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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 26 November

by afew Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 04:05:55 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1885 - birth of Heinrich Brüning, German Chancellor during the Weimar Republic (d. 1970)

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 11:59:58 AM EST
Greek police recover stolen Olympia artefacts - Europe - Al Jazeera English

Greek police have solved a museum robbery in Olympia after a sting operation netted three suspects and recovered dozens of archaeological artefacts.

Earlier Saturday, police said they had arrested three Greek men aged between 36 and 50, and were seeking a further two suspects.

The three were arrested at a hotel in the city of Patras late on Friday, after one tried to sell a Bronze Age gold ring for 300,000 euros ($387,000) to an undercover officer posing as a potential buyer.

The original asking price had been 1.5 million euros ($1.9m), the police said.

Officers were then dispatched to a field outside a village near Olympia, where they found the remaining artefacts buried inside a sack.

"The discovery and arrest of the perpetrators of the robbery and the recovery of the stolen items are a great success," Costas Tzavaras, the deputy education minister responsible for culture, said in a statement.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 02:27:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Way things are going in Greece, I imagine an official sell-off will be coming

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 03:38:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Welcome to Acropolis of Athens, brought to you by Mattel."


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 04:41:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would not be a major problem. They can't run off with the Acropolis, and the next government can always take the sign down and tell Mattel to fuck off.

The problem is selling off movable artifacts, because those will be more difficult to confiscate during a de-Troikafication than real estate.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:21:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Partially agree:
Have you been to the British Museum?


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 06:39:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let alone the Pergamonmuseum
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 06:40:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also "London Bridge".


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 06:41:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm pretty sure even the Troika will balk at letting them dismantle a UNESCO world heritage site.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 04:25:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
High turnout expected in Catalan election dogged by corruption controversy | In English | EL PAÍS

Long lines outside Catalonia's polling stations early this morning suggested that turnout in regional parliamentary elections would be higher than usual after a turbulent campaign revolving around the possibility of a sovereignty referendum and accusations of corruption leveled at Catalan premier Artur Mas. By 6pm, participation stood at 56.10 percent, almost eight percentage points higher than in the previous regional poll and the highest since 1988, according to figures provided by the Generalitat regional government.

In the closing week of the campaign, premier Mas of the conservative nationalist CiU bloc has faced allegations of corruption and money laundering stemming from an unofficial police report cited by El Mundo newspaper. Despite the fact that the report has not been included in any judicial investigation and that the UDEF financial crimes squad chief said last Thursday that his department knew nothing about it, senior government figures from the center-right Popular Party (PP) have alluded to the allegations made by the newspaper and asked Mas to clear his name.

After Friday's Cabinet meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría was asked about the unsigned draft police report insinuating that Mas and former Catalan premier Jordi Pujol have secret bank accounts in Switzerland where they reportedly deposited kickbacks-for-contracts money. "The first thing that those who have overseas bank accounts must do is to declare them," she said in reference to an element of the government's anti-fraud campaign.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 02:38:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Deputy prime minister fans furor over Mas accusations | In English | EL PAÍS

Just two days ahead of regional elections in Catalonia, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría on Friday did nothing to quell the political ruckus raised by a dubious report, which is unsigned, unstamped and not addressed to anyone, suggesting that Catalan premier Artur Mas is corrupt.

During a news conference after the regular Cabinet meeting, Sáenz de Santamaría was asked five times about the "phantom" draft report insinuating that Mas and former Catalan premier Jordi Pujol have secret bank accounts in Switzerland where they reportedly deposited kickbacks-for contracts money.

Without mentioning Mas by name, Sáenz de Santamaría said that in line with the government's current anti-fraud campaign, "the first thing that those who have overseas bank accounts must do is to declare them."

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was more circumspect. "Allow me not to contribute more to this spectacle," he said.

The report does carry a supposed employee number, which has been redacted. But police sources say that no officer would ever include this number in a report without adding their signature and a stamp.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 02:42:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Spain regions: Catalonia nationalists 'head for win'

Nationalists in the Spanish region of Catalonia are set to win in regional elections, exit polls suggest.

TV3 said the ruling CiU party could secure up to 57 seats - far short of an absolute majority. In second place was left-wing ERC - with up to 23 seats.

Both are nationalists keen to hold a referendum on whether the region should break away from the rest of Spain.

Madrid says Catalan nationalists are looking for excuses after nearly running out of money.

Catalan President Artur Mas called early elections amid a funding row with the central government; it says he is trying to exploit the economic crisis.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 02:59:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm.....  CiU actually lost seats (dropping from 62 to 50, with the socialist losing 8 seats) tonight, nonetheless the overall sovereignty bloc (Centre CiU and Leftist ERC) only lost 1 seat as the ERC picked up 11 seats from 2010 results.  

 

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 04:46:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The PSC still beat the PP, which is good news.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 04:50:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ciutatans had a huge run up tripling their seats from 3 to 9.  

I get the sense that in many ways this is a "back to the future" situation paralleling the situation pre-Aznar.  That said, there seems to be a bit of dealignment among the loyalist parties, as evidenced by the rise of Ciutatans.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 04:59:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Catalan election weakens bid for independence from Spain | Reuters

(Reuters) - Separatists in Spain's Catalonia won regional elections on Sunday but failed to get a resounding mandate for a referendum on independence, which had threatened to pile political uncertainty on top of Spain's economic woes.

Catalan President Artur Mas, who has implemented unpopular spending cuts, had called an early election to test support for his new drive for independence for Catalonia, a wealthy but financially troubled region in northeastern Spain.

Voters frustrated with the economic crisis and the Spanish tax system, which they claim is unfair to Catalonia, handed almost two-thirds of the 135-seat local parliament to four different separatist parties that all want to hold a referendum on secession from Spain.

But they punished the main separatist group, Mas's Convergence and Union alliance, or CiU, cutting back its seats to 50 from 62.

That will make it difficult for Mas to lead a united drive to hold a referendum in defiance of the constitution and the central government in Madrid.

"Mas clearly made a mistake. He promoted a separatist agenda and the people have told him they want other people to carry out his agenda," said Jose Ignacio Torreblanca, head of the European Council on Foreign Relations' Madrid office.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 02:02:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"There is sovereigntist majority and their will be a referendum":La Vanguardia

CiU campaign chief, Lluis Maria Corominas, has said this Sunday that the TV3/FORTA poll gives the nationalist group between 54 and 57 seats (down from 62 in 2010).  Official results, nonetheless, have shrank these projections and, with 87% of the vote in, they have 50 deputies.

"The bloc of sovereigntist parties in our parliament will be the majority, this means that there will be a referendum", he explained from the Majestic Hotel in Barcelona. Corominas has said that his group "has one the elections."



And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 04:55:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - France UMP crisis: Ex-PM Juppe 'fails to resolve crisis'

France's ex-PM Alain Juppe has said he had failed to resolve a leadership dispute within the conservative opposition UMP party.

He said "conditions for a mediation were not met" during talks between the party's two rival leaders.

Earlier, representatives of ex-PM Francois Fillon and party secretary general Jean-Francois Cope walked out of a meeting over ballot disputes.

Both scored almost exactly 50% of the vote in a recent leadership contest.

Mr Cope was declared the winner, but Mr Fillon demanded a recount. Each side is accusing the other of electoral fraud.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 03:00:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Juppé having conceded that he lacks the authority to mediate, he has suggested that Sarkozy might (Fillon is currently having lunch with Sarko)

We'll see if he's that dumb. I doubt it. Copé is unshakeably determined that it's his handbasket.

Any moment now, the disputes commission will announce, surprise surprise, that Copé has won.

The treasurer of the UMP has just resigned, having pointed out that the salaried staff of the organisation have been working full-time for Copé's election for weeks now. This will strengthen Fillon's legal challenge, which he will probably initiate this afternoon.

More fun to come!

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

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 07:43:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Copé wins, with 86911 votes.
Fillon 85959.
Several polling places invalidated (Nice, New Caledonia), as required by Copé's team.

Next step is for Fillon to lay a complaint before the justice system. If it can be shown that any organisation's internal statutes were not respected (e.g. in the elections in a trade union or association), a judge can order the election to be held again. Fillon's team claims massive fixing of proxy votes. He'll quite likely have the result thrown out; cue several more weeks of fixing before a new election can be held.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 11:44:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Given all the resigning treasurer has said, Fillon probably has ammo.

I thought Copé was likely to win because totally unscrupulous, but his fixing and abuse of party resources for his campaign go beyond what I imagined.

Some (eagerly followed by the media) keep floating the idea of Sarko coming in to sort this out. But his years of right-shifting demagogy caused the problem, and far too many UMPers won't accept his arbitrage because of that.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 11:57:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Too close for anyone not having popcorn.


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 12:45:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU budget delay keeps pressure on UK over banking union | EurActiv

Leaders seeking compromise on a new version of the EU's long-term budget (2014-2020), formulated by Council President Herman Van Rompuy, will now seek to square the circle over the budget in February 2013.

Sources told EurActiv that it suited Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel to postpone a budget deal until next year, as she has positioned herself towards UK Prime minister, David Cameron.

The sources explained that offering Cameron her support on further budget cuts after the December summit might help to sweeten the UK's agreement to banking union.

If Merkel would have helped Cameron achieve an acceptable outcome in advance, there is a danger Germany would receive nothing in return for its assistance.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 03:06:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cameron will never do anything the City don't want. He might promise all sorts, but he cannot, will not, deliver anything the city opposes

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 03:41:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Given the City's share of GNP, why do you blame him?
by oliver on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 04:35:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I don't have GNP figures to hand, but GDP wise the City ranks around 4% and if you include other financial intermediation you get to about 9%.

Important, but if we compare to manufacturing - 11.6% - where the Tories have repeatedly implemented policies that damage the sector, it's hard to see that it's about GDP, as much as about other factors - social belonging, corruption, etc.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 04:58:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because the City's share of GDP is itself an indication that financial regulation is insufficiently heavy-handed and intrusive.

You would generally find it blameworthy for a doctor to say "oh, but the metastatic cancer is now 10 per cent of your total cells, so we have to make allowances for it."

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:20:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sources told EurActiv that it suited Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel to postpone a budget deal until next year, as she has positioned herself towards UK Prime minister, David Cameron so it won't disturb her election campaign.

FIFY.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 04:23:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Liberal fraternities lose battle with far-right - The Local

The liberal wing of Germany's oldest fraternity association failed in its bid to ban membership of far-right organizations within their ranks at a special meeting this weekend, cementing a bitter division of the ancient society.

"The meeting has brought great clarity," Michael Schmidt, spokesman for the liberal wing of the Germany's traditional student fraternity movement told Der Spiegel magazine.

"There are two different positions towards the state in the German Burschenschaft," said Schmidt. "The first wants to work from within society. The second see themselves as being in conflict with society."

Approximately 1,500 of the 10,000 members are thought to align themselves with various degrees of extremist nationalism. Burschenschaft customs including wearing cadet-style uniforms, carrying fencing rapiers and taking part in torch-lit parades.

Loyalty and obedience are considered paramount, but with the growth of far-right sentiment in the leadership over the past years, a group of fraternities has chosen to break rank, culminating in this weekend's vote.

Frustrated with the growing presence of extremism in the society, the liberal wing had moved to get membership of undemocratic organizations recognized as being against fraternity work at the meeting this weekend.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 03:36:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm SHOCKED, I tell you, SHOCKED

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 04:25:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, more mutual mutilation, then?


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:05:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
@MigeruBlogger
Migeru Shimbun is out! http://paper.li/MigeruBlogger/1351816577 ... ▸ Top stories today via @MigeruBlogger


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 04:51:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tax evasion flourishing with help from UK firms | BBC news

A flourishing industry which helps people evade UK tax has been uncovered following an investigation by the BBC's Panorama programme.
One company formation firm said the odds of getting caught by the UK tax authorities are roughly equivalent to winning the lottery.
[...]
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs says tackling tax evasion is a priority.
[...]
In a statement, HM Revenue and Custom [...] did confirm that it has never prosecuted a single corporate service provider for breaching money laundering regulations.

Readymade Companies Worldwide is mentioned in the article. Here's a wonderful quote from their website:

We Buy And Sell Shelf Companies Worldwide.

RARE 50 & 37 Year Old Aged UK Companies Available

I don't quite ... what does ... "Aged companies"?


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 06:23:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Anyone want to buy Bollywood Burger Ltd?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 06:32:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow. (Would that be a non-beef burger?)
Wonder how often "under new management" means "trading for the first time ever".


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 06:38:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I presume it's another layer of camouflage. Tax inspectors (everywhere) don't have anywhere near the capacity to carefully review the accounts of every company or individual. So they use both 'clues' and random selection for scrutiny. The 'clues' are the actuarial expectations of different types of companies and individuals based on statistical evidence. I presume that the age of a company might be one.

OTOH There might be other presentation benefits in being able to say "Trading since 19..".

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 07:36:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not just presentation benefits, most large corporations use a really dumb algorithm for credit checks when deciding to do business with smaller companies - and that dumb algorithm includes "age of company."
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 10:31:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Independent
According to Eurovision custom, the winners are obliged to host the next tournament, and there were rumours last year that the Spanish entrants had been told to try not to win.

Now it seems that, rather than strive for nul points, countries are finding it easier to pull out of the event altogether, with both Poland and Portugal announcing their withdrawal in the past few days.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 07:19:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 07:28:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In France, `In Bed With Media' Can Be Taken More Literally - NYTimes.com

Coverage has shifted too. Much of the news media, which largely lean left, used to revel in denouncing Mr. Hollande's predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, but now many journalists are feeling bereft of material because of the new president's less dramatic governing style. Mr. Hollande has proved confoundedly boring, they say, especially for news outlets that sometimes cover the government as if nothing else matters, relying on Paris politics to drive the news.

The line between politicians and the news media can be blurry in France, where the fates of some journalists have long been hitched to those in the government they pester or please. Mr. Sarkozy's close ties to media executives were considered something of a scandal, and his presidency drew greater scrutiny to the incestuous relationships.

The news and culture magazine Les inRockuptibles hired as its new top editor Audrey Pulvar, a radio and television personality who was also the partner of Arnaud Montebourg, a government minister and a prominent member of the Socialist Party.

Mr. Pulvar recently announced the end of her relationship with Mr. Montebourg, but other such relationships have continued. Valérie Trierweiler, Mr. Hollande's current partner, began an affair with him while reporting on him in the early 2000s, when he was a member of the National Assembly. She grudgingly passed on a television news job this fall and stayed at the magazine Paris Match as a critic.

by Bernard on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 08:06:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unlike in the US, where that only happens with biographies and the CIA. Completely different from newspapers and government ministers.


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 08:19:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bernard:
Much of the news media, which largely lean left,

Only in the IHT/NYT.

Mr. Sarkozy's close ties to media executives

No, to owners, the guys who own the big capital like Lagardère, Bouygues, Bolloré.

Mr. Pulvar recently announced the end of her relationship

All this gay marriage stuff is getting confusing for foreign correspondents.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 09:44:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
L'équipe de pilotage du débat sur l'énergie enfin constituée The management team of the energy debate finally assembled
Le débat national sur la transition énergétique sera officiellement lancé jeudi 29 novembre. Les noms de ceux qui seront en charge de l'organiser et de l'éclairer ont été choisis, lundi 26 novembre, par le gouvernement.The national debate on energy transition will be officially launched on Thursday 29 November. The names of those who will be in charge of organizing and light were chosen Monday, November 26, by the government.
Six "sages"  sont réunis au sein du comité de pilotage du débat qui sera présidé par la ministre de l'écologie, Delphine Batho. Quatre personnalités étaient déjà connues : Anne Lauvergeon, ex-patronne d'Areva ; Bruno Rebelle, consultant et ancien responsable de Greenpeace ; le climatologue Jean Jouzel et Laurence Tubiana, directrice de l'Institut du développement durable et des relations internationales.Six "wise" in a steering committee for the debate will be chaired by the Minister of Ecology, Delphine Batho . Four persons were already known: Anne Lauvergeon, former boss of Areva, Bruno Rebelle, consultant and former head of Greenpeace; climatologist Jean Jouzel and Laurence Tubiana, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development and international relations.
Deux autres viennent le compléter après la démission, le 13 novembre, de Pascal Colombani, ex-administrateur du Commissariat à l'énergie atmique (CEA) : Georges Mercadal, ancien vice-président de la Commission nationale du débat public et Michel Rollier, ex-dirigeant du groupe Michelin.Two others have been added after the resignation on 13 November, of Pascal Colombani, former director of the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA): Georges Mercadal, former vice president of the National Commission for public debate and Michel Rollier, former leader of the Michelin group.
COLÈRE DES ÉCOLOGISTES ANGER environmentalists
La présence de deux pro-nucléaire au comité de pilotage, M. Colombani et Mme Lauvergeon, avait suscité la colère des ONG écologistes. Greenpeace et Les Amis de la terre, déjà mécontents de la manière dont le débat était préparé et du retard accumulé, avaient alors annoncé qu'ils n'y participeraient pas.The presence of two pro-nuclear members in the steering committee, Mr. Colombani and Mme Lauvergeon, had angered environmental NGOs. Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, already unhappy with the way the debate was prepared and the delays, had announced that they would not participate.
Le comité des experts sera présidé par l'économiste Alain Grandjean, membre de la Fondation Nicolas Hulot. C'est lui qui, à l'aide d'experts français et étrangers, sera chargé d'élaborer les scénarios énergétiques sur lesquels les discusions seront fondées.The committee of experts will be chaired by economist Alain Grandjean, member of the Nicolas Hulot Foundation. It is he who, with the help of French and foreign experts will be responsible for the development of energy scenarios which will form the basis four discussions.

Quick comment : this looks like a considerable improvement on the first version, which justifiably caused an uproar. The aim is to inform the government's energy legislation, programmed for the end of 2013.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 10:26:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 12:00:23 PM EST
Hong Kong property investors find new avenue to park their money | Reuters

(Reuters) - Hong Kong investors are snapping up car parking spaces, raising fears of a bubble after government moves to cool soaring property prices last month drove speculators to seek new options.

One investor had put a total price tag of HK$100 million ($12.9 million) on 34 parking spaces in a commercial building near Western, said Sean Tsoi, a dealer at property development and investment agency AGW Holdings Ltd, referring to an area just five minutes by car from the heart of Hong Kong's financial district.

The average price for each space in the building was about HK$3 million, higher than the cost of a small apartment in some areas of Hong Kong, which is home to the world's most expensive residential and retail property.

"Car parks have become a new hot item," said Hanson Lam, senior property consultant at Midland Realty. "They're overpriced and I worry that there might be a bubble."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 02:30:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe the EU could invest in this briefly?


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:10:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spending Probably Cooled, Investment Fell: U.S. Economy Preview - Bloomberg

Consumer spending probably cooled in October and business investment dropped, showing how superstorm Sandy and the looming fiscal cliff are hindering U.S. growth at the end of 2012, economists said before reports this week.

Household purchases rose 0.1 percent last month, the smallest advance since June, after increasing 0.8 percent in September, according to the median estimate from 52 economists surveyed by Bloomberg before Nov. 30 figures from the Commerce Department. Orders for durable goods fell 0.8 percent in October, economists forecast another report to show.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 03:10:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Grantham: On The Road To Zero Growth - Business Insider

"Someday, when the debt is repaid and housing is normal and Europe has settled down, most business people seem to expect a recovery back to America's old 3.4% a year growth trend, or at least something close," he wrote. "They should not hold their breath.

"A declining growth trend is inevitable and permanent and is caused by some pretty basic forces."

Those basic forces include unfavorable demographic trends, decelerating productivity growth, tightening resource constraints, and rising environmental costs.

These are trends that have been developing for years. However, they have gone unnoticed thanks to the tech, housing, and financial booms and busts of the last ten or so years.

We pulled the key charts and stats from Grantham's note which help illuminate his thesis.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 03:15:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This seems worth a diary. Not sure what I think about it right now.
My gut reaction is that some of these issues are real and some are constructs that we are bound into be neoliberal thinking.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:02:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The establishment narrative seems to be Austerity is Here to Stay.

Since there's no lack of cash for the rich, and no lack of useful investment opportunities, especially in green energy, I suspect this is nonsense.

The rich will presumably get bored with shrinking returns at some point in the next decade, and consider some kind of investment program. (Perhaps.)

Practically, I'm not convinced that negative growth is a given. Lack of insight and political will seems to be more of a problem.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:27:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There will not be sustained 3 % year-on-year real growth. That's a doubling of output every 24 years, which the current habitat of H.S. Sapiens simply will not support (at least not for long).

There may well be much greater than 3 % annual real growth while we rebuild from the present clusterfuck. And that may well take decades. But ultimately, the economics of reconstruction will need to be capable of handling the end of reconstruction. This was the key failure of the New Deal: It was based on a political coalition that became untenable following the (predictable) end of the postwar reconstruction.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:42:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Someday, when the debt is repaid and housing is normal and Europe has settled down, most business people seem to expect a recovery back to America's old 3.4% a year growth trend, or at least something close," he wrote. "They should not hold their breath.

Well, it depends 3.4% of what.
If they mean in real terms, yes, unlikely, also absolutely not a problem.

We need nominal GDP growth. If we were to have a major debt jubilee, we could do with smaller nominal growth, but we'd at least need some expected nominal growth.
Real? Well, it does not matter per se. What we need is to distribute better so as to avoid poverty, but we don't need growth to have low poverty. In fact, chasing real growth at all cost is a guarantee of major poverty down the line, thanks to the environmental costs.

I do fear that we are headed for a huge disaster. But the lack of future real growth in America is not the reason for my fears.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:27:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Growth" in itself is value neutral like "Freedom". What are we going to use it for?

(Grantham sure likes to draw straight lines on graphs.)


-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:31:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Trade Deal Between U.S.-Europe May Pick Up Steam - NYTimes.com

FRANKFURT -- A free-trade agreement between the United States and Europe, elusive for more than a decade but with a potentially huge economic effect, is gaining momentum and may finally be attainable, business and political leaders say.

Arduous negotiations still lie ahead, but if technical hurdles can be overcome, supporters of a pact argue, it could rival the North American Free Trade Agreement in scale and be a cheap way to encourage growth between the European Union and the United States, which are already each other's biggest overseas trading partners.

"There is now, for the first time in years, a serious drive towards an E.U.-U.S. free-trade agreement," Karel De Gucht, the European trade commissioner, said in Dublin earlier this month.

Within days, if not hours, of President Barack Obama's re-election, numerous European leaders, including Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and David Cameron, the British prime minister, were urging Mr. Obama to push for a free-trade agreement. The Europeans hope that eliminating frictions in U.S.-E.U. trade would provide some badly needed economic growth.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 03:21:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A lot depends on what is agreed, but in our company, where we export small quantities regularly to the USA it seems that there are no big gains to be made from a trade agreement.

Most of the problems come from a lack of shared regulation - but this won't change that. Tariffs are already basically low.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:04:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The first thing that comes to mind is that they just repacked ACTA again.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 06:55:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Incredible Credibility - NYTimes.com
There's an interesting mix of contrast and similarity between the policy debates in Britain and the United States right now. In both countries -- as in every country that retains its own currency and has debts denominated in that national currency -- interest rates are near record lows:

However, Very Serious People tell very different stories in the two nations. In the United States, we supposedly have low borrowing costs despite our budget deficit -- and if we don't implement Bowles-Simpson immediately, the bond vigilantes will attack. Really! This time we mean it!

Meanwhile, in the UK, the official line is that the low rates are a reward for all that fiscal austerity -- and VSPs get upset and abusive if someone well-informed points out that a much better explanation is that investors expect the economy to remain weak, and hence for short-term rates to remain very low, for a long time.

Let's unpack this a bit. It's very hard to come up with any reason why either the US or the UK might default, since they can simply print money if they need cash. And given the absence of real default risk, long-term interest rates should be more or less equal to an average of expected future short-term rates (not exactly, because of maturity risk, but that's a fairly minor detail).

So if you expect the US and UK economies to be depressed for a long time, with the central bank keeping rates low, long rates will be low too -- end of story.

But won't that money printing cause inflation? Not as long as the economy remains depressed. Budget deficits could lead people to expect higher inflation down the road, once the slump finally ends -- but that would be a good thing for the economy in the short run, discouraging people from sitting on cash and weakening the exchange rate, thereby making exports more competitive.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 03:27:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
L Randall Wray: Krugman is Right; The Bond Vigilantes are Impotent (November 25th, 2012)
The short rates have to compete with the Central Bank's overnight policy rate (fed funds in the US). Since very short maturity treasuries are nearly perfect substitutes for overnight lending between banks, short rates track the overnight rate. And that is set by the Central Bank, plain and simple.

Longer rates on Treasury debt are determined largely by expected future short term rates-which will be set by the Central Bank. Krugman is correct that it is a bit more complicated (there's risk of capital loss if short rates rise; plus there are "habitat" preferences and possibly some liquidity preferences) but that's close enough. If some Bond Vigilantes go all crazy on us and run out of Treasuries after a credit rating agency downgrade, there will be plenty of noncrazy investors who will eat them for lunch. Look, there have been crazy investors who year after year after year place bets on impending Japanese default. Ain't going to happen. You should take the other side of their bets against Japan-its free money. They want to pay you for their stupidity.

Ditto US and UK, as Krugman is arguing. Bet on the sovereign's side.

Not so for the EU, though. As long as the ECB cannot monetize government debt, it is perfectly possible for the Eurozone to go bankrupt.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 04:37:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ooh, ixnay on the I-word.


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:33:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't what we are seeing in some real estate and commodity markets inflation, just concentrated in those sectors?
by oliver on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 04:39:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps - but two major ones (food, oil) are dominated by other factors.

  1. Food - dominated by climate related bad harvests this year.

  2. Oil - dominated by producer manipulation of stocks - see Chris Cook for more.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:07:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not unreasonable to suspect that all commodity prices are manipulated and kept artificially high to satisfy 'investors.'
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:29:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't what we are seeing in some real estate and commodity markets inflation, just concentrated in those sectors?

You need to prove that assertion. With data.

Which is highly non-trivial, because most commodities are tradeables, which means you need to disaggregate changes to the real terms of trade, which are not inflation at all; inflation throughout the trade bloc, which is not greatly amenable to domestic policy fixes; and the actual domestic inflation.

But the fact that the price increases are concentrated in certain markets makes me inclined to believe that they are not inflation in the sense that corresponds to what is called inflation in standard macroeconomic models. It may be (in fact for some commodities very likely is) a bubble. But bubbles and inflation are not the same thing (despite the rhetorical convenience of such equation for chastising central bankers for not paying attention to asset bubbles), and have radically different interactions with policy.

And in any case, inflation is usually a good thing that we would want more of, so the question would be how to spread it out from those markets.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:42:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brad deLong: HARD TO BELIEVE THAT THERE ARE STILL ECONOMISTS WHO I THOUGHT OF NOTE FIVE YEARS AGO WHO STILL CLAIM THAT FISCAL EXPANSION IN A DEPRESSED ECONOMY IN A LIQUIDITY TRAP WILL NOT BOOST PRODUCTION (November 25, 2012)
John Maynard Keynes, May 23, 1939:
If we can cure unemployment for the wasted purpose of armaments, we can cure it for the productive purposes of peace.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 04:26:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The New Republic: Hayek, Friedman, and the Illusions of Conservative Economics (Robert M. Solow, November 16, 2012)
The source of confusion here is that there was a Good Hayek and a Bad Hayek. The Good Hayek was a serious scholar who was particularly interested in the role of knowledge in the economy (and in the rest of society). Since knowledge--about technological possibilities, about citizens' preferences, about the interconnections of these, about still more--is inevitably and thoroughly decentralized, the centralization of decisions is bound to generate errors and then fail to correct them. The consequences for society can be calamitous, as the history of central planning confirms. That is where markets come in. All economists know that a system of competitive markets is a remarkably efficient way to aggregate all that knowledge while preserving decentralization.

But the Good Hayek also knew that unrestricted laissez-faire is unworkable. It has serious defects: successful actors reach for monopoly power, and some of them succeed in grasping it; better-informed actors can exploit the relatively ignorant, creating an inefficiency in the process; the resulting distribution of income may be grossly unequal and widely perceived as intolerably unfair; industrial market economies have been vulnerable to excessively long episodes of unemployment and underutilized capacity, not accidentally but intrinsically; environmental damage is encouraged as a way of reducing private costs--the list is long. Half of Angus Burgin's book is about the Good Hayek's attempts to formulate and to propagate a modified version of laissez-faire that would work better and meet his standards for a liberal society. (Hayek and his friends were never able to settle on a name for this kind of society: "liberal" in the European tradition was associated with bad old Manchester liberalism, and neither "neo-liberal" nor "libertarian" seemed to be satisfactory.)

The Bad Hayek emerged when he aimed to convert a wider public. Then, as often happens, he tended to overreach, and to suggest more than he had legitimately argued. The Road to Serfdom was a popular success but was not a good book. Leaving aside the irrelevant extremes, or even including them, it would be perverse to read the history, as of 1944 or as of now, as suggesting that the standard regulatory interventions in the economy have any inherent tendency to snowball into "serfdom." The correlations often run the other way. Sixty-five years later, Hayek's implicit prediction is a failure, rather like Marx's forecast of the coming "immiserization of the working class."



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 04:43:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I find it interesting that economists have no curiousity about the loss of information when complex dimensions of conditions are collapsed into a single indicator (price.) It would be a lot easier to swallow the notion of a good Hayek if that (which economists always fall back on as his great achievement) had received some scrutiny.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 06:04:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 12:00:43 PM EST
Explosions hit church at Nigeria army base - Africa - Al Jazeera English

At least 11 people have reportedly been killed after car bombs were detonated at a Protestant church inside a military barracks in Jaji in Nigeria's Kaduna State.

"A Kia-branded car drove into the church premises ... then detonated the bomb" with the driver still inside, a military officer told the Reuters news agency, asking not to be named. The first blast ocurred at around 1145GMT.

"Then an ash-coloured Toyota Camry drove in and exploded while people came to help after the first bomb. Most people died from the second blast."

Nigeria's National Emergency Agency confirmed there had been an explosion inside the barracks and said it was "likely at a worship centre".

"I saw five bodies and scores injured," a second officer told Reuters. The death toll has not yet been officially confirmed.

"There was a blast today in a church inside the military barracks in Jaji," military spokesman Colonel Sani Usman told the AFP news agency.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 02:08:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Egypt crisis: Mohammed Mursi reaches out to critics

The office of Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi has said that the decree giving him sweeping new powers is temporary and not intended to concentrate power in his hands.

Mr Mursi was committed to finding "common ground" with other parties. He will meet senior judges on Monday.

The decree was intended to prevent democratically elected bodies from being undermined, the statement said.

Thursday's decree led to angry protests and a big stock market fall.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 02:10:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mursi ?  I thought it was Morsi. Oh well.

This asshole would make a great Repub. Everything he says is a lie, wants absolute power, doesn't care what damage he causes. Karl Rove ... this is your guy for '16.

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

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 04:59:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Both. He's Arab. There's no difference between u and o in that language.
by oliver on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 04:40:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be better transcribed as Moorsi or Moursi.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:10:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DR Congo fighters given deadline to exit Goma - Africa - Al Jazeera English

Bishop Jean-Marie Runiga Lugerero, political leader of the M23 armed group in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has said that a pullout from the eastern city of Goma could not be a precondition for talks with the government.

Runiga Lugerero's comments come after a decision by a regional summit on Sunday that said the group had until Monday to withdraw from territories in the eastern DRC.

Speaking to the AFP news agency on Sunday, Lugerero said: "withdrawal from Goma should not be a prerequisite for talks but rather should come as the result of talks".

Delegates at the regional summit in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, said it was "imperative" that the fighters exit the eastern city of Goma, which they seized on Tuesday, before any talks could be held with the group.

Withdrawal from the regional capital "is an important and unavoidable imperative" for negotiations to begin, Lambert Mende, DRC government spokesman told the AFP news agency.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 02:27:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IPS - Opposition to U.S. Bases Reaches Turning Point | Inter Press Service

TOKYO, Nov 25 2012 (IPS) - Okinawa, the largest of a group of 60 sub-tropical islands forming Japan's southernmost prefecture, has an equable climate and preferential treatment for United States servicemen under the Mutual Cooperation Security Treaty between the U.S. and Japan.

According to Chobin Zukeran, a member of the House of Representatives from Okinawa, the archipelago is the perfect U.S. base because it fans out into the Pacific Ocean towards Taiwan, making it a vital bulwark for U.S. military strategists concerned with containing China.

Here is where the bulk of the U.S.' 47,000 troops in Japan are based.

But Okinawans, who number roughly 1.4 million, have long opposed U.S. military presence on their homeland, which experienced the only bloody ground battle between Japan and the invading U.S. military at the end of World War II in 1945.

Since the return of the islands to Japan in 1972, over 90 percent of Okinawans - concerned about their personal safety and noise and environmental pollution - have supported the demand for a complete removal of the bases, which occupy 18 percent of their land.

Now, a string of recent incidents involving military personnel has pushed opposition to the bases into outright protest and threatens to foil the U.S.' plans to beef up its military in the Asia-Pacific region.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 02:50:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
do they want the US to help defend their islands when china comes calling ?

Whilst I think the Okinawans have a point, it's kinda tricky. Maybe the US could re-locate to an area in the NW of Japan that has recently bee de-populated

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 03:49:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would there be any Okinawan survivors if it comes to the US defending the islands?
by Katrin on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 04:02:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure there would. Humans are fairly hard to wipe out completely from an area.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 04:25:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Very reassuring.
by Katrin on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 04:45:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
18%!


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:56:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IPS - End of Assault Opens Opportunities for Gaza | Inter Press Service

JERUSALEM, Nov 25 2012 (IPS) - As the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas seems to be holding, many are hoping that one of the agreement's main points - the easing of restrictions on people and goods coming in and out of the Gaza Strip - signals a new era for the besieged Palestinian territory.

"The people of Gaza cannot go back to the situation as it was before. This cycle of violence and de-development must end," Ramesh Rajasingham, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territories told IPS via e-mail.

"Lifting of the blockade and allowing the free movement of people and goods to and from the Gaza Strip is the only way to address the chronic humanitarian needs amongst so many Gazans, and facilitate sustainable economic growth that benefits the population as a whole."

(...) According to a transcript of the agreement released by Agence France-Presse, in addition to halting violence on both sides, the agreement stipulated that further discussions would be held to open the border crossings between Israel and Gaza, and ease current restrictions on "the movement of people and transfer of goods" from Gaza.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 02:53:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dave Wasserman (Redistrict) on Twitter
CA: Los Angeles County reports 45,326 new @BarackObama votes, 12,469 @MittRomney. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjYj9mXElO_QdHpla01oWE1jOFZRbnhJZkZpVFNKeVE#gid=19 ...

And with that, the moment many have been waiting for has arrived. @MittRomney drops to 47.49% of the popular vote: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjYj9mXElO_QdHpla01oWE1jOFZRbnhJZkZpVFNKeVE#gid=19 ...

...and with that, poetic justice has been served: Romney got the vote of the 47%!

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

by DoDo on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 01:43:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ha'aretz
Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced he will be holding a press conference later Monday, triggering speculations that the veteran politician could make a statement concerning his political future.
The Hebrew headline says that he has announced his retirement.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 04:11:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the article
"ההחלטה שלי לפרוש נובעת מכך שאני רוצה להקדיש את הזמן למשפחתי, ומכך שאף פעם לא חשתי שהפוליטיקה היתה פסגת שאיפותיי", אמר ברק. "אני חש שצריך לאפשר לאנשים חדשים להיכנס. תחלופה בעמדות כוח זה דבר טוב".
You don't need a translation to know that he said he wanted to spend more time with his family, did you? But you might not have guessed that he said that politics was not his ultimate ambition, and you would never have guessed that he said that leaving in a position of power was a good thing to do.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 04:27:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Amir Oren points out that under the agreement to merge with Likud, Liebermann can have any ministry he wants, which basically means that Barak wouldn't get Defense anyway. But, he adds, if the AG decides to go ahead with prosecuting Liebermann, Barak may be back very soon.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 06:45:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Al-Arabiya
Russian warships anchored off the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea to prepare the evacuation of Russians in the area, should the conflict in Gaza escalate, The Voice of Russia quoted a Russian Navy Command source on Friday.

"The detachment of combat ships of the Black Sea Fleet, including the Guards missile cruiser Moskva, the patrol ship Smetliviy, large landing ships Novocherkassk and Saratov, the sea tug MB-304 and the big sea tanker Ivan Bubnov, got the order to remain in the designated area of the Eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea for a possible evacuation of Russian citizens from the area of the Gaza strip in case of escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict", the spokesperson said.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 07:00:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 12:01:16 PM EST
Cheap energy if you live by a wind farm? Yes please - The Ecologist
Research repeatedly shows that if communities are likely to see a financial benefit to having a wind farm nearby, acceptance would be a whole lot easier. And this week, Good Energy started paving that way. Bibi van der Zee reports

It's one of the first questions many people ask when they hear that a wind turbine is being put up near them; "Will I get cheap energy?"

The answer, finally, may be yes. For now, however, you'll need to move to Cornwall to qualify. In a Goliath-style challenge to the Big Six, the small renewable energy company Good Energy earlier this week announced a lower tariff for people who live within two kilometres of their Delabole wind farm.

The tariff will save users about £110, and they will also receive a windfall of £50 for every year that the windfarm's production levels exceed expectations. Good Energy hopes to roll it out in other parts of the country if it works out.

Price rises well above inflation rates from the big six energy companies have made energy prices a hot political topic this year. Last week SSE announced a rise in profits of almost 40%, just a few weeks after announcing a price rise of 9%.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 12:16:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the early days of nuclear power in the UK they used this strategy and it worked pretty well for increasing acceptance...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:12:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2012 -- European Environment Agency (EEA)
This European Environment Agency (EEA) report presents information on past and projected climate change and related impacts in Europe, based on a range of indicators. The report also assesses the vulnerability of society, human health and ecosystems in Europe and identifies those regions in Europe most at risk from climate change. Furthermore, the report discusses the principle sources of uncertainty for the indicators and notes how monitoring and scenario development can improve our understanding of climate change, its impacts and related vulnerabilities.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 12:17:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany's Grid and the Market: 100 Percent Renewable by 2050? | phockeno

Most of Germany's pro-Energiewende voices think that Germany will far exceed its 2020 target of 35% clean energy. The Heinrich Böll Foundation, a Green think tank, is definitely among them. It argues that Germany could -- with the right policies -- go 100% renewable by 2050.

But for Germany to do it, argues the report "A European Union for Renewable Energy," there has to be greatly improved cooperation. The EU targets, road maps, and action plans are steps in the right direction, but they fall far short of a comprehensive EU common energy policy.

The report, commissioned by the Heinrich Böll Foundation European Union and prepared by independent experts, argues that most European countries' current energy grids are antiquated, nationally organized, and designed for fossil fuel and nuclear energy sources. The grids are composed mostly of one-way transmission cables connecting large production facilities, like coal-firing plants and nuclear reactors, to residential and commercial hubs.

Since the requisite storage technology is still largely undeveloped, what is needed are "smart," flexible, decentralized grids that crisscross the continent and beyond. In contrast to the "dumb" decentralized networks of the fossil-fuel age, a smart grid is a digital network that links customers with dispersed suppliers, like those operating wind parks and solar installations, through the Internet. The wider-reaching and "smarter" this network is, the better its ability to match weather-dependent supply surpluses and demand needs, both regionally and across borders.

Since grid construction needs as long as ten years to be realized, potential grid investors would need an unshakable commitment to renewable energies to invest in such a costly project.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 02:04:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Positive news? What year is this - how long was I asleep?


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 06:05:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Climate talks resume amid warnings of looming calamity

Nearly 200 nations gather in Doha from Monday for a new round of climate talks as a rush of reports warn extreme weather events like superstorm Sandy may become commonplace if mitigation efforts fail.

Negotiators will converge in the Qatari capital for two weeks under the UN banner to review commitments to cutting climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions.

Ramping up the pressure, expert reports warned in recent days that existing mitigation pledges are not nearly enough to limit warming to a manageable 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 deg Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial levels.

"A faster response to climate change is necessary and possible," UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said ahead of the talks.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 03:29:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Flower power to purge poison and produce platinum

A consortium of researchers led by WMG at the University of Warwick are to embark on a 3 million pounds research programme called "Cleaning Land for Wealth" (CL4W), that will use a common class of flower to restore poisoned soils while at the same time producing perfectly sized and shaped nano sized platinum and arsenic nanoparticles for use in catalytic convertors, cancer treatments and a range of other applications.

A "Sandpit" exercise organised by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) allowed researchers from WMG (Warwick Manufacturing group) at the University of Warwick, Newcastle University, The University of Birmingham, Cranfield University and the University of Edinburgh to come together and share technologies and skills to come up with an innovative multidisciplinary research project that could help solve major technological and environmental challenges.

The researchers pooled their knowledge of how to use plants and bacteria to soak up particular elements and chemicals and how to subsequently harvest, process and collect that material.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 03:31:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PM dismisses '100% Pure' criticism - National - NZ Herald News

Tourism New Zealand's 100% Pure campaign came under fire again last week as international media reported that it misrepresented the country's environmental record.

Mr Key [prime minister, right wing] insisted today that he did not believe the marketing slogan was inaccurate, but also emphasized that it was not to be taken literally.

"Overall, 100% Pure is a marketing campaign. It's like ... McDonalds' 'I'm Lovin It!' - I'm not sure every time someone's eating McDonalds they're lovin' it.

"Maybe they are, but they're probably not every single occasion. It's the same thing with 100% Pure, it's got to be taken with a pinch of salt."

Damn right. Like when you tell your wife "I love you". Well, sometimes you mean it. And when you tell the electors "I'm honest"... etc. ad nauseam.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 08:27:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"New Zealand - Don't Expect Too Much and You Will Love It!"


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 09:30:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]

or I'll send cousin Ritchie to deal to ya

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 09:58:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, the guy World Cup Final refs can't see!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 10:56:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, the guy World Cup Final refs don't dare penalize.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 11:02:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 12:01:40 PM EST
BBC News - US school tag tracker project prompts court row

A court challenge has delayed plans to expel a Texan student for refusing to wear a radio tag that tracked her movements.

Religious reasons led Andrea Hernandez to stop wearing the tag that revealed where she was on her school campus.

The tags were introduced to track students and help tighten control of school funding.

A Texan court has granted a restraining order filed by a civil rights group pending a hearing on use of the tags.

(...) The tracking tags gave NISD a better idea of the numbers of students attending classes each day - the daily average of which dictates how much cash it gets from state coffers.

(...) Ms Hernandez refused to wear the tag because it conflicted with her religious beliefs, according to court papers. Wearing such a barcoded tag can be seen as a mark of the beast as described in Revelation 13 in the Bible, Ms Hernandez's father told Wired magazine in an interview.

Crazy meets crazy in head-on crunch. Nice.

I still don't want to live in Tejas.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 02:16:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also RFID tagging has some links to cancer in some studies.

http://arstechnica.com/science/2007/09/rfid-implants-linked-to-cancer-the-lowdown/

by stevesim on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:42:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - ADHD treatment 'may reduce risk of criminal behaviour'

People with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder who are involved in crime are less likely to reoffend when on treatment than not, a Swedish study shows.

Earlier studies suggest people with ADHD are more likely to commit offences than the general population.

Providing better access to medication may reduce crime and save money, experts and support groups say.

Researchers say the benefits of the drugs must be weighed against harms.

Chemical constraints on offenders sounds like a great idea.

I don't want to live in Sweden either.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 02:20:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Algae Eats Other Plants | Strange Plants | LiveScience

When deprived of other food sources, a widespread type of green algae can break down other plant materials and slurp them up as food, a new study finds.

It's the first time that a member of the plant kingdom has been shown to break down another plant's cellulose, the biopolymer that gives strength to plants' cell walls, and use it as an energy source, according to the new research.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 02:40:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Truly hairy mid-life crises: chimps and orangs get them too | Reuters

A new study finds that chimpanzees and orangutans, too, often experience a mid-life crisis, suggesting the causes are inherent in primate biology and not specific to human society.

"We were just stunned" when data on the apes showed a U-shaped curve of happiness, said economist Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick in England and a co-author of the paper, which was published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

The U-shaped curve of human happiness and other aspects of well-being are as thoroughly documented as the reasons for it are controversial. Since 2002 studies in some 50 countries have found that well-being is high in youth, plunges in mid-life and rises in old age. The euphoria of youth comes from unlimited hopes and good health, while the contentment and serenity of the elderly likely reflects "accumulated wisdom and the fact that when you've seen friends and family die, you value what you have," said Oswald.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 02:43:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New Stats Suggest MegaUpload Actually Helped the Film Industry More Than it Hurt
Research from the Munich School of Management and Copenhagen Business School has supposedly gathered statistical evidence indicating that dubious online streamer MegaUpload may have actually helped global box office sales for all but the biggest of blockbusters.

The study followed the weekly box office sales of 1344 movies in 49 countries over the last five years, specifically looking for how MegaUpload may affected movie-goers. Since MegaUpload was forced to shut down in January, the total revenue of the film industry has, generally speaking, declined. The researchers believe that MegaUpload (and other sites like it) help stimulate word-of-mouth buzz for most films. The only exceptions were massive blockbusters, which have apparently benefitted from the crackdown on online piracy.

Austerity, of course, had nothing to do with it.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 02:09:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Was it Doctorow who said obscurity was a bigger threat than piracy?

Tim O'Reilly apparently.

Of course they both mostly make money from other things than writing.

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 06:28:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also the film industry, like clubs/bars and shops have decided they don't want customers over 35: ADD editing, loud, noisy, no plot. As the sage said, no one allowed on screen with an age or waist over 28.

The Hobbit is the first thing I've really wanted to see since ... well, Lord of the Rings, actually.


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 06:33:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why European startups should be furious about Autonomy -- European technology news

Meg Whitman's claims that Autonomy executives deliberately misled HP over its $11 billion acquisition are under investigation by the authorities. But whatever the truth, the damage is already done, as the affair further erodes the fragile relationship between Silicon Valley and Europe's brightest technology companies.

How fast things turn round. When Hewlett Packard's $11 billion deal to purchase Autonomy hit the headlines little more than a year ago, it was hailed as a victory for the British tech sector. Sure, the price was high, and HP's strategy unclear, but this was a solid company with some interesting technology -- a big win for the local scene

Negative patterns are hard to shake, and in meeting rooms from San Jose up to San Francisco, you can bet anyone talking to a British entrepreneur about a possible buyout is going to think of Autonomy and this mess.

And yet, and yet. The story is so much more complex. After all, eBay's troubled purchase of Skype happened under the leadership of... Meg Whitman. Sound familiar?

by Bernard on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 07:29:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lots of oddities have been pointed to in Autonomy's financial statements. All of this suggests that HP didn't do proper due diligence.

(Either the oddities represent misleading statements or they don't but they should have been investigated before buying the company...)

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 07:34:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
HP are saying they hired Deloitte to do that.
Deloitte are saying they weren't engaged for "due diligence". (Which begs the question what they were hired for. Perhaps the exact wording will be discussed in court.)
Oh, cool, the FBI is involved.

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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 08:02:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How Meg Whitman Failed Her Way to the Top at eBay, Collecting Billions While Nearly Destroying the Company

Former CEO Whitman's record of gross incompetence, massive waste and personal enrichment is breathtaking. That the media isn't talking about it is incredible.
[...]
Meg Whitman's record in the corporate world reads like a laundry list of failure: it's a resume marked by fraud, gross incompetence, wasteful spending and gross disregard for anyone's interests but her own.
[...]
In the years before Meg Whitman settled into her eBay gig, she bounced around from one corporate disaster to the next, showing neither loyalty nor follow-through and commitment: Think Sarah Palin of the corporate world.

(This was written in 2010 when she was running for governor. Discusses the Skype purchase.)

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 07:56:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See, some women are making the grade in the almost-male-only CEO world. And all we ever hear about is that glass ceiling.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 08:57:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it's a great advance in gender equality.


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 09:31:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 12:02:04 PM EST
Merkel: I believe in God, religion is my companion - The Local
"I am a member of the evangelical church. I believe in God and religion is also my constant companion, and has been for the whole of my life," she said on a videoblog when answering questions from a theology student.

"We as Christians should above all not be afraid of standing up for our beliefs," she added.

The structure of the world relating to belief was a, "framework for my life that I consider very important," she said.

The Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper noted on Tuesday that until now Merkel had been very quiet on the subject, despite the much-cited fact that her father was a protestant pastor.

She was more intensely affected by her family home and the Christian faith than she was by her study of physics and scientific thinking, her biographer Volker Resing suggested to the paper.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 25th, 2012 at 03:34:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which explains a lot, doesn't it?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 02:10:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After a string of cases of people pretty much coming up with the same thing, I for once gave a reply:
I was being explained by yet another friend that they found it hard to find the time to see us or anyone else because they were busy most days but sunday, when they had to go to church (I've had people telling me they had to EVERY day).
So I replied with a laugh that "being superstitious makes for a busy life".

I was told that I would have to respect their beliefs, even if I said so laughingly. And I do -I respect them as much as any other superstition.

Yet people can always assume a haughty tone to say thinks like "you shall respect our beliefs", even though he (and the others before him) were essentially saying "we don't have time for you or anyone else, who patently exist, because I need to save it for someone who probably does not". Which is rather insulting, when you go right down to it.

With Merkel (or Bush), it's that, only immensely magnified. They won't pay any attention to the masses that they leave in dire conditions, because they have to listen to the made-up moralising voice in their heads.

If you're going to act in priority to the satisfaction of non-existing beings, maybe we shouldn't fight that but you should recuse yourself from public office, which is about running things and people that do exist. And can suffer. Easily.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:07:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just musing. Civilised people consider that religion is a private affair. In much of the world, a politician is obliged to profess the dominant religion, whatever their private beliefs might be.

In the mature democracies of Europe, political leaders mostly avoid the subject, considering that it's private, or, more cynically, that there is more lose than there is to gain by professing one particular religion.

But I'm starting to believe that we have a right to full disclosure, in the same way, and for the same reasons, as we demand full disclosure of financial interests. If they have a hidden agenda which affects policy, we need to know.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 05:37:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. If people believe there is such a thing as "reformed Egyptian" or "body thetans," it would be nice to know before we vote for them.


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 09:37:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I cannot respect beliefs I consider to be nonsense.

I may respect the person that holds those beliefs, depending on their actions.

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 09:39:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I keep hearing that bit: "should not be afraid to stand up for our beliefs". Not sure what it means. There seems to be an implication that they're under attack. (Still just an implication on this side of the pond, in the US they're more ... direct.)

Certainly many of the things Jesus allegedly said are under attack from self-professed Christians.

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Mon Nov 26th, 2012 at 06:36:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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