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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 10 May

by afew Mon May 9th, 2011 at 04:00:29 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europe on this date in history:

1877 - Romania declares itself independent of the Ottoman Empire

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 12:02:06 PM EST
Ratings agencies hammer Greece in EU chaos | Reuters

(Reuters) - Credit ratings agencies hammered Greece on Monday after senior euro zone policymakers acknowledged that Athens will need a second bailout package soon to avert a disorderly overhaul of its debt obligations.

Officials said the European Union was also looking to lower interest rates on rescue loans to Ireland within weeks and eyeing easier bailout terms for Greece as the common currency area floundered deeper into crisis.

But ratings agency Standard & Poor's suggested far more radical measures would be required to make Greece's 327 billion euros ($470 billion) debt mountain sustainable, saying Athens may have to reduce the face value of its bonds by up to 70 percent, implying big losses for investors.

S&P downgraded Greece's credit rating further into junk territory to B, just one notch above Pakistan's, hitting Greek bank stocks as investors sought safety in German bonds. The euro slid to its lowest level in three weeks against the dollar.

Anyone who thinks this is "Economy" and not 100% political is wrong.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:28:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anyone who thinks "EU chaos" in the headline is without consequence is no doubt also wrong.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:29:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek Debt Rating Cut to B by S&P on Restructuring Concerns (2) - Bloomberg.com

May 9 (Bloomberg) -- Greece's credit rating was cut two levels to B from BB- by Standard & Poor's, which said further reductions are possible as the risk of default rises.

Another cut would make Greece the lowest-rated country in Europe as today's reduction, the fourth by S&P since April 2010, left it even with Belarus. The yield on Greek 10-year bonds rose 21 basis points to 15.7 percent, more than twice the level of a year ago when Greece accepted an international bailout.

The S&P decision came on the first business day after an unannounced Friday evening meeting of European finance ministers May 6 in which they agreed Greece needed more help to avoid a restructuring. Extended repayment terms and demands for collateral may be part of a new aid plan. Moody's Investors Service today placed Greece's B1 rating on review for downgrade.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:42:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Obama retracing his Irish roots

The small village of Moneygall, in Ireland, is awaiting the visit of President Barack Obama later this month.

The President is paying a visit to the ancestral home of his great great great grandfather before he emigrated to the USA.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:32:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Libya immigrants to stay in Europe | EurActiv
The latest waves of immigrants arriving on the Italian island of Lampedusa are from Libya and cannot be sent back as they are fleeing a conflict zone. The European Commission has called on EU countries to help Italy share the burden.

Some 500 boat people from Libya were rescued yesterday (8 May) after their frail vessel hit rocks off the Italian island of Lampedusa.

In a separate development, sixty-one immigrants died of hunger and thirst before their vessel finally reached shore on 10 April, back in Libya where they had started from.

Only 11 passengers survived the trip, and two of them died soon afterwards. According to the Guardian newspaper, Western military ships in the area ignored the boat in distress. Naval spokespeople declined to comment.

by Nomad on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:32:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU agency sued for transparency on toxic chemicals | EurActiv
Two environmental groups said on Monday (9 May) they had sued Europe's chemicals watchdog for withholding information about the production of toxic chemicals.

The lawsuit, filed by activist lawyers ClientEarth and chemicals campaigners ChemSec, says the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) breached transparency laws by refusing to disclose the names of facilities producing 356 potentially dangerous chemicals.

ECHA is Europe's agency for evaluating and restricting more than 30,000 substances that currently face little regulatory oversight, many of them a potential risk to human health.

Companies wanting to sell chemicals must register them with ECHA, including details on toxicity, which the agency will publish on its website.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:38:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU imposes biodiesel duty | European Voice
Investigation found that US biodiesel was being shipped through Canada to avoid duty.

The EU has decided to impose duties on imports of biodiesel from Canada that originated in the United States.

On Thursday (5 May), the Council of Ministers agreed to impose an anti-dumping duty of €409.2 per tonne on imports from Canada. It also imposed the same penalty on imports of US diesel blends containing less than 20% biodiesel. The duties will be backdated to 13 August 2010.

The decision followed an investigation by the European Commission into whether US biodiesel was being shipped through Canada in order to avoid duties imposed on US biofuel in March 2009. The investigation followed a complaint by the European Biodiesel Board (EBB) that there was an increase in imports from Canada after duties were imposed on US biodiesel export. In 2007, the EBB complained that European biodiesel producers were losing out because of subsidised imports from the US.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:39:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pressure growing for EU sanctions against Assad | European Voice
As security crackdown continues in Syria, EU diplomats suggest its leader could be targeted.

An ongoing security crackdown in Syria has increased pressure on the European Union to freeze the assets of Bashar Assad, Syria's president, and to ban him from entering EU member states.

"There is an ongoing review of the situation in Syria and a constant re-assessment of the list" of people against whom sanctions are in force, a diplomat said. He said that the situation in Syria would be "critical" in assessing whether Assad, whose family has ruled the country with an iron fist for the past four decades, would be added to the list.

On Friday (6 May), member states' ambassadors on the EU's Political and Security Committee failed to agree sanctions against Assad, although they imposed visa bans and asset freezes on a dozen of his associates. Those sanctions are currently being finalised and are expected to enter into force in the coming days. A largely symbolic arms embargo took effect last month.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:40:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Immigration surge halts population exodus - The Local
Germany registered a net gain of 128,000 immigrants last year, the largest increase since 2004. Poland, Romania and Bulgaria were the most common countries of origin, followed by the United States and Turkey.

According to the the Federal Statistics Office, 798,000 people immigrated to Germany in 2010, 77,000 more than in the previous year (+11 percent). Meanwhile, 671,000 left the country, 63,000 fewer than in 2009 (-9 percent).

The rise in population reverses a two-year period when more people left the country than arrived. However, immigration in 2010 still did not match the heights seen during the post-reunification 1990s, when typically saw 800,000 people entered Germany each year.

In 2010, 684,000 immigrants of the total were foreigners, while about 115,000 were expatriate German nationals returning home.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:57:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
while about 115,000 were expatriate German nationals returning home.

... after an absence of mere centuries!

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 04:17:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some of whom may actually speak German....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 04:35:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I keep forgetting I could "return" to Germany.  (Having never been there in me life.)  

And I speak German!

Well, from what I remember at a wee rugrat competency level, e.g., Mutti, ins kino gehen?

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

by ATinNM on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 05:32:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh. Except for my husband, who was gone only 17 years. And I count as an immigrant from the USA. Whoopie, I'm a statistic.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 06:01:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
US to station F16 jets in Poland - Telegraph
President Barack Obama is set to formally announce the deployment of US military aircraft to Poland, in a move that could damage Washington's relations with Moscow.

Mr Obama visits Poland at the end of the month and is expected to confirm the stationing of F16 combat aircraft on Polish soil during meetings with Bronislaw Komorowski, his Polish counterpart, and other central and eastern European leaders.

Citing diplomatic sources, the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza claimed that 16 US jets will move from their current home at the Aviano air force base in Italy to Lask in central Poland, and will be stationed on a rotational basis from 2013.

The American president is also expected to hold talks about stationing SM-3 interceptor missiles in Poland as part of Washington's plans for a missile defence shield. The United States already has a Patriot missile battery in Poland.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 12:26:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the jets will also be used to defend Polish gas frackers against the portion of the polish population which loses its drinking water.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 02:20:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there a point to this beyond annoying the Russians?

16 jets are pretty much useless from a tactical point of view - even assuming anyone seriously expects Russian tanks to come rolling in over Belarus.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 06:48:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Conversely, is there a point to the Russians being annoyed?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 06:49:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
About as much as there would be if Russia stationed 16 Migs in Mexico.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 07:17:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
they've got to justify all those bases they have around the world, so a rolling programme of moving fighter jets about is as good as any.

Just the dog marking territory is all

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 07:34:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Austria approves extradition of ex-Croatian leader Sanader | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 09.05.2011
A court in Austria has approved the extradition of former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, who is wanted in Croatia on suspicion of corruption. Sanader was arrested in Austria on an international warrant in December. 

A court in Austria ruled on Monday that former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader can be extradited back to Croatia to face charges of corruption there, relating to his time as prime minister from 2003 to his resignation in 2009.

Sanader was arrested in Austria on December 10 after Croatia issued an international arrest warrant. He is suspected of corruption and embezzlement, and Croatian media suspect he funneled millions of dollars from state-owned companies into his own political party and other private accounts. Since his arrest, Sanader has been held in an Austrian prison.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 12:37:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Russians oppose participation of German army in the WWII Victory Parade | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 09.05.2011
As Russia celebrates Victory Day on May 9, marking the end of World War II in Europe, a new study is shedding light on the conflicted relationship Russians still have with Germany. 

Though 66 years have passed since the end of World War II, celebrations remembering the Allied victory over Nazi Germany still have an important place in Russia today.

Last year, for the first time ever, Allied troops took part in the annual military parade in Moscow commemorating the anniversary. Their participation was designed to express the historical ties that bound the nations in this dark chapter of history.

A question of historical accuracy

The participation of the German Federal Armed Forces, the Bundeswehr, in such a parade would have the potential to be seen as a gesture of reconciliation. A recent study, however, found that 57 percent of Russians firmly reject the idea of German participation.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 12:38:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Europe Day celebrated amid growing criticism of ECB

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - It may be Europe Day, but a new haiku from the bloc's president celebrating the occasion could not mask unease across the Union, with criticism of the partisanship of the European Central Bank growing in Ireland and Greece suffering from yet another credit-rating downgrade.

EU flag: anti-EU populism is growing, warns the commission

On 9 May 1950, one of the two main founders of the EU, Robert Schuman, presented his proposal for an organised Europe, known as the "Schuman declaration" - considered to be the birth of the European project.

Sixty-one years later, European Council President Herman van Rompuy in a prepared video message conceded that the bloc was in a "difficult" period, but offered the 27 states a freshly written poem as a birthday present.

"A corona of stars / Rolling over the deep blue sea / Together forever," the haiku read.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 12:40:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For a second there I thought EU flag: anti-EU populism is growing, warns the commission was the haiku.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 01:42:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Italy PM Berlusconi in court over Mills 'bribery' case

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has appeared in court on charges he bribed a witness to perjure himself in another trial.

It is the first time he has appeared in court over allegations he paid his former British lawyer David Mills to provide false testimony.

Mr Berlusconi faces two other corruption trials and is also accused in another case of paying an underage prostitute and of abuse of power.

In all cases he says he is innocent.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 12:51:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Berlusconi calls judges 'a cancer' - Europe, World - The Independent

The italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, branded magistrates "a cancer of democracy" during a hearing yesterday.

"There is something incredible about this whole trial," Mr Berlusconi said, alluding to the charges he faces of bribing the British lawyer David Mills to give false evidence. He said accusations had been unfounded in 20 other cases brought against him.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 12:52:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Takes one to know one

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 07:35:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bosnia facing worst crisis since war - Europe - Al Jazeera English
International high representative for country condemns Bosnian Serb officials for 'violating' Dayton peace accords.

Bosnia-Herzegovina is facing its most serious crisis since it was established as a state 15 years ago, the international representative for the country has warned, accusing Bosnian Serb officials of threatening its viability.

In a regular report to the United Nations, Valentin Inzko, an Austrian diplomat who represents Bosnia, accused Bosnian Serb authorities of engaging in "concrete actions which represent the most serious violation of [the 1995 the Dayton peace accords that ended the Bosnian war] that we have seen since the agreement was signed".

The peace accord divided the country into two: a separatist Bosnian Serb Republic, known as Republika Srpska, and a Muslim-Croat federation.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 12:56:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bosnia and Herzegovina will never be what west wants: united state with centralized power, because nighter Croatians or Serbs will ever want it. Muslims (and west?)would like it but it's not in cards.
B&H will work somehow as loose confederation until time comes for tree nations to separate. History is not working in favour of one single, centralised and simple state and it will not happen...at least not in our life time. People can be forced to live together (all tho in dell) but they cannot be forced to love each other. And why we should force them? Just because it's easier for west to control them?
Kosovo has been allowed to go ... why (or why not)?
Scots are having referendum to separate from UK...Everybody should have same rules...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 02:01:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DAILY MORNING NEWSBRIEFING: "I was told to say there was no meeting... We had certain necessities to consider" (Eurointelligence, 10.05.2011)
Juncker's spokesman Guy Schuller admits to lying about the secret meeting; Juncker himself is quoted as saying :"when it becomes serious, you have to lie", thereby undermining the credibility of the EU's policy response; Lucas Zeise says lies are a hallmark of an economic policy end game, with the eurozone now very likely to break up; Jean Claude Trichet has proposed another €50bn loan for Greece; Greek tax revenues fall way short of the plan; there are reports that Angela Merkel will travel to Brussels for emergency consultations; euro falls further, and bond spreads rise; an FDP politician has tabled a motion to end all eurozone rescue packages; there are huge recriminations in Brussels against the Germans for leaking the meeting, and for undermining the Greek stabilisation efforts; S&P downgrades Greece, and says that even a voluntary debt restructuring constitutes default; Finnish parties start difficult negotiations about Portugal's bailout package today; Portuguese banks borrowed €48bn from ECB in May; new FDP chief Philipp Rösler becomes economics minister, asserting his power in the party; German exports and imports reach new records, with net exports rising; the euro, meanwhile, is far more popular in France than it is in Germany.


Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 02:13:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there are huge recriminations in Brussels against the Germans for leaking the meeting, and for undermining the Greek stabilisation efforts
Oh, enough already!
The aftermath from the meeting...

...

El Pais reports that Angela Merkel will travel to Brussels tomorrow for talks with Herman van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso to discuss the Greek debt crisis.

... and the fingerpointing

Newspapers carried accounts of angry reactions to the botched finance ministers' meeting. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports on FDP parliamentarian Frank Schäffler who wants to introduce a petition in Bundestag that stop further rescue packages for other euro countries. In the meantime, according to Spiegel Online, Juncker is being accused of being incapable of even organising an encounter of a handful of ministers without the whole world knowing it. And Süddeutsche Zeitung reports on a handful of anonymous euro sources who are saying that German sources leak confidential information on Greece and thus systematically destabilize the country. According to Jean Quatremer's blog those sources are "without any doubt" close to the FDP which is vehemently opposed to all transfers to the peripheral countries. The leaks will be discussed at next Monday's eurogroup meeting, Sueddeutsche reports.



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 02:21:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Liberation: Coulisses de Bruxelles, UE (Jean Quatremer)
Vendredi dernier, rebelote : le site de l'hebdomadaire allemand der Spiegel « révèle » qu'une  « réunion secrète » des ministres des Finances de la zone euro aura lieu le soir même au Luxembourg. Cette fois, il ne s'agit même plus de restructurer la dette, mais carrément, selon der Spiegel, d'examiner la « demande grecque » d'une sortie de l'euro. Aucune source, comme d'habitude, mais cela n'empêche par les agences de presse de reprendre sans recul « l'information ». L'euro chute lourdement.

Sans doute alimenté par une source gouvernementale proche du FDP, le parti libéral farouchement opposé au sauvetage de la Grèce, le Spiegel s'est lourdement planté  : ce n'est pas l'Eurogroupe qui s'est réuni, mais les ministres des Finances européens du G20 (Allemagne, France, Italie, Espagne), Jean-Claude Juncker, le président de l'Eurogroupe, et Jean-Claude Trichet, le président de la Banque centrale européenne. Il s'agissait de discuter avec Georges Papaconstantinou du plan d'ajustement grec. Des réunions informelles et discrètes, en format restreint, habituelles en période de crise. Et, évidemment, « nous n'avons pas discuté d'une sortie de la Grèce de la zone euro, nous pensons tous que ce serait une option stupide », comme l'a expliqué Juncker. Et, comme il vaut mieux préciser, « nous avons exclu la restructuration de la dette grecque ».



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 02:24:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quatremer doesn't in fact say "without any doubt", as reported by Eurointelligence. He says "Sans doute alimenté par...", that is, "No doubt fed by...", a considerably weaker formulation.

Which is all the same a PN.

Quatremer also points to Nouriel Roubini who has been using his influence to claim Greek default is imminent, with an effect on the markets that he is surely able to measure.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 05:13:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would it be possible that proving the leaks came from the neo-liberal FDP could destroy the party, or would they regain position from a new base of Bild Zeitung people?

and isn't it stunning to see the public admission of lying?

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

by Crazy Horse on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 02:25:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why would it destroy the party?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 02:26:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Inability to be trusted? (or is that just my way of thinking?)

Probably i shouldn't have used the word "destroy."

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

by Crazy Horse on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 03:26:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It might make it an unreliable government partner, but I'm not sure it would destroy its public appeal...

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 03:42:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously Juncker and his aide are not familiar with the trope "being economical with the truth" or they would have used that turn of phrase instead of "lie".

Then again, I suppose this indicates the wheels are coming off Juncker's cart...

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 04:13:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ElPais.com in English: Cuts of two billion euros on the way if growth falls short
Analysts believe that Spain's budget deficit will grow by two-tenths- from the current 6 percent of GDP to 6.2 percent - if growth doesn't meet the Zapatero administration's projected goal, of 1.3 percent. Market indicators have shown that Spain will only experience 0.8 percent growth, which will also bring on the cuts, say officials.

...

The Bank of Spainlast week announced thatthe Spanish economy had started theyear with "weak" growth driven by the export sector, while domestic demand remained negative.

In its monthly economic bulletin for April released Friday, the central bank calculated GDP posted quarter-on-quarter growth of 0.2 percent in the first quarter, the same rate as in the previous three months. Annual growth, however, accelerated slightly to 0.7 percent from 0.6 percent.



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 04:31:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 12:02:43 PM EST
Greece Slips Farther Behind Budget-Cut Target - WSJ.com

Europe's debt crisis has returned full circle to the problem that started it over a year ago: How to save the malfunctioning Greek state from running out of money.

Greece has been slipping farther behind its targets for cutting its budget deficit and is expected to need nearly €30 billion ($43 billion) of extra financing for 2012, according to euro-zone officials.

The country's growing reliance on aid from other euro members is fueling a debate over whether Greece should hold talks with its private creditors about extending the maturity of its bonds, a step that Germany is quietly pushing but other euro nations are resisting.

by Nomad on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:34:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The World from Berlin: 'The Only Real Option Left for Greece Is Debt Restructuring' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

On Friday, SPIEGEL ONLINE reported on a secret meeting taking place in Luxembourg at which finance ministers from leading euro-zone countries and Athens discussed options for dealing with Greece's ongoing crisis, which even a multibillion euro bailout has failed to resolve. SPIEGEL ONLINE reported that Athens is mulling, among other scenarios, a possible departure from the common currency area.

On Saturday, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou denied the report, calling it "rumor mongering."

It emerged Sunday, however, that finance ministers from Europe's largest economies, including Germany, France, Italy and Spain, have already attended secret meetings several times in order to be able to discretely discuss the euro crisis, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported on Monday.

The fact that politicians initially denied there was any secret meeting on Friday and then later trying to play down what had been discussed, has led to speculation on the editorial pages of major newspapers in Germany that a second bailout for Greece is likely to come soon.

Several editorialists also believe that a debt restructuring, or "haircut," will also be necessary for Athens. That would involve debt forgiveness that will hit taxpayers in Germany and other countries straight in the pocketbook. They warn, however, that a haircut, if done incorrectly, could also have an incalculable impact on the European banking sector that might echo the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

by Nomad on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:37:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spiegel:

That would involve debt forgiveness that will hit taxpayers banks and investors in Germany and other countries straight in the pocketbook. profit margins.

FIFY.

Of course it might also - indirectly - affect taxpayers, if Merkel et al decide that it should.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 06:52:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - The secret to Germany's export success

It's quite simple really - Germany makes things which people in countries with growing economies want to buy.

As China grows, so does its demand for the machinery which its factories need - and for the accoutrements of wealth which its new rich think they need, like flashy BMWs.

It is true there may be a "bungee effect" - the economic fall was so fast and far that the springing back from recession now seems all the stronger - the German economy grew by 3.6% last year, much more than comparable economies like that of Britain or the United States.

But that bounce from down does not explain Germany's current robustness.

After all, the fall was deep in the US and Britain, too.

One difference is that Germany did not have a property bubble which then burst, leaving consumers and companies pulling in their belts to a painful degree to pay off debt.

by Nomad on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:41:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - German exports rise to all-time high

German exports surged in March to their highest level since records began, as the growing global economy lifted demand for its products and services.

The country's exports for the month totalled 98.3bn euros ($142bn; £87bn), 7.3% higher than February.

Its imports also reached an all-time high, up 3.1% to 79.4bn euros. Both imports and exports are the most since data started to be collected in 1950.

Germany is the world's second-largest exporter.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 12:51:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Manufacturing Booms as Deere Exemplifies Productivity Surge (1) - Bloomberg.com

May 9 (Bloomberg) -- After a 40 percent drop in sales from October 2008 to February 2009, Materials Processing Inc. laid off workers, changed the way it sets prices and took fewer risks in the volatile commodities markets.

The efforts returned the Logansport, Indiana-based metals- processing company to profitability starting in March 2009, and sales are back to pre-crisis levels, said Chief Executive Officer Clay Barnes.

"We aggressively restructured and are going to be around for our customers for a very long time," he said.

Once-ailing manufacturers are enjoying a robust rebound as cost-saving moves from job cuts to a greater reliance on technology help drive stronger-than-forecast growth. The shift has helped set the stage for a potential "manufacturing renaissance," says James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Minneapolis-based Wells Capital Management. He predicts the industry will set the pace for U.S. expansion and the American stock market during this decade, as technology did in the 1990s.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:43:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Unwisdom of Elites - NYTimes.com
The past three years have been a disaster for most Western economies. The United States has mass long-term unemployment for the first time since the 1930s. Meanwhile, Europe's single currency is coming apart at the seams. How did it all go so wrong?

Well, what I've been hearing with growing frequency from members of the policy elite -- self-appointed wise men, officials, and pundits in good standing -- is the claim that it's mostly the public's fault. The idea is that we got into this mess because voters wanted something for nothing, and weak-minded politicians catered to the electorate's foolishness.

So this seems like a good time to point out that this blame-the-public view isn't just self-serving, it's dead wrong.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. The policies that got us into this mess weren't responses to public demand. They were, with few exceptions, policies championed by small groups of influential people -- in many cases, the same people now lecturing the rest of us on the need to get serious. And by trying to shift the blame to the general populace, elites are ducking some much-needed reflection on their own catastrophic mistakes.

Let me focus mainly on what happened in the United States, then say a few words about Europe.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:49:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Real World Economics Review/Post Autistic Economics Review: Manifesto of the appalled economists [PDF] (27 September 2010)
Whether it is interpreted as "the desire to reassure markets" on the part of frightened governments, or as a pretext to impose choices driven by ideology, this submission to dictatorship is not acceptable, since it has proven its economic inefficiency and its destructive potential, both at the political and social levels. A real democratic debate on economic policy choices must be opened in France and Europe. Most of the economists who participate in public debates do so in order to justify or rationalize the submission of policies to the demands of financial markets. Admittedly, all governments have had to improvise Keynesian stimuli plans, and even sometimes to nationalize banks temporarily. But they want to close this parenthesis quickly. The neoliberal paradigm is still the only one that is acknowledged as legitimate, despite its obvious failures. Based on the assumption of efficient capital markets, it advocates reducing government spending, privatizing public services, flexibilising the labour market, liberalizing trade, financial services and capital markets, increase competition at all times and in all places...

As economists, we are appalled to see that these policies are still on the agenda, and that their theoretical foundations are not reconsidered. The arguments which have been used during thirty years in order to guide European economic policy choices have been undermined by the facts. The crisis has laid bare the dogmatic and unfounded nature of the alleged "obvious facts" repeated ad nauseam by policy makers and their advisers. Whether it is the efficiency and rationality of financial markets, or the need to cut spending to reduce debt or to strengthen the "stability pact", these "obvious facts" have to be examined, and the plurality of choices of economic policies must be shown. Other choices are possible and desirable, provided that the financial industry's noose on public policies is loosened.

We offer below a critical presentation of ten premises that still inspire decisions of public authorities all over Europe every day, despite the fierce denial brought by the financial crisis and its aftermath. These are pseudo "obvious facts" which are in fact unfair and ineffective measures, against which we propose twenty-two counterproposals that we would like to bring into the debate. Each of the proposals is not necessarily unanimously supported by all the people who have signed this manifesto, but they have to be considered seriously if we want to drive Europe out of the current dead end.



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 06:59:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
HTML version (in several languages) at the Appalled Economists blog.


Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 06:53:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 12:03:05 PM EST
Deadly clashes erupt in Cairo - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Following earlier clashes with Muslims, Christians marching against the military in the Egyptian capital of Cairo have come under attack. This recent violence has left at least 12 people dead.

While some blamed hardline Muslims, others said the clashes were symptomatic of rampant lawlessness in the country following the revolution that overthrew long-time leader, Hosni Mubarak.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:32:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pakistan rejects complicity in bin Laden case - Central & South Asia - Al Jazeera English

Pakistan has denied allegations of complicity or incompetence in the Osama bin Laden case.

Yousuf Raza Gilani, the country's prime minister, said that it was "disingenuous" for anyone to accuse either the Pakistani state or its various institutions, including its intelligence agencies, of "being in cahoots" with al-Qaeda.

Addressing parliament on Monday, Gilani said it was Pakistan's spy agency that had given "key leads" that ultimately led to the US raid on the compound in Pakistan's Abbottabad where bin Laden lived.

He said that his country attached high importance to its relations with the United States, but warned that "unilateral actions" such as the raid on bin Laden's house in Abbottabad ran the risk of serious consequences.

Blaming "all intelligence agencies of the world" for failing to track bin Laden, Gilani said that an inquiry has been ordered, to be led by Pakistani Lieutenant-General Javed Iqbal.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:34:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Leak of C.I.A. Officer's Name Is Sign of Rift With Pakistan - NYTimes.com
For the second time in five months, the Pakistani authorities have angered the Central Intelligence Agency by leaking the name of the C.I.A. station chief in Islamabad to Pakistani news media, a deliberate effort to complicate the work of the American spy agency in the aftermath of the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, American officials said.

The publication of the name demonstrated the tilt toward a near adversarial relationship between the C.I.A. and the Pakistani spy agency, the Inter Services Intelligence Directorate, or ISI, since the Bin Laden raid. It appeared to be intended to show the leverage the Pakistanis retain over American interests in the country, both sides said.

In an address before Parliament on Monday, Prime Minister Yousaf Gilani made clear that Pakistani officials at the highest levels accepted little responsibility for the fact that Bin Laden was able to hide in their country for years.

by Nomad on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:40:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Syrian army 'surrounds Damascus suburb' of Muadhamiya

Heavy gunfire has been heard in a western suburb of the Syrian capital, Damascus, after the army cordoned off the area, human rights activists say.

Clouds of black smoke could also be seen over Muadhamiya. Three people were killed there, an activist told the BBC.

Security forces are also continuing their efforts to crush anti-government protests in the cities of Homs and Deraa, and the coastal town of Baniyas.

State media meanwhile said 10 labourers had been killed in an ambush by gunmen.

Foreign journalists have not been allowed to enter Syria, so the reports are difficult to verify independently.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:34:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
allAfrica.com: Sudan: South to Drop Abyei Claims From Draft Constitution as Unauthorized Forces Start Withdrawal

South Sudan has pledged to strike claims to Abyei region off its draft constitution, an AU-mandated panel announced on Sunday, as north and south Sudan together with the UN reached an agreement on a timeframe to withdraw all unauthorized forces from the hotly-contested region.

Tension recently flared up between north and south Sudan after the latter issued a draft constitution laying claims to Abyei, prompting northern official to threaten to break their earlier promises to recognize South Sudan independence which was gained via a referendum held in January as part of the 2005's Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

Following a meeting with Sudan's second Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha in Khartoum yesterday, the member of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan (AUHIP) and former president of Burundi Pierre Buyoya told reporters that they had conveyed to Taha the pledges the panel had received from the Government of South Sudan not to take any unilateral measures regarding Abyei and drop claims to the region's ownership from the south's draft constitution.

by Nomad on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:45:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ahmadinejad allies charged with sorcery | The Guardian | 9.5.11
Close allies of Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have been accused of using supernatural powers to further his policies amid an increasingly bitter power struggle between him and the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being "magicians" and invoking djinns (spirits).

Ayandeh, an Iranian news website, described one of the arrested men, Abbas Ghaffari, as "a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds".

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 04:49:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
see, i told you.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 05:10:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[citation needed]
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 05:16:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes let it cook and simmer. I'm loving it.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 05:29:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
B at MOA has looked at this:

M of A - Iran: No Sorcery But A Constitutional Struggle

So there is sorcery within the Iranian government of president Ahmadinejad, allies of him have been arrested for it and he will step down?

Today Yves Smith links to a Raw Story piece which is headlined Iranian president may resign after allies arrested, charged with sorcery. Raw Story has no sources for that claim but a link to a Guardian piece which claims:

Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being "magicians" and invoking djinns (spirits).

Ayandeh, an Iranian news website, described one of the arrested men, Abbas Ghaffari, as "a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds".

The Guardian provides no source for its report but that Iranian website Ayandeh it links to.

But there is little Iranian with that website except its use of Farsi language. It has an English title "Iranian Futurist". It's full domain name is www.ayandeh.nu and it is registered via Loopia Webbhotell AB in Vasteras, Sweden. The admin email for that website is info@ayandehnegar.org and that domain is registered to one Hossein Mola with an address in Kesta, Sweden.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 12:18:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Northeast, Midwest, California get more high-speed rail funds | McClatchy | 9.5.11
The Obama administration parceled out $2 billion Monday for high-speed rail projects in the Northeast, Midwest and California, repurposing a pot of funds rejected in February by Florida's new Republican governor.

Amtrak's Washington-Boston Northeast Corridor is the biggest winner, getting nearly $800 million of the funds; followed by the Midwest, with $400 million going toward Chicago-Detroit and Chicago-St. Louis routes; and California, with $300 million for the state's planned San Francisco-Los Angeles high-speed route. An additional $336 million is designated for new locomotives and passenger cars for the Midwest and California.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 05:01:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is giddy cool on so many levels.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 09:34:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ElPais.com in English: The West looks on (Editorial)
What can the United States and the European Union do to put an end to the massacre in Syria? The first painfully obvious observation is that Syria is not Libya. If Colonel Gaddafi's regime is more than holding out against the popular revolt given tepid support by the West, the state presided by the ex-ophthalmologist Bashar al-Assad is a much harder nut to crack, given that the Western powers feel incapable of going beyond verbal condemnations and economic sanctions- which have shown their ineffective nature on many occasions in the past.

Popular protest has erupted once more in Deraa, the town where the spark of revolt took flame some weeks ago; it is surfacing, though with justified fear of the brutality of repression, in the capital, Damascus, and fills the streets whenever it can in other towns.

Independent sources estimate at some 800 the civilians so far shot down by the so-called forces of public order, which on Sunday brought tanks into Homs and other smaller towns. On Saturday they did likewise in Baniyas, a coastal city which the regime considers one of the strongholds of the revolt of the Sunni majority against the Alawite regime. The Syrian regime, with its usual cynicism, reckons the number of dead at only about 150, more than half of whom it claims belonged to the security forces.



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 04:33:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Syria is not Libya. So turning a short and bloody civil war into a protracted and bloody civil war is not an option?
by generic on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 07:41:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Microsoft agrees to buy Skype for $8.5 Billion LA Times

Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday that it has agreed to buy the popular Internet telephone service Skype SA for $8.5 billion in the biggest deal in the software maker's 36-year history.

Buying Skype would give Microsoft a potentially valuable communications tool as it tries to become a bigger force on the Internet and in the increasingly important smartphone market.

Microsoft said it will marry Skype's functions to its Xbox game console, Outlook email program and Windows smartphones. The company said it will continue to support Skype on other software platforms.



Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 09:33:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 12:03:46 PM EST
Poland takes lead as EU's shale gas promoter | EurActiv
Poland said the development of shale gas across the EU should obtain the status of "a common European project," adding that it intends to promote the development of unconventional gas during its upcoming EU presidency.

A Polish minister said that research in his country on developing shale gas (see 'Background') was advancing at "unprecedented speed" and that Warsaw was willing to share its experience "in the EU framework".

Speaking at an event in Brussels organised on Friday (6 May) by Demos Europe, a think-tank, Maciej Szpunar, under-secretary of state at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the discussion for developing shale gas across Europe was "more timely than ever".

The Fukushima disaster raised question marks over the future development of nuclear energy, and with petrol prices skyrocketing, there was a need for "innovative solutions" and shale gas certainly provided an answer to the challenge, he said.

by Nomad on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:26:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Shale gas tussle bubbling under EU surface

Heralded as an energy game-changer by supporters, perceived as environmentally pernicious by critics, shale gas is both controversial and increasingly on the European agenda.

Trapped in shale rock deep under the earth's surface, the 'unconventional' gas has grown from just one percent of US domestic gas production a decade ago to roughly 20 percent today, with major reserves discovered all across the globe.

A recent report by the US Energy Information Administration put the volume of technically recoverable shale gas in Europe at 17.5 trillion cubic metres, compared with 24.5 trillion in the US.

This, coupled with key advances in extraction technology, has not gone unnoticed this side of the Atlantic, with upcoming EU presidency-holders Poland among states most keen to tap the new energy source and break the region's reliance on gas imports from Russia.

The industry itself has been quick to label shale gas as a 'green' alternative to coal and a vital tool in Europe's fight against climate change, embarking on a furious lobbying effort in recent months in a bid to secure favourable legislation.

by Nomad on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:35:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gas bills could go up, British Gas warns - Telegraph

The rising price of gas on the wholesale market, where companies buy their energy from, has caused suppliers' costs to rise.

If companies increase customers' bills to recoup these rising costs it would be the second time bills went up in just six months and would almost certainly take energy bills to the highest on record.

The warning came from Centrica, the parent company of British Gas. It said the wholesale price of gas and power for delivery next winter is around 25 per cent higher than last year, but the price paid by households has yet to reflect this higher price.

The company, which has around 16 million energy accounts, said its results for 2011 were likely to be "materially influenced" by the recovery of higher wholesale prices and other costs.

It said: "Market conditions for our residential energy supply business are significantly more challenging than in 2010." It added that, "end-user prices [had] yet to reflect this higher wholesale market price environment".

by Nomad on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:33:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the Telegraph, last February:

Centrica profits rise to £1.9bn as British Gas benefits from cold snap

Centrica, the company that owns British Gas, posted its highest-ever profit in 2010 after last winter's cold snap left more people turning up their heater.

Centrica posted pre-tax profits of £1.92bn in the year to December 31, an 18pc rise compared with 2009. Helped by Centrica's successful gas exploration, operating profit rose 29pc to £2.4bn.

British Gas, Centrica's residential arm, reported an increase in operating profit of 24pc to £742m, as average gas consumption increased by 11pc, and electricity consumption by 2pc during the cold snap that brought much of the country to a standstill.

The UK's biggest gas supplier, which holds more than 42pc market share, reported the hike in profits just a couple of months after it pushed up energy bills up by 7pc.

Good to see markets working efficiently for consumers, as usual.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 06:59:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Soils of UK and Europe drying out

As much as we all enjoy the warm weather, some rain would be welcome.

The scale of just how dry the start of 2011 has been is evident in some fascinating data from one of Europe's latest Earth observation satellites.

Smos senses the moisture in the top layers of soil, and it is very clear in these maps that the ground across the UK and much of Europe is now gasping for water.

Last month was the warmest April on record in Britain.

It was also the 11th driest month, with on average just half the usual rainfall. And in parts of south-east England, there was less than 10% of normal precipitation.

by Nomad on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:43:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
apart from a few inches of snow I don't think we've had any substantial rain here since last autumn.

the local streams are just about flowing but are probably a couple of weeks or so away from stopping and that usually only happens towards the end of dry summers. To happen in spring is unprecedented.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 07:56:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Grumpy old man pique...

To happen in spring is unprecedented.

Citation needed.

For the Netherlands, April generally is dry, but so far the absence of rain this year since April is above the record year of 1976. Of course the Dutch don't need to worry about rivers running dry.

by Nomad on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 08:13:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Citation is just my experience of what happens with the small rivers around my parents home over the last 30 years.

what is happening now, as far as I remember, hasn't happened this early in the year before.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 10:56:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem being that on the relevant time scale, 30 years of recollection is not long enough to be speaking of "unprecedented"... You can give it another try when you've reached, say, 100... :)

"unprecedented", "for the first time ever" and "Holland" probably constitute my top three of words that irritate me the most, sorry to harp...

by Nomad on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 11:06:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 04:35:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Renewables can fuel society, say world climate advisers

Renewable technologies could supply 80% of the world's energy needs by mid-century, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

In a report, it says that almost half of current investment in electricity generation is going into renewables.

But growth will depend on having the right policies in place, it says.

The IPCC is charged with providing analysis on climate issues to the world community, and its conclusions have been endorsed by governments.

The summary of its Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN) was released on Monday following a meeting in Abu Dhabi at which representatives of all IPCC member governments signed off the wording.

by Nomad on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:44:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Leave it to the UK to walk backwards.

U.K. Should Build More Nuclear, Less Offshore Wind Power


The U.K. should build more nuclear reactors than planned and slow down investment in offshore wind power to meet targets for carbon emissions and renewable power, the government's climate advisory panel said.
....
"Nuclear, for the foreseeable future, looks like it will be the lowest cost low-carbon technology," David Kennedy, chief executive of the committee, said in London.* "It's only as you get to the end of the 2020s and the beginning of the 2030s that the cost of renewables starts to converge."
....
The U.K. currently aims to build 13 gigawatts of offshore wind farms by 2020, according to its renewable energy action plan submitted last year to the EU. *That should be slowed, with some of the construction moved to the 2020s because the technology is expensive and would get stronger backing if its growth was ensured through 2030, Kennedy said.

"We don't envisage shaving off more than 3 gigawatts" by 2020, he said. "There's a very aggressive schedule, and then there's nothing in the 2020s. A smoother profile going out to 2030 would make a lot of sense. We need to avoid stop-start investment cycles."
....
"Nuclear power can't be part of the answer," Friends of the Earth Director of Policy Craig Bennett said in an e-mailed statement. "If their promises of cheap, low carbon energy were true, they would have been delivered by now."

The article does point out that two of the largest developers of UK offshore wind projects, German utilities RWE and E.on, both have nuclear plants under development as well. On the positive side, the report did say that the UK should be more aggressive with onshore wind.

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

by Crazy Horse on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 02:38:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
how the solution to "not enough offshore wind farm construction planned for the 2020s" is to slow down the construction already planned for the 2010s...

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 04:03:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even more funny, imo, is how effective the nuclear industry's lobbying is proving.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 05:16:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the economics section of the actual report was prepared by Mott McDonald. (MM is responsible for much technical management of offshore wind projects.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 05:48:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The report is here:
http://hmccc.s3.amazonaws.com/Renewables%20Review/MML%20final%20report%20for%20CCC%209%20may%202011. pdf

One key point:


In this analysis levelised costs are to be estimated using discount rates that are differentiated according to developers' and lenders' perceptions of risk and ability to raise debt. These estimates have been derived by Oxera Consulting, as described in their report to CCC, "Discount rates for low carbon generation technologies" published at the same time as this report (May 2011). These are shown in Table 6.6 and Table 6.7.

Discount rates have been estimated for the same three archetypal scenarios used to drive the application of learning rates for the technologies in this study. Oxera's estimates for current rates show significant band of uncertainty for all technologies from 3-5 percentage points, with the mid point of the individual ranges resulting in discount rates from 7.5% to 15.5%. At the bottom end are CCGT (without CCS), onshore wind, mini hydro and solar PV while at the top end are wave, tidal stream and CCS technologies. The midpoint rates for nuclear and offshore wind are 11% and 12%, respectively. All discount rates are presented as expected real, pre-tax returns to debt and equity capital.

Looking forward Oxera is projecting that under scenarios where a technology faces a supportive business environment and deployment rates are high, then discount rates could fall by up to 5% between now and 2040. Technologies that are already established and that are low risk could see a reduction of less than 1% in their discount rates over this period. The implication of this is that comparison between the levelised costs of two technologies with similar capital costs but very different investment climates would lead to substantial differences in cost. As mentioned before this factor is compounded given that the capital costs would have been on different improvement trajectories. The implication is that financing terms are a critical factor in influencing levelised cost movements for low carbon generation technologies.

12% for offshore wind is much too expensive, with debt (60-70% of investment) costing 5-7% as per the most recent transactions. That naturally means a lower levelised cost for the technology...

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 09:15:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sadly, even the Guardian's green apostle is getting in on the act

Guardian - George Monbiot - This 'greenest government ever' is the greatest threat yet to our environment

Three conclusions seem obvious. Unless the new powerlines are buried, the renewables programme will stall: underground cables must become a firm green demand, though they will add significantly to the cost. Even so, it's now clear that there's a limit to how much more renewable power can be deployed before it clatters into a mountain of public opposition. This is one of the reasons why we should start considering other options for decarbonising the electricity supply: especially new nuclear technologies such as thorium, integral fast reactors or travelling wave reactors.

Is this a new tack by the nuclear lobby, to get green campaigners on their side by hyping the nimby costs ? After all, he never mentions the objections to the powerlines from the nuclear plants, apparently they aren't as ugly as those associated with windfarms

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 08:03:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They have scored considerable success with developing anti-wind nimbyism (in France too). Nuclear power stations, it's well known, blend harmoniously into the landscape, and distribute their benefits to mankind by invisible means.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 08:15:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's quite unfair to insinuate a connection between Monbiot and any nuclear lobby.

His series of columns of late are close to a personal tour de force of epiphanies. Monbiot, as many who dig into the realities of durable energy, is more and more confronted what it means to transform a country away from carbon based energy. His observations are spot on.

This 'greenest government ever' is the greatest threat yet to our environment | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian

Until we in the environment movement decide how we're going to resolve these conflicts, the government needs only sit back and watch us tear ourselves apart, as scenery goes head-to-head with carbon. Cynical ministers know that there are few votes to be lost, and plenty to be gained, by abandoning these plans.

This is the heart of the matter, and it is such a fundamental issue that it won't go away by shrugging it off as nuclear PR. As much as we want 100% durable energy, the political realities of renewables need to considered and dealt with, or we will get BAU.

by Nomad on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 08:29:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So write a diary to tell us what the "political realities of renewables" are, without ascribing any share in their development to the nuclear lobby and its propaganda.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 08:59:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Monbiot did just that.

Let's face it: none of our environmental fixes break the planet-wrecking project | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian

The case against reducing electricity supplies is just as clear. For example, the Zero Carbon Britain report published by the Centre for Alternative Technology urges a 55% cut in overall energy demand by 2030 - a goal I strongly support. It also envisages a near-doubling of electricity production. The reason is that the most viable means of decarbonising both transport and heating is to replace the fuels they use with low-carbon electricity. Cut the electricity supply and we're stuck with oil and gas. If we close down nuclear plants, we must accept an even greater expansion of renewables than currently proposed. Given the tremendous public resistance to even a modest increase in windfarms and new power lines, that's going to be tough.

And here.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions means increasing electricity production. It is hard to see a way around this. Because low-carbon electricity is the best means of replacing the fossil fuels used for heating and transport, electricity generation will rise, even if we manage to engineer a massive reduction in overall energy consumption. The Zero Carbon Britain report published by the Centre for Alternative Technology envisages a 55% cut in overall energy demand by 2030 - and a near-doubling of electricity production.

2. Low carbon electricity means, to most greens, renewable sources of energy. They were never well-loved, but now, in the places in which major deployment is taking place, they are provoking something approaching a full-scale revolt. Here in mid-Wales, for example, and in the highlands of Scotland, public anger towards wind farms and the power lines and hubs required to serve them is coming to dominate local politics. While there are plenty of stupid myths circulating about the inability of wind turbines to produce electricity and about the greenhouse gases released in constructing them, in other respects the opposition to them is not irrational. People love their landscapes, and so they should.

Those of us who support renewables find ourselves in a difficult position: demanding the industrialisation of the countryside, supporting new power stations, new power lines and (for the electricity storage required) new reservoirs. Even offshore power, whose landscape impacts are much smaller, means more grid connections and more storage.


by Nomad on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 09:25:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I read it, thanks. But his whole case is based on public opinion of wind. Where is he discussing nuclear lobby propaganda in his assessment of the "full-scale revolt"? Why is it assumed the same people "here in Montgomeryshire" will welcome nuclear installations, and won't "revolt"?

Monbiot:

People love their landscapes, and so they should.

So let's have nuclear. Doesn't destroy the landscape, doesn't need transmission lines. Doesn't create any other kind of rejection in the public mind, apparently.

Whether he's working for the nuclear lobby or not doesn't matter. What he's writing is transparently biased.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 09:39:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]

demanding the industrialisation of the countryside

That's already a spectacularly biased way to describe wind farms, but whatever.


Even offshore power, whose landscape impacts are much smaller, means more grid connections and more storage.

That's actually false. Beyond the fact that landscape impacts are basically nil (landscape vs offshore), the grid connections are all underground and offshore wind farms are actually decently close to load centers, so connect to the existing grid closer to existing demand centers than traditional power plants.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 10:47:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He's making his conclusions from a report that says offshore wind is more expensive than nuclear, but when you look at what assumptions are made to drive these costs, you can find serious flaws in the methodology.

Applying the same cost of capital (discount rate) to nuclear and to offshore wind, for instance, is not at all appropriate when  one technology is not financed by banks and one is, at a much lower rate than the one used (see my quote in this thread).

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 09:19:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a fair point, and one you should make him aware of. Though the core issue raised by Monbiot is the widening rift in green movements that appear the moment the reality of increased renewables hits home.

BAU proponents don't need to do anything, just stand by and fan the flames.

by Nomad on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 09:38:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or is it that opponents to renewable energy are called "greens" and used to claim there is a rift?

Of course NIMBYs and astroturf organisations would call themselves "green" or "grassroots" organisations, but does that make them so?

I don't know of any major green NGO which is against renewable energy. At the most, some say that special care needs to be taken that birds or habitats (or etc) are not damaged, while generally supporting the technology. That's not being against.

The NGOs which speak against renewables are typically neoliberal thinktanks or similar.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 10:41:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do opponents against windmills in their landscape never have valid motives for lodging their protest?
by Nomad on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 10:56:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If what they are saying is "No windmills in my landscape, build nuclear power stations in other people's landscapes", then that is patent NIMBYism and should hardly be counted as environmentalist or green.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 11:14:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did not say it was not legitimate, I said it was not evidence of a rift amongst the greens.

Such protests are not about being green. Not illegitimate per se, but not "green."

Thus, no rift.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 12:54:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
people who protest against windmills out of nimby concerns as not-green doesn't exactly resolve the issues why people protest against windmills, or exerting their political powers to stop building windmills.

In my mind, we'd be a lot better off discussing how to address genuine citizen concerns than hack at definitions of what you and I consider green and what not.

by Nomad on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 02:33:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then you should tell us what the "genuine concerns" are (other than NIMBYism exacerbated by PR from nuclear in particular). And, while considering that, perhaps you could explain how nuclear is supposed to
  1. solve the problem
  2. not incite similar (or greater) "genuine concerns".
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 03:29:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Over the past decades, most people who protest against wind do so out of two reasons; ignorance from not knowing or not thinking it through, or political/technical bias brought on by effective propaganda from the conventional fuels industries.

Ignorance is partly do to the omnipresence of the propaganda as well, as many views are hardened by continual onslaught of negative press, like bird-kill stories, or low-frequency sound, or flicker upsetting bio-rhythms. Or it can be more nimby, like wishing to preserve pastoral hills, yet ignoring the deadly alternatives.

Most of these nimby people become sanguine about wind, or even supporters, after they've lived near turbines. But it takes a while.

Opposition caused by propaganda is more serious, and often takes the form of local "green" groups funded by the usual suspects. This reflects what is basically a power struggle within the energy industry, with the dinosaurs not wishing to give up their golden eggs, or some other mixed metaphor.

the facts of the matter are then completely buried, and when revealed, are then not trusted or even ignored because either the mind is already made up, or the side is already chosen.

The best thing to do of course is to spread a bit more money around the project areas, so more people and local govs share a piece of the pie. wind companies run by conventional economics, like quarterly reporting or share prices, are usually feeling too squeezed to consider that seriously, even though it's likely in their best interests.

so you try to fight the misconceptions, work harder on studying the real concerns, and keep trying to better the technology and the economics.

(in the future, we could discuss a potentially bigger problem, that of having the conventional industry as your major players as well.)

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

by Crazy Horse on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 03:36:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
for your extensive answer in a thread where I feel genuinely uncomfortable when citizen concerns are as easily dismissed as nimby and hence apparently considered inconsequential. I find it bordering on denial of an existing problem.

People may become sanguine once wind is built, but the problem is exactly that people more and more often start a trench-war before wind is built. And there is a certain haughtiness in telling people that they really should stop ignoring "deadly alternatives" that it probably won't appease many.

A 2008 Dutch study (pdf) concludes that dismissing nimby-complaints, or in fact labeling the raised objections as nimby complaints, only hardens local resistance. Inclusion at community level is proposed as the key, and it also recommends, as you write, sharing "a piece of the pie". The study even notes that when civilians feel they have an economic advantage to the project, the perception of visual and hearing pollution disappears.

In my mind, studying citizen concerns on a project per project basis is exactly what is needed for battling (astroturf) propaganda. But it only starts when there's acceptance that nimby complaints are of genuine concern to the possible success of the industry for as long as it needs to compete with "cheap" carbon fuels.

by Nomad on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 06:19:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fundamentally, I don't see what CH is saying (though at more length) than I am or Jerome is. And no one is "dismissing" anything as NIMBY. I asked you to outline what the "genuine" concerns were, which is not dismissal.

Monbiot (and you) claim that green movements are split by a "rift" on these issues. Describing some of the movements as NIMBY or propaganda-inspired, we said that in fact environmentalists are unanimously in favour of renewables, and that the supposed "rift" was greatly exaggerated. From which you quite abusively take it that we are dismissing all possible concerns as NIMBYism - or saying that local opposition should not be taken into account in major renewables projects. Of course it should be.

I think it is only fair, though, in a discussion like this one, that potential local opposition to a nuclear power station, which is Monbiot's preferred alternative, should also be looked into. Monbiot eludes it. I may be wrong, but I haven't seen where you have discussed it either.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 01:56:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
which deserves a thread of its own (periodically!)

I was alarmed by how readily someone as sagacious and well-informed as Nomad regurgitated the "rifts in the Green movement" meme, thereby framing the discussion on the terms of the enemies of renewables.

Local opposition to wind is spontaneous and real, and Nomad is right that the locals are stake-holders who need to be brought on board. Despising them can turn even genuine (soft) environmentalists into enemies of wind.

However I suspect that attitudes are changing faster than the "conventional wisdom" can keep up. Anecdatum :  a 285 kW wind project in England, which got an unfavourable opinion in a planning opinion in January because of visual impact concerns, was given the go-ahead in April, with explicit mention of the changed energy outlook.

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

by eurogreen on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 05:05:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are James Lovelock and George Monbiot not greens?

And, if they are, how can it be claimed that the Wind vs. Nuke controversy is not a potential rift in the green movement?

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 05:10:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, because they support nuclear. See?

No true scotsman.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 05:12:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously when someone goes over to the United Front of Judea they cease to be part of the Judean United Front.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 05:17:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cheap shot.

Can you point to an actual instance of that fallacy in the thread?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 06:12:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is entitled to his views, even the more obviously batty ones. So he's pro-nuclear (we'll leave that aspect out of the current discussion); but is he anti-wind? News to me.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 08:17:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
was not exactly the type of pitfall I wanted to stroll into.

I knowingly tried to keep the whole nuclear vs wind outside of this thread, as it is an entirely different kettle of fish and potentially more divisive, but it keeps rearing back like zombies. Which also must tell us something.

For me, I wanted to note that there is real opposition against wind projects and that it forms a divisive issue between environmentalists.

I think the ensuing discussion is actually proving the whole point beautifully, particularly when it is sketched in so many words that citizens who protest out of landscape concerns are not really environmentalists. Well. That really grounds the problem down, does it.

And I was hoping, naively as I'm wont, to learn about strategies how to solve the problem. Finally, I did my own research instead because I felt I mostly got objections for even raising the issue.

There is a long way to go.

by Nomad on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 05:48:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nomad:
I knowingly tried to keep the whole nuclear vs wind outside of this thread, as it is an entirely different kettle of fish

How so? You kicked off by defending Monbiot's article, which says:

This 'greenest government ever' is the greatest threat yet to our environment | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian

we should start considering other options for decarbonising the electricity supply: especially new nuclear technologies
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 06:07:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a basic difference between environmentalists who think the environment is the stuff that grows your food and keeps you alive, and those who think the environment is something you look at, visit, and sometimes buy.

And yes, personally I don't think of the latter as genuine environmentalists. In the UK many of them are the Country Life set - middle and upper class conservatives who like plants and animals as long as they're pretty and do as they're told, don't like change, and certainly don't want to see it happening outside their windows unless they're in charge of that change and can profit from it.  

It's the difference between a Romantic and monarchic interpretation of nature - which coincidentally often seems to consider property values - and a pragmatic one.

Having said that. the "true" environmentalists have a split between pragmatists and moralists - and the moralists are big on drama and theatre, but have incredibly poor political skills.  

So considering better strategies for selling change is a fair point.

But that doesn't mean the Country Life set have valid arguments, just that they need to be persuaded and/or forced, rather than preached at and scolded.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 06:07:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The fact that 5 extensive responses appear within a few hours to an otherwise trivial observation of mine suggests to me that something fundamental is at stake. Perhaps I am doing it all wrong again, could just be. Reading Crazy Horse, it occurred to me that perhaps we have hit warring belief systems all over again and I just spat at the altar, but well, that's Monbiot talking again and no one seems to trust one word of him anymore.

I concur with you that there exist differences between personal vision of what environmentalism actually entails. But writing that

I don't think of the latter as genuine environmentalists.

is for me the new insight that crops out this entire thread. eurogreen still wants examples of divisions between environmentalists? That's funny, it is right here at ET.

Because de-classifying people who protest on (egotistical) grounds of landscape protection from being environmentalist is a cute rhetorical trick that reeks of snobbery and "scolding", as you put it. The People's Judea Front, indeed.

In the end, it also is entirely unhelpful to solve the actual problem of bringing people aboard.

by Nomad on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 10:09:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A related problem (and one that cropped up in a conversation about the NGO sector with a friend last weekend) is that of interesecting single issues.

Imagine an assemblage of NGOs. They all want to "save the world".

But one of them wants to "save the whales", another wants to "save the landscape", another wants to "save traditional ways", another one wants to "reduce carbon emissions", another one wants to do "fair trade" the other wants to "improve health".

What happens when the Catholic "fair trade" NGO sits at the same table with the condom-distributing "health" NGO? Or when the NGO that wants to preserve the traditional way of life of a fishing village sits down at the same table with the NGO that wants to protect tunas from extinction?

It is possible that a single-issue "reduce carbon emissions" environmentalist and a single-issue "clean energy" environmentalist may be at loggerheads over the place (or none such) of nuclear power in the energy mix, to the point of denying each other "true environmentalist" status and accusing each other or harboring a "death wish".

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 10:25:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
what a perceptive, synthetic analysis of the headbutt contradictions that cause copious friction and distractions, media chum.

the global'left' unified would be unstoppable, if only fukushima fallout were enough to provide a tip to the blunderbus.

russian tv showed reactor 4 building starting to keel over last night.

but noooo, it's still 'somewhere else' from where the main pundits honk!

next punishment please, sighed the bound figure of humanity, down on its knees.

what a waste

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 10:55:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the global'left' unified would be unstoppable if it could ever exist.

Is full employment compatible with better real wages for workers?

Are both positions "left"?

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 11:01:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
Is full employment compatible with better real wages for workers?

better than what? they are now? i assume so. as for left, they don't seem rightist positions, if that answers your question...

has it ever happened? mondragon? early post-revolution russia? are wages always in money, or are other currencies allowed in the work-compensation equation?

energy units p'raps? dem's sound questions, i wish we had sound answers, do you?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 06:55:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nomad:
eurogreen still wants examples of divisions between environmentalists? That's funny, it is right here at ET.

No, you're still wriggling. Nobody on Eurotrib is opposing wind power. What people are objecting to is your egregious framing error, which rather than acknowledging, you are digging yourself into an ever deeper hole over.

Monbiot actually said

Until we in the environment movement decide how we're going to resolve these conflicts, the government needs only sit back and watch us tear ourselves apart, as scenery goes head-to-head with carbon.

He classes himself in an "environment movement" which also includes people who object to local wind projects. You transpose this to

the widening rift in green movements

which is frankly comical. Unless you are going to enumerate the environmental and/or green organisations which are divided on this issue?

The people who organise on a local level to oppose wind projects have legitimate concerns. They are environmental concerns. This makes them, in a wide sense, "environmentalists". In my experience, they are not generally people who could have been identified as environmentalists previously, since they won't have previously belonged to environmentalist organisations.

I may be wrong about this. The English countryside may be full of conservation societies and suchlike which are now organizing against wind projects. But I've seen no evidence for that. Perhaps your research has shown some?

In summary, this is why your throwaway line got up people's noses : it implies a split on principles in a previously united movement.

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

by eurogreen on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 12:31:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wanted to note that there is real opposition against wind projects and that it forms a divisive issue between environmentalists.

[reference needed]

Seriously, let's have some references for your allegations of environmentalists against wind projects.

Monbiot? Surely not. He acknowledges that opposition to wind projects on landscape grounds must be taken into account, and that each project must be judged on its merits, but where exactly is he on record as being against wind in general?

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

by eurogreen on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 08:16:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The point is not that Monbiot or Lovelock are anti-wind and that becomes a divisive issue.

The problem is that they are pro-nuke and that makes them targets from the anti-nuke camp, and that it has become part of the pro-nuke argument to point out that single-issue pro-wind campaigning may not be the answer.

It's the nukes that's divisive, not wind. But somehow wind gets brought up as the biggest opponent of the pro-nuke position every time.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 10:32:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
wind is sexy, nukes suck.

takes a lot of propaganda to stop people knowing that, but eventually lies will lose. till then it's mayhem and bedlam on the energy markets.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 07:10:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And when you find some environmentalists who are against wind power (as against being opposed to a particular wind project : I think we can all agree that each project must be judged on its merits, and I personally have opposed a wind project on an inappropriate site), then be sure to post some links, so that we can discuss the question.

I won't be so picky as to ask you to find me some actual Greens who are opposed to wind power. Just environmentalists will do.

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

by eurogreen on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 08:22:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where to begin? for starters, the wind industry has spent several hundred million Euros around the globe over the past decades researching environmental and health effects of turbines; on wildlife, on humans, on communities. In fact, many projects have to redo studies already done, to satisfy local complaints.

What i've learned from reading and even funding these studies over the years is that even well-meaning environmentalists love to have contract renewal, so they keep finding additional points to study ad absurdum (witness the halting of development in the Altamont Pass for 15 years).
But do the results alienate environmentalists. To the contrary, more and more serious environmental players, including national and global ones, have become stronger and stronger supporters of windpower.

These studies roundly disprove many claims, or make serious mitigation against the effects of others. The opposition to wind development of many within local communities continues to ignore these studies.

When local farmers or ranchers are unaware of the extent of such resource, that's to be expected. When utility funded green groups, for example UK-wide Country Guardian, ignore the research, it's a hostile act of war.

With an industry so large, of course there've been rotten apples within the wind development world. But they're rare, and on the whole, the industry has been exceptionally proactive at addressing opposition concerns. Over and over again.

Regarding Lovelock, whether he's green or not doesn't matter, he's become a curmudgeonly crank. Regarding Monbiot and his well-written "epiphany,' and who equates a windpark with "industrialization of the landscape," has shown his bias already. If he'd spend a few days each season for a few years watching the cows and the turbines coexist pastorally, he'd be incredibly embarrassed at what he wrote. Or he could read the studies, though that's no substitute for direct experience.

For fuck's sake, Stewart Brand, the originator of the Whole Earth Catalogue, is staunch pro-nuke, and most of what Monbiot has written comes from him. That doesn't make Brand Green on this issue.

Nukes shouldn't be invoked in a discussion of windpower's effect on habitat. The arbitrariness of visual siting issues should. Whether nukes are green or not should not enter into a discussion of specific windpower projects and their effects on the environment. Only when it's time to make a decision should the global cumulative effects be taken into account.

So Nomad, i felt no one objected to you raising the issues. But you'll have to divulge your research, to justify anything that implies the wind industry hasn't been completely and pro-actively on board with addressing local concerns.

PS. BIG POINT. Let's remember that many of the major players in the wind industry are developing nukes somewhere. That's a much larger issues than whether the fox-hunting Country Guardians have any valid points which haven't yet been addressed (though the answer is no.)

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

by Crazy Horse on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 08:46:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Damn, don't know why i spend so much time considering and drafting here, as i've only got an hour of more real work before i leave for the semi-monthly Windenergie Agentur Bremen-Bremerhaven Stammtisch, where several hundred of the industry shakers gather for biz, bier and kvatsch. Probably because i respect ET so much, it's such a part of me, and i give a shit.

Remember, i built the project which began the entire global Avian Mortality issue. I did it to show that windplant could co-exist in sensitive environmental areas. That we learned over time the issue was more serious than first assumed only became known through all the research done. That it turned out the real problem was not the raptors, but obsolete downwind turbines with lattice towers, has yet to be digested by global media. (No, i'm not guilty, my project did use modern upwind turbines on cylindrical steel towers.)

When those performing the environmental studies walked the sites with me, and we checked every single turbine location, i willingly moved or eliminated turbines simply on their analysis of flight paths and eagle nests.

Are some of the same environmentalists from the original reports still getting paid for further research 25 years later, though those turbines haven't been used anywhere on the globe for over 20 years? Yes.

Did i face 10 years/$10,000 fine for each feather on the eagle carcass i brought to a purification ceremony of local native NDN elders? Yes.

Did people accuse me of not caring for eagles? Yes.

Do local environmental groups send youtube videos of the very rare turbine failures around the globe? Yes. Do they also send videos of the 99.9% of the millions of turbines operating at 97% availability year after year, producing Terawatt/hours of clean energy? No.

Did a failure drop a blade on an Autobahn here a few months ago? Yes. Did anyone here in north Germany where wind is a lifeblood of local industry give a shit, including government officials? No.

Does the military globally still demand radar studies without end? Yes. Do any of them ever fly into Bremen Flughaven, which is surrounded by modern windmills? How would i know, but i do.

You know, there comes a time when facts just don't work anymore, because the politics/economics have just polluted the environment so badly.

</rant before it gets really going>

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

by Crazy Horse on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 09:19:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
should well be, biz bier and Klatsch, though kvatsch rears its head as well.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 09:21:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, there comes a time when facts just don't work anymore, because the politics/economics have just polluted the environment so badly.

When an issue becomes political the facts cease to be the main driving force, or even a factor at all. It even gets to the point where it becomes difficult to research the facts, because there is so much confounding propaganda in the way.

Climate science is a case in point.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 09:27:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite. The subject has completely tripped over classifying which concerned citizen can be called an environmentalist and which one can't... And very little else before your spirited written entries on finding actual solutions.

Crazy Horse:

But you'll have to divulge your research, to justify anything that implies the wind industry hasn't been completely and pro-actively on board with addressing local concerns.

I don't think I ever intended to imply such things. As I wrote above, I'm more interested in learning what strategies exist to defuse citizen concerns. I do think the question becomes more pressing, particularly when the abundance of research that is available gets ignored or is constantly pulled into question, "exacerbated" as afew writes by competing business propagandists. This is something that simply won't go away overnight, so what other tack is there?

You write it yourself, the key conclusion at your second post - that I find fundamental to the debate:

Crazy Horse:

You know, there comes a time when facts just don't work anymore, because the politics/economics have just polluted the environment so badly.

That is the question I hoped to have answered here, as this is the question that matters right now. What does work to cut through BS and get local protesters aboard a wind project other than piling up research rapports?

Perhaps its time for a diary.

by Nomad on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 10:49:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
in this space was the comment i spent an hour writing, and then deleted.

am not capable of addressing this discussion.

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

by Crazy Horse on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 07:26:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I appreciate your situation.

What I see, and what keeps me from diving into the tangled pit is that some were arguing a normative case, while others were pointing out that regardless of the value of the normative case there are on-the-street-issues that have to be slowly snuck up upon. These counterclaims require adroit listening and adroit single-point counters because the reality-based sledge hammer of the normative case gets lost on some people.

<backs out with salutations to all and their interesting arguments>

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Thu May 12th, 2011 at 09:07:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How many decades behind the rest of the civilised world is the UK in the project to put the power lines underground?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 08:32:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Please note that only transmission lines from wind farms need burying, the others are all OK.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 09:00:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are plenty of underground transmission lines, and plenty of those are not related to wind farms.

A Dutch energy company is currently experimenting with a new design of a HVDC cable to be put underground, purely because the line runs close-by urban areas.

by Nomad on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 09:06:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not discussing facts but bias introduced by deliberate propaganda.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 09:08:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Generally the British like their power grid overground cos it's cheap.

I think it's also a hangover of the National Grid having been created in the 20s when the overground cables would have been manifestations of modernity and progress. Whenever people ask for underground it's invariably attacked on cost and transmission efficiency grounds.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 10:27:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why Wind Intermittency is NOT a Big Deal


The anti-wind people are at it again, saturating the media with claims that wind energy is "worthless" because wind doesn't blow all the time. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In a recent interview, host Stuart Varney on FOX-TV hammers at his guest Denise Bode, head of the American Wind Energy Association, saying, "You don't create electricity when the wind doesn't blow and the wind doesn't blow all the time." Varney is really up in arms about it.

Not to be outdone, our British cousins have been fuming about the Stuart Young Consulting study which came out this month, commissioned by the John Muir Trust. Its author states: "Sadly, wind power is not what it's cracked up to be and cannot contribute greatly to energy security in the UK."

This all sounds very plausible until you think about it a bit, which is hard to do while the sound bites are flying back and forth. The truth is that the variable nature of wind resources doesn't matter very much. We can quantify exactly what the cost of this variability is, and it turns out to be very modest.

The article goes on to explain just how this works. From the viewpoint of a former Vestas strategist.

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

by Crazy Horse on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 03:18:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scientists reject link between nuclear plants and leukaemia - Health News, Health & Families - The Independent

An exhaustive investigation into the incidence of childhood cancer in Britain over a period of 35 years has failed to find any increased risk of leukaemia among children living near nuclear power stations.

The independent committee of scientists that carried out the study investigated 13 nuclear power plants across Britain and failed to find one that has a statistically significant "cluster" of childhood cancers among families living near by.

The findings will almost certainly be used by the Government to support its case for building a new set of nuclear power stations to meet UK energy demands over the coming decades, which many environmentalists have opposed on health grounds as well as risks to the environment.

Scientists appointed by the Government to review the evidence of a link between radioactive emissions from nuclear power stations and childhood leukaemia said the risk is "extremely small, if not zero" and that in future it would be more profitable to investigate other potential causes of the cancer, such as viral infections, rather than radiation.

by Nomad on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:50:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nomad:
extremely small, if not zero

values of: 'extreme', 'small' and 'not zero' are relative...

Nomad:

it would be more profitable to investigate other potential causes of the cancer, such as viral infections, rather than radiation.

translation: there's such a toxic soup of chemicals and other pollutants we can't really know for sure how to separate the cause-effect links, so whew, we can keep doing it, and you can't prove anything.

happy now?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 07:05:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seed Mixtures And Insurance Pest Management Are Future Norm In The Corn Belt
As the use of biotechnology increases and more companies move forward with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's approval to begin full-scale commercialization of seed mixtures in transgenic insecticidal corn, many researchers believe pest monitoring will become even more difficult.

"Seed mixtures may make insect resistance management (IRM) risky because of larval behavior and greater adoption of insecticidal corn," said David Onstad, professor in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois and lead author in a recent article published in the Journal of Economic Entomology.

On the other hand, Onstad said block refuges present a different suite of risks because of adult pest behavior and the lower compliance with IRM rules expected from farmers.

"It's likely that secondary pests not targeted by the insecticidal corn, as well as natural enemies, will respond differently to block refuges and seed mixtures," Onstad said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:53:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Criticized for Industry Ties - NYTimes.com
In the fall of 2007, workers at the Byron nuclear power plant in Illinois were using a wire brush to clean a badly corroded steel pipe -- one in a series that circulate cooling water to essential emergency equipment -- when something unexpected happened: the brush poked through.

The resulting leak caused a 12-day shutdown of the two reactors for repairs.

The plant's owner, the Exelon Corporation, had long known that corrosion was thinning most of these pipes. But rather than fix them, it repeatedly lowered the minimum thickness it deemed safe. By the time the pipe broke, Exelon had declared that pipe walls just three-hundredths of an inch thick -- less than one-tenth the original minimum thickness -- would be good enough.

Though no radioactive material was released, safety experts say that if enough pipes had ruptured during a reactor accident, the result could easily have been a nuclear catastrophe at a plant just 100 miles west of Chicago.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:54:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As i have repeatedly said, it is possible to design a safe nuclear facility, but we humans cannot be trusted to build, manage or dismantle them safely.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 08:06:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 12:04:07 PM EST
The EU as a style | Presseurop (English)

To paraphrase Ortega y Gasset, perhaps in Europe we do not know what is happening to us, and that is just what is happening to us. A tentative explanation is that, at these levels, we have only converted the European project into a set of things we do jointly, and no more than that; and that the European zeal includes scant reflection on how we ought to move forward from Brussels and what ideals we should hew to.

Right from its origins as a political undertaking, European integration has certainly always been an agreement aimed at satisfying the self-interest of the member states, and it is a very good thing that it continues along those lines. Alan Milward, the leading historian of the birth of the European Communities, defined the enterprise of Jean Monnet and his fellow thinkers as the "European rescue of the nation state." It was an attempt to allow each state to survive in the aftermath of the Second World War.

For this, certain policies had to be integrated, and surrendering sovereignty was to yield positive results for all. Joseph Weiler, for some the major theoretician of the integration process, has emphasised how the battle from Brussels against economic protectionism and the excesses of nationalism is actually breathing new life into national identities and making them more appealing, not less.

by Nomad on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:36:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Zombie ants have fungus on the brain, new research reveals
New research has revealed how infection by a parasitic fungus dramatically changes the behavior of tropical of carpenter ants (species Camponotus leonardi), causing them to become zombie-like and to die at a spot that has optimal reproduction conditions for the fungus. The multinational research team studied ants living high up in the rainforest canopy in Thailand.

A paper describing the research will be published in the BioMed Central open-access journal BMC Ecology on 9 May 2011.

"The behavior of these infected zombie ants essentially causes their bodies to become an extension of the fungus's own phenotype, as non-infected ants never behave in this way," said David P. Hughes, the first author of the research paper and an assistant professor of entomology and biology at Penn State University.

Using transmission-electron and light microscopes, the researchers were able to look inside the ant in order to determine the effect of the fungus on the ant. They found that the growing fungus fills the ant's body and head, causing muscles to atrophy and forcing muscle fibres to spread apart. The fungus also affects the ant's central nervous system. The scientists observed that, while normal worker ants rarely left the trail, zombie ants walked in a random manner, unable to find their way home. The ants also suffered convulsions, which caused them to fall to the ground. Once on the ground, the ants were unable to find their way back to the canopy and remained at the lower, leafy understory area which, at about 9 or 10 inches (25 cm) above the soil, was cooler and moister than the canopy, provided ideal conditions for the fungus to thrive.

by Nomad on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:46:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Has anyone tried testing the brains of neoliberal economists for fungal infection?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 07:02:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Romans gripped by fear of quake forecast for May 11 - Yahoo! News

If tourists find Rome unusually quiet next Wednesday, the reason will probably be that thousands of locals have left town in fear of a devastating earthquake allegedly forecast for that day by a long-dead seismologist.

For months Italian internet sites, blogs and social networks have been debating the work of Raffaele Bendandi, who claimed to have forecast numerous earthquakes and, according to internet rumors, predicted a "big one" in Rome on May 11.

The national television network RAI has run programs aimed at calming rising panic among Romans. The civil protection agency has issued statements reiterating the official scientific view that earthquakes can't be predicted.

Yet many residents of the Eternal City aren't listening.

by Nomad on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:48:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me guess, somebody's planning a bank heist and needs empty streets.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 08:07:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The guy apparently developed a theory around 1919 that it was changes in the gravitational attraction of heavenly bodies that caused movements in the Earth's crust. Of course, such theories would become obsolete decades later with the acceptance of plate tectonics.

Yahoo News calls him a seismologist while the Italian wikipedia calls him a "pseudoscientist".

I suppose "Yahoo news" is an appropriate outlet for such stories...

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 08:17:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reptile 'cousins' shed new light on end-Permian extinction
Bristol, UK (SPX) May 09, 2011
The end-Permian extinction, by far the most dramatic biological crisis to affect life on Earth, may not have been as catastrophic for some creatures as previously thought, according to a new study led by the University of Bristol.

An international team of researchers studied the parareptiles, a diverse group of bizarre-looking terrestrial vertebrates which varied in shape and size.

Some were small, slender, agile and lizard-like creatures, while others attained the size of rhinos; many had knobbly ornaments, fringes, and bony spikes on their skulls.

The researchers found that, surprisingly, parareptiles were not hit much harder by the end-Permian extinction than at any other point in their 90 million-year history.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:50:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Forecast calls for nanoflowers to help return eyesight
Eugene OR (SPX) May 09, 2011
University of Oregon researcher Richard Taylor is on a quest to grow flowers that will help people who've lost their sight, such as those suffering from macular degeneration, to see again.

These flowers are not roses, tulips or columbines. They will be nanoflowers seeded from nano-sized particles of metals that grow, or self assemble, in a natural process - diffusion limited aggregation. They will be fractals that mimic and communicate efficiently with neurons.

Fractals are "a trademark building block of nature," Taylor says. Fractals are objects with irregular curves or shapes, of which any one component seen under magnification is also the same shape. In math, that property is self-similarity. Trees, clouds, rivers, galaxies, lungs and neurons are fractals, Taylor says, today's commercial electronic chips are not fractals, he adds.

Eye surgeons would implant these fractal devices within the eyes of blind patients, providing interface circuitry that would collect light captured by the retina and guide it with almost 100 percent efficiency to neurons for relay to the optic nerve to process vision.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 03:51:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg: Famous political plagarisms - Telegraph
With his political career wrecked owing to plagiarism, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg now joins an odd band of politicians from across the globe that have been caught out by their academic qualifications.

Last year in Pakistan the country's supreme court ordered the vetting of a 160 elected officials following a spate of allegations that many of them had forged their degree certificates.

US politician Joseph Biden was forced to withdraw from the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination race after it was revealed he had plagiarised his best speech from Neil Kinnock.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 12:30:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pressure grows on Germany to open its files on Eichmann - Europe, World - The Independent

The German equivalent of M16 - the BND foreign intelligence service - is still refusing to de-classify thousands of secret documents detailing the hidden past of Adolf Eichmann, the notorious architect of the Holocaust whose trial began in Israel 50 years ago this spring.

Eichmann was responsible for organising the mass transportation of millions of Jews to the gas chambers of Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps throughout the Second World War. Historians are unanimous in concluding that he played a central role in masterminding the "Final Solution".

There has been speculation that Eichmann almost certainly acted as a BND informer and that the intelligence agency's reluctance to declassify its file on him is part of a continued attempt to keep its reputation clean until Germany's Second World War generation is dead and buried.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 12:48:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 12:04:35 PM EST
In the interests of general community health, The ET Board of General ET Department of Editorial Health Department has recommended that you do not read tonight's Salon. "Dangerous," stated the station chief of one of ET's far flung posts, who declined to be named citing the rule that rules should not be cited, unless they were macro-economic or highly opinionated.

However, in the interests of fairness and balancedness, afew of the ET bored stated, "Ridiculous. There is no link between reading Salon and still not knowing shit. Period. Sorta."

Paul Krugman, in the NY End of Times, opined, "well, i guess, i mean, if you read the comment section of Frank Schnittger's latest depression, you know what i'm saying, it's like all Greek to me, all that economics and shit. But the Salon, no fuckin way."

the Pulitzer Prize Kommitat on Internet Literacy stated, "We suppose it's better than television, though the Bild Zeitung still has better photos."

With tension mounting in gay communities as Eurovision approaches, the chairdominant of the SPARK (Society for the Preservation of Androgenous Restructuring Krap) told submissives that reading Salon is way better than, and more relaxing, than targeting poor Southern countries, who are already submissive. S/he was at a loss to describe the Pakistani response.

So you're on your own. Make your choice, but please keep in mind that we have been required by post 9/11 thought process and attendant regulation that there is no chance we will remind you that there's still a vastet basket of shit around the coast of Japan, but which is low-lying enough, unlike some of our best economists, to be off the radar screen.

(ET Moderation Technology: WTF?)

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

by Crazy Horse on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 05:08:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[ET Moderation Technology™]

WTF?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 05:21:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
see, i told you.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 05:26:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the Caol Ila bottle empty?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 05:26:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Investigators confirmed that not one drop of Caol Ila had been consumed in the drafting of that comment, subsequently confirmed by blood analysis using advanced quantum dark matter technology. Though the body was buried at sea, the ubiquitous unsean ocean of dark stuff.

Psychics detected a desire for the golden stuff, but could not prove such stuff of dreams. In most of the models, it was predicted that a bottle of Caol Ila would give rise to a snort or two after this comment, though that was not as yet confirmed.

US economists have strongly suggested that Caol Ila exists only in market purity, causing a rash of experiment. The ECB stated unequivocally, "Ve komment not on, whoa, ganz Lecker."

On the request of the ET Bored, i will now retire to follow the suggestion of one of our esteemed believers in the theory that the ECB may be ganz genau all it's Kracked Up 2B.

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

by Crazy Horse on Mon May 9th, 2011 at 05:40:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Dutch mayor for a German town? | Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Dutchman Frans Willeme is hoping to become mayor of the German border town of Nordhorn. He was previously mayor of Dinkelland, a Dutch municipality just seven kilometres away. Dutch mayors have to have Dutch nationality, but in Germany all EU citizens are eligible.

The local Christian Democrats invited him to stand for office, believing his Dutchness could be an advantage. "He approaches people very easily. The Dutch are great salesmen."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 12:42:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thirty years on, Mitterrand mania grips France - FRANCE - FRANCE 24
On May 10, 1981, François Mitterrand won his first presidential election, marking the start of a 14-year period in office that is being fondly commemorated across France. But it's the future - not the past - that haunts the commemoration ceremonies.

The French can't seem to get enough of François Mitterrand even 30 years after he was elected president.

Over the past few days, the distinctively patrician face of the former French president is everywhere, sometimes in profile, sometimes directly locking the camera - and the viewer - with his unsmiling gaze.

On May 10, 1981, Mitterrand was elected president of France, becoming the country's first - and so far only - Leftist president under the Fifth Republic. He was subsequently re-elected in 1988 and held office until 1995, just months before his January 1996 death from prostrate cancer.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 12:44:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
when do we start calling the other side "rightists"?

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 04:02:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about we start calling the Social Democrats "center right" and the EPP "extreme right"?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 04:09:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When we do some clever person comes along to say "Oh, you know, right and left, that's so, like, meaningless/outdated/counterproductive/something else".

So we then get involved in useless arguments about what "progressive" means, or "liberal"...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 05:02:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh no, it's me who says that. And I'm not clever.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 08:11:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cos they're not right, they're wrong

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 08:12:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
100 year's of World cuisine.

A friend of mine has committed this work of art, to give emphasis to the conflicts our planet has experienced in the last century.

I find the picture at the same time appaling and appealing. What do you think of it?


by Xavier in Paris on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 10:28:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why does it have the North Korean famine and the Holodomor but neither the 1943 Bengali one which was on the same scale, nor the Chinese famine  of 1958-61 that was far worse than any of the conflicts in the picture?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 10:47:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It also seems to be missing about 17 million dead in the soviet Union during WWII.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 10:54:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm afraid I'm unable to comment upon it as a work of art and it's really not my area

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 10:55:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It has Stalingrad. I can't really answer, but I think they tried to emphasize some particular events, less known maybe. You don't have the first world war either.
I'll ask her.

Regarding the famine in China, same answer: don't know but will ask.

by Xavier in Paris on Tue May 10th, 2011 at 12:47:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, I asked how they choose the conflicts represented.
 The answer is: they selected arbitrarily conflicts that they think were less known or underestimated AND for which they could find credible estimates (ie, estimates that are not subject to a lot of debate anmong specialists).

There is a part of arbitrary choice.

by Xavier in Paris on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 09:43:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair enough. But I mentioned the Bengali famine because I thought they were doing the opposite, picking the famines that were well-known.

As for credible estimates, even the official low-end estimate for the Chinese famine on Wikipedia is, at 15 million, way above any of the other conflicts mentioned (unofficial estimates are around 30 million).

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 10:56:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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