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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 13 December

by dvx Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 04:33:55 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1784 - death of Samuel Johnson, English writer and lexicographer (b. 1709)

More here and here

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

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 01:57:50 PM EST
Is Putin's corruption fight just for show? | Europe | DW.DE | 12.12.2012

In attacking corruption on all levels of Russian government, Putin is fulfilling an old promise in dramatic fashion. Criminal trials and billions of roubles are on the line. Half of Russia worries he has other motives.

When Vladmir Putin delivers his yearly speech to the nation from the Kremlin on Wednesday, December 12, one word will not be lacking: corruption. The Russian president appears to have declared open war on the deeply entrenched problem in Russia.

"It's not a campaign, but a systematic extermination of corruption," Putin said at a meeting with close advisers in Moscow this week. In a television interview, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev spoke of "the beginning of a very difficult task." He added that the timing of the ever-more explosive corruption investigations is no accident. Since Putin first took office 12 years ago corruption has worsened

For weeks, investigations of senior Russian officials have been making headlines throughout Russia. The most prominent casualty at this point has been the long-reigning defense minister from Putin's former cabinet, Anatoli Serdjukov; he was forced to step down in October. Authorities involved in the investigations have also accused a ministry organization of embezzling 3 billion roubles, or 75 million euros (US $97 million). Further billions have also disappeared into the dark channels of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Roscomos, the Russian Federal Space Agency.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:09:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Putin warns of foreign meddling in Russia - Europe - Al Jazeera English

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has warned against foreign meddling in Russian politics and criticised opposition politicians of being in the pay of foreign interests.

"Direct or indirect meddling in our internal political process is unacceptable," Putin said in his annual state of the nation address on Wednesday.

Putin, who last year accused the United States of encouraging opposition protests and claimed foreign governments spend money to seek to influence elections, said Russians receiving money from abroad should be barred from politics.

"A politician who receives money from beyond the borders of the Russian Federation cannot be a politician on its territory," added Putin.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:30:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More UK aid channelled via investment funds in tax haven of Mauritius | Global development | The Guardian

Britain's aid budget for Africa is increasingly being channelled through public-private investment funds based in the offshore tax haven of Mauritius, despite David Cameron's recent commitment to tax justice for poor countries.

The Department for International Development (DfID) has sponsored a network of offshore investment funds and trusts in Mauritius for aid spending on infrastructure and agribusiness projects in Africa. The African island is known for its secrecy, negligible corporate tax rates, and for being a favoured conduit for wealthy individuals and multinationals wishing to avoid tax on African and Asian profits.

The extent of the offshoring and privatisation of the aid budget is revealed in a critical report published by the campaign group War on Want this week.

A key plank of DfID policy is to use British aid to create equity funds for Africa that leverage in further private investment. In part the department's policy dates back to Tony Blair's government, but under coalition ministers there is a perceived ideological shift to giving partnership with the private sector greater priority and increased funding.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:09:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany frets about troops on Turkish border | Middle East | DW.DE | 11.12.2012

Defensive missiles will help Turkey defend itself from Syrian attack. Yet Germans worry about the potential for escalation, as well as the security of their 400 troops on the ground.

"It's a purely defensive deployment," said German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle recently in an effort to dispel any suspicions that German troops might see active engagement in the Syrian civil war. The single military deterrent that Germany is prepared to use are the Patriot air defense missiles. These missiles will share the 900-kilometer (560-mile) border between Turkey and Syria.

It's a border that has seen unrest for many months, and the plan is to better defend it - but only defend it. "Germany is in no way involved in any plans that entail intervention," Westerwelle said.

The installation of the surface-to-air missiles is planned for the beginning of 2013. Yet the process began early in summer. In June, Syrian forces shot down a Turkish military plane, prompting the Turkish government in Ankara to immediately call on NATO partners to meet in consultation. When territorial integrity or security is threatened, every NATO member has the right to invoke a special session.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:09:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gay marriage row: Ukip plans to derail David Cameron | Society | The Guardian

The Conservatives' turmoil over David Cameron's plans for gay marriage has been compounded after Ukip pledged to exploit their divisions and go after the votes of Tories who abandon the party over the issue.

Amid signs that Conservative associations are losing members in their droves over what is being dubbed the prime minister's "clause IV moment", the Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, warned that gay marriage could "rip apart" the Conservative party. He plans to put the issue at the heart of Ukip's campaign for the 2014 European parliamentary elections.

The government set out its plans on Tuesday to introduce gay marriage by 2014. It also tried to appease more than 100 Tory MPs planning to vote against the legislation by outlining a new "quadruple lock" that will make it illegal for gay marriage ceremonies to be conducted by the churches of England and Wales.

Other religious organisations will be able to "opt in" to holding the ceremonies.

The law will also state that no one can be prosecuted for preaching the belief that marriage can be between a man and a woman only.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:10:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Woo-hoo!

Gay marriage row: Ukip plans to derail David Cameron | Society | The Guardian

In a statement to MPs, the culture secretary and equalities minister, Maria Miller, said: "Because the churches of England and Wales have explicitly stated that they do not wish to conduct same-sex marriage, the legislation will explicitly state that it would be illegal for the churches of England and Wales to marry same-sex couples. That provision recognises and protects the unique and established nature of those churches."

The concession from Miller failed to win over the Church of England and many Tory MPs, including four ministerial aides and the former cabinet minister Cheryl Gillan, who stood up to denounce the plans. Andrew Selous, parliamentary private secretary to the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, said: "This legislation will mark a significant moment as this country will be passing a law that is directly contrary to what Jesus said about marriage in Mark chapter 10 and Matthew chapter 19."

Let's see : the hierarchy of the (established) churches of England and Wales want to prevent the lower clergy from playing silly buggers (i.e. performing same sex marriages) so we'll make a law to help them.

Then we have a govt MP who apparently wants to roll the clock back four centuries (in Mark 10, Jesus is not arguing against gay marriage, he's arguing against divorce!)

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

by eurogreen on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 05:46:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where was that explicit statement? I thought that the CoE just barely rejected ordination of gay priests and bishops last month. Seems like it is perhaps an explicit statement of a position that is very soft and wavering...
by asdf on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 10:40:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This could be interesting as its undeniable that the backwoods tories are generally hostile to gay people and any sense that they might be treated decently. UKIP are being tactically astute in talking the issue up in order to damage the Tories party structure; it is very likely that they will lose members over this.

Whether it will be significant in terms of membershipI don't know, but it will certainly play well for UKIP at the next election in positioning themselves as the true guardians of conservative england.

Whatever, I'm looking forward to it

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 08:20:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are the UKIP very socially conservative or are they just throwing red meat to a segment of the tories they might be able to capture?

I had not got the impression that they cared so much about social conservatism.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 08:24:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
tbh I don't know. I think it comes with the territory of being a rabid conservative where social change is just as much a threat to their worldview as the British Empire surrendering to a load of foreign johnnies

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 12:27:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bonn train station bomb scare suspects freed | News | DW.DE | 11.12.2012

German police have freed two men who were taken into custody over a suspected attempt to set off a bomb at the main train station in Bonn. Authorities are still looking for a third man.

The Bonn prosecutor's office and the Cologne police department, which is leading the investigation, had confirmed the two arrests on Tuesday evening.

However, they told the DAPD news agency that neither of the men - who were later freed - was an actual suspect in the bombing.

Cologne police, though, have released a computer-generated composite picture of a suspect they are still looking for based on the description of a 14-year-old eyewitness. The picture shows a tall, thin, dark-skinned man between the ages of 30 and 35.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:10:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
David Cameron hints at change of heart in secret courts policy | Law | The Guardian

The government could be preparing to back down over whether judges or ministers should have the final say on legal evidence being heard in secret.

The justice and security bill proposes that ministers can order judges to hear sensitive evidence, such as that provided by security services, in "closed material proceedings" (CMPs) - the most controversial practical measure of the bill beyond the principle of using secret courts at all.

However, David Cameron said on Tuesday he believed judges rather than ministers should make the final decision - something the House of Lords has voted for in an amendment but which has not yet been accepted by ministers. "It will always be a judge who decides ... not ministers," the prime minister told the liaison committee, comprising all the MPs who chair Commons committees.

Pressed by Sir Alan Beith, the committee's chairman, as to whether he had accepted the Lords amendment, Cameron retreated, saying he did not want to make commitments on behalf of Kenneth Clarke, the cabinet minister without portfolio who is overseeing the bill.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:11:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Son of Anna Politkovskaya criticises murder trial deal for policeman | Media | guardian.co.uk

The son of the late Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya has criticised the deal agreed with a former police officer accused of involvement in her killing, saying it wouldn't help find out who ordered the murder.

Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, who is accused of helping track Politkovskaya's movements, is set to go on trial on Wednesday after reaching a deal with the authorities to assist investigators. A separate trial will be held for the suspected gunman, Rustam Makhmudov, and four others accused of involvement in the killing.

Politkovskaya, a sharp critic of the Kremlin and its policies in Chechnya, was shot dead in the lift of her Moscow block of flats on 7 October 2006. Investigators have failed to determine who ordered the hit.

The journalist's son, Ilya Politkovsky, said Pavlyuchenkov's deal would put him on a fast track, with the authorities waiving questioning of the necessary witnesses. He would also qualify for a reduced sentence.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:11:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Berlusconi Offers to Withdraw His Candidacy If Monti Runs - Bloomberg

Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi offered to drop his plans to run for premier on the condition that Italian Premier Mario Monti agrees to enter the election campaign and lead a coalition of "moderates."

"If Monti decides to accept the request of the whole moderate bloc" and run as the candidate for premiership, "I would not have any problem in withdrawing my candidacy for prime minister and could accept to be the coordinator of the coalition," he said at a press conference in Rome.

Berlusconi's new position comes less than a week after announcing he would run and after his party withdrew its yearlong support for the Monti government. The moves prompted Monti to announce his plan to resign, sending Italian bond yields soaring and sparking a backlash from his critics and even some of his own supporters and allies.

The announcement adds pressure on Monti to enter the race. There is already a group of parties that are running on pro- Monti platforms and encouraging the premier, who heads an unelected government on non-politicians, to seek another term.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:18:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's probably better to adopt a wait and see attitude. At the moment his self-candidacy has thrown the right wing into chaos. There are many groups and individuals that consider him detrimental to the right's cause-- as well as electoral chances.

The crucial problem is that elections will be held with the Berlusconi electoral law which imposes majoritarian coalitions. Since the Lega Nord has categorically refused to ally themselves with Berlusconi, it seems more a reason to step back from his ambitions. The only thing he seems to have at the moment is the remnants of his party from which so many have defected. His charme could only put together a ragged coalition of opportunists each with his own price tag.

Berlusconi has destroyed the Italian Right with the Right's active participation. The Italian Right should take a hard look at its demagogy, irresponsiblity and compulsion to rely on macho saviors, whether cool or tough. At this point Berlusconi is their problem and a walk in the wilderness would do them some good.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 04:52:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
monti's favourite likely ally is Montezemmolo, the capo of ferrarri, or have i read this wrong?

would you call Monti centre-right as a politician?

or is he still deciding where on the continuum to enter the fray?

is the rush to election so as to stop the porcellum law being changed, so grillo's chances are lowered?

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 05:32:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From yesterday's Eurointelligence: Monti's political options (11.12.2012)
Yesterday's discussions, were, however, dominated by events in Italy. The Financial Times reports this morning that Monti is considering a run in Italian general election as the candidate of a centrist party formed by Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Ferrari's chairman, and Pierferdinando Casini, leader of Unione di Centro catholic party. We have reported on Montezelmolo's preparations for a pro-Monti movement previously. Montezemolo and Casini regard Monti as natural candidate of a centrist movement, in clear opposition to the new, more aggressive, and more right-wing Silvio Berlusconi. According to polls, the new centrist party could reach over 20% with Monti as a frontrunner. Monti will make up his mind within a week, the article says.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 05:44:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Montezemolo would certainly like Monti on his coalition but I doubt the reverse.

With the confusion of tongues it's hard to categorize him on the political scale since he represents a broad spectrum coalition at the moment. He comes off as a European neo-liberal, something vaguely left of Thatcher-Reagan as most socialist parties are in Europe now a days. In politics and his many institutional roles he's been a gun for hire. Privately, I suppose he's center- center-left, whatever that now means.

Alfano's attack on the coalition, coupled with Berlusconi's candidacy, were done to block all legislative reforms currrently under discussion, among which the porcellum electoral law.

Berlusconi would very much like to see Grillo succeed, not because it will drain votes from both major coalitions but because it would make it difficult for the center left to govern after the elections.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 06:01:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Beppe Grillo's Blog
Get ready to vote, to vote! At first they were talking about March, and then they lost all sense of shame and said February. For the first time, Italy will be voting early without the current government losing a confidence vote in Parliament and it'll be in the snow, as in the book called "Centomila Gavette di Ghiaccio" {a hundred thousand frozen mess tins} just as though we were at war. Thus for the M5S, the time frame to collect signatures becomes almost impossible. Very very few weeks to collect tens of thousands of signatures. It's not an issue for the parties. As they are already in Parliament, they don't need to authenticate even one signature and the lists of candidates can be done, as always at a desk in a couple of hours between a sip of Marsala wine and a coffee. Never mind about democracy. I'm not giving up, but I need all the help possible to organise "Signature Days" throughout Italy for the next two weekends. We have the duty to try. If then we don't succeed and we don't get into Parliament, it'll be the responsibility of the parties, and of the Government, and of the institutions. They will have to accept the responsibility of having taken a surprise action to prevent M5S's participation and of causing the parliamentary election to be delegitimised with an abstention rate of more than 60%. See you in Parliament, either inside or outside. It'll be a pleasure.


"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 06:05:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A bill has been introduced to reduce the number of signatures to a quarter of those necessary.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 05:12:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Monti categorically refused to have anything to do with Berlusconi last night. He declared,

"È curioso questo modo di sostenere una persona togliendo contemporaneamente la fiducia al suo governo".

It's curious this manner of backing a person while at the same time withdrawing support for that person's government."

It seems Merkel has refused to attend the PPE meeting if Berlusconi is present. It was Kohl who allowed Berlusconi's personal political entity to enter the PPE. It would do her honour to kick that entity out of the PPE. Berlusconi belongs with Orban whom he actively helped to win the Hungarian elections.

At present it appears that Monti is meditating running although he would have the same problems as Grillo-- getting the required signatures to participate in a very brief time. He would certainly adopt a centrist position which would all but destroy Berlusconi's personal political entity in the elections.

We would then see a balance between the center left and the center with the Right as an exiguous minority, all the more so if B runs-- and he will likely have to run alone.

We would then have a Bersani-Monti government to the delight of the Church- their holdings, rents and postures would be saved.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 02:33:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spiegel: Report Blasts Berlin's Inaction on Sinti, Roma and Racism (12/12/12)
On October 24, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stood under Berlin's gray skies to inaugurate the long-delayed memorial to the some 500,000 Sinti and Roma murdered by the Nazis in the Porajmos, as European gypsies call the Holocaust. In her speech, Merkel noted that "far too little attention has been paid for far too long" to their wartime suffering. And, in a time when Sinti and Roma continue to be targets of right-wing attacks and even official oppression in Europe, she added that: "It is a German and a European task to support (Sinti and Roma) wherever they live, no matter what country."

...

On Wednesday, members of the Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid Committee of the Bundestag, the German parliament, will be presented with a report describing what has been done on this front. The answer: not much. The report finds that antiziganism, a term denoting racism toward the Sinti and Roma, is widespread in Germany -- and that Berlin is doing nothing to counter it.

...

The study found that Sinti and Roma suffer discrimination in number of areas, such as when they are looking for apartments, in the workplace and in government agencies. It also cited an increase in negative media coverage of immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria in recent months. Markus End, a political scientist and author of the RomnoKher study, says that the media made frequent use of "gypsy" stereotypes. "The government pretends like there isn't any racism against Sinti and Roma in Germany," he says.



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 05:47:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
@MigeruBlogger
Migeru Shimbun is out! http://paper.li/MigeruBlogger/1351816577 ...


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 06:59:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Morning Newsbriefing: A banking union for 150 out of 6000 banks (13.12.2012)
European finance ministers agreed the supervisory structure of a banking union early this morning; under the agreement, the ECB will supervise banks with asset values of over €30bn or 20% of their home country's GDP; there are conflicting reports about the rule of engagement about how and whether the ECB can usurp control from national regulators over smaller banks; the governance structure will consist of a supervisory body, a steering committee, and the ECB's governing council; the agreement is expected to finalised by February/March 2013, and the new SSM will start to become operational in March 2014; voting at EBA will be on the basis of a double majority - one inside the banking union, one outside; there will be no direct bank recapitalisation by the ESM until at least 2014; the agreement would complete stage 1 of a three-stage process towards banking union; the EU summit today will focus on broader issues of economic policy co-ordination, but there will be no discussion on a creating a joint fiscal capacity; Silvio Berlusconi gives Mario Monti a poisoned chalice by offering him the leadership of a centre-right coalition; Berlusconi left everyone confused as he publically rotated through all combinatorial options; Monti is expected to clarify his position by the end of the week; Mariano Rajoy is worried about the impact of Berlusconi's return on Spain's position; Italy's housing and mortgage market has collapsed as the recession bites; but there is some good news from the tourism industry; Guido Gentili says Italy has a straight choice between the usual political mush or addressing the issues that are facing the country head-on; Catalonia is likely to have a vote on independence in 2014, along with an austerity budget; EU Commission, ECB and IMF meet to finalise the payment of the next Greek tranche; the total EU/IMF aid is to be disbursed in four tranches between now and March; the shortfall from the bond buy-back may be bridged through a buyback scheme targeted specifically at the holdouts; the Greek finance minister is to present the tax bill to the troika for approval, while there is more political infighting in Greece; Yanis Varoufakis, meanwhile, has done the math on the Greek bond buy-back, and finds that it actually increases the country's total net debt.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 04:00:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here are the cornerstones of what happened last night:
  • The ECB will be the regulator of banks with assets of more than €30bn, or banks constituting at least one fifth of their home country's GDP. The thresholds were chosen to include the three biggest banks in each country. The estimates last night range from a total number of 150 to 200 banks in the eurozone.
  • The ECB can intervene in smaller banks (under a procedure that has yet to be made known, or yet to be worked out)
  • The governance structure will consist of a separate supervisory body, the ECB governing council as final arbiter, and a steering committee to solve disagreement.
  • Agreement to be finalised in February 2013 - as this requires support from the European Parliament. The Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) kicks in March 2014.
  • The EBA will continue to be in charge of harmonising rules at EU-level, and there will be safeguards for the non-eurozone members through a double majority - one inside the banking union, one outside.
  • No direct bank recapitalisation by the ESM until at least 2014

These are some of the questions we still have:

  • Is the €30bn a fixed nominal sum, will it get adjusted over time?
  • Will banks automatically switch regime once they exceed the total? How and when this is determined?
  • Does the threshold include off-balance sheet vehicles? If No, then the arrangement would give banks an incentive to circumvent the rule;
  • Can the ECB decide whether to usurp authority over a smaller bank on its own, or does it need approval of any other body?
  • Do banks have legal redress to such a decision under national law?
  • Can the SSM give, and enforce, instructions to national supervisors?
  • Does the SSM have full access to all information held by national supervisors?

(At the first sight, the €30bn threshold - if upheld in nominal terms - would capture not only large banks, but also medium-sized banks that expand their balance during a boom. For example, the German IKB, one of the first banks to hit trouble during the crisis, would have passed that threshold, and fallen under ECB supervision. On the other hand, one of Germany's dodgiest banks, the Sparkasse of Cologne and Bonn, has total assets of €29.6bn, and falls just under threshold. The problem with thresholds is that banks can, and do, take evasive action.)


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 04:01:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
30bn may not be a low enough threshold, but if the outcome of a threshold is that banks try to stay smaller, then it might be a good thing...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 06:10:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At Minsky events, the figure of $50bn is regularly thrown around as the range beyond which economies of scale for banks are exhausted.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 07:13:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 01:58:07 PM EST
Deutsche Bank CEO Fitschen in focus of tax fraud probe | Business News | DW.DE | 12.12.2012

Police have raided Deutsche Bank offices in several cities in search of evidence of tax fraud and money laundering related to EU carbon emissions trade. One of the bank's two chief executives is now under investigation.

Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Jürgen Fitschen and Chief Finance Officer Stefan Krause were part of an investigation for tax fraud and money laundering, Deutsche Bank said Wednesday.

The two senior officials had moved into the focus of German prosecutors because they had signed the Deutsche Bank's tax declaration in 2009, the bank said in a statement. In 2009, Deutsche Bank staff had allegedly taken part in tax fraud in connection with the EU's trade in carbon emissions certificates.

However, Deutsche Bank noted that the tax declaration was amended in a timely way, adding that prosecutors apparently did not share this view.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:10:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bleak day for British banking as Libor arrests follow record fine for HSBC | Business | The Guardian

The reputation of Britain's banking industry took a fresh battering when HSBC was slapped with a record $1.9bn (£1.2bn) fine by US regulators for money laundering and sanctions busting, the first arrests were made in the Libor-rigging investigation, and nationalised Northern Rock handed the taxpayer a £270m bill to compensate customers affected by a mistake in its paperwork.

The US department of justice (DoJ) detailed how HSBC, Britain's biggest bank, allowed drug traffickers to launder billions of dollars in the US and billions more to be moved across borders to countries facing sanctions, such as Burma, Cuba and Libya.

The department spared HSBC a criminal prosecution only because it considered the bank too big to prosecute. Listing a catalogue of mistakes by HSBC over almost a decade, the DoJ admitted that "collateral consequences" were a factor in its decision not to pursue criminal charges. Those consequences, it said, could have included a ban on doing business in the US, resulting in huge job losses.

The fine being paid by HSBC, and a five-year deferred prosecution agreement which will keep the bank under intense scrutiny and restrict top executive bonuses, was even larger than the £940m HSBC had warned it might face to settle the allegations in July.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:10:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me guess how this will pan out;-

The companies be fined.
Nobody will go to jail.
The fines will be paid via higher bank charges for customers.
Larger bonuses will be paid to the guilty

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 08:23:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fed links rates to US unemployment - FT.com

The US Federal Reserve will keep interest rates at close to zero until unemployment falls below 6.5 per cent in a historic change to monetary policy.

It is the first time a large central bank has ever tied its interest rate policy directly to the state of the economy. The Fed said it will continue to forecast low rates provided its inflation expectations do not rise above 2.5 per cent.

The Fed also beefed up its third round of quantitative easing to $85bn a month - adding $45bn of Treasury purchases to its commitment to buy $40bn of mortgage-backed securities each month - and said it will keep buying until there is a substantial improvement in the labour market.

The changes mark an all-out effort to revive the stuttering economic recovery. They also signal that the central bank remains concerned about the "fiscal cliff" of tax rises and spending cuts that could be triggered next month, and has taken little heart from improved data on the housing market.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:19:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germans give ground on banking union - FT.com

Germany on Wednesday evening agreed to lay the foundations for a eurozone banking union but warned that creating a common bank supervisor must not raise "very dangerous" expectations of Berlin helping to bail out foreign banks.

In a pivotal move that is likely to clear the way for the European Central Bank to take oversight of the euro area's biggest financial institutions from national supervisors, Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister, said he was willing to compromise on some of his longstanding objections to the scheme.

But Mr Schäuble told an emergency meeting of finance ministers that one of the key purposes of the reform - allowing common resources in the eurozone's €500bn rescue fund to be injected directly into ailing banks - is out of the question until well into 2014.

"We are ready to get a final decision at least before Christmas," said Mr Schäuble. But he added: "Again and again we have created expectations we cannot fulfil and that is very dangerous. We should be modest."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:19:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe deepens union with ECB as chief bank watchdog | Reuters

(Reuters) - Europe clinched a deal on Thursday to give the European Central Bank new powers to supervise euro zone banks from 2014, embarking on the first step in a new phase of closer integration to help underpin the euro.

After more than 14 hours of talks and following months of tortuous negotiations, finance ministers from the European Union's 27 countries agreed to hand the ECB the authority to directly police at least 150 of the euro zone's biggest banks and intervene in smaller banks at the first sign of trouble.

"This is a big first step for banking union," EU Commissioner Michel Barnier told a news conference. "The ECB will play the pivotal role, there's no ambiguity about that."

The euro rose to a session high in Tokyo of 1.3080 against the U.S. dollar on news of the deal.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 02:18:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Eurozone agrees ECB banking supervision rules

European finance ministers have reached a deal on rules for supervising eurozone banks ahead of an EU summit.

Two hundred of the biggest banks will come under the direct oversight of the European Central Bank, which will act as chief supervisor of eurozone banks.

The agreement - a key step towards banking union - will be put before European leaders later on Thursday.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 02:19:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany to supervise everyone else.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 02:23:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The German federal project for Europe.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 02:59:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"If you get them by the banks their hearts and minds will follow."

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 03:05:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wealthy Prepare for First Increase Since 1993: Taxes - Bloomberg

Taxes will rise for wealthy Americans next year. It's still a question of how much.

U.S. income tax rates for top earners and investors will go up for the first time since 1993. They will see levies rise on unearned income and wages starting Jan. 1 to finance the 2010 law that sought to expand health-care coverage. President Barack Obama wants higher taxes on their compensation, capital gains, dividends and estates to reduce the deficit, proposing to raise the top marginal rate to as much as 43.4 percent on some income from 35 percent.

Lawmakers in both political parties have called for an overhaul of the U.S. tax code, which also could curtail tax breaks for home mortgage interest, municipal bonds, charitable contributions and retirement savings used by wealthy people.

"The prevailing emotion for our clients is frustration with the current situation with regards to taxes," said Leo Kelly, managing director and partner at HighTower Advisors' Kelly Wealth Management. "They really feel like they're being held hostage because they can't get information to make an intelligent decision."

Investors and high earners have less than three weeks before the end of the year to make financial moves, such as selling assets or giving money to heirs, and lack certainty about tax laws, said Kelly, whose Hunt Valley, Maryland-based firm typically serves clients with at least $5 million in investable assets.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:20:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boohoo, it gets so hard to minimize taxes through consultants if we don't know the exact ways to cheat! Boo fricking hoo.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 07:01:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is one of the things that is going to cause trouble for the Tea Party. Rich people and corporations like low tax rates, but their accountants like stability even more. It's hard to manipulate a system that changes out from underneath you.

That was why corporations came around on the discrimination laws. While they would prefer to hire "their own sort," if the law says that everybody has to hire some disadvantaged class, it's better to get it on record and stable so they can plan for it.

by asdf on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 10:46:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
UK unemployment falls as private sector jobs hit all-time high | Business | The Guardian

Unemployment in Britain recorded its sharpest quarterly drop in more than a decade in the late summer and early autumn as strong jobs growth by private companies more than offset labour shedding in the public sector.

Despite signs that the economy has failed to maintain its rapid pace of growth in the summer, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the number of joblessfell by 86,000 to 2.51 million in the three months to October.

But with the latest official data again showing that earnings had failed to keep pace with inflation, the Bank of England's chief economist, Spencer Dale, said workers were much worse off than they were before the financial crisis began five years ago.

The ONS reported that employment was 499,000 higher in the three months to October 2012 than it had been in the same period a year earlier to stand at 29.6 million - its highest ever level.

But the ONS said average earnings excluding bonuses were rising at an annual rate of 1.7% - well below the current inflation rate of 2.7%.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:29:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that means more people now in very low paid and part time jobs but still dependent upon the benefits Osborne is determined to cut in order to make ends meet.

what there is not is general prosperity, which is now strictly reserved for the 1%

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 08:25:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Former FSA boss Hector Sants joins Barclays as head of compliance | Business | The Guardian

The former chief City watchdog is joining Barclays bank in a newly created role to overhaul the bank's compliance procedures in the wake of the Libor interest rate-rigging scandal and rebuild its battered relationship with financial regulators.

Hector Sants will join the bank in January as head of compliance, government and regulatory relations after his six months gardening leave from the City watchdog ends. He will then be responsible for the embattled bank's relationship with regulators and a department staffed by around 1,300 compliance officers.

Despite his seniority in the past, Sants will not have a seat on the board and is joining a bank that his successor at the FSA, Andrew Bailey, said had a "culture of gaming" .

Sants left the FSA in June just days before the announcement of the £290m fine for Libor rigging that led Barclays' chairman Marcus Agius, chief executive Bob Diamond and chief operating officer Jerry del Missier to leave.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:29:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
dvx:
a bank that his successor at the FSA, Andrew Bailey, said had a "culture of gaming" .

cute euphemism! putting the 'bl' back in the centre of the word would be, um, indecorous.

bit like calling greedy cannibals 'modest carnivores'...

'gaming', the sport of kings, a mild dalliance with the odds-makers, a spot of whist and a sherry.

.... and crashing the global economy.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 05:45:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]

3' to 23' in the video.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 06:09:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iceland's Hörður Torfason - How to Beat the Banksters - Waking Times : Waking Times

So how does a revolution like this take root and activate a citizenry to effectively respond to grand scale economic theft by bankers and politicians?

Hörður Torfason, a lifelong activist from Iceland, is credited with organizing the Icelandic `Kitchenware Revolution', beginning with a simple vigil in front of parliament aimed at educating passersby and ridiculing the blatant crimes of the elite who worked there. When the foreign financial community (the IMF and the European Union) pressured Iceland's Parliament to pass laws dictating repayment of debts privately incurred by bankers, the revolution was formally ignited and nearly turned violent when some Icelanders began throwing rocks at the capital, attempting to pressure the government for redress.

Torfason and his supporters knew that a non-violent approach would be more effective, and formed a "human wall" of clearly marked orange-vested citizens between angry rock-throwers and the police line. Torfason believed that in order for a movement to be effective, one must use reason and information, as well as peaceful demonstrations, to send a strong message to politicians that the people refuse to pay the bankers' debts.

The end result of the peaceful resistance to economic tyranny is a model for all Western nations who are currently being gutted by a totally corrupt banking system



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 09:41:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's worth noting that as with Gandhi and MLK, moderates get more leverage when contrasted with extremists. Without the extremists, one wonders if they would get so far.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 06:14:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 01:58:20 PM EST
US to formally recognise Syrian opposition | World news | guardian.co.uk

Barack Obama has said the US will formally recognise a Syrian opposition coalition as the de facto administration of regions under rebel control in a move that further saps the legitimacy of president Bashar al-Assad's rule.

The president's announcement, in an interview with ABC News, comes as Washington attempts to bolster support for rebel groups it regards as acceptable to western interests while attempting to isolate others.

Obama said the US has thrown its weight behind the coalition because he said it is open and representative enough to include various ethnic and religious groups.

"We've made a decision that the Syrian Opposition Coalition is now inclusive enough, is reflective and representative enough of the Syrian population, that we consider them the legitimate representative of the Syrian people in opposition to the Assad regime" he said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:30:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Several bomb explosions reported in Damascus - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

A car bomb and two other explosions have gone off at the main gate of the Syrian Interior Ministry in Damascus, state television has said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the broadcaster reported a car bomb near the Palace of Justice had killed at least one person.

Al Jazeera's Mohammed Vall, reporting from Beirut, said: "The so-called second battle for Damascus has been raging for a number of days now and we know that the rebels have been able to try and cut off the road between Damascus and the airport."

"Now, explosions are being heard in places where they never took place before."

Vall said that rebels were blaming the "fake explosions" on the government who were attempting to draw attention away from a meeting of the 'Friends of Syria' in Marrakesh.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:30:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
North Korea launches long-range rocket - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English

North Korea has launched a long-range rocket in defiance of critics who believe it is seeking to develop technology that will enable it to deliver a nuclear warhead.

The official Korean Central News Agency said Pyongyang had succeeded in its mission of placing a satellite in orbit.

"The launch of the second version of our Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite from the Sohae Space Centre... on December 12 was successful," KCNA said. "The satellite has entered the orbit as planned."

South Korea's Yonhap news agency also said the launch appeared to have been a success, with all three stages performing as planned.

"The rocket stages fell on areas in line with its earlier announcement and the launch appears to be successful," the agency quoted military officials as saying.

North American Aerospace Command (NORAD) officials in the US also confirmed the launch and that "an object" had achieved orbit following it.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:30:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Israel vows to withhold $400M in tax revenues from Palestinians over statehood drive - World News

JERUSALEM - Israel will withhold tax revenues from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' administration until March at least in response to his statehood campaign at the United Nations, Israel's foreign minister said. 

Under interim peace deals, Israel collects some $100 million a month in duties on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank -- money that is badly needed to pay public sector salaries. 

"The Palestinians can forget about getting even one cent in the coming four months, and in four months' time we will decide how to proceed," Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a speech Tuesday night. 

Israel says Abbas violated previous peace accords by sidestepping stalled negotiations and securing a Palestinian status upgrade in the United Nations last month. 

Debts for power, water



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:39:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Julian Assange confirms bid for Australian Senate | News.com.au

PLANS to set up an Australian WikiLeaks party are "significantly advanced", the whistleblowing organisation's most visible member says.

Julian Assange has told Australian media he intends to run for a Senate seat in the next election, adding that "a number of very worthy people admired by the Australian public" have expressed interest in standing for a yet-to-be registered Australian WikiLeaks party.

A draft party constitution has been prepared and is being subjected to legal review, Fairfax reports.

Party registration with the Australian Electoral Commission would require confirmation of at least 500 members listed on the electoral roll.

Mr Assange told Fairfax he had not yet registered to vote but believes he will be able to register in either NSW or Victoria as an overseas voter.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:39:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 01:58:36 PM EST
Carl Pope: 'Get Ready for More Climate Change-Induced Hurricanes' -- The Coal Industry

If you had any serious doubt that (whatever Arizona Governor Jan Brewer may pretend) all of the serious players in the climate wars actually understand and believe that climate change is real, man-made, and enormously serious, here's another data point to settle a restless mind.

The company that produces one-fifth of globally traded coal for steel making, the largest mining company on the planet, BHP-Billiton, announced a few days ago that it was making a major investment in replacing one of its coal export facilities in Queensland because the climate-induced increased frequency of hurricanes (called cyclones in Australia) made it necessary.

According to Marcus Randolph, who heads up coal operations for the conglomerate:

As we see more cyclone-related events... the vulnerability of one of these facilities to a cyclone is quite high. So we built a model saying this is how we see this impacting what the economics would be and used that with our board of directors to rebuild the facility to be more durable to climate change.

Randolph went on to deal with the awkward reality that the mining company is making a significant contribution to the very climate change it is now protecting itself against -- an investment which many of the ordinary citizens on coastlines all over the world, from the Maldives to Bangladesh to the New Jersey Shore -- are not able to afford for their own protection.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:38:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nomad isn't going to like this...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 06:19:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Poisoning the Well: How the Feds Let Industry Pollute the Nation's Underground Water Supply - ProPublica

Federal officials have given energy and mining companies permission to pollute aquifers in more than 1,500 places across the country, releasing toxic material into underground reservoirs that help supply more than half of the nation's drinking water.

In many cases, the Environmental Protection Agency has granted these so-called aquifer exemptions in Western states now stricken by drought and increasingly desperate for water.

EPA records show that portions of at least 100 drinking water aquifers have been written off because exemptions have allowed them to be used as dumping grounds.

"You are sacrificing these aquifers," said Mark Williams, a hydrologist at the University of Colorado and a member of a National Science Foundation team studying the effects of energy development on the environment. "By definition, you are putting pollution into them. ... If you are looking 50 to 100 years down the road, this is not a good way to go."

As part of an investigation into the threat to water supplies [1] from underground injection of waste, ProPublica set out to identify which aquifers have been polluted.

We found the EPA has not even kept track of exactly how many exemptions it has issued, where they are, or whom they might affect.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:38:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When they're run out of water they'll not doubt invade Canada and want some of the water going spare near Calgary....D'oh

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 08:29:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Malaysia seizes 1,500 elephant tusks headed for China | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Malaysian authorities have seized an enormous haul of 1,500 elephant tusks worth RM60m (£12m), weighing as much as all the illegally traded ivory seized globally last year and marking the country's largest ever haul.

The shipment was estimated at between 20 and 24 tonnes, and discovered in two shipping containers by the customs department on Monday at busy container terminal Port Klang, near Kuala Lampur. It was en route from Togo in west Africa to China, and had been transferred from one ship to another in Spain.

"The two containers were found to be filled with sawn timber. Inside the wood there were secret compartments that were filled with elephant tusks," said state customs director Azis Yaacub. It is the fourth such seizure in Malaysia this year.

It follows large seizures of ivory globally this year, such as 0.9 tonnes in New York in July, 1.5 tonnes in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in May, and two in Hong Kong this autumn - one of which broke records - totalling 5.1 tonnes. 2011 itself was a record year globally for ivory seizures, totalling 24 tonnes.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:40:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 01:58:51 PM EST
Rebekah Brooks took £10.8m compensation from News Corp | UK news | guardian.co.uk

Rebekah Brooks walked away with £10.8m from Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation as compensation after she resigned from her position as chief executive of News International at the height of the phone-hacking scandal, UK accounts published by News Corp show.

The total is higher than the £7m that Brooks, who also counted David Cameron and Tony Blair as friends, had previously been thought to have taken home and is far in excess of the £3.5m payout believed to have been given at the time of her departure from News International in July 2011.

Accounts for NI Group Ltd, the UK holding company for News Corp's Sun and Times titles plus its HarperCollins British book business, and other related companies disclosed the payment - the first time the company has confirmed how much Brooks received - ahead of its expected public market listing in 2012.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:30:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Truly extraordinary. Rupert must really have wanted her as his heir, his own children have been so disappointing

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 08:30:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Facebook helps FBI foil $850m-cybercrime ring - Americas - Al Jazeera English

Investigators led by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and aided by Facebook, have foiled an alleged international criminal ring that infected 11 million computers around the world.

The FBI, working with the world's largest social network and several international law enforcement agencies,
arrested 10 people it says infected computers with "Yahos" malicious software, then stole credit card, bank and other personal information.

The ring is said to have caused more than $850m in losses in one of the largest cybercrime hauls in history.

The bureau said the 10 people arrested came from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, New Zealand, Peru, the UK and the US, and that it had executed numerous search warrants and conducted a raft of interviews.

Facebook's security team assisted the FBI after Yahos targeted its users from 2010 to October 2012, the US federal
agency said in a statement on its website.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:31:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exotic Quantum Effects Could Follow from Compound Now Confirmed to Conduct Only at Surface: Scientific American

A compound whose odd electrical behavior has puzzled physicists for decades could turn out to be a boon for quantum physics and electronic-device makers.

When theorists proposed in 2005 that it should be possible to find materials that conduct electricity at the surface while the rest of the sample behaves as an insulator, physicists were intrigued. They wanted to study the quantum effects that should emerge in such materials, and to explore applications in low-power electronics and quantum computing. But topological insulators, as the materials were called, proved fiendishly difficult to make. Some researchers have slaved to produce thin films using complex techniques that are unlikely ever to scale up to the levels needed for industrial purposes. Others have contented themselves with compounds that approximate topological insulators but still have a degree of internal conductivity.

Now, three papers suggest that samarium hexaboride, a poorly understood compound that was first found to gain conducting properties at very low temperatures in 1969 by researchers at Bell Labs in New Jersey, may in fact be a topological insulator in its bulk form.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:40:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Epigenetics may be a critical factor contributing to homosexuality, study suggests

Dec. 11, 2012 -- Epigenetics -- how gene expression is regulated by temporary switches, called epi-marks -- appears to be a critical and overlooked factor contributing to the long-standing puzzle of why homosexuality occurs.

According to the study, published online today in The Quarterly Review of Biology, sex-specific epi-marks, which normally do not pass between generations and are thus "erased," can lead to homosexuality when they escape erasure and are transmitted from father to daughter or mother to son.

From an evolutionary standpoint, homosexuality is a trait that would not be expected to develop and persist in the face of Darwinian natural selection. Homosexuality is nevertheless common for men and women in most cultures. Previous studies have shown that homosexuality runs in families, leading most researchers to presume a genetic underpinning of sexual preference. However, no major gene for homosexuality has been found despite numerous studies searching for a genetic connection.

In the current study, researchers from the Working Group on Intragenomic Conflict at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) integrated evolutionary theory with recent advances in the molecular regulation of gene expression and androgen-dependent sexual development to produce a biological and mathematical model that delineates the role of epigenetics in homosexuality.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:40:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it also suggests that the persistence of homosexuality in a pack animal such as humans confers advantages to the group which enables the persistence of a gene which should otherwise disappear.

Personally I think it's an emergent property of other issues, but ....whatever

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 08:34:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, it'll all make sense when we understand the genetic basis of human society, which I'm guessing is about 50 years away.
It's not as if homosexuality has been a notable impediment to people breeding.

From the sort of naive viewpoint that informs articles like that, you could argue that religious nuts, by forcing the naturally[1] homosexual to pretend to be heterosexual, marry and have children, have caused the propagation of homosexuality.[2]

[1] For some value of "natural".  [2] Yes, this argument is probably nonsense.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 09:24:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From an [unbelievably naive] evolutionary standpoint, homosexuality is a trait that would not be expected to develop and persist in the face of Darwinian natural selection.

Fixed that.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 09:18:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 09:52:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you thought that was unbelievably naïve, check this one out:

HuffPo: Physicists To Test If Universe Is A Computer Simulation.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 11:32:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's HuffPo. Doesn't count.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 12:05:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is based of this:

[1210.1847] Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation

Observable consequences of the hypothesis that the observed universe is a numerical simulation performed on a cubic space-time lattice or grid are explored. The simulation scenario is first motivated by extrapolating current trends in computational resource requirements for lattice QCD into the future. Using the historical development of lattice gauge theory technology as a guide, we assume that our universe is an early numerical simulation with unimproved Wilson fermion discretization and investigate potentially-observable consequences. Among the observables that are considered are the muon g-2 and the current differences between determinations of alpha, but the most stringent bound on the inverse lattice spacing of the universe, b^(-1) >~ 10^(11) GeV, is derived from the high-energy cut off of the cosmic ray spectrum. The numerical simulation scenario could reveal itself in the distributions of the highest energy cosmic rays exhibiting a degree of rotational symmetry breaking that reflects the structure of the underlying lattice.

Have not read the paper, nor am I going to. I think the approch is nutty.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 02:01:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The approach is total bullshit.  Which they would know if they bothered to learn discoveries in cybernetic and/or mathematical Modeling since ... oh hell, I don't know ... 1962?  

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 03:26:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we need an operating system upgrade.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 12:09:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Predator-producing bacteria may be battling in human intestines

Dec. 11, 2012 -- Unique viruses called bacteriophages may play an important role in competition among bacterial strains, influencing the overall ecosystem of the human intestine, scientists at The University of Texas at Arlington and UT Southwestern Medical Center say.

A team led by Lora V. Hooper, an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and including UT Arlington assistant professor of biology Jorge Rodrigues examined the bacteriophages, or phages, produced by genetic information harbored in the chromosome of the mammalian gut bacterium Enterococcus faecalis. They found that a phage unique to Enterococcus faecalis strain V583 in mice acts as a predator, infecting and harming other similar, competing bacterial strains. They believe these lab results suggest what goes on in the human intestine.

"This organism is using phage as a way to compete in your gut. If the phage is released and gets rid of all the other microbes, then strain V583 will have more nutrients available," Rodrigues said. "It opens up new questions about the role of phages in the gut system. Ultimately, you could use this as a technique to control bacteria in a natural way."

The findings were presented in October in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in a paper called, "A composite bacteriophage alters colonization by an intestinal commensal bacterium." Other co-authors were members of Hooper's lab: Breck A. Duerkop, Charmaine V. Clements and Darcy Rollins



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:41:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 01:59:04 PM EST
Ravi Shankar, Who Brought Eastern Music To Western Legends, Dies : The Record : NPR

Sitar master and composer Ravi Shankar died Tuesday at a hospital near his home in the San Diego area. Shankar's foundation released a statement that says the musician had suffered from upper-respiratory and heart issues over the past year and underwent heart-valve replacement surgery last week. He was 92.

When he was just 10 years old, Pandit Ravi Shankar began performing in Europe and the U.S. with his family's Indian dance troupe. It was a glamorous life: the best hotels, the best meals, celebrities coming backstage to say just how much they'd enjoyed the concert. But at age 18, Shankar gave up all the glitter and went back to a dusty little town in India to study with a guru who taught him the sitar. He apprenticed for years, then started to play in public on the ancient and difficult string instrument. Eventually, he became a master. Classical Sessions

Ravi Shankar At 90: The Man And His Music Music Interviews

Indian Classical Music 101 With Ravi Shankar

Shankar's music is like a fine Indian sari -- silken, swirling, exotic, it can break your heart with its beauty. He was a respected classical musician, but in 1966 he became an international superstar when George Harrison studied with him. Shankar's goal to make Eastern music known in the West was achieved with help from The Beatles, though he grew discouraged by the hippie scene, where drugs clouded the attention of his audience.

Back in India, Shankar wrote sitar concerts for Western symphony orchestras and continued touring. The composer and performer remained a teacher, too. In December 2004, when I visited his home in New Delhi, the sitar master was still giving lessons. He sat on the carpeted floor in an old brown sweater vest playing simple exercises; his sitar filled the room with feeling.



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

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 02:03:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the jimi hendrix of sitar...

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 05:48:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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