed Thursday.

J.P. Morgan Chase stood "at the very center" of Bernard Madoff's fraud, according to a lawsuit unsealed Thursday. Michael Rothfeld has details.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 06:08:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no chance any of these people are going to jail, they own the system.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 06:31:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:35:48 PM EST
Talks held on Mubarak's immediate resignation - Africa, World - The Independent

Talks are under way between the Obama administration and top Egyptian officials on the possible immediate resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and the formation of a military-backed caretaker government that could prepare the country for free and fair elections later this year, US officials say.

With protests in Cairo and other Egyptian cities expected to grow in size and intensity Friday, the administration fears they may erupt into more widespread violence unless the government takes tangible steps to address the protesters' main demand that Mubarak leave office quickly. Creation of an interim government is just one of several possibilities under discussion, the officials said late Thursday.

Trying anything to bypass popular will and the Muslim Brotherhood...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:36:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Protesters press Mubarak to step down without delay
Egyptian protesters are staging "Day of Departure" rallies to press President Hosni Mubarak to step down at once. The US military's top officer has said the Egyptian army has pledged not to open fire on the crowd.

..."The people want the fall of regime. We want the murderer to be tried," shouted the crowd. They called on protesters from provinces across the country to join them.

Many of the protesters sat down after Friday prayers to listen to a Muslim cleric, over loudspeakers, calling on people to stay together in seeking their political demands.

"May God give you the wisdom and patience to stand against those who are trying to shake your goal," he said. Some protesters chanted "Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar" (God is the greatest, God is the greatest).



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:36:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - World leaders condemn attacks on journalists
AFP - The United States Thursday condemned a "concerted campaign" of intimidation against international journalists covering the unrest in Egypt, as news media reported a string of assaults and arrests.

Other foreign leaders and rights activists also denounced the attacks and harassment and one French media executive accused Egyptian state television of inciting "lynching."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:36:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Google, Facebook and Twitter speak out against Egypt's Internet ban

As Egypt is rocked by continuing protests against President Hosni Mubarak, the three companies spawned by the Internet have criticized the attempt by the authorities to sever the nation of 80 million people from the Web.

While corporate responsibility has been a front-burner issue since companies were pressured into cutting ties with apartheid South Africa decades ago, experts said the statements and moves by the three Web giants were unusual.

"Usually with most corporations the issue is what's going to make profits, not necessarily what's going to do good for the world," said Benjamin Hermalin, a finance professor at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:36:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Johann Hari: We all helped suppress the Egyptians. So how do we change? - Johann Hari, Commentators - The Independent

The old slogan from the 1960s has come true: the revolution has been televised. The world is watching the Bastille fall on 24/7 rolling news. An elderly thug is trying to buy and beat and tear-gas himself enough time to smuggle his family's estimated $25bn in loot out of the country, and to install a successor friendly to his interests. The Egyptian people - half of whom live on less than $2 a day - seem determined to prevent the pillage and not to wait until September to drive out a dictator dripping in blood and bad hair dye.

The great Czech dissident Vaclav Havel outlined the "as if" principle. He said people trapped under a dictatorship need to act "as if they are free". They need to act as if the dictator has no power over them. The Egyptians are trying - and however many of them Mubarak murders on his way out the door, the direction in which fear flows has been successfully reversed. The tyrant has become terrified of "his" people.

Of course, there is a danger that what follows will be worse. My family lived for a time under the torturing tyranny of the Shah of Iran, and cheered the revolution in 1979. Yet he was replaced by the even more vicious Ayatollahs. But this is not the only model, nor the most likely. Events in Egypt look more like the Indonesian revolution, where in 1998 a popular uprising toppled a US-backed tyrant after 32 years of oppression - and went on to build the largest and most plural democracy in the Muslim world.

But the discussion here in the West should focus on the factor we are responsible for and can influence - the role our governments have played in suppressing the Egyptian people. Your taxes have been used to arm, fund and fuel this dictatorship. You have unwittingly helped to keep these people down. The tear-gas canisters fired at pro-democracy protesters have "Made in America" stamped on them, with British machine guns and grenade launchers held in the background.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:36:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The End of Western Credibility: Will Democracy Become Islam's Best Friend? - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

"Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe -- because, in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty."

George Bush the Younger said that. And one can see: The West wasn't lacking nice words or intelligent insights. What was missing, though, were the right policies -- and, much worse, a belief in our own values.

There aren't many places in the world where Western moral double standards are as glaring as in the Middle East. In the ears of the 1.5 million Palestinians enclosed in the Gaza Strip, Western words like freedom and democracy must sound about as credible as Brezhnev's praise of freedom and socialism to the ears of an occupied Poland.

The above is an op-ed by SPIEGEL founder Rudolf Augstein's adopted son Jakob Augstein, who apparently has more of the spirit of the original SPIEGEL than the current staff.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:36:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Time to ditch the Arab stereotype | Presseurop - English

The revolutionary spirit sweeping the Middle East has provoked as much fear as joy in the West. Der Standard questions why is it that we doubt that Arabs have the will or the ability to be the masters of their own destiny. Robert Misik

These last days, like so many others, I've been spending hours watching Al-Jazeera, watching history being written in real time. The opposition movement in Egypt, following the democratic revolution in Tunisia, is carrying us through the second act of the astonishing "Arab Spring". Or the "1989 of the Arabs".

It is both gripping and inspiring. Hardly any of us had citizen revolutions in major Arab countries on our radar screens. The populations of those countries have been described as frustrated and apathetic, easily manipulated by autocrats and Islamists. And now this. The young generation in the cities is not so very different from students in the West. They have the same desires. And thanks to the Internet they're actually living in the same orbit.

Perhaps the Internet and social media are having a much more dramatic impact on the general consciousness than we have assumed till now. The so-called experts really know nothing, because there has been too much flux in the past one or two years, and learned expertise often falls back on a long history - which may have been dramatically overtaken by recent social modernisation processes without the "experts" having even noticed.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:46:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Time to ditch the Arab stereotype | Presseurop - English

What surprises me - no, what really shocks me, what I can really get worked up about - is the mood in quite a few quarters. It sounds like this: "For God's sake, this instability is dangerous... Doesn't seem to bother the Arabs though, does it, huh?... Probably just going to land them with a mullah dictatorship!... The secular autocrats were always pretty comfortable!"

This is as morally depraved as if in 1989 one would have advised Václav Havel, Jens Reich [civil rights activist in the tottering GDR] and the many citizens who had had enough of their rotten regime to please continue bowing down to Honecker, Husak and the other grey-faced men. After all, one really couldn't tell what might come out of all that insurrection - who knows, maybe even a reunified Germany with a taste for war.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:47:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Facebook used to rally Syrians to `revolution'
Protesters have called for "a day of anger" in Syria, demanding an end to "corruption and tyranny". The action is scheduled to take place after Friday prayers, with the message being spread using social networking sites.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:37:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - `Day of Rage' draws Yemeni protesters onto streets
Tens of thousands amassed in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Thursday for a "Day of Rage", demanding further concessions from President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Faced with weeks of sporadic anti-government protests, Saleh has said he will step down in 2013.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:37:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Key junta insider appointed as new Burmese president

REUTERS - Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein was chosen on Friday to become the military-run country's first civilian president in half a century, a cosmetic shift that does little to end the army's overwhelming influence on politics. The rise of Thein Sein, a 65-year-old loyalist of paramount leader Senior General Than Shwe, offers slim chance of economic and social reforms in the resource-rich country that has wilted under decades of brutal military dictatorships.   "He's perfect for Than Shwe. He has a good track record, no political agenda, no reform plans and won't take any initiative," said Aung Thu Nyein, a prominent U.S.-educated Burmese academic.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:37:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Government candidate ruled out of presidential run-off

REUTERS - Haiti's former First Lady Mirlande Manigat and popular musician Michel Martelly will contest a presidential election second round run-off on March 20, members of Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council told Reuters on Thursday.

The long-awaited definitive results from the chaotic Nov. 28 presidential and legislative elections in the poor, earthquake-battered Caribbean nation were revealed by two council members and a council lawyer ahead of an official announcement. They asked not to be named.

The results were in line with a recommendation by Organization of American States (OAS) electoral experts, strongly backed by the United States and western donors, to place Martelly in the deciding presidential run-off instead of government-backed candidate Jude Celestin.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:37:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Adding to the already nervous political atmosphere is the possible return of ousted former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who has asked the government for a diplomatic passport so he can come home from exile in South Africa.

Several hundred pro-Aristide protesters demonstrated on Wednesday outside the Foreign Ministry to demand Aristide be issued a passport.

Washington and Western donors, who are trying to keep the contentious presidential election on track, are wary that Aristide's return could inflame Haiti's fractious politics.

Are "Washington and Western donors" Haiti's electorate or what!?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:38:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Live blog Feb 5 - Egypt protests   Al Jazeera

4:14am

Hillary Mann Leverett, a foreign policy professor and former White House official tells Al Jazeera that the "transition process" the Obama administration seeks from Mubarak is going to be "very, very problematic". Here's why:

   Omar Suleiman (Egypt's newly appointed vice president) is reviled among the Egyptian population. He is seen as the government's - the regime's - point-man in dealing with Israel, upholding Israeli policies vis-a-vis Gaza. He's seen as the regime's point-man in the so-called 'war on terror', the rendition programme that brought Egyptians from overseas back to Egypt to have enhanced interrogation done with them.

Mann Leverett says that Egypt is "the bedrock ... the centre of gravity for US policy " in the midde east, and now, that bedrock has "fallen through the floor. She's not surprised...

   The real problem here is a substantive problem in terms of US policy. That is, that the way that we, the United States government, has defined our interests in the middle east, particularly vis-a-vis what is going on in Gaza and with Israeli policies, the way we have defined those interest are unacceptable, largely, on the Arab street in many Arab populations. So it's impossible for us to call for, let alone to foresee and push for democratic outcomes. They're not in our interests...this is a failure of American policy at its very core.


It looked like a fine floor finished in ornate tile. Then they steped on it and the tile broke, revealing that all beneath had rotted away.

It seems so unfair. The US does not have to live up to its rhetoric at home and the US electorate seems none the wiser. Why should we not be able to do the same abroad?

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 12:56:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The US does not have to live up to its rhetoric at home and the US electorate seems none the wiser.

how could they know ? The media and politicians conspire to fabricate the cultural lie about american Exceptionalism and of being the best of all possible worlds. Where could doubt creep in ? If you succeed it's cos America is great, if you fail, it's your fault.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 06:48:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm just waiting for the house of cards built on quicksand to collapse.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 08:21:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And given the range of choices presented to that electorate it is hard to know what they would do if presented with a broader range.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 10:40:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC: Hillary Clinton: Middle East facing 'perfect storm'
Speaking in Munich, Mrs Clinton said the status quo in the region was "simply not sustainable".

She said that transition to democracy could be chaotic but in the end "free people govern themselves best".



Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 11:25:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LRB · Issandr El Amrani · Why Tunis, Why Cairo?

`Egypt is not Tunisia,' the pundits repeatedly said on television after Zine Abedine Ben-Ali fled Tunis for Saudi Arabia. They pointed to the differences between the two countries: one small, well-educated, largely middle-class; the other the largest in terms of population in the Arab world, with a high rate of illiteracy and ever widening inequality. Tunisia was a repressive police state in which information was tightly controlled and most people never dared to criticise the leadership out loud. Egypt was a military dictatorship that allowed a fair amount of freedom of expression, as long as it had no political consequences: you could criticise the president, but not launch a campaign to unseat him. In Tunisia, a rapacious first family indulged in widespread racketeering, alienating every social class. In Egypt, most of the elite benefited from the stability the regime maintained, and while corruption was endemic, it was not generally identified with a single clan.

But there were also important similarities.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 08:27:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters: Early Egypt elections probably not good idea-Merkel
Holding early elections in Egypt at the start of a process of democratic reform would not be helpful, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday.


Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 11:27:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL. Again, would Übervater Kohl have said that to East Germans?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 12:10:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the East German elections took place in march 1990, not exactly immediately after the fall of the Wall.

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 12:43:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:38:16 PM EST
Amazon drought caused huge carbon emissions | Reuters

(Reuters) - A widespread drought in the Amazon rain forest last year was worse than the "once-in-a-century" dry spell in 2005 and may have a bigger impact on global warming than the United States does in a year, British and Brazilian scientists said on Thursday.

More frequent severe droughts like those in 2005 and 2010 risk turning the world's largest rain forest from a sponge that absorbs carbon emissions into a source of the gases, accelerating global warming, the report found.

Trees and other vegetation in the world's forests soak up heat-trapping carbon dioxide as they grow, helping cool the planet, but release it when they die and rot.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:38:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Global Wind Energy Council - GWEC: Global wind capacity increases by 22% in 2010 - Asia leads growth

Global wind power installations increased by 35.8 GW in 2010, according to figures released by the Global Wind Energy Council today. This brings total installed wind energy capacity up to 194.4 GW, a 22.5% increase on the 158.7 GW installed at the end of 2009. The new capacity added in 2010 represents investments worth EUR 47.3 billion (US Dollars 65 bn).

For the first time in 2010, more than half of all new wind power was added outside of the traditional markets in Europe and North America. This was mainly driven by the continuing boom in China, which accounted for nearly half the new wind installations (16.5 GW).

"China now has 42.3 GW of wind power, and has surpassed the US in terms of total installed capacity," said Li Junfeng, Secretary General of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association (CREIA). "This puts China firmly on a path to reach 200 GW of installed wind power by 2020. At the same time, China has become the world's largest producer of wind energy equipment."

But other developing countries also expanded their wind capacity, including India, which added 2.1 GW in 2010, Brazil (326 MW), Mexico (316 MW), and 213 MW were installed in North Africa (Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia).



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:38:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Wind Energy Association - EWEA: EWEA 2010 statistics: Offshore and Eastern Europe new growth drivers for wind power in Europe

While offshore wind power installations grew 51% from 582 MW in 2009 to 883 MW last year, onshore wind power installations (8.4 GW) were down 13.9% compared to 2009 (9.7 GW).

"These figures are a warning that we cannot take for granted the continued financing of renewable energy" said Christian Kjaer. "Better access to financing is urgently needed, and the European Union must act without delay to prevent Europe losing its leadership in wind power and other renewable technologies. Today's communication from the Commission on the financing of renewables is a start,  as long as it is followed up quickly by the Commission putting its proposals into action."

Total investments in new wind power plant was unchanged at € 13 billion, compared to 2009, due to the larger share of offshore wind capacity.

Newly installed capacity in 2010 (9.3 GW) was 10% down on 2009 (10.3 GW).

Checking the detailed release, Malta remains the only EU member without wind power. They are also frank about the fact that in 2010, gas and photovoltaic overtook wind in total installed capacity.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:38:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UK breast cancer rates continue relentless rise - Health News, Health & Families - The Independent

The number of women diagnosed with breast cancer each year continues to rise, despite the expenditure of millions of pounds on efforts to prevent it. Scientists and cancer organisations have struggled to stem the tide - but to no avail.

The latest figures published by Cancer Research UK show a total of 47,700 women were diagnosed in 2008, over 5,000 more than a decade earlier, a rise of 3.5 per cent. The numbers affected by the disease have doubled since 1971 and the lifetime risk has risen to one in eight, from one in nine a decade ago.

Breast cancer is Britain's most common cancer, despite principally affecting only one sex (there are a few hundred cases in men each year).

...The biggest increase is in the 50 to 69 age group, the post-war baby boomers who enjoyed a richer diet, delayed childbearing to go out to work, had smaller families and reduced breast-feeding.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:39:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU draft: States can ban GM crops for public order | EurActiv
European Union governments could ban the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops to maintain public order in the face of popular opposition to the technology, the bloc's executive said in a draft document.

Bans could also be justified on public morality grounds, such as religious or philosophical concerns over GM technology, according to a list drawn up by the European Commission as part of plans to let states decide whether to grow or ban GM crops.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:39:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why don't they ban it because it's a blatant rip off by the companies who are only interested in cornering the market of selling the seeds, pesticides, weedkillers and fertilizers as a single package and uncaring that it will lead to raised pollution levels

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 06:51:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Religious concerns, eh?

I think I will start a religion opposed to companies cornering the market of selling the seeds, pesticides, weedkillers and fertilizers as a single package.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 08:04:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Commission urged to solve Italy waste crisis | EurActiv

Structural funds currently withheld by the European Commission should be freed only once a regional strategy to solve the crisis is consistent with EU provisions, say MEPs.

They also call on regional authorities to present "a credible waste management plan". 

The Commission is currently analysing draft proposals handed in by Italy and will decide on a further course of action by the end of February.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:39:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Parliament backs ambitious e-waste policy | EurActiv
The European Parliament backed new targets for collecting and recycling electronic waste yesterday (3 February), but said producers alone could not be left to cover the cost of collecting e-waste from private households.

The House's first reading of the recast of an EU directive on Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) confirmed ambitions set by its environment committee last June.

A report drafted by German MEP Karl-Heinz Florenz (European People's Party) was adopted by a large majority- 580 votes to 37 with 22 abstentions.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:39:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Commission urged to solve Italy waste crisis

While you're at it would you please take Berlu out with the trash. He really IS beginning to stink.

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

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 08:24:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Got a lot of space under your bridge? Add wind turbines | DVICE
There's an old viaduct system in Italy -- which is basically an elevated highway or railway -- that officials there thought would cost too much to demolish ($55 million) to make it worth it. Instead, they put out a call on how to modernize it. One idea? Install dozens of wind turbines along its length.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 05:52:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:40:04 PM EST
Britons have 'greater fear' of immigration - Home News, UK - The Independent
Almost one in four (23%) said immigration was the most important issue facing the country, the Transatlantic Trends survey found.

The other countries, including the US (9%), Canada (5%), France (8%), Germany (9%), Italy (10%), Holland (4%) and Spain (3%), appeared far less concerned.

The survey found 59% of Britons agreed there were "too many" people living in the country who were not born here, also a much higher figure than the other nations.

...A total of 47% believed legal immigrants were a burden on social services like schools and hospitals, and 33% said legal immigrants increase crime.

About one in four (22%) said only British citizens should have access to UK schools and 25% said only British citizens should have access to healthcare.

Would Britain have PR, such high levels of vicious racism would lead to poll numbers for the BNP similar to Jobbik's in Hungary. With FTPT, much of it supports the Tories and Labour, and slowly becomes government policy via direct and media-driven pressure.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:40:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Sarrazin factor' has little effect on immigration attitudes | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 04.02.2011

Last year, the immigration issue dominated headlines throughout western Europe and North America like no other. If the press was to be believed, the western world was being engulfed by a wave of intolerance towards immigrants - particularly Muslims.

While Americans grappled with controversial immigrant legislation in Arizona, the French parliament voted for a burqa ban and politician Geert Wilders won 15 percent of the Dutch vote with his anti-immigrant Party for Freedom. In Germany meanwhile, a federal banker called Thilo Sarrazin ignited a media volcano by publishing a book called Germany Abolishes Itself.

But what effect did the resulting media furore - the new "honest debate," as it was called in Germany - have on the respective populations of these countries? Very little, according to a new survey by US think-tank the German Marshall Fund.

No change is one thing, but on some points, the status quo is...:

Germany had the second highest number of respondents who believed that legal immigrants increase crime in society: 46 percent, behind Italy's 56 percent. Sixty percent of Germans, meanwhile, felt that immigrants benefit more from health and welfare services than they contribute.

When it came to Thilo Sarrazin's favorite subject, integration, Germany had the lowest number of respondents (36 percent) who believed that second-generation Muslims were integrating well.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:41:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The survey also showed that concern about immigration went down significantly if the respondents were first told the percentage of immigrants in their country (much lower than they thought). The Brits are the only ones who want to restrict health care to citizens (25% vs. 1% in Italy or Germany) and similarly for public schools (though there you also have 15 % in the U.S., where they presumably were not asked about publicly funded healthcare....)
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 04:08:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Brits are the only ones who want to restrict health care to citizens (25% vs. 1% in Italy or Germany)

Yeah, that's what I termed vicious racism, but maybe I am a man of the past for considering access to healthcare an inalienable human right...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 04:34:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is Chart 5 from the survey. As you can see, you're in good company (outside the U.K. anyway).

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 04:41:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wish to disacoiate myself from the percentage of greedy half wits who I happen to share an island with.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 04:53:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...and just when the situation is bad, Cameron does a Merkel:

Multiculturalism has failed in Britain - Cameron - Yahoo! News UK

State multiculturalism has failed and left young Muslims vulnerable to radicalization, Prime Minister David Cameron will say on Saturday, arguing for a more active policy to heal divisions and promote Western values.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 04:18:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Before he goes very far, could he please tell me what values he thinks are western or British he wants to demand ? Cos I rather fear it's the same old cultural assumptions bs politicians have been going on about for decades and which falls apart the moment you start looking at it.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 06:55:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think he was thinking he was speaking at the EDL march today.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 10:59:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
sub 'planet' for island, right there.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 09:43:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ugh, the 25% was 'just' the ones who'd deny it to legal immigrants...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 05:16:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Would Britain have PR, such high levels of vicious racism would lead to poll numbers for the BNP similar to Jobbik's in Hungary. With FTPT, much of it supports the Tories and Labour, and slowly becomes government policy via direct and media-driven pressure.

astute perception...

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 04:19:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I've said before, the perception that Britain is overcrowded isn't just a media confection, it's an observable reality in the South East of England. But once you're 100 miles from london the UK is massively under-populated.

So perception matters, especially when nearly all of the media live in the South east as well and reflect received opinions . If half of the population live in the South East, then half the population are gonna agree it's over-crowded. Dunno where the other 9% come from.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 07:02:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The question was not about overcrowdedness, but the numbers of immigrants.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 12:15:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Labor Minister von der Leyen on Gender Quotas: 'The Business World Has Simply Stood Still' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Labor Minister Ursula von der Leyen would like to see legally mandated gender quotas for senior management positions at Germany's leading companies. SPIEGEL spoke with the minister about why the time is right, the reasons younger women often reject such quotas and the advantages of the French model.

SPIEGEL: Minister von der Leyen, you recently advocated the introduction of a gender quota for the first time. Why now? You could have done so as family minister, a position you held from 2005 to 2009.

Von der Leyen: Because the time is right and because, five years back, is was still too trusting. For the last decade, there has been a voluntary agreement with the private sector. At the outset, I counted on that. But the agreement has been an abysmal failure; almost nothing has changed for women. Just like then, 97 percent of the people sitting on the executive boards of German companies are men as well as 90 percent on the supervisory boards. In fact, when it comes to the presence of women in positions of leadership in the German economy, we are near the bottom in international comparisons. We are now on par with India and trailing Brazil, China and Russia. We are also facing drastic shortages in skilled workers. As labor minister, I know that we can no longer allow ourselves to turn a blind eye to half of our talent.

See article on the public debate kicked off by this interview quoted by In Wales.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:41:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Indian transsexuals hope `separate gender' category will end discrimination
Once protected as half-gods, Indian transsexuals are discriminated against in their daily lives as not-quite women and not-quite men. Now the Indian government is looking to create a separate gender category to help them.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:41:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Asia anticipates good fortune in welcoming 'Year of the Rabbit'
Much of Asia rang in the lunar new year on Thursday with fireworks and festivities, the new Year of the Rabbit is supposed to be one of relative calm and good fortune. Vietnam celebrates the lunar new year as the Year of the Cat.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:41:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / EU parliament robbery was 'inside job,' officials say
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Armed robbers have struck the European Parliament again, the third such attack in two years. Individuals close to the investigation say they are convinced it is an inside job.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:42:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Inner Ring: Why German TV matters
You probably don't watch much German TV. Here in France we're treated to mid-afternoon re-runs of Derrick, a 1980s detective programme and not much else. But if German TV shows don't export themselves, it's worth remembering that the country is Europe's largest and most wealthy country.

It's against this backdrop that the idea of German broadcasters dropping the Tour de France can be seen as a significant blow to the sport. There's talk of funding cutbacks and new priorities but there's a pachyderm in the parlour: das doping.
It is essential that the publicly-funded German television no longer support structures that encourage crime.
The quote above is from a media editor in Germany, my translation. As you can see, this is strong stuff, meaning no public money should go into cycling. The anti-doping attitude in Germany is very strong, the country that once took to Jan Ullrich recoiled at the allegations and admissions when the T-Mobile squad imploded.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 03:04:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
News Corp. puts Myspace on the block - :: Future of Journalism - News3.0 ::
News Corp. said Wednesday it was exploring a sale or other "strategic options" for Myspace, the ailing social network which has been eclipsed by Facebook.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 05:29:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MySpace could easily be turned into an indie iTunes. A bit of CEO-think suggests you'd probably need to fire 90% of the existing face and rely on crowd-sourcing volunteers to make it pay its way. But it's still such a busy site that all it needs is a bit of differentiation, a bit of street cred, and some improved artist PR, sales and marketing tools and it could come roaring back from the dead.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 06:11:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup, MySpace may be ailing as a social network, but it's social music network central.

If News International can't see that...

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 03:51:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd have thought it was pretty obvious that NI don't understand the internet at all.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 07:58:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i'd really like to see that...

what i fail to understand is why apple makes good quality apps, but itunes is stuck at such a clunky phase. accessing the store is slow, and if you're d/loading something and it fails midway, it has to start all over again. it should be their flagship app, and it barely works.

wtf?

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 09:29:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apple has no clue how bad iTunes is. I don't know anyone who thinks iTunes is a triumph, or who hasn't had at least one bad experience with it, but when I had a brief conversation with one of the lead developers, he didn't get it.

Apple is a very white-picket-fence suburbia-loving middle of the road corporate. They like their shiny, but they also like total control and there's a real terror of outsiders - all of which are orthogonal to user friendliness.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 10:07:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
David Brin (DavidBrin1) on Twitter
How much is a Facebook fan worth to a company? A Syncapse study says $136 on average http://t.co/HRIJYa5


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 05:53:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bad stats alert![1] If you read the methodology they started out with household name brands and then measured - sort of - the extra spend they got from the odd Facebook recommendation, and a few other hand-wavey numbers like "media value.".

This doesn't scale at all to smaller companies. And if you look at the data, the chief component of the value comes from the way that fans already buy products they like and recommend them to their friends offline.

But of course now we have a narrative that "a Facebook fan" is worth "$x" to a company. So that's what people will remember, even if it's nonsense.

[1] Can we have a bad stats alert?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 06:02:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
((*stats blah)) now gives you [blah Statistics™ Alert!]

Examples:

[How to Lie with Statistics™ Alert!]

[Bad Statistics™ Alert!]

[Good Statistics™ Alert!]

[ Statistics™ Alert!]

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 03:57:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
85% of people agree that 98% of statistics are made up.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 10:41:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Andrew Lansley and his imaginary evidence - Bad Science

I have never heard one politician use the word "evidence" so persistently, and so misleadingly, as Andrew Lansley defending his NHS reforms. Since he repeatedly claims that the evidence supports his plan, let's skim through what we can find on whether GP consortiums work, the benefits of competition, and the failures of the NHS.

Are GP consortiums better than PCTs for commissioning? There have been 15 major reorganisations of the NHS in 30 years. We've had GP fundholders, GP multifunds, primary care groups, primary care trusts, family practitioner committees, purchasing consortiums, and more. After all this change, lots of data should have been gathered on the impact of specific strategies.

In reality, few were properly studied.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 07:38:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:42:19 PM EST
France24 - Shamed World Cup skipper Evra sidelined for Brazil friendly

AFP - France coach Laurent Blanc on Thursday omitted former skipper Patrice Evra from his squad to face Brazil in a February 9 friendly at Stade de France - but insisted his reasons were purely tactical.

Manchester United defender Evra had been available for selection after serving a five-match suspension following his leading role in last summer's player strike during the World Cup at Knysna in South Africa.

But Blanc had been under some pressure to prolong his spell in the cold after French Sports Minister Chantal Jouanno demanded last week the World Cup rebels apologise before donning the national shirt again.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 4th, 2011 at 01:42:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 04:29:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Drawn in 1967.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 07:34:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Conan O'Brien

"Congress is proposing a bill that would give President Obama a kill switch that he could use to freeze all activity on the Internet if there were a national emergency. The kill switch goes by the top-secret name Microsoft Windows."

h/t Bill in Portland maine

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 5th, 2011 at 08:18:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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