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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 19 January

by afew Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 04:01:10 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1661 - Thomas Venner is hanged, drawn and quartered in London

More here and here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 11:11:16 AM EST
The Local - Presidential plane makes forced landing

The plane carrying President Nicolas Sarkozy was forced to make an emergency landing on Tuesday after a problem was detected with the aircraft's braking system.

The Falcon 7X plane, which is decked out in a special République Française design, was taking the president to an appointment in Ariège, close to the Pyrenees.

When the problem was detected on Tuesday morning the plane was forced to land in Toulouse, causing the president to be late.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 12:10:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarkozy then proceeded to his meeting with the "rural world" down here in the Ariège. At which only the official farmers' union, the FDSEA, was present.

Other (farm and non-farm) unionists were kept away by riot police using rubber projectiles and tear gas on an obviously peaceful demonstration.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 12:14:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably not good that my eyes did a double take on this after misreading it as the aircraft's "banking" system.
by Magnifico on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 12:31:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was the debt braking system ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 01:18:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It may have been the breaking system.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 04:15:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Political Affairs / EU in uncharted legal waters on Scottish independence

BRUSSELS - Last week's announcement by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond that he intends to hold a referendum on Scotland's independence in 2014 implies uncharted legal territory for the EU.

A newly independent Scotland would raise a number of thorny questions around its relations with the European Union - including whether it would have to fully renegotiate membership and whether it would be obliged to become a member of the euro.

For the EU itself, the issue would present a political and legal conundrum. Never in the history has a member state broken up and then had its successor part seek EU membership (Greenland, which used to be part of Denmark, left the then EEC in 1985). The EU treaties contain no answers.

Salmond's Scottish National Party has insisted that an independent Scotland will simply remain in the EU and that it will have a referendum on whether to join the euro. It sees its large off-shore oil and renewable energy resources as very big bargaining chips.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 02:59:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Two points.

First, I thought the EU was in uncharted legal waters, period.

Second, I claim that this whole thing is a Clever Plot by Blair and Brown & company, who realized that by giving independence to Scotland, N. Ireland, and Wales, the U.K. could get four times as many votes in the E.U. system. Not sure if this works out mathematically, but surely four countries with practically the same language and culture and economic history would be a boost to that community's agenda within the larger discussion...

by asdf on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 04:39:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This would presume that Scotland and England share a common agenda.

Have you heard a Glasgow accent ? We don't even share a common language. The idea that a politically conservative england (trending US Republican) and a much more liberal Scotland (trending liberal green) have anything in common and would conspire together is a fantastical concept similar to North and South Korea conspiring against China

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 02:57:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Eurovision on the other hand, there the former UK countries would shine.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 06:57:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why would Scotland have to renegotiate membership and the United Kingdom of Southern Britain and Northern Ireland would not?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 04:44:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The real problem lies in that term "United Kingdom" - which was originally the union of the two kingdoms of Scotland and England.

Problems with the EU would be peanuts compared to the Royal Dilemma. The fix would probably be that Liz would remain head of state of both (separate and independent) countries. If Scotland wanted to remain in the Commonwealth...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 04:50:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(I hope this is not a repost)

The SNP's proposed Constitution keeps Liz as Queen. I would prefer the line of Bonnie Prince Charlie, leading to the current Duke of Bavaria (the Duchess of Calabria has what appears to be a weaker claim). I suggested to a Bavarian friend setting up a Personalunion of Scotland and Freistaat Bayern under the Duke, and he seemed to like the idea.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 05:04:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But in Bavaria they drink beer. In Scotland they drink Electric soup, although nowadays they use Thunderbird (which has inherited the name) or Buckfast.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 03:04:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The United Kingdom was a union of the crowns. Think of Siamese twins united at the head. The Scottish nobility made out like the bandits they were and most of the clansmen ended up in the USA or other parts of the British diaspora.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 10:56:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know whether two different states can simultaneously be the legal successors of a single one. Otherwise, presumably the bigger chunk would remain party to all treaties the UK is party to, while Scotland would have to enter into all the treaties as a new party.

It would be interesting if the bigger chunk took the chance to let Scotland be the legal successor as party to the European Convention on Human Rights...

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 05:06:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See Succession of states on Wikipedia
In an attempt to codify the rules of succession of states the Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of Treaties was drafted in 1978. It entered into force on November 6, 1996.

A difficulty arises at the dissolution of a larger territory into a number of independent states. Of course, each of those states will be subject to the international obligations that bound their predecessor[citation needed]. What may become a matter of contention, however, is a situation where one successor state seeks either to continue to be recognised under the same federal name of that of its predecessor or to assume the privileged position in international organisations held by the preceding federation.

I wouldn't way that this is "uncharted waters" given that there is an actual international convention on state succession that presumably all EU member states are parties to.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 05:11:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does that mean that until changed, an independent Scotland would still use the Pound Sterling? Seems like this would either give Southern Britain an opportunity to manipulate things to their fiscal advantage, or require Scotland to negotiate a simultaneous entry into the Euro Zone.
by asdf on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 07:40:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it took a while for Czecheslovakia to separate the currencies. Who managed it during the transition?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 02:18:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the chance of Scotland adopting the Euro voluntarily is extremely low. They might try to inherit the British opt-out and separate the Scottich Pound from the British Pound.

I have the impression that Scotland is, historically, a hotbed of heterodox monetary thinking, and the Scottish government is probably not orthodox European monetarist either.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 04:19:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Two can be successors - Austria and Hungary were the successors of Austria-Hungary.

Treaty of Trianon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Treaty of Trianon was the peace agreement signed in 1920, at the end of World War I, between the Allies of World War I and Hungary (one of the successor states to Austria-Hungary)

The most prominent consequence was treating Hungary as a defeated state rather then as a new state breaking out from te old defeated state.

But in the case of Scotland, the south will have a bigger chunk as well as the old capital and presumably the south will keep  the same government and institutions, the same (unwritten) constitution etc.

Lets look at some 19th centruy examples:

Turkey - not Iraq or Syria - was the successor of the Ottoman Empire.

Soviet - not Estonia or Latvia - was the successor of the Russian Empire.

Russia - not Estonia or Latvia - was the successor of Soviet.

Its not that hard to see which will be the successor.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 08:01:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
England would want to be declared the successor state in order to keep the permanent seat and veto at the UN - and probably to be the sole country amongst the successors to have nuclear weapons and the corresponding obligations under various bilateral and international treaties. Russia after the Soviet Union would presumably be the model here.

Amongst the issues the Economist noted last week was that UK nuclear submarines use Scottish bases.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 08:49:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
@GeorgeMonbiot
British govt has a flaming cheek: imposes #Trident on Scotland, then wants to charge Scotland to take it away. #NuclearWeaponsNoThanks.



tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 08:52:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
UK also has a lot of other seats and obligations that England will want to keep - observer in the Arctic Council is mentioned downthread just to mention one.

Scotland on the other hand has more need to promote their own brand and is unlikely to claim that it is the true UK, no matter how many seats it would provide.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 10:11:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because they still have Wales?

The Kingdom of Britain and Ireland would presumably be considered the successor state, and Scotland a new nation.

Since Scotland would already have adopted the complete aquis commaunitaire, negotiations would likely be pro forma, but still necessary.

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

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 04:02:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder how the issue of the number of votes of The Kingdom of Britain and Ireland in EP and Council will be dealt with.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 08:09:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Since the EU failed to agree an objective rule for the number of EP seats or EC votes (for instance, Penrose's square-root rule proposed by Poland), that could cause problems.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 08:21:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It appears that when Germany gained the former DDR, number of EP seats was raised in 1994 when Sweden, Finland and Austria joined. And most others got some new seats too. I would presume that was negotiated at the same time as the joining.

However

Under the Lisbon Treaty, the cap on the number of seats was raised to 750, with a maximum of 96 and a minimum of 6 seats per state.

So with 751 seats already portioned out, Scotland can only get some with somebody else loosing them.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 08:38:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It appears that when Germany gained the former DDR, number of EP seats was raised in 1994 when Sweden, Finland and Austria joined. And most others got some new seats too. I would presume that was negotiated at the same time as the joining.

That's because the number of seats was (and remains) fixed by treaty, and Germany found it most convenient to include the renegotiation of its seat count in the rebalancing of seats and votes needed for the 1995 accession.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 08:43:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So by the same logic it would be convenient to relocate the England etc seats when Scotland joins - with England etc keeping their seats until the next election per Germanys current extra seats. Though of course it is harder to loose seats then to gain.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 10:04:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Scottish MEPs could remain Scottish MEPs. After all, the UK voluntarily divided itself into regional constituencies for the purposes of European Elections, and Scotland elected 6 MEPs in 2009.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 11:18:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As a temporary solution perhaps. But checking the numbers I realise something.

Scotland should get 13 seats like Finland and the UK should loose perhaps one or two, which means that either the cap of 750 needs to be raised or there needs to be reapportionment of all seats (from the next election if the method regarding previous accessions is to be followed). While that has been handled before, in todays climate it could cause problems.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 12:35:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Council appears easier.

UK (currently 29 votes) looses 5 million in population but is still comfortably larger then Spain and Poland that has 27 votes. So England probably keeps 29 votes and remains one of the four with 29 votes. Scotland gets 7 votes as they are square in the middle of other countries with 7 votes.

Hm, that is according to Wikipedia the Nice numbers, however I find no others. Were the numbers kept in the Lisbon treaty?

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

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 10:32:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hungary's Orbán steals the show in Strasbourg | EurActiv

The announced arrival in Strasbourg of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán today (18 January) has eclipsed any other highlights of the first session of the European Parliament for 2012. EurActiv France reports from Strasbourg.

The session was expected to focus on the election of the new president and the priorities of the Danish EU presidency. However, on Tuesday (17 January) it became known that Orbán had invited himself to address the MEPs and address the criticism coming from what his spokesperson called "yet another attack from the international left".

The European Commission - led by the European People's Party-affiliated President José Manuel Barroso - started legal action yesterday over legislation that came into force at the beginning of the year under Hungary's new constitution.

The Commission sent three "Letters of Formal Notice" to Hungary - the first stage in the EU's infringement procedure - and decided to raise additional issues with Hungarian authorities to identify whether further action may be warranted under EU law, notably regarding concerns that the new measures weaken judicial independence.

The Hungarian authorities now have one month to respond to the Commission's concerns.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 03:00:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Opinion / Viktor Orban - both disliked and misunderstood

By Nick Thorpe

BRUSSELS - During his first press conference after winning the the 2010 Parliamentary vote, Viktor Orban noted that "88 percent of the vote at this election went to pro-EU parties and only 12 percent to an anti-European party" - he didn't even mention their name, the far-right Jobbik - Movement for a Better Hungary.

"Viktor Orban has always been strongly pro European Union," says Ferenc Kumin, lead analyst of Szazadveg, a centre-right think tank, "though this is often forgotten nowadays." Last Saturday (14 January), as a Jobbik parliamentary deputy symbolically set fire to an EU flag on the stage at a Jobbik rally, Orban - a vice-president of the European Peoples' Party - was already preparing for his speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

As one of Europe's most disliked, and arguably most misunderstood politicians, he can expect a rough ride. But he can also be expected to give as good or better than he gets.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 03:01:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greens, leftists, Socialists and liberals kept attacking him; while the EPP kept obfuscating or ven giving support and there was praise from a Lega Nord MEP. All according to Orbán's calculation. This surreal show served to underline Orbán's rhetoric for the home crowd: he paints foreign criticism and the confrontation with the Commission as only the machination of the international Left.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 03:40:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One can always trust the EPP to do what's right for Europe...

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 05:03:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and the lega to be you-know-whats...

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 05:54:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At least Daniel Cohn-Bendit got to say, with a sarcastic smile towards his MEP colleagues from the EPP: "I welcome Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel and Alain Juppé among the members of the European leftist conspiracy"...

...meanwhile in Hungary, there is another show, which is noteworthy for having been left going unchecked by Orbán: there is open conflict between Fidesz-close economic policy-makers. Zsigmond Járai, the recently resigned head of the newly strengthened Budget Council (who was chairman of the central bank in 2001-2007, installed by Orbán's 1998-2002 government) and his predecessor György Kopits both said that 'national economy minister' György Matolcsy (author of the failed flat tax + special taxes on multinationals economic policy, and of its description as "economic freedom fight") is no more fit for office. They also said that economic policy should now be brought fully in line with IMF, ECB and financial market demands... For his part, Matolcsy responded to Járai with a petty letter that got rather personal (no sign of the usual Fidesz stage management). (BTW, Járai and Matolcsy are among the few former 'communist' technocrats in Fidesz's top ranks; of course, with their past blacked out in right-wing media.)

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

by DoDo on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 06:12:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Could we perhaps have a diary with EPP MEPs that obfuscated?

I am thinking a little accountability in the home countries is in order.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 08:15:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Uhh-hh, I don't feel terribly motivated to dig through the EPP bullshit, but will try.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jan 21st, 2012 at 03:27:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now done in a comment.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jan 21st, 2012 at 06:36:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
New president heralds a more political Parliament | EurActiv

Martin Schulz, a German MEP and former Socialists and Democrats leader, was elected president of the European Parliament yesterday (January 17) in Strasbourg, promising a more assertive and controversial Parliament in the face of MEPs' marginalisation in the eurozone crisis. EurActiv France reports from Strasbourg.

Schulz received 387 of 670 votes, a thin majority in the 754-member Parliament. His two opponents, British MEPs Diana Wallis (Liberals and Democrats) and Nirj Deva (European Conservatives and Reformists) received 141 and 142 votes respectively.

It seems some members of the two biggest groups, the European People's Party (EPP) and the Socialists and Democrats, did not respect the compromise deal agreed in 2009 to elect Schulz at the Parliament's mid-term (see Background).

The `technical agreement', which has been notably denounced by the French socialist delegation to the Parliament, reduces the likelihood of the two groups from breaking with consensus.

Not wanting to ruffle the feathers of other institutions, previous presidents such as the outgoing Jerzy Buzek (EPP, Poland) and Josep Borrell (S&D, Spain) had largely steered clear of controversy. As result, their political positions have been "soothing, without any interest", says Florent Saint-Martin, an associate professor at the French Institute for Political Studies (Sciences Po) and co-author of a book on the European Parliament.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 03:03:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Outgoing EU parliament president condemned for tribute to 'fascist': theparliament.com
Parliament's outgoing president Jerzy Buzek has been condemned for honouring Spanish Francoist politician Manual Fraga.

The move was branded a "cheap trick" as Buzek handed over the reins of the presidency to German deputy Martin Schulz.

The attack on Buzek comes after he asked for a minute's silence for Fraga along with the late Czech statesman Vaclav Havel in the plenary in Strasbourg on Tuesday.

The respected Polish MEP said Fraga, who died on 15 January, was a "great" statesman, a "key" architect of Spain's democratisation, a founder of the Partido Popular and, in the 1980s, an MEP.

Buzek, who stepped down as president on Tuesday, also asked that Fraga's daughter, Carmen Fraga Estévez, herself an MEP, convey parliament's condolences to her family.

But the move to pay tribute to her father was condemned by Liberal Democrat European human rights spokeswoman Sarah Ludford.

She said, "Havel's democratic and human rights credentials underpinned his whole life, while Fraga never renounced or apologised for the repressive standards of the Franco regime he served.

"Linking the two was a cheap trick, presumably to head off an MEPs' protest."
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 04:40:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Slovenia, Croatia agree arbiters for border dispute | EurActiv

Croatia and Slovenia agreed yesterday (January 17) on the appointment of judges to arbitrate their border dispute, easing the way for Croatia's accession to the European Union.

"It is very encouraging that we managed to reach an agreement so quickly on such a delicate issue," Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović said, the Croatian news agency Hina reported.

The European Commission had sent Croatia and Slovenia a list of potential arbiters to choose from, with appointment to be determined by mutual agreement. The three judges agreed upon are Gilbert Guillaume of France and Bruno Simma of Germany, who have both served at the International Court of Justice, and Vaughan Lowe of Britain, a professor of international law at Oxford University.

The arbitration court is made up of the three judges suggested by the EU and one judge each from Croatia and Slovenia who must still be appointed. Croatia has put forward the name of Budislav Vukas and Slovenia that of Jernej Sekolec.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 03:06:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The end of the Putin era? - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Providence, Rhode Island - Substantial time has now passed since Russia's State Duma elections - not so much as to forget, but enough to think things over more objectively. The perfectly predictable drop in popularity of the "party of power" - United Russia - was as completely unexpected for the Kremlin as December snow always seems to be for Moscow street sweepers.

The authorities were baffled, something evidenced not only by Vladimir Putin's arbitrary accusation that US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator John McCain were involved in the organisation of protests and demonstrations in Moscow, but also his awkward jokes in addressing those same protesters, when he compared the white ribbons they had pinned onto their lapels to condoms.

No one laughed in reply, not even "Nashi" - the ever-faithful youth group. But it was not so long ago that one of his best known proclamations, calling to "waste the terrorists in the outhouse", prompted waves of emotions across Russia, both positive (from the majority) and negative.   

Of course, that time is now gone forever, and what this new period will mean remains to be seen.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 03:14:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain's human rights judge goes on trial - Europe - Al Jazeera English

Baltasar Garzon, renowned for his investigations into human rights abuses in Spain and Latin America, appeared before the Madrid court on Tuesday to face the first of three trials, which his supporters say are politically motivated.

In the first trial, Garzon is accused of illegally authorising police to record the conversations of lawyers with their clients.

The case was brought by two businessmen awaiting trial for allegedly bribing members of the People's Party (PP), which won a landslide election victory in November.

In the second trial, which is set to begin next week, Garzon is charged with overstepping the bounds of his judicial powers by ordering an investigation into abuses during Spain's civil war in the 1930s.

In the third case, Garzon faces allegations he dropped an investigation into the head of Spain's biggest bank, Santander, after receiving payments for a course sponsored by the bank in New York.

Garzon has dismissed the accusations and Spain's public prosecutor has recommended the judge's acquittal on all the charges.

Human rights groups and many Spanish supporters of Garzon view the accusations as attacks on Garzon for his investigation, launched in 2008, into alleged crimes against humanity committed by Spain's nationalist government during the 1936-39 civil war.

The inquiry made him many enemies from Spain's political elite.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 03:18:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Any comment on this from the Spain? It looks a lot like the beginning of the Hungarian scenario from a distance...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 06:29:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Tory MP calls for Somerset to have its own time zone

A Conservative MP has suggested Somerset should have its own time zone, with its clocks running up to 15 minutes behind the rest of the UK.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has put down an amendment to a Commons bill on the UK's time zone arguing for the county to be able to set its own time locally.

He said this was the practice before times were standardised in the 1840s.

However, the amendment is unlikely to be voted upon when the Daylight Savings Bill is debated on Friday.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 06:25:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He said this was the practice before times were standardised in the 1840s.

Onwards to the 1700s!

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 06:40:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Its the mantra. choice is 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 Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 06:56:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the deluded mind of Ree-Smogg his constituents are mostly besmocked peasants who chew grass and get paid in cider and when he passes by in his carriage and four they stand back and bow deferentially.

His brain simply does not process any evidence to the contrary

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 03:15:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the deluded mind of Ree-Smogg his constituents are mostly besmocked peasants who chew grass and get paid in cider and when he passes by in his carriage and four they stand back and bow deferentially.

The peasants are burger-chewing chavs or organic hippies.

Otherwise - pretty much.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 04:20:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A visit to the Wikipedia page on Rees-Mogg is mandatory.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 01:37:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He canvassed a largely working class neighbourhood in his Bentley with his nanny

WTF?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 04:20:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And this about his former father in law, now deceased:

Somerset De Chair was the younger son of Admiral Sir Dudley Rawson Stratford de Chair, KCB, KCMG, MVO. He first was married on 8 October 1932 to Thelma Grace Arbuthnot (1911-1974), with whom he had two sons: Rodney Somerset and Peter Dudley.

His second wife, Carmen Appleton, gave birth to sons Rory and Somerset Carlo. Their marriage dissolved in 1958, allowing Somerset to marry his third wife, Margaret Patricia Manlove (née Field-Hart); they had a daughter, Teresa Loraine Aphrodite (who married Sir Toby Clarke, 6th Baronet).

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 04:24:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, following the links opens up a world of fascination.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 04:42:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jacob Rees-Mogg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"I gradually realised that whatever I happened to be speaking about, the number of voters in my favour dropped as soon as I opened my mouth."

if only all politicians realised this...

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 06:28:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I would write a novel about a upper class twit, I would give him a name like Rees-Mogg.
by IM on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 05:04:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
von und zu Ries-Mog?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 05:05:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jacob Rees-Mogg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In March 2009, Rees-Mogg was forced to apologise to Trevor Kavanagh, former political editor of The Sun, after it was shown that a newsletter signed by Rees-Mogg had plagiarised sections of a Kavanagh article that had appeared in the newspaper over a month earlier.[7]

boolean bust

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 06:31:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: The IMF wants $500bn in new funds, but non eurozone shareholders resist
The IMF has asked for an additional $500bn in funds, which would raise its total loan volume to €1 trillion; eurozone pledges $200bn towards these funds, but US and other non-eurozone member states are sceptical; China says it would make its agreement conditional on a fundamental rebalancing on voting power; the non-eurozone countries have reached consensus that the eurozone is financially strong enough to take care of its problems; Greek PSI+ talks continued amid some renewed optimism that an agreement can be reached by the end of this week; Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy are pushing ahead with a financial transactions tax; they also want to establish a European growth and competitiveness fund; Wolfgang Schäuble and Francois Baroin are working towards harmonising corporate tax rates and tax bases; Angela Merkel rebuffs Mario Monti's call for more help, saying she is not clear about what Germany should do; Frankfurter Allgemeine says the ratings downgrade severely constrains EFSF's capacity to act; Spain proposes Antonio Sainz de Vicuna, the ECB's legal counsellor, for the ECB's executive board; Dieter Wermuth calculates that the eurozone's banks need about €1 trillion in new capital; Bank of America/Merrill Lynch have come out with a calculation with shows a great dependence of the eurozone's internal imbalances on the oil price; Luigi Zingales, meanwhile, argues that the ECB's liquidity operations are not enough, and that the ECB still needs to loosen monetary policy.


tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 04:15:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]

 Bank of America/Merrill Lynch have come out with a calculation with shows a great dependence of the eurozone's internal imbalances on the oil price;

If you haven't gotten your news 3 years early on ET, you can always get it one day earlier.

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

by Crazy Horse on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 04:58:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cameron calls on EU to to make free trade a priority: theparliament.com
UK prime minister David Cameron has said the EU should make negotiating new trade deals with fast-growing economies a priority, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Speaking yesterday, after a meeting in London with Italian prime minister Mario Monti, Cameron said the EU could boost growth by freeing trade in services as well as goods.

According to the paper, Monti agreed with Cameron saying that by extending free trade within the EU to all services would help boost growth.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 04:44:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
without comment, Der Spiegel is reporting (via NYT) that hedge funds are preparing to take their haircuts from Greece to the European Court of Human Rights.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 11:06:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Irony is dead.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 11:15:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 11:11:47 AM EST
EUobserver.com / Economic Affairs / IMF looking for extra cash to stem euro-crisis

BRUSSELS - The US-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) is seeking more money to help stem the eurozone crisis, with world growth forecasts slashed once more Wednesday (18 January).

Directors of the IMF on Tuesday agreed to look for supplementary resources, as requested by their French chief Christine Lagarde, amid increasing worries over the global impact of the euro crisis.

"The biggest challenge is to respond to the crisis in an adequate manner and many executive directors stressed the necessity and urgency of collective efforts to contain the debt crisis in the euro area and protect economies around the world from spillovers," Lagarde said in a statement.

"To this end, fund management and staff will explore options for increasing the fund's firepower, subject to adequate safeguards."

The source of the new funds remains unclear, however.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 02:58:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IMF seeks $600 billion more in funds; G20 to discuss | Reuters

(Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund is seeking to boost its war chest by $600 billion (389 billion pounds) to help countries reeling from the euro zone debt crisis, but some nations insist Europe must first do more to support its ailing members, international financial sources said on Wednesday.

Group of 20 officials will discuss increasing IMF resources at a meeting in Mexico City on Thursday and Friday, the first under Mexico's 2012 presidency of the group of developed and emerging economies.

The IMF said it will need $500 billion to lend to member countries in need and IMF sources who were present at an IMF board meeting on the issue on Tuesday told Reuters that another $100 billion is needed as a "protection buffer."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 03:23:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
RT.com: Europe - the 'laughingstock of the world' (18 January)
Varoufakis says any money Greece receives "will only be used in order to repay banks." So instead of racking up new Greek debt, he says, it would make much more sense to let Greece default within the Eurozone.

"And then the official sector could directly recapitalize the banks, which would make much more sense," he explained. "But sense is not the drawing card these days - for the last two years - in the European Union."

"The Europeans have failed to put their house in order," Varoufakis added. "They have failed to come up with a plan to deal with the cohabiting crisis with the banking sector on the one hand, and the member states of the Eurozone. We have resorted to the IMF. This is a tragedy."

"We, Europeans, turned ourselves into the laughingstock of the world," he concluded.



tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 09:07:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek deal disrupted by bondholders gambling on default | EurActiv

`Significant numbers' of Greek bonds may have migrated from financial institutions participating in the voluntary Private Sector Initiative (PSI) to others betting that the country will default, throwing the negotiations into peril, a senior economist has warned EurActiv.

It is also impossible to gauge how much of this `bond migration' has taken place since the PSI negotiations began last year - because of  a lack of transparency on the markets - according to Sony Kapoor, the managing director of economic think tank Re-Define.

Lead negotiators Charles Dallara and Jean Lemierre - co-chairs of the steering committee of the Institute of International Finance (IIF), an industry body representing private investors - left Athens on Friday (13 January), claiming other parties to the agreement could not meet their terms.

Conflict among bondholders

The deal on the table involves persuading creditors to turn in their bonds and receive new ones that have half the face value and mature many years in the future. The Greek authorities say €206 billion of bonds are subject to the exchange; if all the creditors agree, they'd get €103 billion in new bonds back.

But there is a conflict between those bondholders - represented in the negotiations by the IIF - who are serious about accepting a voluntary write-down, and others betting on a default.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 03:04:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At some point I fear we're going to have to extend the american practice of assassinating private citizens who are deemed to be troublesome to the general civility and extend it to the banksters

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 03:17:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Chase Accused of Brazen Bankruptcy Fraud  Courthouse News Service  (H/T Jesse)

    LOS ANGELES (CN) - JPMorgan Chase routinely fabricated documents to deceive bankruptcy judges, going so far as to Photoshop documents to "create the illusion" of standing "in tens of thousands of bankruptcy cases," according to a federal class action.
     Lead plaintiff Ernest Michael Bakenie claims that Chase's "pattern and practice of playing 'hide-and-seek' with debtors, judges and other bankruptcy players" bore rich fruit: that Chase secured motions for relief of stay and proofs of claim in 95 percent of its cases.
     "Through the use of fabricated assignments, endorsements and affidavits that purport to transfer deeds of trust, notes and the rights to all monies due under the terms of tens of thousands of non-negotiable promissory notes (the 'MLNs'); Chase has demonstrated a pattern and practice of playing 'hide-and-seek' with debtors, judges and other bankruptcy players," the complaint states.
     "Chase intentionally conceals the identity of the true parties in interest entitled to enforce the tens of tens of thousands of residential non-negotiable promissory notes (the 'MLNs') for its own financial benefit, at the expense of the class and to the detriment of the integrity of the bankruptcy system."
     Bakenie says Chase used a network of attorneys to file more than 7,000 motions for relief from automatic stay in bankruptcy cases in the Central District of California, "wherein they falsely claim to be the party entitled to monies due under the terms of MLNs."

An election year is an excellent time for such a law suit. I wish them well. Hope Chase cannot find a 'sympathetic' judge to dismiss the suit by summary judgement - a judge who finds frauds upon the court to be amusing - or, more likely, one who would prefer to deny the fact than to deal with it.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 11:19:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It doesn't matter what happens, as it will be appealed all the way to the USSC where the corporate whores fine upstanding impartial judges who believe that corporates are poor downtrodden people will dismiss it

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 03:20:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama Said to Consider Summers as Successor to World Bank Chief Zoellick - Bloomberg

President Barack Obama may put his mark on the World Bank by nominating Lawrence Summers, his former National Economic Council director, to lead the bank when Robert Zoellick's term expires later this year, according to two people familiar with the matter.

While a Summers nomination may draw criticism from some Democrats who disagree with his past stances on deregulating the financial industry, he has support inside the administration from top officials, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and current NEC Director Gene Sperling, said one of the people.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is also being considered, along with other candidates, said the other person. Both spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal White House deliberations.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 12:46:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That mark being '666'.
by tjbuff (timhess@adelphia.net) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 09:55:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 11:12:05 AM EST
China's city dwellers overtake rural population

China said Tuesday the number of people living in cities exceeded the rural population for the first time, a historic shift that experts said would put a strain on society and the environment.

The change marks a turning point for China, which for centuries was a mainly agrarian nation but has witnessed a huge population shift to cities over the past three decades as people seek to benefit from rapid economic growth.

Urban dwellers now represent 51.27 percent of China's entire population of nearly 1.35 billion -- or 690.8 million people -- the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.

It added that China had an extra 21 million people living in cities by the end of 2011 compared to a year earlier -- more than the entire population of Sri Lanka -- while the number of rural dwellers dropped.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 11:41:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eyeing resources, India, China, Brazil, Japan, other countries want a voice on Arctic Council

With an eye on rapid changes in the resource-rich Arctic, countries like China, India and Brazil, which have no Arctic territories, are nonetheless knocking on the door of the increasingly influential Arctic Council looking for admission as permanent observers.

The issue has divided existing members, with Russia and Canada most strongly opposed. It is among the major questions with which Canada will have to grapple as it prepares to chair the Council next year.

It will also feature prominently on the agenda of a two-day meeting on the future of the Arctic Council, January 17-18 in Toronto: The 2nd annual Munk-Gordon Arctic Security Conference, which has attracted the participation of several experts, national ambassadors and indigenous leaders - more than 100 participants from 15 nations in all.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 11:51:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Present membership

Eyeing resources, India, China, Brazil, Japan, other countries want a voice on Arctic Council

Full members of the Arctic Council are Canada, Russia, the United States, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark (Greenland) - the eight countries with Arctic territory. Six northern indigenous groups - the Inuit Circumpolar Council, Arctic Athabaska Council, Gwich'in Council International, Sami Council, Russian Association of the Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) and Aleut International Association - wield strong influence as permanent participants.

The Arctic Council is the only international organization that gives indigenous peoples a formal place at the table. Another six non-Arctic nations sit in as observers today: the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Poland and the Netherlands.

However, many more non-Arctic countries, which in addition to China, India and Brazil, include Japan, South Korea, the European Union and several individual European states, now want "observer" status, a step that some fear would significantly increase the influence of non-Arctic participants.



A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 08:27:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EGYPT: Lending to Repression, Again - IPS ipsnews.net
CAIRO, Jan 18, 2012 (IPS) - For three decades Western governments and lending institutions bankrolled a corrupt regime in Egypt that trampled human rights and stifled democracy. Now they appear ready to do it again, say critics of the military council that has ruled since removing president Hosni Mubarak last February.

"Foreign aid should not be used to support a repressive regime," says Amr Adly, political economist at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR). "It's in nobody's interest to throw Egypt's economy into a deeper crisis, but international creditors have to be quite strict when it comes to transparency."

Western governments and development banks provided billions of dollars in loans and grants to Egypt during Mubarak's 30-year rule while paying lip service to the financial corruption and human rights abuses attributed to his regime. Watchdog groups say a large portion of this aid lined the pockets of regime cronies or funded economic and development programmes that stripped the country of its resources and drove disenfranchised Egyptians deeper into poverty.

The popular uprising that unseated Mubarak had a deep impact on Egypt's economy. Foreign reserves plunged over 50 percent in 2011 to reach 18 billion dollars as the vital tourism industry and other business sectors continue to suffer from political instability and labour unrest. The government is anticipating a budget deficit of 11 percent of GDP this year unless it can successfully implement austerity measures to save over 3 billion dollars.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 03:10:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S.: Worries Mount over Blowback of Israeli Attack on Iran - IPS ipsnews.net
WASHINGTON, Jan 18, 2012 (IPS) - A former senior adviser on the Middle East to the last four U.S. presidents says that "the negatives far outweigh the positives" of war with Iran and the United States should augment Israel's nuclear weapons delivery systems to dissuade it from attacking the Islamic Republic.

Bruce Riedel, who served on the White House National Security Council and dealt extensively with both Israel and Iran, told an audience Tuesday at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank, that while an Iran with nuclear weapons would be a significant strategic setback for the United States and Israel, deterrence and containment were preferable to military force.

He criticised those, including all but one Republican presidential candidate, who discuss an attack on Iran's nuclear installations as though it would be "over in an afternoon or a couple of weeks".

"I don't use the term 'military strike,' " Riedel said. "We will be at war with Iran. Once we begin it, the determination of when it ends will not be a unilateral one... This could become another ground war in Asia."
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 03:12:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"...augment Israel's nuclear weapons delivery systems to dissuade it from attacking..."

Apparently Newspeak is in full swing...

by asdf on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 04:41:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, my eyes boggled at that too

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 03:24:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S.: Worries Mount over Blowback of Israeli Attack on Iran - IPS ipsnews.net
To reassure Israel that it could deter a nuclear Iran, the United States should enhance Israel's naval and submarine capabilities, Riedel said. This would "ensure that the balance of terror is overwhelmingly in Israel's favour."
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 12:07:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wait, is that an admission that Israel has nuclear weapons?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 12:32:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He quickly added "if they had nuclear weapons, which of course they don't".
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 12:35:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But then of course improved delivery systems wouldn't act as a deterrent?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 12:46:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Weeeelllll, if they were ever to happen to find some nukes under the bed or something ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 12:49:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's merely a former senior adviser on the Middle East. How would he know?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 01:03:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Myanmar: What is in it for the US? - Inside Story Americas - Al Jazeera English
There has been a flurry of recent visits to Myanmar by Western governments offering more development assistance. The US says it now wants to restore full diplomatic relations with the nation following its recent reforms.

...

On this episode of Inside Story Americas we ask: Why is the US reaching out to Myanmar and what does it stand to gain from doing so? And is Myanmar's president committed to meaningful progress or is he simply serving as the public face of the old junta in its quest to retain power?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 03:16:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 02:32:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
outstanding

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 03:25:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
brilliant. and that would be Samuel Jackson on the voiceover?

imagine if the PAC was taking on issues like burning fossils, or factory farms producing bacteria resistant disease, or mocking climate deniers.

"Why is the T in his name silent? What else is he silent about?"

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

by Crazy Horse on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 04:09:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is an absolutely brilliant strategy.

Not only is the Super PAC attacking Colbert, it's attacking itself and the concept of Super PACs.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 04:47:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I want to see how many people vote for Herman Cain.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 04:54:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the point, isn't it?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 04:56:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't have the link right now, but somebody pointed out that Colbert asking people to vote for Cain, and the ad coming out just before looked suspiciously like coordination. He responded with a legal opinion stating that the PAC informing him about the ad is not coordination.....
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 05:00:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's also a test of collective Republican IQ.

I'd guess you'll get some Irony Voters™, but you'd usually expect those to be trending Dem.

Republicans are more literal-minded, so - it's actually a useful-ish test of the influence of ad spend.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 05:11:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In open primary states you might get a bunch of democrats or independents or people who usually wouldn't vote in a primary voting for whoever Jon Stewart puts on the ads...

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 05:18:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I think that SC is open.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 05:20:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So does Wikipedia:

Primary election - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

South Carolina - Open Primary (Jan 19 for Republicans, Jan 26 for Democrats). Deadline (30 days - Dec 20, 2007 for Republicans and Dec 25, 2007 for Democrats).


A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 08:08:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Turns out that Colbert directly appealed on Monday to non-Republicans to go out and vote for him. See here.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 12:27:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure this is true or a further joke, but since it's on Fox News, it's probably true (yes, I really mean that...)
Tuesday, Stewart's pro-Colbert PAC released a commercial in South Carolina that urged voters to cast their ballot ... for Cain. None of this came as a shock to Cain, because the businessman is in on the joke.

"On Stephen Colbert's endorsement of himself as Herman Cain, I find it very clever and humorous, as it should be," Cain told Fox411. "Anyone who finds what Mr. Colbert is doing offensive, should simply lighten up. To be perfectly clear, I will not be assuming Stephen Colbert's identity. We are very different when it comes to the color of our - hair."

Kathy Hoekstra, Cain's Director of Media Relations, said they were given a heads up that something was happening a few days ago.

"Colbert's people got in touch with us late last week and Mr. Cain will be taping a segment with Mr. Colbert on Friday in South Carolina," Hoekstra laughed. "The endorsement of course comes as a pleasant surprise.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 07:50:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Forward
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel's two greatest enemies are The New York Times and Haaretz, the editor of The Jerusalem Post said in a speech.
Does that mean he's going to bomb them instead of Iran?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 05:12:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Public Policy Polling, 17.1.12
Q14 If the candidates for President this year were Democrat Barack Obama, Republican Mitt Romney, and independent Stephen Colbert,  who would you vote for?

Barack Obama................................................ 41%
Mitt Romney.................................................... 38%
Stephen Colbert.............................................. 13%
Undecided....................................................... 7%

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 08:33:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Washington Post
Republican front-runner Mitt Romney's narrow lead in the Iowa caucuses disappeared when officials certified the vote count, the Des Moines Register reported Thursday morning.

Instead of winning by eight votes, Romney ended up trailing former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum by 34 votes, the newspaper said. But that tally is far from conclusive, because results from eight Iowa precincts are missing "and will never be recovered and certified," the Register reported.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 08:35:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently the RNC adopted the following resolution in New Orleans last week (though don't seem to be in a rush to publicize it, if true)
WHEREAS, Israel has been granted her lands under and through the oldest recorded deed as reported in the Old Testament, a tome of scripture held sacred and reverenced by Jew and Christian, alike, as the acts and words of God; and

WHEREAS, as the Grantor of said lands, God stated to the Jewish people in the Old Testament; in Leviticus, Chapter 20, Verse 24:  "Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey"; and

[...]

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the members of this body support Israel in their natural and God-given right of self-governance and self-defense upon their own lands, recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others; and that peace can be afforded the region only through a united Israel governed under one law for all people.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 01:21:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 11:12:34 AM EST
Not On My Planet: How far is far enough

There is an increasing trend towards nimbyism - people welcome developments in principle, so long as they are "not in my back yard". But just how big is a back yard?

The answer depends on a number of factors and Gunther Schauberger of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna) has now developed a mathematical model to calculate appropriate distances from residential areas for livestock building to be sited. The model is published in the current issue of the journal "Atmospheric Environment".

Heavy industry and livestock farming have two features in common: both are widely regarded as essential but both produce smells that inconvenience or discomfort people living nearby. When considering where new industrial plants or farming practices are to be built - or whether a particular plot of land would be suitable for housing - it is important to ensure that people do not live too close to the source of smell.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 11:44:32 AM EST
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Quick fix: don't do factory farming.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 11:45:06 AM EST
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Quick fix #2: Don't build your house near a farm.
by asdf on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 04:42:46 PM EST
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Factory farming has more in common with chemical industry than it does with family farming. A small farm in harmony with its own resources produces very little noxious odor.
by Andhakari on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 03:19:34 AM EST
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Solutions for a nitrogen-soaked world

Nitrogen is both an essential nutrient and a pollutant, a byproduct of fossil fuel combustion and a fertilizer that feeds billions, a benefit and a hazard, depending on form, location, and quantity.

Agriculture, industry and transportation have spread nitrogen liberally around the planet, say sixteen scientists in the latest edition of ESA's Issues in Ecology series, "Excess Nitrogen in the U.S. Environment: Trends, Risks, and Solutions," with complex and interrelated consequences for ecological communities and our dependence upon the resources they provide, as well as human health.

Pulling from a broad pool of expertise in air quality, agronomy, ecology, epidemiology and groundwater geochemistry, the sixteen authors track nitrogen through its different chemical forms and biological incarnations as it progresses across economic, environmental and regulatory bounds. They argue for a systematic, rather than piecemeal, approach to managing the resource and its consequences.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 11:45:43 AM EST
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Fertiliser mafia supplied farmers - Politiken.dk

Danish farmers across the country have been able to order illegal crop sprays and fertilisers from a Jutland group that has organised extensive illegal imports across the German-Danish border, according to official correspondence Politiken has obtained.

The imports, from a warehouse in Leck in Northern Germany, involved some 500 lorryloads between 2007 and 2009 with a total of 15,000 tonnes of fertilisers and 45 tonnes of crop sprays, 21 tonnes of which are banned in Denmark.

Imported outside the normal controls of the authorities, farmers have been able to spread more fertiliser and sprays on their fields than allowed.

"This is very serious. We are not just talking about four farms that have done something wrong," says Biology Professor Mogens Flindt of the University of Southern Denmark.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 11:54:52 AM EST
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EL SALVADOR: Pesticides Fill Graveyards in Rural Villages - IPS ipsnews.net
NUEVA ESPERANZA, El Salvador, Jan 12, 2012 (IPS) - Sitting in the shade under a tree at a careful distance, Francisco Sosa watches his son prepare the land for planting by spraying the weeds with an herbicide from a tank carried on his back.

The 60-year-old Salvadoran farmer would like to help his son Saúl, 25, but on doctor's orders, he can't. Like many other peasant farmers in this rural community in the southeast of El Salvador, he suffers from chronic renal insufficiency.

"The doctors told me not to spray poison anymore, that it could complicate my illness further," Sosa told IPS on his farm in Nueva Esperanza, a rural community of around 500 people that was settled in the 1990s in the Bajo Lempa region in the province of Usulután on El Salvador's Pacific coast.

For years, local residents and the media have denounced the alarming increase in cases of kidney failure in the Bajo Lempa region, which for over a century was a cotton-growing area where pesticides and herbicides were heavily used.

Although cotton gave way to other crops in the 1970s, highly toxic agrochemicals continue to be used by the local farmers, who take no safety measures, on their corn, beans and vegetable crops.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 03:11:13 PM EST
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Keystone XL rejection to be announced Wednesday | Reuters

(Reuters) - The Obama administration will announce on Wednesday its decision to reject TransCanada's plan to build the Canada to Texas Keystone XL crude oil pipeline but the company could reapply, a source familiar with the matter said.

"The time provided in the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act is not adequate for the Department to gain the additional information needed," said the source on condition of anonymity. "The Department's recommendation of denial of the ... permit at this time is based on not having the necessary information. Thus, it does not preclude any subsequent permit application of application for similar project."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 03:20:17 PM EST
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Since the "oil" involved in this will be coming from Canada and going to China, why not build the pipeline over to the west, not crossing the U.S. of A. at all? A small matter of mountains only needs resolution...
by asdf on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 04:44:41 PM EST
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didn't you know ? It's America's oil, so they get to sell it.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 03:29:12 AM EST
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Not according to the LA Times - it seems just to be a postponing issuing the permit and not a rejection.

Keystone XL pipeline: Obama administration to deny Keystone XL oil pipeline permit - latimes.com

The Obama administration has decided that it will not issue a permit before Feb. 21 for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, according to people with knowledge of the decision.

The announcement, which could come as early as Wednesday, comes in response to a 60-day deadline Congress imposed in late December on the decision-making process for the permit as part of a deal to extend a payroll-tax break and unemployment benefits for two months.  

Today's decision, expected from the State Department, would make official what the administration has said from the outset: that under current law, it cannot accelerate the permitting process, especially in light of the need for additional environmental reviews of a new path for the pipeline through Nebraska.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 03:15:16 AM EST
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They're just equivocating and delaying, not denying anything. It's a little disgusting how the environmental groups, such as the Sierra Club, are falling all over themselves to laud Obama over this crap and other piddling 'victories' like the delay of a few new mining permits in the Grand Canyon. It must be a long dry season in America for the environmental movement to get so excited over so little.
Fund raising is going to suffer if this is the best they can do.
by Andhakari on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 03:32:20 AM EST
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I'm following this on enviro lists in the USA, and a number of people point out that this is a tea victory, not just a small delay. they also point out that these victories have been so rare that it is indeed worth celebrating, which tells us something about Obama rather than abut the enviros.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 09:05:21 AM EST
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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 11:12:55 AM EST
Looking back on 100 million years of evolution

Two-timing is nothing out of the ordinary for them: for about 100 million years, grass smut fungi have been breeding in a three-gender system. This was discovered by Dr. Ronny Kellner and Prof. Dr. Dominik Begerow of the RUB Geobotany Laboratory in cooperation with colleagues from the Heinrich Heine Universitat in Dusseldorf.

Using genetic analysis, they showed that the structure of the responsible regions in the genome has hardly changed since then. In the journal PLoS Genetics, the team also reports that the fungi in the experiment not only mate within their own species, but also form hybrids with other species - and that after millions of years of separate evolution. "If you look at the time periods, it is almost as if mice could mate with humans" Begerow illustrates.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 11:47:38 AM EST
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US ambassador sees China rights worsening

The US ambassador to Beijing said that China's human rights record was deteriorating as its communist rulers feel threatened in the wake of pro-democracy uprisings across the Middle East.

"The human rights climate has always ebbed and flowed in China, up and down, but we seem to be in a down period and it's getting worse," Ambassador Gary Locke told "The Charlie Rose Show" on US public television late Monday.

Locke pointed to China's detentions of dissidents, lawyers and other perceived critics since the onset of the "Arab Spring" which toppled authoritarian leaders in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia last year.

"The Chinese leaders are very fearful of something similar happening within China," Locke said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 11:52:26 AM EST
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Pockets of Internet go dark to protest piracy bills | Reuters

(Reuters) - Wikipedia, the world's free online encyclopedia, went dark on Wednesday and other Internet players including Google put black censorship bars on portions of their websites in protest of pending U.S. legislation designed to curb online piracy.

The unusual protest was visible across the Internet in many forms on Wednesday, with dozens of commercial and non-profit websites either closing down for the day or urging visitors to oppose what had until recently been a relatively obscure and technical legislative proposal.

Internet companies aim to get U.S. lawmakers to back off of bills designed to shut down access to overseas websites that traffic in stolen content or counterfeit goods.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 03:20:47 PM EST
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News Corp close to settling hacking cases | Reuters

(Reuters) - News International, the British arm of News Corp that includes the now-defunct News of the World, is close to settling many of the high-profile phone-hacking cases brought against it, lawyers for the victims told Reuters on Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for News International declined to comment ahead of a pre-trial hearing which is due to take place on Thursday morning in front of a judge who is set to begin hearing test cases next month.

Many of the settlements are expected to be announced on Thursday, subject to the approval of the judge, Geoffrey Vos.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 03:23:19 PM EST
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Telegraph: How long does the average share holding last? Just 22 seconds

"Most trades are computerised. Most trades are short-term. The average foreign currency investment lasts - it's up now to 30 seconds, up from 28 seconds last month. The financial sector is short term, yet they talk as if they're long term."


You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 01:40:44 AM EST
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see, profit on shares should be taxed on an inverse sliding scale where holdings shorter than a month should be taxed at 101% in order to discourage it.

that alone may be nough to push the finance industry into bankruptcy doing the right thing (whatever)

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 03:32:52 AM EST
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'Investment' is another word that has lost its meaning. Playing craps is now a long-term investment, but without the bail-out potential.
by Andhakari on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 03:49:42 AM EST
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Secondary market trades are speculation whether it's for long-term or short-term holding.

Only buying new securities at issue is investment.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 04:34:10 AM EST
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"Secondary market trades are speculation whether it's for long-term or short-term holding."

That is true in macro-economic terms, but I find that a misleading formulation from the point of view of a household.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 05:51:00 AM EST
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All investment is speculation?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 06:11:48 AM EST
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Pretty much, though all speculation is not investment (which is something Miguel will not let you forget).

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 08:47:20 AM EST
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True, but as a first step, taxing HFT into oblivion seems like a real win.

I'm not a great believer in "speculators provide liquidity" but even if it is true, there's no reason to believe that liquidity is needed on timescales of less than half a day or so...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 06:47:19 AM EST
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See this discussion.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 07:04:18 AM EST
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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 11:13:27 AM EST
BBC News - Fascinators in ban at Royal Ascot's Royal Enclosure

Women will have to wear hats, not fascinators, as part of a tightening of the dress code in Royal Ascot's Royal Enclosure this summer.

Under the rules, racegoers will also have to wear skirts or dresses of "modest length" falling just above the knee or longer.

For men, a waistcoat and tie will be compulsory in the enclosure and cravats will not be allowed.

Organisers said the decision was part of a move to restore formality.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 12:40:13 PM EST
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As the wiki is down, could you explain to me what a fascinator is?
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 04:08:41 PM EST
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Presumably not the space-monster-antler thing that the duchess of whatever wore last year?

Although one notes that the general tradition of "when men dress up, they wear more clothes, but when women dress up, they wear fewer" is not about to be retracted...

by asdf on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 04:47:11 PM EST
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It sounds like it's just the opposite of the situation in France, where it is illegal for women to wear trousers, unless they are with a horse (or bicycle)....or has the law been finally repealed?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 04:53:01 PM EST
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Tu plaisantes?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 04:54:11 PM EST
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Check the link. This is genuine - but usually not enforced.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 05:00:28 PM EST
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No, I meant the repeal. How could France do away with this picturesque law? There's another against cross-dressing, I believe - except during Carnival.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 05:26:44 PM EST
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A decorative item often made of feathers etc, clipped to the hair.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2012 at 04:53:47 PM EST
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And this is worn in place of a skirt? I can understand why they might be banned.

I wonder if a niqab would qualify.

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

by eurogreen on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 at 10:49:06 AM EST
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Hee hee. Not in place of of a skirt silly, but in addition to one (hopefully) ...  ;-)
by sgr2 on Sat Jan 21st, 2012 at 12:19:28 PM EST
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