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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 10 June

by afew Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 04:03:34 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europe on this date in history:

1793 - French Revolution: following the arrests of Girondin leaders, the Jacobins gain control of the Committee of Public Safety installing the revolutionary dictatorship.

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:06:30 PM EST
Parliament defies EU countries over long-term budget | EurActiv

A freeze on the 2014-2020 budget will not be possible unless agreed policies are slashed, the European Parliament said in a vote yesterday (8 June), challenging countries that want to freeze the EU's long-term spending to reflect austerity at home.

A minimum increase of 5% in the EU budget is needed if the bloc is to complete all its agreed objectives, such as putting in place a common diplomatic service and boosting its economy, the Parliament said.

Otherwise, EU countries will need to state clearly which policies they are ready to drop, MEPs said, citing possible cuts in regional and farm spending which together make up the bulk of the EU's budget.

"We need to put an end to the bad habit of accepting political commitments at European level and then denying their financing," said Salvador Garriga Polledo (European People's Party), the Spanish MEP steering the report on the seven-year budget through the EU assembly.

"When we are asking for increases, it is not because we are inventing things," added German member Jutta Haug (Socialists & Democrats), chair of the Parliament's special committee on policy challenges, which has worked for a year to produce the report. "We just want a realistic and implementable budget," she said.

The resolution backing the committee's conclusions was adopted on Wednesday (8 June) by 468 votes to 134, amid 54 abstentions.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:21:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU, Russia seek to defuse vegetable ban crisis | EurActiv

The deadly E. coli outbreak in Europe and Russia's ban on EU vegetables are likely to be prominently discussed at today's summit (9 June) of EU-Russia leaders. Russian officials have said the ban could be "reduced and regionalised" should the EU produce "credible guarantees" of the safety of a given country's products.

Ahead of the EU-Russia summit, which opens today in Nizhny Novgorod (see 'Background'), Russian Ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said the issue of what he termed 'EU coli' would "not pass without attention".

Last week, Russia banned imports of fresh vegetables from the EU, accusing Brussels of sowing chaos by failing to provide information about the E.coli outbreak. The European Commission called the Russian ban on EU vegetables "disproportionate" and urged "the immediate withdrawal of the measure". EU countries exported €594 million worth of vegetables to Russia last year.

Chizhov stated that before any lifting of the Russian ban, "there should be a clear picture of what it was and how it appeared. Perhaps at some point it will be proven that the source is limited geographically". He said he was "confident" that the EU would be able to do this.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:21:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French cucumbers feel sting of E.coli scare - HEALTH - FRANCE 24

Boxes of French cucumbers are neatly stacked at the front of a vegetable wholesaler's stall at the Rungis market, but the busy vendors skirt by it without wasting a second to inspect the product or make a bid on it. "It's worse today," yells the stall's owner from behind a carton of radishes, "the media talked about it again this morning."

Twenty-seven people have died, and more than 2,700 have fallen ill from an E.coli outbreak that began one week ago in the Hamburg region of Germany. The illnesses were first blamed on Spanish cucumbers, but German officials later backpedalled on the claim. On Wednesday, however, Health Minister Daniel Bahr told reporters Berlin would maintain its warning against eating raw cucumbers, as well as tomatoes, lettuce and sprouts, until it located the source of the contamination.

Rungis, the largest wholesale food market in Europe, located just south of Paris, has not stopped running at its usually frantic pace, and Thursday mornings mark the beginning of its peak activity each week. Cucumber sales, on the other hand, have ground to a halt.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 04:12:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BELARUS: Despite Crackdown, Opposition is Defiant - IPS ipsnews.net

WARSAW, Jun 6, 2011 (IPS) - President Alexander Lukashenko has locked most of his rivals in jail, but the Belarus opposition continues to work diligently to isolate the dictator.

The December 2010 elections left Lukashenko - president of Belarus since 1994 - at helm for one more term. But subsequent events have revealed how unpopular at home and isolated internationally Lukashenko really is.

On the surface, the president is on top. Courts have sentenced not only opposition leaders, but also scores of other participants in the demonstrations that followed announcements that Lukashenko had won the election with 80 percent of the vote. An estimated 20,000 disgruntled people assembled in the main square of the capital, Minsk, Dec. 19 - violence during these demonstrations is widely believed to have been provoked by Lukashenko lackeys in order to pave the way for a crackdown against his opponents.

By the end of May Lukashenko had settled scores with all his rivals. Eight men stood against him in the elections. One - Victar Tiareshchenka - was a stooge, standing solely to generate the illusion of a competitive election. Two others - Yaroslav Romantchuk and Ryhor Kastusiou - blamed the opposition for the unrest in Minsk, toeing the official line and saving their necks.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:40:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ECB's Trichet flags July rate rise, hardline on Greece | Reuters

(Reuters) - The European Central Bank signalled a July interest rate rise and raised the stakes on Thursday in its stand-off with governments over a new bailout for Greece by rejecting any form of debt restructure.

ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said the bank would exercise "strong vigilance" on inflationary pressures, deploying a phrase that has consistently been used in the past to signal a hike was a month away.

Trichet used precisely that code in March to flag an April rate rise to 1.25 from 1.0 percent, which was the ECB's first tightening in two years.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:53:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's where his policies are leading...
by redstar on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 08:08:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Review of EU food alerts to follow E. coli confusion | European Voice
EU has to 'learn lessons' from botched handling of E. coli outbreak.

The European Union's procedures for handling food-safety alerts are to be reviewed in the wake of Germany's botched handling of an outbreak of E. coli.

Lessons would be learnt, said John Dalli, the European commissioner for health and consumer policy, once the crisis was over. "We should look at our systems and see what changes could be made," he said, adding that it was not the time for recriminations.

But his remarks to MEPs in Strasbourg amounted to thinly veiled criticism of Germany.

"It is crucial that national authorities do not rush to give information on the source of infection that is not proven by bacteriological analysis," he said, adding: "This spreads unjustified fears [among] the population all over Europe and creates problems for our food producers."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 04:00:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chirac attacks Sarkozy in memoirs sequel | Les blogs
In an upcoming memoir covering his 12 years at the Elysee Palace, former French president Jacques Chirac has finally provided some juicy details about his relationship with successor Nicolas Sarkozy.

For years people here have been yearning for anecdotes to substantiate widespread rumors about Chirac and Sarkozy's shared animosity. But Chirac has always disappointed inquisitive journalists.

The first volume of his best-selling memoir "Every step should be a goal", which covered the ex-president's life from birth to his ascension to France's highest office, disappointed those cravings once more.

But this week two French magazines, Le Nouvel Observateur and Le Point, have published excerpts from the book French politics junkies will soon be drooling over.

...To start the former president says he feared long ago that Sarkozy would stoke tensions within his party and divide it even further.

Chirac describes his successor as "nervous, brash, full of ambition, and full of himself". He explains in painful detail why on two occasions he dashed Sarkozy's hopes of becoming prime minister.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 04:10:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Austrian far-right in fresh push for EU respectability

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Buoyed by their recent success in the polls, the Austrian and French far right have made a fresh push for respectability in the European Parliament. A blurring of the 'softer' far right with eurosceptic parties may be in the offing.

Austria's Freedom Party in particular called on the eurosceptic alliance in the chamber, the Europe of Freedom and Democracy grouping led by Britain's Ukip and Italy's Northern League, to let their two MEPs join.

FPO Party leader and MEP Heinz-Christian Strache alongside French Front National chief Marine Le Pen in the parliament in Strasbourg announced deeper co-operation between their two far-right parties at a Wednesday press conference.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 02:55:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Blair: EU should have elected leader

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said the European Union must have an elected leader to give it the "clear leadership" to successfully spar with rising powers such as China in the future.

Previously touted as a potential candidate for European Council President, Blair said the fundamental reasons behind European integration had altered.

The war in Iraq isolated Blair from many of his European colleagues

"The rationale for Europe now is power, not peace," he told The Times newspaper in an interview published on Thursday (9 June), adding that European citizens were willing to support this new direction for the European project.

"The crucial thing is to understand that the only way that you will get support for Europe today is not on the basis of a sort of postwar view that the EU is necessary for peace."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 02:56:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The two rival presidents battling for power over the EU - Telegraph
Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso have been pitted against each other in a power struggle over who really represents the EU.

The two men are battling for superiority since the Lisbon Treaty entered into force at the end of 2009.

Their personalities are very different.

Mr Van Rompuy, a former Belgian Prime Minister, is a Flemish northern European with a deep Roman Catholic asceticism and austere taste in Japanese haiku poems, which he composes himself.

The Belgian, 63, is deliberately low key - styling himself a "grey mouse", he eschews the fine wines at EU functions, while springing a surprise on political rivals who are taken unawares by his personal arrogance and pragmatic, ideology free, will for power.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 03:16:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Polish EU presidency to test treaty rules

EUOBSERVER / POLISH EU PRESIDENCY - As a large and ambitious member state, Poland will be the first country to really test the arrangement - in the EU's Lisbon Treaty - that national governments assume all the work and expense of running the EU presidency without enjoying the limelight.

Under pre-Lisbon rules, national prime ministers and foreign ministers - no matter the size or status of the country - got a spotlight-stealing half year summiteering with world leaders and speaking out on everything from events in the Middle East to human rights in Russia, all in the name of the EU.

Tusk (l) and Van Rompuy: Poland aims to play the game but does not want to be 'invisible'

The Lisbon Treaty's creation in 2009 of the posts of President of the European Council (Herman Van Rompuy) and EU quasi-foreign-minister (Catherine Ashton), all but put an end to these speaking rights. Presidency countries are instead left with the less showy task of organising the day-to-day running of the EU council.

The line-up of Lisbon-era presidencies has not tested the system so far.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 03:17:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / 'New system of European governance' demands still deeper austerity

EUobserver reviewed all 27 national recommendation documents. For highlights, scroll to the bottom of the page

EUOBSERVER / ANALYSIS - The European taskmaster has cracked the whip. However much austerity has been imposed by EU member states, it is simply not enough.

That is the overriding message from the European Commission that runs through its recommendations for each of the 27 member states in the new, post-crisis system of radically centralised oversight and correction of national economic policies by the EU known as the 'European Semester'.

"We are now implementing the new system of European governance," commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, heralding the unveiling of 27 detailed - or 'granular', to use the adjective EU officials use - national prescriptions, telling member states what they are getting right and wrong with their fiscal policies and what they must do to 'fix' their economies.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 02:58:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Opposition to Death Penalty: German Minister Denies US Request for Execution Drugs - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
For months, dozens of US states have been facing shortages of a drug necessary in lethal injections administered to death-row prisoners. But German Economics Minister Philipp Rösler this week declined a request from his counterpart, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, to help out.

German Vice Chancellor Philipp Rösler is generally eager to please. Indeed, many questioned whether he would have the necessary toughness when he recently took over control of the Free Democratic Party, Chancellor Angela Merkel's junior coalition partner.

But in Washington this week, he had no trouble rejecting a request from his American counterpart, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. Many states in the United States have run into shortages of a key drug used in executions. And Locke, according to Rösler on Wednesday, asked if perhaps Germany could help out.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 02:59:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
SPIEGEL Interview with Turkish Foreign Minister: 'Turkey and Europe Need Each Other' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
Elections are looming in Turkey and, once again, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP party is expected to emerge victorious. SPIEGEL spoke with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, 52, about Turkey's disappointment over Europe and Ankara's influence in the Arab world.

SPIEGEL: Minister Davutoglu, Turkey has been seeking European Union membership in vain for more than 20 years. Why do you even want to be part of Europe anymore?

Davutoglu: I can give you three reasons why we belong in the European Union. First, Turkey has been a part of European diplomacy for centuries. We are not China. Second, Europe needs Turkey for strategic reasons. The EU can only become a major power together with Turkey. And third, we share central political values that are laid down in the Copenhagen criteria. Turkey is an important member of the family of democracies.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 03:01:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let Brussels look after it - Respekt / Presseurop (English)
Leaving nuclear safety to Member States to deal with is no longer tenable. Joint surveillance would give credibility to proponents of nuclear energy and at the same time limit lobbying from the energy giants.

Prime Minister Petr Nečas was correct when, during his trip to Germany last week, he asked whether the Czechs should continue to decide for themselves on nuclear power. By its very nature, the question stirs up a hornet's nest here in the Czech Republic. However, if one disregards the prejudice against "Brussels" and the spasmodic clutching at national "sovereignty" and looks at the issue rationally, the answer should be: No, we need not and should not have to decide ourselves.

Creating a single European office for nuclear safety is necessary for several reasons. Nuclear energy is not entirely a matter for individual states, as any accident would impact neighbouring countries. Second, the necessary confidence in national nuclear authorities is lacking. We see this in the Czech Republic, where nuclear power stations have become such an emotional issue that the head of the nuclear supervisory agency celebrates their opening, and what's more, before they have even been approved.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 03:06:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Italian voters get their chance to wound Silvio Berlusconi - Telegraph
Silvio BerIusconi faces a potentially devastating blow to his fragile hold on power this weekend when Italians vote in four referendums that are being seen as a proxy vote on his political future.

Amid signs that a growing number of Italians are becoming fed up with the corruption trials and sex scandals engulfing the prime minister, the referendums on Sunday and Monday are an opportunity for voters to express their dissatisfaction with his three-year-old government.

Similar referendums played a key role in toppling another scandal-prone Italian prime minister, Bettino Craxi, who was forced to flee into exile in Tunisia in 1994 amid corruption allegations.

The votes concern the revival of Italy's nuclear power industry, two votes on the proposed privatisation of water utility companies and a "legitimate impediment" law introduced by Mr Berlusconi which allows him to evade court hearings on the basis that he has more important duties.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 03:14:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Finance ministers may not be ready to make a deal on June 20
Numerous disagreements among ministers, notably on private sector participation, may preclude an Ecofin deal in time for the European Council; Jean-Claude Trichet threw down the gauntlet at Wolfgang Schäuble, rejecting any form of voluntary bondholder participation; says ECB would not participate in a voluntary debt exchange, and would stick to its rules on collateral policies; says the EU should explore alternative ways of participating the private sector, including privatisations and FDI; Trichet also pre-announced a rate rise in July; Fitch Ratings said a voluntary rollover is hardly credible at a time like this, and threatened it might downgrade other peripheral countries; FT Alphaville has a comment according to which a deal remains the most likely outcome of the current stand-off; George Papandreou got his cabinet to sign off on the medium-term austerity and reform plan; Troika report omits the sought-after debt sustainability study, and makes no reference to the EU's wish to co-opt the Greek opposition; Bundestag plans to strengthen German government's spine by passing a resolution on the need for a private sector bail-in; Financial Times Deutschland reports that Merkel may agree a deal on Greece, but subject it to a subsequent parliamentary vote; the German constitutional court will hold a hearing in the case against the Greek loan and the EFSF on July 5; Christine Lagarde faces new accusations in the Tapie scandal, as a result of which the legal uncertainty surrounding her candidacy for the IMF continues; Nicolas Sarkozy is having second thoughts on a constitutional balanced budget amendment; Paul Krugman notes that Iceland's CDS have come down to under 200bp, while Ireland's linger at close 700bp; a column in the Irish Times says the Irish government changed strategy on the EFSF interest rate debate, focusing already on the next programme; the Irish finance minister said he did not rule out tax increase; in Portugal, meanwhile, the trade unions warn that the economic reform programme agreed with the EU and the IMF was unconstitutional.
(Google link)

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 04:58:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:06:56 PM EST
Monstrous risks in emerging markets | Reuters

(Reuters) - Emerging markets face "monstrous" risks this year, with investors continually ignoring intensifying inflationary pressures and credit bubbles, leading market strategist Richard Bernstein warned on Wednesday.

Emerging markets have been the darling of the financial world since 2009, as global investors have pursued stronger returns and driven by a belief that countries such as China and Brazil will lead global growth in the next few years, while developed world economies remain nearly stagnant.

Bernstein, who now runs his own firm after being chief investment strategist for Merrill Lynch & Co, said the love affair with emerging markets is overdone.

"I think what people are completely missing is that the risk is not here in the United States," he told the Reuters 2011 Investment Outlook Summit. "The risk is in emerging markets. There are just monstrous risks in emerging markets right now in my opinion."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:50:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe he is right!

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 08:26:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but from a market viewpoint, risk = profit. After all, if they lose, we bail 'em out so where is their problem ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 03:39:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gah, painting with such a broad stroke as "emerging markets" or "China stocks" or whatever, is absurd. Stocks are about companies, not countries.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 05:01:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Debt talks to tackle taxes and spending caps | Reuters
(Reuters) - Top Democratic and Republican lawmakers met on Thursday to discuss taxes and other hurdles to a debt-reduction deal aimed at allowing the United States to keep borrowing money at rock-bottom rates.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:50:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dimon Challenges Bernanke in Wall Street Bid to Tame Rules (1) - Bloomberg.com

June 9 (Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon's public questioning of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke on bank regulatory costs has "thrown down the gauntlet" in the industry's increasingly aggressive fight to curb higher capital requirements and other rules.

"They threw out the first ball, now can they play the game?" said William Poole, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, in an interview yesterday. "How persuasively can Dimon and others make their case?"

Dimon, head of the most profitable U.S. bank, took an unusual step in pressing Bernanke in a public forum on June 7 on whether regulators have gone too far in reining in the U.S. banking system and are slowing economic growth. The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent in May as the S&P/Case- Shiller index of property values in 20 cities showed that U.S. home prices slumped in March to their lowest since 2003.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:57:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Household Worth in U.S. Increases by $943 Billion, Fed Says (1) - Bloomberg.com

June 9 (Bloomberg) -- Household wealth in the U.S. climbed by $943 billion in the first quarter of 2011 as rising share prices outstripped declines in home values.

Net worth for households and non-profit groups increased at a 6.8 percent annual pace to $58.1 trillion after rising at a 19 percent pace in the previous three months, the Federal Reserve said today in its flow of funds report from Washington. American households also cut debt for a 12th consecutive quarter.

The 5.4 percent increase in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index last quarter helped boost household wealth that remains below pre-recession levels. Stock declines, a weakening housing market and rising unemployment in the current quarter probably means households will continue saving and cutting debt, slowing the spending that accounts for 70 percent of the economy.

"The easy part of the repair of balance sheets may be behind us," Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York, said before the report. "It'll be tougher to get big increases in household wealth. We need to at least see house prices showing signs they are approaching stability."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:59:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Two remarks:

- This increase in wealth is mainly due to an increase in financial assets value: Bloomberg

The value of financial assets, including stocks and pension fund holdings, held by American households increased by $1.16 trillion in the first quarter, today's report showed, as the Fed's planned purchases of $600 billion in Treasuries through June continued to push investors into riskier assets.

And the vast majority of these financial assets are detained by a small minority of rich households (the richest 5% hold 72% of financial assets):

source: Who Rules America: Wealth, Income, and Power

So it will eventually increase the level of inequality...

- It is a net worth increase, which means that, for the majority of households, it is merely debt reduction (which is not a bad thing).


"L'homme fut sûrement le voeu le plus fou des ténèbres " René Char

by Melanchthon on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 04:54:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And for the great number of households whose wealth is mainly real estate,the future looks bleak:

Bloomberg

The value of real estate fell by $298.5 billion following the prior quarter's $84.4 billion drop.

Home values may keep falling as unemployment causes foreclosures to mount. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values across the nation was down 4.2 percent in the first quarter from the previous three months, the biggest one-quarter decrease since the first three months of 2009. The national price index fell to its lowest since the second quarter of 2002, and was down 34 percent from the peak reached in the second quarter of 2006.

Robert Shiller, a co-founder of the index, told a conference in New York today that a further decline in property values of 10 percent to 25 percent in the next five years "wouldn't surprise me at all."



"L'homme fut sûrement le voeu le plus fou des ténèbres " René Char
by Melanchthon on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 05:34:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i find it so irritating that these hairpulling moans about market value dropping are always so onesided.

there's nary a mention of how many people salted away millions, expanded their business empires, fluffing and flipping their way to ridiculously unreal fortunes, for which the offshore banks are duly grateful, during the 20 years of property boom before the bust.

it's like that part never happened at all! what goes up must come down, wow, who'd-a thunk it. gravity, what a concept.

anyway it just comes across as pathetic victimology, poor little us, our house isn't worth as much as we believed it was, boo fucking hoo, when so many live with barely a pot to piss in.

learn the value of money, my grandpa used to say to me. i'd like to see his face now watching these economic times, two world wars and a depression were plenty for then, what will happens when this world economy disintegrates around energy issues? most people back then thought of money as distilled sweat and time, and farthing bought you something. (a quarter of a penny!).

value of money indeed... like trying to lassoo the air.

the wilder the party, the more likely the accidents on the way home.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 11:49:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sky News Newsdesk (SkyNewsBreak) on Twitter
Reuters: Hillary Clinton may leave State Department to seek World Bank presidency


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 05:27:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exclusive: Clinton in talks about possible move to World Bank | Reuters

(Reuters) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been in discussions with the White House about leaving her job next year to become head of the World Bank, sources familiar with the discussions said on Thursday.

The former first lady and onetime political rival to President Barack Obama quickly became one of the most influential members of his Cabinet after she began her tenure at State in early 2009.

She has said publicly she did not plan to stay on at the State Department for more than four years. Associates say Clinton has expressed interest in having the World Bank job should the bank's current president, Robert Zoellick, leave at the end of his term, in the middle of 2012.

"Hillary Clinton wants the job," said one source who knows the secretary well.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 03:13:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:07:18 PM EST
WikiLeaks Haiti documents show US influence - Americas - Al Jazeera English

New revelations from WikiLeaks show how the US micromanaged Haiti's economy and politics to align it to US interests.

According to the cables, the Obama administration apparently sought to limit the minimum wage for Haitian textile workers.

They also show that the US government backed Haiti's presidential poll - despite reservations over a ban on the country's largest political party. 

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:18:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You missed one (wiki-leaks cable) which may have been decisive in the recent Peruvian election:

The cables raise suspicions that if elected president, Keiko might use her power and influence to gain political amnesty for her disgraced father. The bad news doesn't stop there for Keiko, however, as other WikiLeaks cables have resulted in further damage to the young candidate's political prospects.

In 2006, the US embassy in Lima expressed concern about the influence of drug smuggling money in Peruvian politics, and in a cable linked one of Keiko's political associates to illicit earnings. Keiko has defended her colleague, remarking that he had never been investigated for money laundering stemming from drug trafficking.



"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 05:54:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy vows to appeal for Battisti extradition - Americas - Al Jazeera English

Italy has said it will appeal a decision by Brazil's highest court to stop the extradition of an Italian fugitive convicted of four murders in the 1970s.

It vowed to take its case to the International Court of Justice after Cesare Battisti, a former far-left fighter in Italy, walked free on Thursday.

Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, denounced the decision by Brazil's supreme court while the country's youth minister said it was "a slap in the face for Italian institutions, an act unworthy of a cvilised and democratic nation".

Franco Frattini, Italy's foreign minister, said Italy would "activate every possible judicial mechanism ... in particular through the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Brazil's nine member court ruled by a 6-3 majority that the decision take by Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the former president, to deny the Italian extradition request and authorise Battisti to remain in Brazil complied with a bilateral treaty.

Battisti, 56, a former member of the radical Armed Proletarians for Communism (PAC) group, became an international fugitive after escaping from an Italian jail in 1981 and spent decades evading justice living in Mexico, France and Brazil.

He was convicted in his absence by an Italian court in 1993 for the murders of four people in the 1970s, charges he has denied, and sentenced to life imprisonment.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:19:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Berlusconi handled the case in a very bad manner. Italy could have offered safeguards such as allowing unannounced inspections of the prisoner's condition or offering to transmute the life sentences to an adequate term in recognition of Brazil's laws.

That said, Brazil sucks. Battisti had fair trials. There are no risks whatsoever for his safety in Italy.

I might add that the so-called French intellighenzia that defends Battisti without knowledge of the case suck royally.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 01:24:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy has just recalled their ambassador to Brasilia to discuss the technical and legal issues of the case.

The President of the Republic issued an unusually harsh note deploring the Brazil High Court decision. The communiqué considers the ruling gravely damaging to the sense of respect for international accords.

Italy intends to take the case to the Hague on the grounds that Brazil has violated the Convention of Vienna and bilateral accords.

Battisti has left for San Paolo where he professes to have many friends, the usual batch of assholes that butter up to vapid con artists and execrable assassins.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 06:10:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and he may be an assassin, but given what passes for politics in Italy today (and indeed in the CIA-financed politics of Italy in his younger days) I'm not sure why we should be sympathetic to the Italian case in his regard vis à vis Brasil.
by redstar on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 08:00:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or do you need a more important reason?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 09:41:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently, the fact that the Italian justice system has consistently been a bulwark against both the mafia and the corrupt political system first of the CIA-financed Socialist/Christian Democrats and now of Berlusconi is neither here nor there when the person being extradited was active under Proletarians Armed for Communism.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 09:47:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(and both, in my opinion, deserve to do time in the slammer.)

One can't be selective about justice and the rule of law. Either it's important or it isn't.

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

by eurogreen on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 10:13:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't really care what he did. And, I don't really care what the Italian justice system has done, since in the latter case, it's been proven to be easily subvertible to the Italian government, else Berlusconi would have been in jail long ago.

Mafia in Italy? Look no farther than their PM! Fat lot of good it does them, a lot like the Colombian constitution...a wonderful institution, in only, facts on the ground, it did any good.

by redstar on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 10:35:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Easily subverted? I'd say it has proven remarkably resilient in the face of Berlus' continuous onslaught.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 11:19:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd say Berlusconi has proved remarkably resiliant against a paper tiger.

By design.

by redstar on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 11:25:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a proper shake in a trail if one has been tried in absentia?

He's already lived for a considerable time in Europe, here in France in fact, in the open, without fear, until the recent political climate in Europe has "changed things".

In many ways.

I suppose if the US had asked for his extradition, perhaps you would say the say thing?

by redstar on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 10:32:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did Brazil suggest a retrial as a condition for his extradition?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 10:43:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry if I don't care...

I know that, here in Europe, it is a very thorny subject and the very reason why he was in France, freely, for so long.

I also recall from those days that, regardless, according to Italian law, there cannot be a new trial and that, it is a highly contested matter that he actually participated in any of the crimes of which he has been "convicted," again under Italian law.

Punks are punks but this one is a case of a "European" nation with a history of persecution of those one the left and with a dodgy legal system.

I say fuck 'em.

by redstar on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 10:47:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Basically, as long as he's a "communist" he's okay?

How about the fact that he was in jail for various thefts before being recruited to this "Proletarians Armed for Communism" as a hitman? Does it make him a lovable character?

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 10:49:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
or Brasil, ok. If he's guilty of what he and his band are accused of, ok. Do the time. Who cares if he called himself a communist, though you have to admit in his time the game was rigged against the left in Italy thanks to a certain amount of financing from the US not unlike the money Franco got.

But in Italy? For them, especially Berlusconi, their chief of state, to protest, given their ineffectual and, arguably especially in his case insufficient vis à vis EU standards, legal system, is to laugh.

Especially that it is Belusconi, chief demonstration of the ineffectual nature of the Italian legal system, at least when it comes to the wealthy and powerful in that country, none of whom, surprise surprise, come from Battisti's class.

by redstar on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 10:55:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For them, especially Berlusconi, their chief of state, to protest, given their ineffectual and, arguably especially in his case insufficient vis à vis EU standards, legal system, is to laugh.
I think when De Gondi says
The President of the Republic issued an unusually harsh note deploring the Brazil High Court decision. The communiqué considers the ruling gravely damaging to the sense of respect for international accords.
he's referring to Giorgio Napolitano, not to Berlusconi.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 10:59:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's funny. I'm not the Italian President but the fact Berluscrony has been in charge their for most of my adult life is an affront to respect for international propriety.

So, you will forgive me if I think their "king" has another thought on the matter.

by redstar on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 11:09:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The guy is accused of killing a butcher in retaliation for killing an assailant during an attempted robbery of his butcher's shop.

The "Proletarians Armed for Communism" claimed responsibility "in solidarity with the small-time criminal who with theft carries forward the need for a fair reappropriation of the fruits of labour".

solidarietà alla piccola malavita che «con le rapine porta avanti il bisogno di giusta riappropriazione del reddito e di rifiuto del lavoro»
WTF?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 10:56:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But, was he still in that group at that time?

That was why he was in France, as I recall, that he wasn't. The Italian governmant contests this.

Perhaps they should have waited before doing their show trial.

by redstar on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 10:57:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the murder happened in 1979, he escaped Italy in 1981.

I didn't know you were such a friend of the Mitterrand Doctrine, under which France also gave shelter to ETA terrorists...

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 11:00:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wasn't aware of the connection to ETA. Definitely aware of the Italian connection. France has long been a safe harbor for leftists persecuted in Italy, since the 1920's. Less so from Spain, or at least, under far less favorable circumstances for the most part, at least right after the last Republic fell.
by redstar on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 11:15:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Italy an individual may be charged and tried for a specific crime. There are no laws persecuting political opinions. There's no such thing as being persecuted because one is "leftist" or "rightist."

The Italian State did not resort to special legislation or a fanciful state of exception to combat terrorism whether from the "left" or "right" during the 70's and 80's- contrary most notably with other states such as France where exceptional measures such as secret hearings, hence secret trials, have yet to be canceled from their legislation.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 11:51:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But there are "laws," de facto at least, against powerful people of a certain political persuasion and with dubious sources of original wealth, being legally accountable. Namely, Berluscrony, who continues to be the head of state and has gotten out from under how many legal proceedings, always on technicalities, in the past two decades?

The law means nothing, nor do the words of the law, if they are not applied to all equally, regardless of their political power or persuasion.

 

by redstar on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 12:05:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Berlusconi (who is not the head of state) has had 16 legal procedures brought against him of which four are outstanding. He has beaten the rap on statuatory limits, through corruption of judges, thanks to an amnesty, but mainly by passing unconstitutional laws that, while in effect, save him from specific charges.

In the past ten years he has done everything possible to put himself above the law causing disastrous effects in the legal and institutional systems. He has effectively screwed Italy as The Economist points out today.

His continuous presence on the political scene will force a grave institutional crisis in the coming future as he attempts to destroy the judiciary branch, his present day prime concern.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 12:24:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but Italian political power has been at his feet for most of the past 15 years.

Thank you for also making the case that the Italian justice system is sorely lacking...

by redstar on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 12:46:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In order for a sentence to be definitive it must go through three grades of justice. That can take up to ten-fifteen years as Berlusconi's cases have shown. Battisti had all the time in the world to hop on a train and attend the hearings personally or produce evidence of his innocence.

As far as I know if a defendant can produce overriding new evidence or proof of his innocence even after a definitive sentence the case may be reopened. It cannot be reopened because a Brazil comes around and knocksckass French talk show  on the door.

Nor can it be reopened because a Vargas gets on some suckass French talk show with her shitty little con artist to bullshit French spectators. L'élite intellectuelle, 'sti cazzi.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 12:02:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought Berlusconi was the beneficiary of a number of cute legal outs while in power, notably "statute of limitations when the judges took purposefully too long to actually get round to formally pressing proceedings,"  "government changes the law to protect Berlusconi and so the charges are dropped (so-called extinct law)," and all-purpose "amnesty".

Not sure why it is ok for the Italian government to let Berlusconi off on amnesty, for instance, but not ok for Mitterand to let Battisti stay in France on the same grounds.

by redstar on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 12:29:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frankly your comparison makes no sense to me. Mixing cabbage and goats doesn't make an argument.

Who is the source of the quotes in the first paragraph?

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 02:23:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brazil applied a clause of the extradition treaty in which extradition could be refused if the subject's life or health could be exposed to risks.

It is manifestly preposterous.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 12:09:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So is your prime minister, and he has been since almost as long as Battisti has been convicted.

I'm not sure certain Western countries would extradite someone to, say, a non-aligned country to face trial there on a political basis either. Why would the contrary be expected, especially one with a history of not very strong (and politically beholden) legal system?

by redstar on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 12:24:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't find your argument pertinent to the case.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 12:42:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Again, is it fair to say one has had a proper shake in a trail if one has been tried in absentia?

In Italy it's a defendant's right to not appear in court. It is further a matter of balance between the State's right as representative of the people to forward justice versus a defendant's right not to be forced to appear in court.

So long as the defendant has been notified several times of the charges and the date and place of hearings, and has appointed himself a lawyer, as Battisti did, he will be declared in contumacia if he repeatedly doesn't attend hearings without legitimate cause.

If this system that you call a "show trial" were such an issue one need only take it to the European Courts as has been done in the past.

Evidently Europe does not consider the Italian judiciary system a violation of the defendant's rights seeing that no international court has ever condemned the practice in merit. The cases in which Italy was condemned concerned procedural improprieties such as not ascertaining beyond a doubt that the defendant had effectively been informed of the charges or the date and place of hearings. Battisti was perfectly aware of his trial and was properly defended by his lawyers.

All the rest is claptrap à la Bernard Henri-Levy.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 11:37:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, but in many countries this is the case, with the difference being one of custody. One has the right not to attend proceedings, but one is still in custody either physically or on bail. Being in regular contact with those defending you in court is extremely important to mounting a defence - Italy's legal system doesn't account for this, like many US States.

I'm not sure I buy the "rule of law in Italy" argument anyway...as your prime minister's case aptly demonstrates.

by redstar on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 12:34:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by redstar on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 08:16:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. See above.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 11:38:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thousands enter Turkey to escape Syria unrest - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

More than 2,400 Syrians have fled into neighbouring Turkey to escape the unrest in Jisr al-Shughur and other towns, according to the UN and Turkish officials.

Refugees started entering Turkey on April 29, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

But the flow of refugees has increased sharply this week. More than 1,000 people crossed the border in the last 24 hours, the UNHCR said on Thursday.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:19:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Syrian army prepares to retaliate for security personnel massacre | World | RIA Novosti

Thousands of Syrian troops and columns of tanks are moving toward the northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughour preparing to storm it, Al Jazeera reported on Thursday.

More than 120 security forces personnel in and around the town were reportedly killed in recent days in the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

The government has indicated it will take forceful action to restore its control.

Media reports said security forces were on their way to the town in response to calls for help from residents on Monday when they died in an ambush and an explosion at a post office.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 04:04:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Robert Fisk said somewhere (sorry don't know where) that there were claims that the 120 soldiers had been executed by their own side for refusing to fire on demonstrators.

But even he admits that evidence or truth about these claims is difficult to find

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 03:43:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EGYPT: Gaza Crossing Lets Trickle Through - IPS ipsnews.net
CAIRO, Jun 9, 2011 (IPS) - Egypt's border with the Hamas-run Gaza Strip was reopened to Palestinian travellers Wednesday after a series of squabbles over operational procedures had temporarily brought cross-border traffic to a halt.

"The situation at the border has been ambiguous," Essam al-Arian, a leading member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood movement (which is ideologically affiliated with Hamas), told IPS. "After having been closed briefly - first by the Egyptians and then by the Palestinians - the border has now been reopened again."

On May 28, Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah Border Crossing to human traffic, allowing Palestinian passengers to freely enter and exit the coastal enclave for the first time in four years. The Rafah terminal is the only crossing along Egypt's 14-kilometre border with the Gaza Strip, and the strip's only land crossing not controlled by Israel.

Egyptian authorities increased the terminal's working hours from six hours a day to eight, and from five days a week to six (it remains closed on Fridays). What's more, Palestinian travellers - except men between the ages of 18 and 40 - were exempted from having to obtain travel visas.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:36:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - UN nuclear watchdog refers Syria to Security Council

The UN nuclear watchdog is to report Syria to the Security Council over its alleged covert nuclear programme.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) voted to rebuke Syria on claims of an undeclared nuclear reactor.

The alleged structure, which Syria has maintained was a non-nuclear military site, was destroyed by Israel in 2007.

The IAEA's move comes as international pressure mounts on the UN Security Council to censure Syria over its lethal crackdown on protests.

European nations on Wednesday presented a separate draft resolution to the Council condemning Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:41:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Libya crisis: Allies step up funding to rebels

Western and Arab countries involved in the Libya campaign have pledged money to a new funding mechanism for the rebels, stepping up international pressure on Col Gaddafi's regime.

Italy is sending $586 (400m euros; £360m), France $420m, and Kuwait $180m.

The Libyan rebels have said they need $3bn over the next four months.

The pledges came at a meeting of the Contact Group on Libya in Abu Dhabi. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Col Gaddafi's days were "numbered".

"As time passes, maintaining our resolve and unity only grows more important," she told the meeting of the Contact Group - which includes Britain, France and the US, as well as Arab allies Jordan, Kuwait and Qatar - convened to prepare for the post-Gaddafi era.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:44:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WikiLeaks Haiti: Let Them Live on $3 a Day : The factory owners told the Haitian Parliament that they were willing to give workers a 9-cents-per-hour pay increase to 31 cents per hour to make T-shirts, bras and underwear for US clothing giants like Dockers and Nautica.  But the factory owners refused to pay 62 cents per hour, or $5 per day, as a measure unanimously passed by the Haitian Parliament in June 2009 would have mandated. And they had the vigorous backing of the US Agency for International Development and the US Embassy when they took that stand.

Voices From El Salvador: As of Friday, June 2nd, the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly and the Presidency succeeded in sabotaging the Judiciary. A legislative initiative led by the National Coalition Party (PCN) proposed to change the process by which the Constitutional Court operates, requiring unanimity among the five magistrates on the bench to approve a decision. Such consensus is rare and would essentially prohibit the court from producing new decisions. Without deliberation, debate or amendments, the legislation passed Thursday afternoon and PCN representative Elizardo González Lovo left the assembly before the session was over to take the reform directly to the presidential palace to be approved or vetoed.  To the dismay and shock of many, President Funes signed the reform within hours and it was made effective immediately.
More from Tim's El Salvador Blog HERE and HERE.

Colombia Reports: Colombia's Minister of Social Protection said that between 40 and 45 health insurance companies (EPS) will be permanently eliminated beginning in mid-October. The government's decision follows a major corruption scandal in which health insurance companies embezzled more than $2.5 billion.

MercoPress: Brazil's central bank increased late Wednesday its benchmark interest rate for the fourth straight meeting after consumer prices exceeded the upper limit of its target range for the first time since 2005.

Durango, Mexico: Despite arriving two hours late, the Peace Caravan receives a surprisingly busy welcome in Durango.  The week-long caravan, led by Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, reached the city at 9 p.m. on Monday, the third day of its trek across northern Mexico to the US-Mexican border. But the streets are full of people - something extraordinary for this city, where in the past couple of years an unofficial curfew usually starts at around this time.
Related story HERE.

Peru under Humala:
The Motley Fool: Humala has been saying things to calm the business and financial spheres ever since he won the first round of the presidential vote in April. His move to the political center has been both obvious and necessary, as he had to garner enough votes from the undecideds in Peru. As for the course he'll take, it's likely to be something you could roughly pigeonhole as center-left. The most likely model is one that has typical left-wing policies in place for social and wholly internal issues, such as health-care plans, the setting up of his PEN250 (U$90) per-month state pension for all Peruvians over 65 years of age (no matter whether they've previously contributed or not), improvements in schooling, free meals for schoolchildren, general infrastructure, etc. Meanwhile, I see macroeconomic policies staying largely the way they've been in Peru for the last eight years, with a tightly controlled deficit, an independent Central Bank and an economy minister that will leave Peru on the same autopilot it's been through the Garcia government.
Foreign Policy In Focus: Humala is already being pressured from all sides. He will have to implement the promises of his campaign to develop economic and social policies that will make Peru a more equitable and inclusive society - promises which brought him over 30 percent of the vote in the first round. But he won on Sunday by moving beyond his political base to gain support from more moderate sectors who in many instances voted for Humala in order to prevent Keiko Fujimori from being elected president, which they feared would mean a return to the corrupt and undemocratic practices of her father's government. While some of these moderates support Humala's core idea of the need to achieve a more just country, they may have very different ideas about how to achieve that change.

Humala is also under tremendous pressure from conservative economic elites who are threatening to withdraw investments from the country if he strays from economic orthodoxy and who will no doubt show resistance to even moderate policy change, such as increasing taxes on mining companies (hardly considered radical in Latin America today). Experiences in neighboring countries, such as Bolivia, give credence to concerns of attempts at economic sabotage by those staunchly opposed to Humala. (...) Humala's victory is a stunning metaphor for the long-standing divide between Lima and the rest of the country. In stark contrast to past Peruvian elections, as noted in Otra Mirada, for the first time Lima and the agro-export northern regions of the country did not determine the winner.

Meanwhile, the right wing licks its wounds.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Activists are demanding that a series of killings of gays, lesbians and transgenders in Puerto Rico be treated as possible hate crimes, saying there is an alarming rate of violence against these groups on the U.S. island. In the last year and a half, at least 18 such people have been killed, three of them just this week, but authorities refuse to treat the cases as bias crimes, Pedro Julio Serrano, founder of the gay rights group Puerto Rico for Everyone, said Thursday.

Odds & Ends from The Cuban Triangle.

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 07:44:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CBC News - NATO faces 'dim' future: U.S. defence secretary
America's military alliance with Europe -- the cornerstone of U.S. security policy for six decades -- faces a "dim, if not dismal" future, U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates said Friday in a blunt valedictory address.

In his final policy speech as Pentagon chief, Gates questioned the viability of NATO, saying its members' penny-pinching and lack of political will could hasten the end of U.S. support. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed in 1949 as a U.S.-led bulwark against Soviet aggression, but in the post-Cold War era it has struggled to find a purpose.

"Future U.S. political leaders -- those for whom the Cold War was not the formative experience that it was for me -- may not consider the return on America's investment in NATO worth the cost," he told a European think-tank on the final day of an 11-day overseas journey.



"L'homme fut sûrement le voeu le plus fou des ténèbres " René Char
by Melanchthon on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 08:48:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Future U.S. political leaders -- those for whom the Cold War was not the formative experience that it was for me -- may not consider the return on America's investment in NATO worth the cost," he told a European think-tank on the final day of an 11-day overseas journey.
Finally!

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 08:50:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:07:53 PM EST
50 percent increase in sustainably managed tropical forests

A comprehensive assessment of tropical forest management reports a 50 percent increase in the area of tropical forest under sustainable management in just five years, but cautions that key drivers of that increase-growing demand for certified timber and funding for climate change initiatives-could have only a marginal impact in the long-term.

Drawing on detailed data on each of the 33 countries that together control almost all of the world's tropical rainforests and tropical timber production, the report released by the Japan-based International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) also warns that more than 90 percent of the global tropical forest estate continues to be managed poorly or not at all. And, looking ahead, the report suggests that forces favoring forest destruction, such as higher food and fuel prices, could easily overwhelm those that favor forest conservation.

ITTO is an intergovernmental body charged with promoting the sustainable management, use and trade of tropical forest resources. The combined annual tropical timber exports (including logs and sawnwood and finished products like furniture) of the 33 producer countries of ITTO are valued at well over $US 20 billion.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:12:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany: The real costs of 'zero nuclear' | EurActiv

William C. Ramsay argues that German politicians have not been forthcoming with the public regarding the costs of abandoning nuclear power.

Ambassador William C. Ramsay is deputy executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) and a former United States deputy assistant secretary of state for energy.

This commentary was originally published by the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI).

"In polarised politics, the voter must take on faith the wisdom inherent in the principled political position. Who cannot be impressed by the nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima, especially after living through the fallout from Chernobyl?

But is it reasonable to send the voter to the booth with only half the information? Does the German voter have any idea what it means to shut down its nuclear power in just ten years? Have German politicians made any effort to tell them?

Nuclear plants supply 25% of German electricity with virtually no carbon footprint and with a minimum exposure to foreign suppliers of nuclear fuel cycle services unlike the German vulnerability to disruptions in oil and more recently gas supplies.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:29:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In what way is it propaganda? Or do you mean Merkel's position?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 02:32:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Ambassador takes the industry position, falsifying and obfuscating in his brief. he states that nuclear has "virtually no carbon footprint," which is debatable, and ignores a few other aspects of its footprint.

He gets wind wrong on the FIT, and claims it's already destabilizing the grid, which is patently false. He claims solar is risky because German companies might be purchased by the Chinese, as has happened to one small start up in wind... there's no there there.

His main point is that Germany is writing off economically viable options like 125 reactor years, as if economics were the driving force behind the shutdown.

He's basically shilling for usian energy interests, which of course is his job. But by claiming that the German politicians are not playing fair with the voters, and then not even getting his facts right, he enters the propaganda zone.

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

by Crazy Horse on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 03:37:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure there's a place where schilling for US interests stops and propaganda begins.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 03:46:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"he states that nuclear has "virtually no carbon footprint," which is debatable"

An already running power plant? What significant carbon footprint would it have? As a first approximation anyway (especially relative to what will usually replace it), this is typically how nuclear energy is described. Even by, say, Jérôme. Is he too a anti-renewables propagandist?

"and ignores a few other aspects of its footprint"

He makes it clear that his intention is not to provide with a cost-benefit analysis. Rather, Germans have already said they liked the benefits and he intends to state the costs. Note that he then goes on to say that they may well still like the decision, knowing the costs.

"He gets wind wrong on the FIT"
OK, that is bad. But what I find when looking it up (and maybe I too will be wrong, but hopefully you will not accuse me of anti-wind propaganda) is that the subsidy is greater -9.02 cents for onshore and 13 cents for offshore.

"and claims it's already destabilizing the grid"
No he doesn't. He says that the point where it will is probably not far off with an insufficiently interconnected grid. That too may be wrong -I simply don't know- but he does not say what you claim.

"He claims solar is risky because German companies might be purchased by the Chinese"
Oh please! He says that solar is not very appropriate for the German latitudes and climate. Then mentions that DESPITE that the investments had the advantage of making Germany very competitive in the field, an advantage that of course is greater if the industry stays German.
Maybe you'd like that bit removed, but the point is that solar will not replace much of the electricity currently produced by the nuclear plants. Do you wish to dispute that? To call it propaganda?

"His main point is that Germany is writing off economically viable options like 125 reactor years"

Absolutely not. The economic viability is mentioned in passing and is not central to any paragraph in the article. The point is that 125 reactor years of production will need to be replaced. And he discusses the ways.

"He's basically shilling for usian energy interests, which of course is his job"
That is one interpretation, but hardly an undisputable objective statement.

"But by claiming that the German politicians are not playing fair with the voters, and then not even getting his facts right, he enters the propaganda zone. "

I whish that we stopped calling propaganda anything short of a rousing promotion of our own prejudice.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 05:00:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
1. When the entire fuel cycle is included, including mining, milling, enrichment, transport, decommissioning and long term storage, the carbon footprint is indeed debatable, no?. at least the dozens of authoritative conflicting studies would seem to think so.   Some experts add the cost of heavy water production for those technologies which use that.

Straw dog argument about Jérôme, but if he doesn't believe the issue is debatable, then he might find a fair amount of expert disagreement.

  1. So he wants Germans to fully understand the costs, then proceeds to get them wrong. Why defend that?

  2. Yes, he also got the FIT costs wrong, they're higher, but he still argues it's a subsidy. Without looking at the full cycle cost benefit, the merit order effect, the externalities (which is one of the main reasons a FIT exists), and the actual decrease in long-term cost of energy. He propagandizes the "subsidy" because he takes it in isolation, which does not exist in the real world. for example, national security issues which are avoided by renewables.

  3. He says Germany "is reaching the point of destabilizing the grid," which it is not. further, he ignores the fact that the grid must be upgraded in any case, which is already long underway. he ignores the benefits of renewables on the grid as well, where decentralization and modern fault ride-through and other electrical benefits actually increase the stability of the grid. he's simply looking at the north-south power lines needed in isolation, again, going back to my original post, obfuscation.

  4. Yes, i wish to dispute his points about solar PV, and yours. But northern latitude cloudy solar inefficiency compared with Spain or California ignores a raft of other benefits. Further, FIT costs used to create a manufacturing industry, and they're planned to decrease strongly over time, with the goal of greatly reducing the cost of PV, just as it did for wind.

he simply states solar is not an option to replace 65 terawatt hours, as if that was the goal for PV. So yes, this seems to be another area where his obfuscation is good enough to have clouded you view.

  1. Actually, since he uses the phrase "economically viable" in two sentences in a row would indicate it IS central to his argument.  (Though of course you're correct he's ALSO talking about replacement.)

  2. Well, he is the ambassador, so objective or not, shilling is part of his job description. That he's mirroring Obama's comments to Merkel might be a clue that this is part of planned action to sow discord in the major country in the world which is both accenting renewables and setting out a roadblock for nuclear power which, horror, might gain other countries.

  3. Willful obfuscation and falsification is propaganda, especially when it comes from the highest amurkan officer in Germany, no?


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 06:34:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had missed the word "ambassador" in his job description, so at least on the issue of it being his job to promote US interests, I must admit that you were entirely right.

"When the entire fuel cycle is included, including mining, milling, enrichment, transport, decommissioning and long term storage, the carbon footprint is indeed debatable, no?"

I did not, and he did not, say that it was zero (nor is any of the alternatives zero when you take the entire cycle). But it is one of the smallest carbon footprint options available. It is most likely to be replaced by coal.
Plus, I fail to see how the decommissioning costs can be taken into account there: if you stop the plant earlier, you'll still have them. Only way to avoid them is to never start the plant, which is not what is being proposed here.

"national security issues which are avoided by renewables."

He also fails to talk about how nice it is to have the Berlin Philharmonic.
He makes it clear from the start that he takes it for granted that the German public is well aware of the advantages of dropping nuclear, but not the costs.

And from everything I see, it is presented as an absolute environmental slam dunk, when there is a strong likelihood that it will mean much greater use of coal -probably imported, but that only makes it worse in the global picture (I reckon Germany is better at doing things properly than some of their neighbours).
And most studies show coal to be much, much worse than nuclear. If you know something that does not make it so, please elaborate.

"He says Germany "is reaching the point of destabilizing the grid," which it is not."

I take your word for that, and in that case it is a bad thing that he made this false claim.

"Yes, i wish to dispute his points about solar PV, and yours."

Since my only point is that it is not likely to replace much of the current nuclear production, I will be delighted to hear from you where they will be installed, who will pay for them, who will make them. I also note that you failed to scream at his not mentioning the terrible environmental costs that they have when you take the whole life cycle into account. Or is it only a wilful omission when it goes against our prejudice?

"Actually, since he uses the phrase "economically viable" in two sentences in a row would indicate it IS central to his argument. "

Absolutely not. If it were he'd give it a dollar value. It's important only in that if it were not economically viable, then we wouldn't have to replace so much electricity -as it would not have been produced, another source would have been preferred.

The argument is replacement right, left and centre. And I agree that it is phrased in a way that does not do full justice to wind economic viability, although it's rather milder than what we usually read. Plus, remember that the price-lowering returns of wind are strongly decreasing when you add a lot of it (because you are no longer replacing the most expensive type of plant, but the second, third, fourth most expensive one). We are talking about 25% of current consumption that have to be added.

Because it needs to come to that. None of the alternatives would be an improvement, by your own criteria. Yes, I'd like to reduce energy consumption, but we know that it means MORE electricity production (to remove internal combustion engines, mostly).

And only wind is alright, by your own criteria. So, your dismissals of any costs associated with shutting down the nuclear plants means that wind (plus wave energy I guess, plus any yet to be discovered technology) will have not only to replace those 65 terawatt hours, plus all the required additional production. You seem to claim that this will not be a problem.
I'd like to see the plans before I believe them. And I would want nothing more than to actually believe them. I'd really love to.

Because otherwise, it's just the type of hypocrisy we usually saw in answer to Kyoto, claiming to have made the planet cleaner because we exported all the dirt to countries that had no environmental regulation. And if it comes to that, it's Merkel that I would call the propagandist.


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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 04:51:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a series of errors or bits of misinformation in his article:


Wind: Germany has a robust wind energy programme. German taxpayers and rate payers subsidise wind power to the tune of some €5 billion/ year. Investors in wind are guaranteed a rate of 8.2 euro cents per kilowatt hour for 20 years on shore or 9.1 euro cents offshore.

Beyond the basic error that the FIT numbers are out of date, the article conflates payments under the FIT (ca. 60TWh at 82 EUR/MWh is 5 billion euro) with subsidies. The subsidy component should only be the part of the price which is above market levels, not the absolute amount...
Of course, after that 'error' there is the additional neglect of the merit order effect (evaluated to be worth more than 5bn per year to consumers by academic studies) and the value of avoided externalities.


Germany is reaching the point of destabilising its electricity grid with too much wind and insufficient grid interconnection.

As one says "[citation needed]." This is plain false and unsusbtantiated.


Germany may have as much solar PV capacity installed as it had nuclear before the 11 March shut down. Unfortunately, with an average of 14 days of rainfall per month and sunshine less than five hours per day through the year, solar is not very efficient - solar provides just over 1.0% of electricity.

The capacity factor is what it is. What matters is that (i) in terms of capacity, solar is already on the scale of nuclear (and thus is a significant part of the overall system, not a minor add-on), (ii) the yearly additions are on the same significant scale and thus (iii) it is not because solar was a small part of production that it will remain that way!


Germans pay a feed in tariff of up to 49 euro cents per kilowatt hour for solar energy.

Misdirection - the highest tariff applies only to the very smallest installations (where the relevant comparison is the much higher retail price, not the wholesale price), notto the larger installations, which benefit from lower (and steadily decreasing) tariffs.


 as long as the German taxpayer's investment in solar technology doesn't get sold to a Chinese company - as has happened in wind.

Not sure exactly what Germany's taxpayer investment in wind he has in mind, but (i) such investment was nil since FITs are paid by electricity consumers, and we've seen there that the effect is actually positive... and (ii) how does the health of the German wind sector (and assorted subcontractors) look to you?


Neighbours: This may be the easiest option - just like Italy. Germany has at least six neighbours who may be willing to sell electricity to Germany and others further afield.

... except that Germany is still today (with 7 reactors already off) a net exporter.


Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 08:33:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cyrille:
An already running power plant?

we have not figured out a safe way to decomission and store yet, so how will that factor (externality!?) not be part of the footprint, especially with the huge amounts of time these byproducts need to be watched over, cooled etc.

either you imagine some new technowizard way of creating energy that's going to take the place of carbon based fuels, (pony optional), or we're going to be hauling diminishing supplies of water by mulecart to keep these demons placated for centuries.

our descendants are really going to appreciate that.

i can't believe anyone can follow this line of logic, that nukes represent even a greener alternative to coal. at least a coal plant stays dead when you kill it. there's such a vastly unquantifiable future set of energy unknowns yawning ahead regarding safe disposal, that any proposition that wiggles around that as unquantifiable therefor irrelevant to the discussion is blithely whistling past the graveyard, imo.

a graveyard replete with near-eternal flesh-eating zombies at that...

propaganda is using lies of omission or commission to push an agenda which if truthfully presented would be abhorrent to most reasoning individuals, so i'd say this is a fine example...

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 11:37:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"either you imagine some new technowizard way of creating energy that's going to take the place of carbon based fuels"

Which is yours by the way? You claim that it is OBVIOUS that nuclear must be stopped. OK. What's your alternative, though? It would be interesting to hear.

You see, Monbiot is right in that, for some reason, nuclear must pass entirely different tests. We must invest in PV because maybe someday it will work enough (although we'd have to revisit quantum mechanics for it to reach our dreams, there seems to be a ceiling to it), but surely not invest in R&D for nuclear plants that could use today's waste, that would be bad.
We must talk about the environmental damage of nuclear but never of the damage of any alternative to it.

I'd love to get rid of nuclear. But I don't like unqualified fantasies. So, rather than say "stop nuclear", elaborate. Then we can discuss if we like the alternatives.

"i can't believe anyone can follow this line of logic, that nukes represent even a greener alternative to coal."

Really? In the short run? When the most pressing problem is climate change?
Not to mention the many, many deaths associated with coal. You don't even say that you disagree. You say you can't believe it. Wow.

Nuclear is not a long term solution. It is not a solution in very many countries at all. Maybe it is not even part of the short term solution anywhere, although I don't think that's quite the case.

Coal should be a strict no no.

By natural inclination, I'd be siding with people who'd like to get rid of nuclear (but also with people who'd like to get rid of a lot of other things, and maybe we can't get rid of all of them). However, many people on Eurotrib are quick to scream obfuscation, lies, propaganda ... about everything someone we don't agree with writes, yet in a heartbeat pass over convenient omissions by people we like.

I don't think this strengthens the argument.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 05:24:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"either you imagine some new technowizard way of creating energy that's going to take the place of carbon based fuels"
Which is yours by the way?

You have to read more attentively:

we're going to be hauling diminishing supplies of water by mulecart to keep these demons placated for centuries.

our descendants are really going to appreciate that.

:P

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 05:39:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did read that. And I thought it was not particularly appropriate.

It is far more likely that we will manage to use nuclear waste in a next generation nuclear plant than to have an unlimited supply of fossil fuels (and of climate) to keep doing what we are doing with them right now.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 02:02:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In other words, we need something to take the place of carbon based fuels. That's a given, so where does this "either" come from?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 02:03:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i don't see many here screaming, though i admit to feeling like that munsch painting sometimes.

i wish i had a clear answer to your cogent questions, Cyrille. the best i can come up with is negawatts, i.e. the screaming on the pronuke side that we'll never be able to generate a tenth of the energy we use now, as if it were axiomatic we must, i believe to be delusional.
first of all they don't know that for sure, as we have barely begun to try supplanting it, and secondly so what?

i think we use and waste criminal amounts of energy, and i don't think that we will all be huddling in caves without nukes, but i can't prove it, or do more than cite kunstler or some other semi-authority as agreeing with me. no-one is an authority on the future though, too many variables. i do see many advantages to living using way less energy though, and i feel it to be 99% inevitable, unless some unforeseen breakthrough occurs.

i guess we can wait and see, while remaining in polite disagreement, but thanks for your reply, you frame your opinions well, and i know the vast majority of people agree with you, still, notwithstanding fukushima.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jun 15th, 2011 at 01:27:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Serious™ note from a head of the IEA may be expected to be neutral, fair, balanced, objective - what you will - but not biased by the exclusion of relevant facts and the repetition of similar points to those greatly in use by defenders of an established position in electricity markets.

However, that's what Ramsay does with the wind "subsidy" chestnut. I don't know how much the German government directly subsidizes wind, but essentially the €5bn cover total feed-in tariffs, ie paid by the consumer. Any normally-constituted reader of his paragraph on the subject will conclude that that is the added cost of wind power. That in fact depends on the difference between the guaranteed minimum that is the FIT and the going market rate, and this Ramsay does not say. At the IEA, he cannot be ignorant of the Merit Order Effect and its moderating effect on final consumer prices, (equivalent for Germany, according to one study, to €5bn p.a., oddly enough), yet he doesn't mention it.

Repeating the "wind is subsidized" argument in a supposedly serious discussion of costs, without attempting a balanced appraisal, seems to me like trotting out a talking point.

Symmetrically, he assumes that Germany can go on with some nuclear at no extra cost. Fukushima, in his depiction, is simply something that understandably creates concern in voters' minds. He does not examine the possibility that the cost of nuclear post-Fukushima is likely to rise along with the heightened awareness of risk - not just in voters' minds, but in the hard-headed calculations of the insurance world, for example, and in the increased safety and security requirements that will necessarily follow. He speaks of "economically viable" nuclear plant under "license extensions", but does he examine the possibility that a review of those extensions after Fukushima (a crisis that is not yet over, and the full story of which not yet told, in a station that was accorded an extension) might not have an effect on that "economic viability"?

In other words, he doesn't examine the cost for Germany of continuing with nuclear, and yet his proclaimed goal is to inform German voters of the truth of real costs.

Ramsay also gives a passing mention to the "wind needs backup" point, when he says: "Gas is already expanding to backstop Germany's large wind programme". How one can mention Fukushima at the same time without indicating, in fairness, that nuclear (or any type of generation) may fail and need backup, not necessarily as a result of catastrophe (though the consequences of serious accidents to nuclear facilities are obviously much graver than accidents to renewables), but also in lesser emergencies, or because drought may cause closure for river-cooled reactors, as may happen in France this summer, or simply because reactors are taken offline for maintenance - the cost of backup doesn't count if it's for nuclear?

I don't just find this biased against renewables and in favour of nuclear, I find the points made are neither new nor accurate. And, at the moment, it would seem we're hearing rather a chorus of them. In my view, Ramsay is disingenuous when he pretends to give objective information to the electorate, and is in fact offering talking points in a one-sided discourse.

And so I call it "propaganda". Whether I should indicate my feelings in the comment header is another question. I shall try to be more disciplined in future. :)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 11:28:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't find the rhetoric and the distortion strange.

What I find inexplicable is the irrational festering hatred some people seem to have for the idea of renewables.

As in the Lewis Page piece I linked to recently, this goes beyond rational argument or craven self-interest and veers into semi-psychotic rage at the very notion that renewables could be viable.

I don't understand why renewables or climate science bother anyone to the extent they seem to.

I could speculate they somehow attack a belief in omnipotent personal sovereignty and dominion in a way that nukes and coal don't.

Really, it's impossible to say - although it seem does as if the "rational" arguments aren't even slightly rational at all.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 11:50:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
I don't understand why renewables or climate science bother anyone to the extent they seem to.

LOL

that's like wondering why dracula doesn't like garlic!

ThatBritGuy:

I could speculate they somehow attack a belief in omnipotent personal economic sovereignty and dominion in a way that nukes and coal don't.

fify.

they are its freaking deathknell! people forging their own handcuff-keys? there goes the neighbourhood...

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 12:19:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that's a major question. Not that there is never rational self-interest involved - incumbent energy industries, for example, have of course built communications strategies to help them hold on to their slice of the pie. But what intrigues me is to what extent those strategies have been built on the negatives of renewables' positives. OK, it's a known strategy to take the adversary's strong points and turn them upside down. But you can only really choose it if you have evidence that there's a constituency that will run with it.

I think it may be an extension of the "culture wars". The '60s and '70s represent one of those lurches of history where fairly deep changes take place in a short time. Not that there was a revolution in the sense of party and political institutions (the boom generation was a failure at that), but in attitudes to life, to pleasure, to family, to sex, to the natural world, to the planet - that, taken together, are extremely political. After such changes, a fairly long period of uncomfortable maturation takes place, marked by hate-fuelled backlash. I'm thinking, for instance, of Leon Poliakov's analysis of late nineteenth-century European anti-Semitism (that lived on remarkably into the mid twentieth century) as a reaction to the emancipation of the Jews by the French Revolution. Some people's (perceived) added freedom may infuriate others. Anything that smacks today of the dirty fucking hippie can be attacked with vehemence speaking to a reactionary constituency. Sarkozy's communicators appear to think this, to judge by the regularity of his attacks on May '68 and everything that may be considered its consequences.

Looked at from another angle, it's now been forty years that some people at least have been saying that the planet needs to be an integral part of any political platform, and it's still an uphill battle.  

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 12:51:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
great comment afew.

master bloggery

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 11:59:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]

I don't just find this biased against renewables and in favour of nuclear, I find the points made are neither new nor accurate. And, at the moment, it would seem we're hearing rather a chorus of them. In my view, Ramsay is disingenuous when he pretends to give objective information to the electorate, and is in fact offering talking points in a one-sided discourse.

Not merely a chorus, but an orchestrated chorus.

As in any industry, including wind, public relations is a part of the game. Talking points memos are discussed and circulated. Additionally, and more importantly, backroom lobbying tactics are discussed, evaluated and tried.

In the context of the worst nuclear disaster to hit the industry yet (limiting that "worst" to power plant accidents), Frau Merkel has thrown a huge spanner in the works. (By going back to the policy already in place from the previous government.)

This action has hit the global industry hard, as evidenced by Obama's comments to Frau Merkel. Especially as she now says she's changed her "personal" views as well. (Perhaps her nuclear studies puts her in position to understand that Japan is really fucked.)

So what does the CEO of RWE say in response. "Eco-dictatorship."

When quite intelligent people believe that a "running nuclear plant" has no carbon footprint, the debate is already skewed.

When an industry (IEA) shill who happens now to be Ambassador to Germany takes the country to task using falsification, obfuscation and omission, and even fucks up the few facts presented, it would seem that calling it propaganda is actually pretty mild.

You see, a former IEA executive has read all manner of studies and commentaries on energy issues, over a prolonged period, including from the opposition. He's listened to endless discussion from diverse experts. He knows his arguments, knows them well, and has chosen to spread propaganda through his power position.

Actually, perhaps i should say he's a professional liar. Would that be clearer?

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

by Crazy Horse on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 02:53:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Turning Toward the Sun for Energy - Lester R Brown - IPS ipsnews.net
WASHINGTON, Jun 9, 2011 (IPS) - One key component of the Plan B climate stabilisation strategy is solar energy. Solar is even more ubiquitous than wind energy and can be harnessed with both solar photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal collectors.

Solar PV - both silicon-based and thin film - converts sunlight directly into electricity. The growth in solar cell production climbed from an annual expansion of 38 percent in 2006 to an off-the-chart 89 percent in 2008, before settling back to 51 percent in 2009.

At the end of 2009, there were 23,000 megawatts of PV installations worldwide, which when operating at peak power could match the output of 23 nuclear power plants. Germany, with an installed PV power generating capacity of almost 10,000 megawatts, is far and away the world leader in installations.

On the manufacturing front, the early leaders - the United States, Japan, and Germany - have been overtaken by China, which produces more than twice as many solar cells annually as Japan. World PV production has roughly doubled every two years since 2001 and exceeded 20,000 megawatts in 2010.

Historically, photovoltaic installations were small-scale - mostly residential rooftop installations. Now that is changing as utility- scale PV projects are being launched in several countries.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:38:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Turf-cutters battle over Irish peat bog ban

Ireland risks being fined by the European Commission over a bitter battle for the traditional right of rural families to dig peat to burn as fuel at home.

It took two Irishmen to pull me out of Woodfield Bog in County Galway.

Tugging on my right arm was Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, a newly elected independent member of the Irish Parliament, or Dail.

Pulling on my left was the press officer of the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association (TCCA), an organisation turned militant by an EU ban limiting rights to harvest peat for Irish home fires.

It is easy to get stuck in the mire when covering turf wars.

Like many rural families, Luke 'Ming' Flanagan's have turf-cutting - or turbary - rights on a bog that is among Europe's most threatened habitats.

Bogs may seem like vast beige wastelands with just the occasional rock for interest, but up close they are a squelching forest at your feet.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:48:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Special Report: After Japan, where's the next nuclear weak link? | Reuters

(Reuters) - Imagine a country where corruption is rampant, infrastructure is very poor, or the quality of security is in question. Now what if that country built a nuclear power plant?

It may sound alarming but that is what could happen in many developing countries which are either building nuclear power plants or considering doing so - a prospect that raises serious questions after Japan's experience handling a nuclear crisis.

A trove of U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and provided to Reuters by a third party provide colorful and sometimes scary commentary on the conditions in developing nations with nuclear power aspirations.

In a cable from the U.S. embassy in Hanoi in February 2007, concerns are raised about storing radioactive waste in Vietnam, which has very ambitious plans to build nuclear power plants. Le Dinh Tien, the vice minister of science and technology, is quoted as saying the country's track record of handling such waste was "not so good" and its inventory of radioactive materials "not adequate."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:51:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cash Talk: Lack of Wheat Drives up Prices from Ethanol Plants

Winnipeg -, Jun 09, 2011 (Commodity News Service Canada, Inc. via COMTEX) -- Prices for feed wheat in western Canada having seen a significant jump throughout the first half of the 2011 calendar year, thanks in large part to strong demand from the ethanol sector.

In the middle of November, Husky plants in Minnedosa, Manitoba and Lloydminster, Saskatchewan were paying producers C$4.25 and C$4.55 per bushel respectively for feed wheat deliveries. Now, farmers are receiving C$6.80 per bushel in Minnedosa and C$6 per bushel in Lloydminster for their feed wheat.

Jake Davidson, executive manager of Winter Cereals Canada, said the plant in Minnedosa used a heavy ration of corn throughout the winter, and are now looking find some wheat. However, he added wheat supplies are tight right now, and hard to find.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:55:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Atmosphere Above Japan Heated Rapidly Before M9 Earthquake - Technology Review
Infrared emissions above the epicenter increased dramatically in the days before the devastating earthquake in Japan, say scientists.

Geologists have long puzzled over anecdotal reports of strange atmospheric phenomena in the days before big earthquakes. But good data to back up these stories has been hard to come by.

In recent years, however, various teams have set up atmospheric monitoring stations in earthquake zones and a number of satellites are capable of sending back data about the state of the upper atmosphere and the ionosphere during an earthquake.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 02:48:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is worth clicking back to the original article.  The comments are interesting, too.  

HAARP came up.  And the possibility that the earthquake was induced using high-power ELF technology.  

Does anyone have information about this?  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 04:07:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:08:16 PM EST
Scientists identify how major biological sensor in the body works

A biological sensor is a critical part of a human cell's control system that is able to trigger a number of cell activities. A type of sensor known as the "gating ring" can open a channel that allows a flow of potassium ions through the cell's wall or membrane - similar to the way a subway turnstile allows people into a station. This flow of ions, in turn, is involved in the regulation of crucial bodily activities like blood pressure, insulin secretion and brain signaling.

But the biophysical functioning of the gating ring sensor has not been clearly understood. Now, UCLA researchers have uncovered for the first time the sensor's molecular mechanism, shedding new light on the complexity of cells' control systems.

The findings, published in the June 10 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and featured as a "Paper of the Week," could lead to the development of specific therapies against diseases such as hypertension and genetic epilepsy.

Just as a smoke detector senses its environment and responds by emitting a sound signal, cells control their intracellular environment through molecular sensors that assess changes and trigger a response.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:14:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Australia back-tracks on asylum kids

Australia has backtracked partially on its hard-line policy of sending young asylum seekers to Malaysia as part of a controversial exchange deal.

Last week the Labor government said there would be no exemption for unaccompanied minors arriving illegally in Australian waters by boat. As with adult asylum seekers, the children will be sent to Malaysia to be kept in detention centers until their refugee claim is assessed.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said otherwise it would encourage people smugglers in Asia to put children on unseaworthy boats beside often dozens of desperate people who have paid thousands of dollars for the treacherous journey.

"I don't want unaccompanied minors, I don't want children getting on boats to come to Australia thinking or knowing that there is some sort of exemption in place," Bowen told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. last week.

But Bowen faces mounting pressure from human rights groups and biting criticism from Members of Parliament, including from his own party. One MP said the Labor Party is more concerned about exports of live cattle than children.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:14:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Deciding to stay or go is a deep-seated brain function

Birds do it. Bees do it. Even little kids picking strawberries do it. Every creature that forages for food decides at some point that the food source they're working on is no richer than the rest of the patch and that it's time to move on and find something better.

This kind of foraging decision is a fundamental problem that goes far back in evolutionary history and is dealt with by creatures that don't even have proper brains, said Michael Platt, a professor of neurobiology and director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University.

Platt and his colleagues now say they've identified a function in the primate brain that appears to be handling this stay-or-go problem.

They have found that the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), an area of the brain known to operate while weighing conflicts, steadily increases its activity during foraging decisions until a threshold level of activity is reached, whereupon the individual decides it's time to move on.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:16:32 PM EST
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BRAZIL: Haiti Is Here - IPS ipsnews.net
RIO DE JANEIRO, Jun 9, 2011 (IPS) - In the powerful verses of the song "Haiti", Brazilian musicians Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil described similarities between two countries at different ends of the development spectrum in Latin America, summed up by the words "Haiti is here".

One after another, the verses offer day-to-day images of the discrimination and marginalisation experienced by blacks in Brazil, so similar to the situation in Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, and so different from the life of middle-class whites in South America's powerhouse, which is now one of the world's largest economies.

"Look at the rows of soldiers from above, almost all of them black/beating the backs of black criminals/of mulatto thieves and others who are almost white/treated like blacks/just to show others who are almost black/(and who are almost all black)and to show the almost white, who are as poor as the blacks/how the blacks, the poor and the mulattos/and the almost white, who are so poor they are almost black/are treated" says the 1993 song.

"We all liked to sing that song," Rubem César Fernandes, executive director of Viva Rio, a Brazilian NGO active in Haiti since 2004, told IPS.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:35:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]


"L'homme fut sûrement le voeu le plus fou des ténèbres " René Char
by Melanchthon on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 05:17:51 AM EST
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They Live by the Sword, But Should They Die by the Sword? - IPS ipsnews.net
HARARE, Jun 9, 2011 (IPS) - In her glory days, death-row inmate Rosemary Khumalo (66) lived life dangerously on the edge. She was a sanguinary fortune hunter who would resort to anything, even murder, to land her loot, according to court records of her trial.

Her last crime in 1998, which ended with the murder of her businessman suitor Maxwell Sibanda, marked the end of her life of crime, and ushered in her new life as a death-row inmate at Zimbabwe's notorious Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in 2000.

Convicted of the murder of Sibanda and armed robbery in 2000 and sentenced to death, now a frail and pale shadow of her former self, Khumalo has been waiting for her execution for over a decade.

"I have petitioned the President (Robert Mugabe) for clemency more than five times. Two of these petitions have been turned down while three have not yet been responded to.

"I am now frail and suffer ill heath. I have become hypertensive and all I plead for is mercy. This waiting, not knowing when I will be executed has become torture that is worse than the death sentence I am waiting for," Khumalo told IPS from her cell at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

While Khumalo has been on death row the longest, she is not alone; there are 51 others awaiting execution in Zimbabwe. The last person to be hanged in this southern African country was Mandlenkosi `Never' Masina Mandha who was executed in July 2005.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:36:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Pakistan probes 'unlawful' videoed killing in Karachi

Pakistan's Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, has ordered an inquiry into the killing - on camera - of a young man by paramilitaries.

Video footage shows the man, Sarfaraz Shah, begging for his life before being shot by the paramilitaries in Karachi.

The Rangers say the young man was caught trying to rob someone. His family denies this.

An inquiry is already under way into the killing of five unarmed Chechens last month by the security forces.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:43:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The MTV Effect and Abortion: Watching 16 and Pregnant Makes Americans more likely to be pro-choice

The Millennials, Religion and Abortion Survey, a new report out today from the Public Religion Research Institute, is one of the largest ever conducted on the relationship between people's moral values and their views on abortion. The researchers surveyed more than 3,000 American adults of all generations, with a particular eye to explaining what the researchers call the "apparent paradox" of the Millennial Generation's views on abortion--the rest of our views (on everything from religion to gender equality) should correlate with support for abortion rights, and yet we are still ambivalent. Although the study's authors don't come up with a single answer for the paradox, they do have some interesting new findings about the influences that shape opinion on abortion--one of the more surprising discoveries was that shows like MTV's 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, which depict young, usually unwed mothers, do sway Americans' feelings about abortion.

In addition to asking their subjects the usual questions (religious affiliation, race, etc.) the researchers turned up four more novel factors that they say influenced people's feelings about abortion: 1)  Whether the person has a "situationalist" or "principle-based" approach to morality, 2) Whether they know  someone who has had an abortion, 3) Whether they've watched TV shows like MTV's 16 and Pregnant, and 4) Whether they've recently seen ultrasound images.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 05:35:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LRB · Stephen Sedley · The Goodwin and Giggs Show

For more than three hundred years the UK's constitution has functioned remarkably well on the basis of the historic compromise reached in the course of the 17th century. The 1689 Bill of Rights forbade the impeachment or questioning of parliamentary debates and proceedings `in any court or place out of Parlyament'. Parliament in return has made it a rule, enforced until now by the speakers of both Houses, that it will not interfere with the decisions of the courts, whether by anticipating their judgments or by attacking them. If Parliament does not like what the courts do, it changes the law. The sovereignty of Parliament as the final source of law and the sovereignty of the courts in interpreting and enforcing the law are the twin pillars on which democracy and the rule of law in the UK rest. It was the courts themselves which, in the 19th century, extended the privilege of Parliament to cover any fair and full report of what was said there even if it was libellous.

When a member of either House, protected by the privilege which prevents his being prosecuted for it, consciously breaks a High Court injunction by naming an individual who has been anonymised by court order, it suggests two possibilities. One is that he does not understand the constitution; the other is that he does and has set out to transgress it. In spite of protests from members of both Houses who understand very well what is at stake, neither speaker appears at present to have taken any steps against the offenders.

This is the seriousness of the naming of Fred Goodwin in the House of Lords and Ryan Giggs in the House of Commons as claimants who had obtained injunctions forbidding their identification. It does not have to do with limiting free speech in Parliament: it has to do with the misuse of that undoubted historic freedom.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 06:07:56 PM EST
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The naming of Giggs was certainly frivolous but I think the outing of Fred Goodwin was important because that injunction hid potentially criminal behaviour

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 03:53:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:08:40 PM EST
BBC News - Andrew Bridgen MP quizzed over sex assault claim

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen has been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault, the BBC understands.

The married MP for North West Leicestershire was arrested in central London in the early hours of Thursday.

The backbench MP and former Royal Marine, who entered Parliament last year, is accused of assaulting a 29-year-old woman, the BBC understands.

The 46-year-old was not charged and has been released on police bail until the middle of next month, sources said.

The Conservative Party declined to comment on the arrest, saying it was a "matter for the police".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 03:46:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
L'Oreal heiress scandal is back in the headlines - FRANCE - FRANCE 24

The legal battle between L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt and her daughter Francoise Meyers has re-erupted.

On Wednesday French daily Le Monde reported that Meyers had made a fresh application for her mother to be made a ward of court (effectively under the guardianship of a judge), an issue that was apparently resolved in December 2010. Meyer states that she is seeking to protect the estate and her eventual inheritance.

The application, according to the newspaper, centres on the role of Pascal Wilhelm, a lawyer who has a "mandate for future protection" which effectively makes him the executor of Bettencourt's estate should she become incapable of managing it herself.

Meyer has long argued that her mother should be made a ward of court and is seeking to have Wilhelm's control over her estate curtailed.

In a court order dated March 25, which was also published in Le Monde, a judge ruled that "Liliane Bettencourt's cognitive faculties had been significantly altered by brain disease."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2011 at 04:11:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Christine Lagarde takes on Twitter with a wink - Telegraph
Christine Lagarde, the leading candidate to take the top job at the International Monetary Fund, subjected herself to an online job interview with the world's Twitter users last night, declaring that she was following a "call for duty".

In a series of light-hearted exchanges with internet users across the globe, she claimed her greatest assets for the job were "my ability to include, to build consensus, to médiate when needed, to give confidence, and to reach out to governments".

However, the French economist was decidedly coy about her plans for the organisation, responding to one Twitter user asking about the IMF's future with simply a winking face and four exclamation marks.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 03:09:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like he is trying a comeback, as he seems to be all over the news today,

BBC News - What is it like to take a course in Blair studies?

With the ink barely dry on his page in history, university students are already able to study a course on Tony Blair's government. During the past year they've had the chance to quiz some of his ministers, mandarins and even the man himself.

"One of the exam questions was, 'Was Alastair Campbell the best in the business?' That was the one Tony Blair enjoyed hearing about the most," jokes 21-year-old Sian Cleary.

"I think it's his own quote so maybe that's not surprising!"

Sian is one of 12 students who took the Blair Government course at Queen Mary, University of London this year.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 03:19:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Elaine Davidson, World's Most Pierced Woman, Weds In Scotland (PHOTO)

When you have almost 7,000 rings already, what's one more?

Deemed as the "world's most pierced woman," Elaine Davidson married Douglas Watson, a conservatively-dressed, piercing-free civil servant, at a low-key wedding ceremony in Scotland, the Telegraph is reporting. The Brazilian-born Davidson, 46, opted for a flowing white dress and floral tiara, but offset the traditional look by painting her face -- already studded with 192 piercings -- green, blue and yellow.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 03:30:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mob rule: Iceland crowdsources its next constitution | World news | The Guardian

It is not the way the scribes of yore would have done it but Iceland is tearing up the rulebook by drawing up its new constitution through crowdsourcing.

As the country recovers from the financial crisis that saw the collapse of its banks and government, it is using social media to get its citizens to share their ideas as to what the new document should contain.

"I believe this is the first time a constitution is being drafted basically on the internet," said Thorvaldur Gylfason, member of Iceland's constitutional council.

"The public sees the constitution come into being before their eyes ... This is very different from old times where constitution makers sometimes found it better to find themselves a remote spot out of sight, out of touch."

Iceland's existing constitution dates back to when it gained independence from Denmark in 1944. It simply took the Danish constitution and made a few minor adjustments, such as substituting the word "president" for "king".



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Jun 10th, 2011 at 05:15:45 AM EST


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