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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 5 November

by afew Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 04:13:58 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europe on this date in history:

1499 - Publication of the Catholicon in Tréguier (Brittany). This Breton-French-Latin dictionary, written in 1464 by Jehan Lagadeuc, is the first Breton dictionary as well as the first French dictionary.

More here and here

 The European Salon is a daily selection of news items to which you are invited to contribute. Post links to news stories that interest you, or just your comments. Come in and join us!


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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 02:37:32 PM EST
BBC News - Brooks told Cameron she 'cried twice' during his speech

Former News International chief Rebekah Brooks texted David Cameron to reveal she had "cried twice" during his 2009 party conference speech.

Two messages, passed on to the Leveson Inquiry into the media, have been published by the Mail on Sunday.

In the other, the prime minister describes a horse he has been riding.

Downing Street confirmed the text messages were authentic and said Mr Cameron had co-operated with the Leveson Inquiry into the media.

Much of Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry was taken up with questions about links between politicians and Rupert Murdoch's News International media company.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:22:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
David Cameron acknowledges there may be more Rebekah Brooks texts | Politics | The Guardian

David Cameron has acknowledged in private that he may be sitting on a further cache of emails and texts to and from Rebekah Brooks after a highly selective search was carried out for the Leveson inquiry.

The prime minister faced fresh embarrassment over his links with the former News International chief executive as it emerged that only a handful of his communications were searched for the inquiry, set up after the phone-hacking scandal.

Cameron's aides looked only for email and texts related to two specific areas highlighted by the inquiry - News International and BSkyB.

The prime minister believes it is wrong of critics, such as the former Labour Europe minister Chris Bryant, to say that he is sitting on a secret cache of communications because any emails and texts uncovered in the search were handed over to the inquiry. But he acknowledges that a wider search may yield more texts and emails between the two.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:39:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brooks told Cameron she 'cried twice' during his speech

I farted 3 times. Does that count? What do I win?

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 4th, 2012 at 05:37:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IPS - Migrants in Poland Find a Voice At Last | Inter Press Service

WARSAW, Nov 4 2012 (IPS) - It took hunger strikes and a case like Layla Naimi's to push authorities in Poland to amend laws dealing with irregular migrants.

Authorities will not be obliged to send such migrants to detention centres. Following complaints, the prosecutor has opened an investigation into the refugee centre at Lesznowola near Warsaw. Inspections in all detention centres for foreigners have been announced by the Ombudsman and by the Ministry of Interior, to be carried out together with members of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Legal Intervention Association.

In mid-October, 73 people at four Polish immigration detention centres went on hunger strike. Their demands: right to information in a language they comprehend, right to contact the outside world, right to proper healthcare, education for children, improvement in social conditions, an end to abuse and to excessive violence, end to criminalising detainees. In the past, strikers had been put in isolation and punished, and the public knew nothing about it.

Currently there are 380 illegal immigrants kept in six detention centres, otherwise called "closed camps". They are asylum seekers, waiting for their bids to get processed. Their crime: crossing the EU border without proper documents.

Outsiders are not allowed to visit closed camps, but IPS talked to some immigrants recently released from the refugee centre at Lesznowola - one of the spots where protests took place.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:26:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Resurrection of the marxist old guard | Respekt (Prague) | Presseurop (English)
For the first time since 1989, on 13 October, Czech communists have won elections in two regions, and their party is now hoping to extend its influence in general elections slated for 2014. However, reporting from the Karlovy Vary region, the weekly Respekt remarks that the communists have barely changed since the heyday of the single party.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:33:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
London boroughs plan housing for homeless families outside the capital | Society | The Guardian

Local authorities in London are preparing to send thousands of homeless families to live in temporary homes outside the capital, in defiance of ministerial demands that people should continue to be housed locally.

Councils are acquiring properties in Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Sussex and further afield to cope with an expected surge in numbers of vulnerable families presenting as homeless as a result of welfare cuts from next April.

They say rising rents in London coupled with the introduction next April of stringent benefit caps leave them in an impossible position, with no option but to initiate an outflow of poorer families from the capital by placing homeless households in cheaper areas, often many miles from their home borough.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:38:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
London boroughs plan housing for homeless families outside the capital

It's wonderful that we've become so civilized that we proudly announce the construction of ghettos.

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 4th, 2012 at 05:41:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a very short term solution, public transport costs so much that it will soon be uneconomic to live outside of london and commute in to do the low paid crappy jobs which keep cities going.

London will die unless the rich accept they have to have the poor living there as well, and that means council housing. Nothing else is affordable on low wages, especially now Iain Duncan-Smith is capping housing benefit

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 03:16:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The stigma against council houses is one of my pet peeves. At a drinks party with my wife's colleagues, a couple told me that they were looking to move, and that they had to investigate the areas where there were good private schools.

I said I was surprised as she was not even pregnant (still isnt, over a year later). But they said that to get private schools from the start you had to be in the area pretty much at conception (don't know if that's true and don't care much). So I asked why not give a chance to public schooling.
They retorted that "nonono, it's very bad, in public schools you'd have to share the classes with kids from the council houses".

At this point I had to point out that, well, my wife, their allegedly esteemed colleague, had grown up in a council house (well, their French equivalent).

That neither of them was English (she Scottish, he latin American, not sure which country) made it even worse, I felt. Quickly acquired prejudice.

 

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 5th, 2012 at 04:13:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
can be far worse than the English. Colombia, for example, is downright feudal in many respects.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 05:23:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The welfare state" and "equality" are a lot less advanced in the UK than they ever were in France, Scandinavia or elsewhere in the north/west of Europe. What you are born as and where you go to school determines your future.

So, for the above-median salary making person who's left of centre:

  • Work within the system for a change? Yes.
  • Look out for number one? Definitely.
  • Be a "naive hippy"? No.
  • Gamble with your child's future. Never.

Look elsewhere for Gandhi's idea of the rulers living among the poor.


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 06:00:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Be a "naive hippy"? No.



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 Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 12:07:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Essex ?? We have a homeless problem here, so ow can we cope with London's a well.

How about building council houses ? Not the political mantra of "affordable homes", which are only affordable is you're a City trader, but houses which are allocated on local need. But I guess that would require interference in the market, which is forbidden by ideology.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 03:13:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France could cut labour charges for some sectors - minister | Reuters

Reuters) - The French government could propose cutting labour charges for selected sectors and companies as part of its plan to kick-start competitiveness, the junior minister for small and medium-sized business said on Sunday.

In an interview with TV channel France 5, Fleur Pellerin said small-to-medium enterprises will play an important role in a government plan due to be outlined on Tuesday, the day after the publication of a government-commissioned report by industrialist Louis Gallois on how to improve competitiveness.

Asked about demands to slash France's high labour charges, which business leaders say put them at a disadvantage against foreign rivals, Pellerin said: "There are sectors exposed to international competition where this makes sense and other sectors where it makes less sense."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:41:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Car sales plummet - French brands worst hit - The Local
French new car sales plunged by 7.8 percent in October on a monthly basis and by 13.3 percent in the first 10 months of the year, data from the French automobile manufacturers association CCFA showed on Friday.

 A total of 162,411 new cars were registered last month in France, a statement said, as the French economy, the second biggest in the eurozone, struggled to make headway.

French car makers were among those that suffered the biggest drops, with sales by PSA Peugeot Citroen, the second-biggest European auto manufacturer, down by 5.0 percent, and those by the Renault group posting a plunge of 26.4 percent.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 04:02:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a Good Thing.  Don't want to increase icky, economy destroying, ->debt<- do we?  The proper rational economic action is for people to save enough money to purchase a car with cash.  

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 12:51:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Danish design | European Voice blogs

The Danes are particularly fascinated by Cameron's manoeuvrings on Europe - and a bit of historical perspective gives some clues as to why: Denmark's relations with Europe have for sixty years, been closely tied to those of the UK.

When Charles De Gaulle blocked the UK's entry into the Common Market in the 1963, he effectively blocked Denmark as well, because Denmark was not prepared to go in without the UK and ally itself with France and Germany. So Denmark waited to go in with the UK in 1973. When the UK held a referendum on EU membership in 1975, Denmark seriously considered whether, if the result was a `No' vote, it too would have to leave. On the surface, the Maastricht treaty experience of 1992-93 reinforced the link between the UK and Denmark. The UK had won an opt-out in the initial negotiations. Denmark obtained four opt-outs a year later.

Yet there is no way that Denmark wants to be tied irrevocably to the UK now, particularly as the prospect of the UK leaving the EU becomes less than unthinkable. Denmark is, by the standards that prevail today, near the mainstream of the European Union, even if it is not part of the eurozone.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 04:13:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Morning Newsbriefing: German economics minister discourages Spanish bailout application (05.11.2012)
According to a Spanish press report, Philip Rösler tells his Spanish counterparts that the FDP's 93 MPs would vote against a Spanish ESM programme; this was one of the reasons why Mariano Rajoy had ruled out an application before the end of the year; a Greek economist forecasts an economic contraction of 8.8% in 2013; Welt am Sonntag has an investigation according to which the ECB broke its own rules in its collateral policies vis-a-vis Spanish banks; the article claims that the ECB had lent €16.6bn more to Spanish banks by accepting collateral that should not have been accepted, and by applying the wrong discounts; Spanish judges have found loopholes in the law to help them stem the flood of foreclosure cases; the European Parliament threatens to delay banking union if Yves Mersch is appointed to the ECB's executive board; the latest EU presidency draft says the head of the new bank supervisor should have no national function; draft also strengthens the role of the central supervisor against national counterparts; Louis Gallois presents his competitiveness report to the French government, calling for a €30bn fall in social security contributions, to be funded by higher VAT; Angela Merkel said she sees the eurozone crisis lasting another five years; the Czech central bank cut its repo rate to 5bp in an effort to weaken the coruna against the euro;  Bill Mitchell says the eurozone is about to experience a 1930s style depression as a result of policy errors;  Eugenio Scalfari says Italian political parties should study the Grillo phenomenon, as he relies on the internet, rather than on TV, for his support;  Wolfgang Munchau says policy is not even sufficient to solve the liquidity crisis, given the ECB's constraints and the limits of a banking union; Willem Buiter and Ebrahim Rahbari, meanwhile, says that Target2 is a poor measure of the Bundesbank's net loss exposure.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 03:24:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Any Dutch-speakers care to comment on how Romney evaded taxes?
De fiscale sluipwegen van Mitt Romney lopen ook door Nederland. Het private-equityfonds Bain Capital, waarin de presidentskandidaat participeert, zou via de Nederlandse route zo'n 80 miljoen euro aan dividendbelasting hebben ontweken.

Presidentskandidaat Mitt Romney profiteert via het private-equityfonds Bain Capital van een voordelige fiscale route die via Nederland loopt. Nederland is voor het Amerikaanse Bain, dat door Romney werd opgericht, een schakel in zijn omvangrijke internationale web van trust- en houdstermaatschappijen.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 01:44:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's that, a Dutch sandwich?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 02:42:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(Not a native speaker.)
Slight cleaning of google translate:
The tax loopholes of Mitt Romney also pass through the Netherlands. Private equity fund Bain Capital, in which the presidential candidate participates, is believed to have avoided some 80 million euro in dividend taxes by taking the Dutch route.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, through private equity fun Bain Capital, benefits from an advantageous tax route that runs through the Netherlands. Netherlands is a link in the American Bain's - established by Romney - international web of trusts and holding companies.

(In Dutch the 'loophole' is closer to a 'shortcut,' so it can pass through things rather than the other way around.)

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 05:10:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 02:38:06 PM EST
U.S. fiscal cliff, Europe's debt woes worry G20 | Reuters

(Reuters) - Finance chiefs of leading economies pressed the United States on Sunday to show how it can avert a series of spending cuts and tax hikes that could hurt global output, though some countries saw Europe's debt crisis as the No. 1 danger.

Unless a fractious U.S. Congress can reach a deal, about $600 billion in government spending cuts and higher taxes are set to kick in from January 1, threatening to push the American economy back into recession.

"There was a strong demand (from Europeans) to be briefed on the fiscal cliff, to get a more detailed idea of how the U.S. may deal with the issue," an official from one of the Group of 20 countries said of preliminary talks in Mexico City before ministers gathered later on Sunday and on Monday.

With a close U.S. presidential election looming on Tuesday, action to avert the so-called fiscal cliff has been delayed and there is uncertainty that Congress can reach a deal, putting many countries on alert about risks to already weak growth.

South Korean Finance Minister Bahk Jaewan forecast the global economy could suffer adverse effects during the first quarter of 2013 because of uncertainty over the issue.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:13:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bunds Gain Second Week as Europe's Economic Slump Deepens - Bloomberg

German government bonds rose for a second week as reports showed Europe's economic slump is deepening and Spain delayed asking for a bailout that may help reduce borrowing costs across the region.

Germany's two-year note yield dropped to the lowest in eight weeks yesterday as data revealed manufacturing in Spain and Italy contracted in October. Spanish bonds fell after the nation said a debt sale next week will include the longest maturity it has auctioned in 18 months. Bunds pared gains after hiring in the U.S. jumped more than economists predicted last month. Greece's bonds slid as coalition government lawmakers squabbled over austerity demanded by its creditors.

"The bund market is well supported given the prevarication by the Spanish about the sovereign bailout," said Nick Stamenkovic, a fixed-income strategist at RIA Capital Markets Ltd. in Edinburgh. "The Greek negotiations are dragging on with no sign of a solution at the moment. That's keeping bunds pretty well underpinned in the short term."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:29:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Analysis & Opinion | Reuters

By John Foley

The author is a Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

China's hard landing is the catastrophe that wasn't. A return to expansion in the closely watched official survey of purchasing managers released on Nov. 1 leaves the Chinese economy on track for GDP growth of around 7.5 percent for 2012. The Breakingviews Tea Leaf Index, which combines a more eclectic group of indicators, also showed that conditions are improving. But talk of a punishing downturn will recur, because China's economy remains unbalanced.

 Breakingviews China Tea Leaf Index

The big threat to China's growth remains real estate, which contributes roughly 15 percent of GDP, and in reality much more, through its effects on consumer goods sales, wages and confidence.

While supply exceeds demand in many cities, a flush of new credit has kept projects running. That has happened largely off banks' balance sheets: loans made via trust companies, for example, increased by 63 percent from August to September.

A hard landing is thus unlikely, but the slowdown remains real.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:36:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Via Krugman
What Explains Wall Street's Shift Away From Obama: Fat Cat Comments or Dodd-Frank?
When people discuss why Wall Street has turned against President Obama, it is usually a story about personalities and ego.
[...]
These conversations almost always put Dodd-Frank in the far background, even though it is a major reform of the financial sector that will reduce Wall Street's power and profits. Let's look at a few reforms.
[...]
Derivatives. One of the goals of Dodd-Frank is to bring transparency and standardization to the derivatives markets by requiring derivatives to go through a clearinghouse with pricing transparency. [...] "Analysts at Standard & Poor's expect an annual drop in revenues for large dealers of between $4bn and $4.5bn [...]"
[...]
Interchange. Even the little things challenge the power of the financial sector over the real economy. Take interchange, the fees the financial sector charges to the real economy for using debit and credit cards. [...] immediate financial impact for the banking industry is a $6.5 billion to $7 billion annual reduction in debit card-related revenue [...] This balances the playing field between the real economy and the financial sector while taking away a powerful set of contracts the banks were using to squeeze merchants.


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 05:19:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
S&P found guilty of misleading investors - FT.com

Standard & Poor's misled investors by awarding its highest rating to a complex derivative product that collapsed in value less than two years after it was created by ABN Amro's wholsesale banking division, an Australian judge has ruled, in a landmark case that paves the way for legal action in Europe

In a damning verdict the Federal Court of Australia ruled S&P and ABN Amro had "deceived" and "misled" 12 local councils that bought triple-A rated constant proportion debt obligations (CPDOs) from an intermediary in 2006.

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/175c63be-26fb-11e2-9295-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz2BMexe3Ud

The court said a "reasonably competent" rating agency could not have assigned the securities, which were described as "grotesquely complicated", a triple A rating. S&P and ABN's wholesale banking arm, which is now owned by RBS, also published information and statements that were either "false" or involved "negligent misrepresentations", Justice Jayne Jagot found.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 11:00:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They have to say they are very sorry, and that they won't do it again.

(Well, not exactly the same thing and definitely not at the same time as the last time.)

-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 11:21:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 02:38:25 PM EST
China: Whispers of change - 101 East - Al Jazeera English

As it prepares to appoint a new generation of leaders, China's ruling Communist Party faces increasing pressure to change. A series of scandals has chipped away at the party's image of unity and a weakening economy threatens to raise public dissatisfaction.

The ascendance of Xi Jinping to the presidency and Li Keqiang to prime minister is in little doubt, but questions swirl over who will fill the remaining positions in the Politburo Standing Committee, which wields the ultimate political power in China.

The sacking of former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai last spring set off shockwaves across the political establishment and exposed fissures within the leadership.

A slowing economy and an increasingly restive society fed up with corruption and what it sees as a privileged elite held unaccountable by law are bringing new calls for reform.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:14:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Politics call the tune in U.S, China and Europe | Reuters

(Reuters) - In the politically packed days ahead, an election, a coronation and a two-part parliamentary vote each has the potential to alter the course of the global economy for years to come.

The election, of course, is on Tuesday for the White House and Congress. Two days later, China's ruling Communist party begins the 18th congress in its history.

Barring one of the biggest political surprises in modern times, the carefully choreographed gathering will culminate a week later in the crowning of Xi Jinping as successor to Hu Jintao. He will hold the reins of power for the next decade.

That the world's two biggest economies are choosing their leaders at the same time is unprecedented. Investors are right to be transfixed.

Yet arguably it is a pair of votes in Greece, an economic minnow, on whether to accept labor reforms and more austerity that could have a greater short-term impact on financial markets.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:35:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Syrian opposition meets for key conference - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Leaders of the Syrian opposition are holding a conference in the Qatari capital to reorganise their ranks, in the latest attempt to form a unified political and military anti-government front.

The meeting comes as violence continues in Syria, with an armed rebel brigade claiming responsibility for an explosion in the Syrian capital, while anti-government rights groups said that fresh clashes had occurred elsewhere in Damascus.

The US is pushing a proposal suggesting a new leadership, with fewer Syrian exiles and more military commanders, be elected at the meeting in Doha, held over five days, beginning on Sunday.

There remain serious doubts, however, over whether the divided and ideologically diverse factions can form a unified structure that the international community can engage with.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:20:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Syrain opposition meets so that the US government can rearrange it.

U.S. looks to build alternative Syrian opposition leadership - The Washington Post

The Obama administration has spent the past several months in secret diplomatic negotiations aimed at building a new Syrian opposition leadership structure that it hopes can win the support of minority groups still backing President Bashar al-Assad.

The strategy, to be unveiled at a Syrian opposition meeting next week in Qatar, amounts to a last-ditch effort to prevent extremists from gaining the upper hand within the opposition and to stop the Syrian crisis from boiling over into the greater Middle East.

Don't want the salafist proxies to get out of hand I guess. That has after all ended badly in the past.

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 Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 06:45:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Housing crisis looms as storm victims battle cold | Reuters

(Reuters) - A housing crisis loomed in New York City as victims of superstorm Sandy struggled on Sunday without heat in near-freezing temperatures, and officials fretted displaced residents would not be able to vote in Tuesday's presidential election.

Fuel shortages and power outages lingered nearly a week after one of the worst storms in U.S. history flooded homes in coastal neighborhoods, leaving many without heat and in need of shelter. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said 30,000 to 40,000 people in New York City alone would need housing.

Overnight, at least two more bodies were found in New Jersey - one dead of hypothermia - as the overall North American death toll from Sandy climbed to at least 111.

"People are in homes that are uninhabitable," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said alongside Bloomberg at a news conference. "People don't like to leave their home, but the reality is going to be in the temperature."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:21:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New York faces giant housing crisis - Americas - Al Jazeera English

New York is facing a growing housing crisis with tens of thousands left homeless by super storm Sandy as temperatures plunged and massive queues built up for fuel.

Michael Bloomberg, New York City's mayor, estimated on Sunday that 30,000-40,000 houses in the city alone had been left unusable by the storm.

Sandy battered 15 states with fierce winds and a huge tidal surge that left at least 109 dead in the United States and Canada and caused tens of billions of dollars of damage.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:24:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nuclear Talks with Iran: Prospects | IPS Writers in the Blogosphere

The Western members of the P5+1 are showing signs of serious intent, if re-election of President Barack Obama allows nuclear-related talks with Iran to resume in the next few months.

This ought to be cheering news for all who believe that this dispute can be resolved according to the provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), enhanced by some well-chosen, voluntary confidence-building measures.

Yet scepticism remains in order. Why? Several past opportunities to resolve the dispute through negotiation and confidence-building have been squandered. Two vital questions also remain imponderable: is Iran's Supreme Leader really interested in a nuclear settlement, and will Israeli politicians resist the urge to exercise Israel's formidable powers of influence in Western capitals to close down the political space for a negotiated outcome?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:22:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tomgram:
...they have spent years priming the public to believe that Iran has an ongoing nuclear weapons program, making ludicrous claims about "crazy" mullahs nuking Israel and the United States, pooh-poohing diplomacy -- and getting ever shriller each time credible officials and analysts disagree. Unlike with Iraq in 2002 and 2003, they have it easier today.  Then, they and their mentors had to go on a sales roadshow, painting pictures of phantom WMDs to build up support for an invasion.  Today, a large majority of Americans already believe that Iran is building nuclear weapons.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 06:29:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IPS - U.S. Impatient with African Response to Northern Mali Conflict | Inter Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov 2 2012 (IPS) - Despite growing western concerns about the continuing reign in northern Mali by an Al Qaeda-linked group, analysts here say it will take months before conditions could be ripe to oust it from the region, by military force if necessary.

The United States and the European Union (EU), which have held a series of meetings about the situation, are hoping that the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will soon come up with a viable plan to reclaim the area, which has been in the hands of the group Ansar al-Din since last spring.

They are also trying to enlist the support of a somewhat ambivalent Algeria, which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited earlier this week. Given its 1,400-kilometre border with northern Mali, as well as its formidable counter-terrorist and military capabilities, Algeria's cooperation with any western-backed ECOWAS force is seen as indispensable to any campaign to remove Ansar al-Din.

ECOWAS has so far proposed a force of only 3,300 troops, recruited from member nations, as the military component of a larger strategy to wrest control of territory that is roughly the size of France. Meeting in mid-October, the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council dismissed ECOWAS's proposal as unrealistic and called for the group to come up a viable intervention plan by the end of this month.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:27:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Immanuel Wallerstein:
The bottom line is that Mali is suffering from the chaotic geopolitical scene. What seems most probable is that there will be no military intervention. Whether the local populations in northern Mali, accustomed to a very tolerant "Sufi" version of Islam and most unhappy now, will rise up against the "Salafists" remains to be seen.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 06:34:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good article.

Binghamton University - Fernand Braudel Center: Commentaries

Many Tuareg fled to Libya (and Algeria) whose southern regions were also peopled by Tuareg. Some Tuareg found employment in the Libyan military. The confusion following the fall of Muammar Qaddafi allowed Tuareg soldiers to obtain weapons and return to Mali to take up the struggle for Azawad, the name they gave to an independent Tuareg state. They were organized as the Mouvement National pour la Libération de l'Azawad (MNLA).


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 Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 07:51:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What? Are not AFRICOM bursting with exitement for another mission of providing boots on the ground for the anti-islamic occupation? With Somalia going splendidly and everything and everyone surely being home before Christmas (just don't specify which year)?

I am shocked I tell you, shocked.

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 Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 06:53:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meant AU, though the article was about ECOWAS.

AFRICOM is of course the US command for Africa. Tired today.

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 Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 07:50:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 02:38:51 PM EST
Munich-Berlin train 'will soon take four hours' - The Local
The time it takes to travel by train from Munich to Berlin could soon be halved to just four hours, as plans solidify to expand and improve the European rail system.

Sunday's Tagesspiegel newspaper said the speedier connection between the German and Bavarian capitals should be ready by 2017 and cost €10 billion.

It will be part of the Berlin-Sicily route which will also go through Innsbruck-Verona, Milan, Bologna, Naples-Messina and onto Palermo in Sicily.

The changes are part of an upgrade to the Trans-European Transport Network-Train or TEN-T.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:45:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Didn't I write about this a long time ago? It's mathematically impossible for that project to get all the funding in time and be ready in 2017. Also, 4 hours is not high-speed and a "Berlin-Sicily route" is flat on its face ridiculous.
by epochepoque on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 05:31:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, according to Google maps Munich-Berlin is a slightly shorter distance than Madrid-Barcelona, which can be done in 2 hours and a half.

Clearly Spain has been living above its means and must be punished with austerity.

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 4th, 2012 at 05:45:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
could soon be halved to just four hours,

Are they comparing real time now to scheduled time in the future? The Berlin-Munich train is currently scheduled to take 6, not 8 hours, and they could actually achieve that if they could find ways of keeping cows of the track (DB's latest excuse, heard this weekend)

And why would a high-speed Berlin-Sicily route go through Verona and then take a detour through Milan instead of going straight to Bologna?

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 02:04:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, they do have to slow down to go through Bamberg to void creating noise ;-))

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 03:25:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Plants recognise pathogenic and beneficial microorganisms

In collaboration with national and international experts, researchers from Aarhus University have revealed new fundamental features of biomolecular interactions that enable plants to identify and respond appropriately to microorganisms.

The new results provide a better understanding of the mechanisms governing the ability of plants to interact with beneficial microorganisms while being resistant to pathogenic bacteria and fungi. This could have implications for future sustainable agriculture, where useful microorganisms are increasingly sought to replace pesticides.

Plant roots are surrounded by thousands of bacteria and fungi living in the soil and on the root surface. To survive in this diverse environment, plants employ sophisticated detection systems to distinguish pathogenic microorganisms from beneficial microorganisms.

Here the so-called chitin molecules from microorganisms, along with modified versions, play an important role as they are detected by the plant surveillance system. Legumes, for example, build a defence against pathogenic microorganisms in response to simple chitin molecules.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:49:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Antarctic ocean sanctuary talks end in failure

Conservation groups expressed outrage Friday after resistance led by China and Russia stymied efforts to carve out new marine sanctuaries and protect thousands of species across Antarctica.

Hopes were high that a reserve covering 1.6 million square kilometres (640,000 square miles) would be green-lighted for the pristine Ross Sea, the world's most intact marine ecosystem.

Nations led by Australia and the European Union also wanted 1.9 million square kilometres of critical coastal area in the East Antarctic safeguarded.

But two-week long talks at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), made up of 24 countries and the European Union, at Hobart in Australia ended without resolution.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:50:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tom Philpott | Mother Jones

The US Food and Drug Administration is notorious for bowing to food-industry interests at the expense of public health. Consider the case of trans fats--whose damaging effects the FDA ignored for decades under industry pressure before finally taking action in 2006, a story I told here. Then there's the barrage of added sweeteners that have entered the US diet over the last two decades, while the FDA whistled. This week, Cristin Kearns Couzens and Gary Taubes, who has been writing hard-hitting pieces on the dangers of excess sweetener consumption for a while, have a blockbuster Mother Jones story documenting how the FDA rolled over for the food industry on added sweeteners.

As evidence of harm piles up, the industry is only accelerating its effort to keep government action at bay. Back in April, a Reuters investigative report found that the food industry had "more than doubled" its annual lobbying spending under Obama and had successfully pursued a strategy of "pledging voluntary action while defeating government proposals aimed at changing the nation's diet."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:55:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hooray, it doesn't matter who we vote for! Whee!


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 04:37:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Coca Cola challenged over orange harvest linked to 'exploitation and squalor' - News - The Ecologist
As the winter sun falls, the scene is almost apocalyptic; dozens of migrants swarm around us - cooking, chopping firewood, calling out, trying to keep warm - their figures silhouetted against the flames.

They are from Africa - Ghana, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast - and this squalid camp, where doctors say conditions are as bad, or worse, than in refugee camps in war zones, is currently home to at least two hundred itinerants.

The migrants are here in Rosarno, in Calabria, southern Italy, to harvest the region's extensive orange crop. Each winter, as many as 2000 migrants travel to this small agricultural town to scratch a living picking oranges that will end up on sale in markets and supermarkets, or as juices or concentrates used in the manufacture of soft drinks.

But these fruit products could be linked to a life of squalor and exploitation for some of those working at the bottom of the supply chain, an investigation by The Ecologist has revealed.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:58:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Survey: Israel heaviest user of pesticides

Israel uses more pesticides in its farm fields than any other Western country, a survey of agricultural practices by its Central Bureau of Statistics found.

The survey found Israel spread more pesticides between 2008 and 2010 than any other country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which includes 34 countries, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

Israeli farmers on average use 3.5 tons of pesticides per 100 hectares (240 acres), while the next-highest number belongs to Japan at 1.55 tons per 100 hectares.

The lowest user of pesticides in the OECD, Sweden, uses 88 pounds per 240 acres.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 04:08:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PwC report argues for unprecedented CO2 cuts by 2050 | EurActiv

The world will have to cut the rate of carbon emissions by an unprecedented rate to 2050 to stop global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius this century, a report released by PwC on Monday (5 November) showed.

[Price Waterhouse Cooper] PwC's annual Low Carbon Economy Index report examined the progress of developed and emerging economies towards reducing their carbon intensity, or their emissions per unit of gross domestic product.

Global temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. Almost 200 nations agreed in 2010 at United Nations climate talks to limit the rise to below 2 degrees C (3.6 Fahrenheit) to avoid dangerous impacts from climate change.

Carbon intensity will have to be cut by over 5% a year to achieve that goal, the study said. That compares with an annual rate of 0.8% from 2000 to 2011.

"Because of this slow start, global carbon intensity now needs to be cut by an average of 5.1% a year from now to 2050. This rate of reduction has not been achieved in any of the past 50 years," it added.

Climate scientists have warned that the chance of limiting the rise to below 2C is getting smaller.

Global carbon emissions went up over 3% in 2011 to a record high, according to the International Energy Agency.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 07:42:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 07:46:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the problem with that graph is that one cannot predict the benefit of technology that is not yet invented, or on political decisions that are not yet made.

for example, if various governments decided to put an effort into extinguishing coal fires that are burning around the world, the CO2 reduction figures would be met quite easily.

not that other reduction efforts have no merit, but it is that kind of thinking that makes one just throw up one's arms and give up.

by stevesim on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 08:37:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that will enable large-scale carbon reduction over the next twenty years (at a minimum) already exist, and are taken into account in the report, I reckon.

Yeah yeah, yadda yadda algae, yadda yadda wood alcohol. Just around the corner, just like fusion. If I'm wrong, and a major technology emerges from scratch and is in deployment within the next twenty years, I'll be very very pleased, and very surprised.

Those technologies are amply sufficient to reach the CO2 target, if the political will is there. The political decisions that are "not yet made" are why the current curve is above the needed trajectory. It's only by making those political decisions that we can get on course.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 08:53:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I really doubt your first assumption is correct.
by stevesim on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 11:10:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you name any technologies that were unknown 20 years ago, and are making a significant contribution to carbon reduction today?

Genuine question. I'm curious rather than sceptical.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 11:31:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well, it's not so much old or  new technology, as new uses for old or mundane technology.

for example, extinguishing coal fires in China alone would be the equivalent of all of the cars in the USA, CO2 wise.  there are some companies working on technologies to do this, although I am not sure that for the really big ones, this type of technology would be of any use.  That is, the new technologies are mostly for surface fires, whereas the really massive fires are underground.  The political will and the financial means to do this may require new technology but not necessarily.

Then, there are the coal fires in the USA, Canada, etc  that could also be tackled.

by stevesim on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 01:43:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lots of good stuff here.
Diary?

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Nov 6th, 2012 at 06:19:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there is also great potential for nanotechnology for both CO2 capture and for emissions reductions
by stevesim on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 03:48:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Totally tangentially - Steve, can you email me please? I have a question for you. Thanks.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 12:43:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
done.
by stevesim on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 01:37:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 02:39:12 PM EST
China to phase out prisoner organs 'next year': researcher

China will start phasing out the use of executed prisoners as a source of organs for transplants next year, a researcher for the government has said, according to a World Health Organisation magazine.

China will introduce a new organ donation system to "relinquish the reliance on organs from executed convicts," Wang Haibo, a senior researcher at China's Ministry of Health, told the November edition of the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation.

"An organ transplantation system relying on death-row prisoners' organs is not ethical or sustainable," Wang said, adding that the new system will be launched "early next year at the latest".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 03:49:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup. In the future they'll just tissue-type everyone, come to your door, and haul you away. No need to be a convict.

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 4th, 2012 at 06:33:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you're confusing China with the U.S. of A.
by asdf on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 10:44:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, no, the US is much more civilized. In the US they will just legalize the use of kidneys and livers as collateral on credit card debt. Thus formalizing existing industry practice.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 01:48:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's add it as a form of plea bargaining.
10 years for a kidney?


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 04:40:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IPS - Mexico's Homeless Are Targets of "Social Cleansing" | Inter Press Service

MEXICO CITY, Nov 1 2012 (IPS) - Non-governmental organisations in Mexico are presenting a complaint Friday Nov. 2 before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights about government mistreatment and "social cleansing" of thousands of people living on the street in several of the country's cities.

Among the cases cited by the plaintiffs are Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez, on the U.S. border, where they allege that homeless people and panhandlers are being removed outside the city limits by the police.

The same practice, with variations, is occurring in the western city of Guadalajara, which has an urban planning programme designed to remove the homeless from the centre of the city, and in Mexico City itself, where they are being taken from the historic centre of the city and forced to live under bridges, viaducts or elevated highways, increasing their vulnerability.

Activists say the common denominator of all these actions is the violation of the rights of street people, a sector for which the outgoing Mexican government of conservative President Felipe Calderón lacks specific policies.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 04:05:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wouldn't be surprised if this story ties into the previous one on China.

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 4th, 2012 at 06:35:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bigger human genome pool uncovers more rare variants

Thanks to powerful computational tools developed at Simon Fraser University, more than 100 scientists from around the world have genetically mapped the largest and most varied number of human genomes to date.

The scientists, including SFU doctoral students Iman Hajirasouliha and Fereydoun Hormozdiari (recently graduated), sequenced and analyzed a pool of 1092 human genomes. Hormozdiari is now pursuing postdoctoral studies at the University of Washington.

The scientists sequenced the genomes of individuals from 14 different populations (five from Europe; three from Africa; three from East Asia; three from the Americas). The researchers used computational tools developed in Cenk Sahinalp's lab to discover many variants in those genomes. Sahinalp, who is Hajirasouliha's and Hormozdiari's doctoral supervisor, is a professor in SFU's School of Computing Science.

In the largest previous study, which also involved Hajirasouliha and Hormozdiari in Sahinalp's lab, scientists sequenced the genomes of 185 people selected from an original pool of 1,000 human genomes.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 04:07:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/quebec-canada/national/201211/04/01-4590267-triste-exploit-en-voil ier-dans-le-grand-nord.php

Man sails through North-West passage in small sailboat.  It used to be that icebreakers couldn't make that trip.

by stevesim on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 04:49:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Gore is fat.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 04:52:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing personal, but I really hate that statement.

I apologize in advance for any insult you might feel from that statement, but I am hoping to plant a seed here, so please be indulgent with me for a few minutes.

I have a friend who is running a carbon credit trading house, and he gets over 1,000 emails a day from companies and people who are trying to improve the problem.

He only has time to answer 200 a day due to time constraints.  

He also makes a good living at it.

Why don't we get involved?  There are people here who have finance experience and some engineers.  Some people are located where there are high unemployment rates and such a endeavour would really help the local economy.

by stevesim on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 05:19:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
this guy won the prize of best entrepreneur at the World Economic Forum which was held in China this summer.
by stevesim on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 05:22:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The statement has become a site-specific shorthand to express our exasperation with climate denialists who trivialise each and every manifestation of the effects of global warming.

It comes from an early attempt to dismiss Al gore's early interest in the situation by saying he was overweight and, therefore, not worthy of being heard.

It's sarcasm about denialists, not supporting them

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 06:19:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I realise all of that.  I also think it's facile.
by stevesim on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 06:39:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I spent maybe two years supporting (very tangentially) a carbon derivatives business as one of a dozen different things I had to give support to. The whole thing is a sham, and the way the EU has run its carbon trading scheme is laughably incompetent.

Some people are located where there are high unemployment rates and such a endeavour would really help the local economy.

What kind of endeavour? Carbon trading? Or some endeavour that is only made profitable through the momentary value of carbon credits?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 06:44:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Really?  because I see really good results due to  my friend's efforts.  He concentrates on Indonesia but has projects all over the world.

Major improvements in emissions in power plants, for example.

Can you tell me how you think the EU's efforts are a sham?

I, personally, think the EU is the most corrupt institution on Earth, but I don't think that everything they do is doomed to failure.  Besides, one does not have to be involved with them in order to work in this domain.

by stevesim on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 06:50:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Remember, I used to work on the Schengen II Project and was spied osn by my boss?  He installed spy software on my computer.

That software project is already 3 years behind schedule and should only have lasted 6 months, if you look at the complexity of the technology.

that doesn't mean that there is no need for a Schengen II project....

by stevesim on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 06:56:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole carbon derivatives market was based on the price difference between CER (Certificate of Emission Reduction - issued by a UN agency per Kyoto) and EUA (EU Allowances). That price spread was a regulatory minefield. With the failure of the Copenhagen climate change conference I don't hold much hopes that CER will continue to exist in the long term. As to EUA... the price fluctuated wildly because the EU grossly mismanaged the quotas, partly due to very strong political pressure from the member states on behalf of their carbon-emitting heavy industries. But also the market was destroyed by mismanagement of EUA registries which the EU member states just had to keep national. EUA/CER derivatives would - I guess - usually be part of some project finance structure or other.

There was a price spread because CER could be used to meet EU emission certificate requirements, but only to a limited extent, so an EUA was worth more than a CER.

Like I said, my involvement was very tangential and I don't doubt there may be lots of interest from finance directors of energy companies in milking the EUA/CER system for maximum short-term profit. Actual economic or environmental benefit was a lot harder to glean form my (disad)vantage point.

Eventually the EUA/CER derivatives line of business was terminated, it was probably costing too much capital and subject to too much regulatory risk to be worth the profit margins.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 07:09:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are problems with the model, that is certain.  I know that many countries in the EU have so many credits that the price is collapsing, but I have also heard that they are working on trying to correct the problem.

In the meantime, my friend assures me that the system is viable.  I think this deserves to be investigated by those here.  Many people have the knowledge and skills required to get this off the ground.

I would rather be a person who lights a candle than just curses the darkness.  And that is why I hate it when someone says "Al Gore is fat".  

by stevesim on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 07:20:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also -maybe it's been fixed since, but I don't know of it- CER seemed far too easy to game.

Many plants in China were set up poorly in the expectation of getting CER when properly managed, which they would have been from the start absent the hope of selling the CER.

Also, there is NO way that we are going to achieve much by offsetting emissions. We need to bring them to nearly 0. China or the US alone emit more than can be accomodated. So it may be a good business, but it doesn't mean it's an environmental achievement.

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 5th, 2012 at 02:14:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also -maybe it's been fixed since, but I don't know of it- CER seemed far too easy to game.
That's what I was hinting at with
I don't doubt there may be lots of interest from finance directors of energy companies in milking the EUA/CER system for maximum short-term profit.
You can get better bang for your buck as a European investor building in Indonesia what would be a substandard plant in Europe, but because it counts as an emission reduction for Indonesia you get the CERs, and then you can play games with the EUA/CER spread.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 02:41:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The fundamental problem with Europe's carbon-credits scheme is that it's market-based.  An EU credit for a ton of carbon currently trades at €8.07, and the international equivalent (CER) at a ridiculous €1.08. Both need to be over €20 to do any substantial good. The price has collapsed because industrial output has declined with the crisis, and nobody has the courage to make a political decision to take credits off the market.

The result is that companies who have invested in carbon reduction technologies based on producing CER credits are going broke. How your friend continues making money in these circumstances is a mystery to me.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 07:32:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it was last spring that the Greens wanted to scrap credits here considering Sweden has more then is needed. No way, said the government that wants to sell them abroad.

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 Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 07:42:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They have never been above €20. Typical prices in 2010-11 were in the range of €16 for EUA and €13 for CER (all prices, per tonne).

Maybe the ECB could be a market-maket in the carbon market. Bid up the prices of both up to 20+

When I was involved in that support work I talked about, I considered news such as there to be indicators of severe regulatory risk: EU Considered 30 Euro Floor for Carbon From 2013, CMIA Says (Oct 11, 2011)

The European Commission considered installing a floor price in its carbon market for the third phase from 2013 to 2020 to spur clean investment, said the Carbon Markets & Investors Association.

...

Carbon has dropped 26 percent this year, falling as low as 9.82 euros a metric ton on Oct. 4, the cheapest for more than two years. Austin didn't say why the EU didn't implement the price floor. EU lawmakers should consider tightening the region's carbon cap to a 30 percent cut on 1990 levels by 2020 instead of the current 20 percent target because the economic recession has made it cheap to do so, he said.

The U.K. committee is exploring ways of co-operating with other nations to achieve a "fair deal" on climate protection and whether the EU, which runs the world's biggest greenhouse gas market by traded volume, can sustain a credible carbon price without a global climate agreement, according to the parliament's website.



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 08:56:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At a minimum, the linkage to the UN CER market has to be broken, urgently, because that market is dead. Then the surplus needs to be mopped up. Then, perhaps the price can get on track. But this means overcoming opposition from Poland and other central european countries, which see free/very cheap carbon permits as essential to their economic growth. They will presumably need to be bought off.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 09:10:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the linkage to the UN CER market has to be broken, urgently, because that market is dead

And yet stevesim's friend works in Indonesia, which presumably means his clients set up plants in Indonesia and collect CERs which can then be used in place of EUAs at a certain rate, potentially pocketing the €7/ton EUA/CER spread. If you sever the link between EUA and CER you presumably kill the award-winning entrepreneurship of stevesim's friend.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 09:46:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Energy giants promote gas and renewables 'ideal partnership' | EurActiv

A new corporate coalition which says it will advance a low-carbon energy policy for Europe launched in Brussels last week.

The coalition unites energy majors which so far include Alpine Energie, DONG Energy, First Solar, GE Energy, and Shell - all big investors in gas and renewable projects, who have taken strong positions supporting EU climate action.

Executives from these firms stressed "the ideal partnership of gas-fired and renewable portfolios" at the launch event on 31 October, although the issue is contested in policy circles.

"We tried to bring together a broad alliance of companies covering both renewables and the gas-fired power sector," said Jörg Gmeinbauer, the director of Alpine Energie.

"Our main aim is a systems-based approach to regulation, trying to come up with integrated solutions for the energy system as an integrated whole," he told EurActiv.

While some environmentalists agree that gas has a role to play as a transition fuel, others fear it will rather end up as a destination, crowding out investment in renewables and locking fossil fuels into the energy mix for decades to come, through new builds.

I suggest that the EU needs regulations to separate renewables generation companies from gas generation companies, because their interests are antagonistic. Any policies which are good for both should be treated with the utmost suspicion.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 07:39:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 02:39:32 PM EST
Understand -- Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang -- Free eBooks online Reading
Playing with the doctors is becoming more and more tedious as the weeks go by. They treat me as if I were simply an idiot savant: a patient who exhibits certain signs of high intelligence, but still just a patient. As far as the neurologists are concerned, I'm just a source of PET scan images and an occasional vial of cerebrospinal fluid. The psychologists have the opportunity to gain some insight into my thinking through their interviews, but they can't shed their preconception of me as someone out of his depth, an ordinary man awarded gifts that he can't appreciate.
On the contrary, the doctors are the ones who don't appreciate what's happening. They're certain that real-world performance can't be enhanced by a drug, and that my ability exists only according to the artificial yardstick of intelligence tests, so they waste their time with those. But the yardstick is not only contrived, it's too short: my consistently perfect scores don't tell them anything, because they have no basis for comparison this far out on the bell curve.
Of course, the test scores merely capture a shadow of the real changes occurring. If only the doctors could feel what's going on in my head: how much I'm recognizing that I missed before, how many uses I can see for that information. Far from being a laboratory phenomenon, my intelligence is practical and effectual. With my near-total recall and my ability to correlate, I can assess a situation immediately, and choose the best course of action for my purposes; I'm never indecisive. Only theoretical topics pose a challenge.

* * *

No matter what I study, I can see patterns. I see the gestalt, the melody within the notes, in everything: mathematics and science, art and music, psychology and sociology. As I read the texts, I can think only that the authors are plodding along from one point to the next, groping for connections that they can't see. They're like a crowd of people unable to read music, peering at the score for a Bach sonata, trying to explain how one note leads to another.
As glorious as these patterns are, they also whet my appetite for more. There are other patterns waiting to be discovered, gestalts of another scale entirely. With respect to those, I'm blind myself; all my sonatas are just isolated data points by comparison. I have no idea what form such gestalts might assume, but that'll come in time. I want to find them, and comprehend them. I want this more than anything I've ever wanted before.


"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 12:00:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Somewhat inspired by "Flowers for Algernon"

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 03:32:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]


"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 12:17:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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