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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 17 December

by afew Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 04:00:32 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 

Europeans on this date in history:

1938Otto Hahn discovers the nuclear fission of the heavy element uranium

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 Dec 16th, 2012 at 01:19:25 PM EST
Merkel rips German opposition for blocking tax cuts | Reuters

(Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized the centre-left opposition for blocking her government's efforts to cut income taxes by 6 billion euros, telling a German newspaper those parties will have to explain that to voters in next year's election.

Merkel, seeking a third term in September, also found fault with Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens in a newspaper interview for thwarting a deal with Switzerland to tax assets stashed by Germans in Swiss banks although without revealing their names.

Taking a rare swipe at the opposition whose support she has needed to get parliamentary approval for a number of euro zone rescue measures, Merkel told the Braunschweiger Zeitung it was hard to fathom that the SPD and Greens had rejected tax cuts that would have benefited middle- and lower-income wage earners.

"It's just not fair and it's actually incomprehensible," Merkel said, according to an excerpt released ahead of publication on Monday. She added that the SPD and Greens would have to explain the veto of tax cuts to the voters.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 01:57:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IPS - Detained at the Eastern Border - Part 1 | Inter Press Service

WARSAW, Dec 16 2012 (IPS) - A recent hunger strike, involving over 70 migrants detained in heavily guarded centers across Poland, is forcing the country to face its new responsibilities as a migration hub within the European Union.

Poland currently has six detention centres, which host `irregular migrants', or foreigners caught living illegally in Poland, awaiting deportation after their asylum claims have been rejected or after getting caught trying to cross the Polish border that leads deeper into the EU.

At the end of October, an estimated 375 migrants were being held in these centres. Among them were 33 children, including at least one year-old baby; three of the children were unaccompanied.

Georgians and Russians of Chechen nationality currently make up the bulk of migrants in Poland, though more recently Syrians, too, have had a significant presence in detention centers.

The hunger strikers, mostly Georgians and Chechens, were demanding better conditions in the camps, but also disputed the use of detention as a means of addressing the thorny issue of migration.

The protest was coordinated across four camps: Lesznowola, Bialystok, Biala Podlaska, and Przemysl. It lasted only a few days, ending when humanitarian organisations visited the camps and promised to work with the institutions' management on improving living conditions.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 02:52:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tens of thousands rally in France to back gay marriage - FRANCE 24

AFP - Tens of thousands of demonstrators turned out in France on Sunday to show support for the government's plans to legalise gay marriage and adoption.

Organisers said 150,000 people gathered in Paris at the Place de la Bastille for the "demonstration for equality". Police said 60,000 took part.

They have called for another demo on January 27, two days before the French parliament is to debate the gay marriage bill.

Several elected officials wearing their tri-coloured sashes could be seen alongside parents pushing strollers and children with multi-coloured balloons at Sunday's event.

Carrying banners reading "Equal rights are not a threat" and "The right for all to choose", demonstrators urged the government to push ahead with the reform.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 03:14:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unity of the European Union is about to be tested | Business | guardian.co.uk

Europe's crisis has entered a quiet phase, which is no accident. The current period of relative calm coincides with the approach of Germany's federal election in 2013, in which the incumbent chancellor, Angela Merkel, will be running as the woman who saved the euro.

But the crisis will be back, if not before Germany's upcoming election, then after. Southern Europe has not done enough to enhance its competitiveness, while northern Europe has not done enough to boost demand. Debt burdens remain crushing, and Europe's economy remains unable to grow. Across the continent, political divisions are deepening. For all of these reasons, the specter of a eurozone collapse has not been dispatched.

The consequences of a collapse would not be pretty. Whichever country precipitated it - Germany by threatening to abandon the euro, or Greece or Spain by actually doing so - would trigger economic chaos and incur its neighbours' wrath. To protect themselves from the financial fallout, governments would invoke obscure clauses in EU treaties in order to slap temporary controls on capital flows and ring-fence their banking systems. They would close their borders to stem capital flight. It would be each country for itself

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 03:23:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cyprus's Woes `More Serious Than Greece,' Juncker Warns - Bloomberg

The fiscal situation in Cyprus, the fifth euro-area nation to seek international aid, is "more serious than Greece," a danger overlooked by markets, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said.

"My priority in the short-term for 2013 is Cyprus," Juncker, who heads the group of euro-area finance ministers, told reporters in Brussels today. "It's a problem one shouldn't underestimate, because it's more serious than Greece. This isn't taken into consideration by the financial markets or the international press."

Cypriot banks need about 9.3 billion euros ($12.2 billion) in fresh capital, according to a preliminary report by Pacific Investment Management Co., Cypriot broadcaster RIK reported Dec. 9. Another 6 billion euros may be needed to refinance state debt and 1.5 billion euros to cover fiscal deficits, Finance Minister Vassos Shiarly said Nov. 22.

That would bring the total to 16.8 billion euros, almost the size of Cyprus's 17.9 billion-euro economy. The country's general government gross debt will rise to 89.7 percent of gross domestic product this year, according to the European Commission. That figure does not take into account any aid Cyprus may receive.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 03:30:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ekathimerini.com | Opinion: The `Europeanization' of SYRIZA

...There are many who are relieved by the clarification made by SYRIZA regarding its stance on the eurozone issue because they believe that this ensures Greece's position in the bloc. But Alexis Tsipras's party continues to be of a nonconformist and subversive inclination even though opposition within the party remains strong.

The euro, a symbol of the Greek elite, will be usurped by Tsipras as a weapon for the people in an ideological battle that will manifest itself as a conflict between the classes, with the target being the ruling elite and the economic establishment. At the end of the day, the politicians who make up SYRIZA's leadership were shaped by Marxist and Leninist principles and the economic establishment has always been one of their standard targets. Paradoxically, SYRIZA will find allies to support its new position in the troika and the European Union, not because they are governed by similar principles, but because Greece's modernization requires sweeping change.

Of course, Tsipras is no pioneer. French President Francois Hollande has also waged war against the elite by taxing annual revenues of over 1 million euros at a rate of 75 percent. This unfortunate decision simply compelled rich French people to move to Belgium.

The "Europeanization" of SYRIZA further complicates the Greek political scene, which was already in disarray, and stopping Tsipras's ascent to power will not be achieved with politicking. But neither New Democracy or PASOK appear to have a new strategy.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 03:54:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
TINA also speaks Greek, it seems.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 02:07:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But SYRIZA is Greek for TARA.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 02:08:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I like the characterization of Syriza as "waging war against the elite". No mention of the war against the middle class and the poor that has been raging for 6 years. It's syriza who are the aggressive war mongers who need to be "othered"

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 03:25:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know what I like? That he is going to wage war on the rich like Hollande.
He might even build a caliphate like Kenyan Muslim Communist Obama.
by generic on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 05:34:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
stopping Tsipras's ascent to power will not be achieved with politicking

Well, you can always promote Golden Dawn, if ND and PASOK are on the way out.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 04:38:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hungary's Jews face down new extremism | Reuters

Anti-Semitism has made some Jews more determined to stand up for their heritage, said Zoltan Jakal, a 36-year-old financial analyst and part-time cantor.

"I have several friends who have strengthened their Jewish identity because of a few incidents with anti-Semites," Jakal said. "When there's peace people tend to forget they are Jews. If nobody else reminds them of this, anti-Semites will."

Hungary's political elite showed a rare gesture of unity at a big rally on December 2, where ruling and opposition party leaders expressed their disdain for Jobbik's politics.

So far, polls suggest Jobbik has retained its voter base. Among young voters its support is nearly 20 percent, making it the strongest party in the age group below 30, according to a Republikon Institute poll earlier this year.

But unlike its hugely successful anti-Roma rhetoric, anti-Semitism may end up working against Jobbik on the long run, Republikon Institute Director Csaba Toth told Reuters, because it will put off potential coalition partners.

"Anti-Semitism gets far fewer votes," he said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 02:33:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Morning Newsbriefing: Will he? Won't he? Monti keeps Italy in suspense for another week (17.12.2012)
Pressure grows on Mario Monti not to run in the forthcoming Italian elections; a newspaper report says Monti will announce his decision on Friday, listing four possible choices for Monti, ranging from a decision to run under his own ticket to merely outlining his vision for a future reform agenda; Silvio Berlusconi has opened his electoral bid with a pledge to abolish a controversial property tax; Eugenio Scalfari said Monti should not run, but support the PD; Iganzio Visco said Italy now needs a full political government to give legitimacy to, and continue, the reforms process; Italy's sovereign debt exceeds €2 trillion for the first time; the Bundesbank has raised doubt on the legal basis of a banking union; the Bundesbank and German banks are unhappy about the €30bn asset threshold - above which banks fall under the ECB's supervisory powers; Vitor Constancio defends the threshold against criticism that it is too low, saying it covered 85% of all eurozone banking assets; the Spanish press says the decision to exclude German savings banks means that the hidden weakness of the German banking sector remain unresolved; Wolfgang Munchau argues that the banking union will end up pursuing a policy of forbearance; European Commission says Greece could net €30bn if it brought tax evasion to EU average levels; Frank Westermann argues that the Greek bond buyback turned out exactly as Ken Rogoff already discovered in the 1980s: No benefits for the country, only for bondholders; the UMP won three by-elections in a second round of voting; approval rates for Francois Hollande and Jean-Marc Ayrault reach now lows; after being insulted by Ayrault, Gerard Depardieu now threatens to return his French passport; Angela Merkel's approval ratings reach stratospheric heights; a second group of former cajas are to be restructured; the Spanish government sells the debt in the country's bad bank as ultra-safe; Bankia board did not review the accounts after the auditors approved them; Eurostat's per capital GDP data shows growing divergence between the eurozone core and periphery; El Pais says Merkel will determine the timing of Spain's application for an ESM programme; Joseph Stiglitz says it is harder for Europe to end the crisis now than it was five years ago; FT Alphaville, meanwhile, digs up an obscure clause in Italian sovereign bond contracts.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 04:39:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bundesbank doubts legality of banking union

We don't think this has any legs. The Germans have a habit of re-interpreting laws as it suits them. Spiegel magazine reports this morning, the Bundesbank has legal reservation, arguing that the project lacked a sustainably sound legal basis. The argument is a technical one. It said the arbitration committee that interacts between the ECB's governing council and the SSM's board, was lacking a legal basis in the Treaty

(That is trivially true of course, but only in the sense that the treaty does not go into specifics. It merely says that a banking union anchored at the ECB is ok. Art 127,6 TFEU is about as solid a legal basis for an ECB-based bank supervisor as one can conceivably hope for under EU law.)

German unhappiness about €30bn threshold

It took a few for the Germans to wake up to the reality that the agreed compromise on banking union does not cover the 10 largest banks, but about 30 banks. The German banking association welcomed the compromise, but expressed concern about the supervisory threshold trigger of €30bn, as it would capture a large number of regional banks that required special consideration. (We find it hard to write this with a straight face, but this is the argument bankers make and which journalists do not seem to challenge).  Jens Weidmann, too, is reported to have unhappy about the threshold, according to Reuters.

The 30bn threshold covers 85% of all banking assets, said Constancio

Reuters quote Vitor Constancio as saying that the 150 banks to come under the ECB's supervisory powers represented 85% of all EU banking assets, which was "more than enough", he said. The next steps on the way towards a banking union would be a fund to wind down troubled banks, which he said should be modelled on the FDIC. He said the FDIC had dealt with over 400 banks since 2008 without using public money. He said the resolution mechanism should not be used to bail out banks, which was the responsibility of governments. ECB's level resolution is not about bail-outs, but about bail-ins.

The Spanish press sees trouble in Germany's public banks

ABC published an overview of the German public banking system. Recalling how Germany did not allow the EBA to include more than a dozen of its 1900 financial institutions in its stress tests (and the fact that Helaba dropped out of the exercise when it became clear it would fail), the paper writes that Angela Merkel's political moves can be explained to a large extent by her determination to protect the smaller German banking system "and hide its embarrassments". The piece also recalls the quarter-trillion Euros Germany has already given to its banks in the form of capital and state guarantees, and writes that, with the exception of Commerzbank, Germany's banking trouble is in the balances of the Sparkassen and Landesbanken.

A two tier banking market with no resolution

In his FT column, Wolfgang Munchau writes that the agreement on  a common EU supervisor will ultimately lead to more friction than unity in the banking sector. The vast majority of German banks are outside the system. And Germany opposes any public funds for bank resolution. That combination means that the SSM will approach failing banks the same way as government approach failing states - through conditional forbearance. He concludes that Mario Draghi will next year be responsible for both states and banks - and a depression in the periphery.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 04:45:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Article 127
6. The Council, acting by means of regulations in accordance with a special legislative procedure, may unanimously, and after consulting the European Parliament and the European Central Bank, confer specific tasks upon the European Central Bank concerning policies relating to the prudential supervision of credit institutions and other financial institutions with the exception of insurance undertakings.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 05:21:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wolfgang Münchau: Politics undermines hope of banking union (By Wolfgang Münchau, December 16 2012)
... The main economic purpose of a banking union is bank resolution and deposit insurance. The first of the two is clearly fiscal in nature. Angela Merkel has made it clear that Berlin is not ready to pay for the resolution of other people's banks. At last week's European summit the German chancellor said she rejected a mutualisation of debt and hidden transfer payments. In other words: just as she rejected a fiscal union, she will also reject a bank resolution mechanism that does what such a policy is supposed to do - take taxpayers' money and rescue a bank.

The most I would expect is a small resolution fund, financed by the banks themselves - something too small to do the job. Without a real resolution mechanism, there can be no banking union either. So what happened last week was the political process stalled in a very big way.

One can criticise Ms Merkel's position, but not her lack of clarity. She has been making those points repeatedly. I expect that whoever is going to be German chancellor after the federal elections next September will uphold that position.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 05:25:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A German trauma therapist visits Greece.

Krise in Griechenland: Eine Gesellschaft stürzt ins Bodenlose - Debatten - FAZCrisis in Greece: a society falls into the abyss
Abwehrmechanismus der PolitikerPoliticians' defense mechanism
Für den deutschen Nachrichtenkonsumenten ist die Krise sehr weit weg und nicht mehr als eine ferne Bedrohung irgendwo am Horizont. Sie erschließt sich uns in allererster Linie durch Begriffe wie Rettungsschirm, Schuldenschnitt, Milliardenlöcher, Misswirtschaft, Troika, Hilfspakete, Schuldenrückkauf oder Bankenrettung, ohne dass wir verstehen würden, was all diese Wörter eigentlich bedeuten. Statt die globalen Zusammenhänge zu verstehen, sehen wir Angela Merkel in Berlin, Brüssel oder sonst wo mit ernster Miene aus dunklen Limousinen steigen, auf dem Weg zum nächsten Gipfel, wo Griechenlands und damit Europas Rettung wieder ein Stück weiter vorangebracht werden soll.For German news consumes, the crisis is very far away, and nothing more than a distant threat somewhere on the horizon. It reveals itself to us mainly in such terms as rescue umbrella, debt haircut, deficit billions, financial mismanagement, Troika, aid packages, debt repurchase or bank rescue, without our understanding what all these words really mean. Instead of understanding the global interrelationships, we see Angela Merkel in Berlin, Brussels or wherever else climbing out of dark limousines with a severe expression, on the way to the next summit, where Greece's, and thus Europe's rescue is to be advanced a little farther.
Nur die Wahrheit erfahren wir nicht, nicht über Griechenland, nicht über Deutschland, nicht über Europa. Offenbar wagt es niemand, sie uns zu sagen. Pieper nennt das, was da gerade vor unser aller Augen geschieht, eine ,,gigantische Verdrängungsleistung". Besonders der Abwehrmechanismus der Politiker funktioniere hervorragend. Verdoppelte SelbstmordrateOnly we don't learn the truth, not about Greece, not about Germany, not about Europe. Apparently no one dares to tell it to us. [Georg] Pieper calls what is happening in front of our eyes "an enormous repression performance". Politicians' defense mechanisms in particular are functioning excellently.
[...] Georg Pieper sagt: ,,Ich frage mich, wie viel diese Gesellschaft noch aushalten kann, bevor sie explodiert." Griechenland stehe kurz vor einem Bürgerkrieg. Es scheint lediglich noch eine Frage der Zeit zu sein, bis sich die kollektive Verzweiflung der Menschen in Gewalt entlädt und über das Land ausbreitet. Und davon sind wir alle betroffen.[...] Georg Pieper says, "I wonder how much this society can stand before it explodes." Greece, he warns, is on the verge of civil war, and it seems to be just a matter of time before the collective despair of the people flashes into violence and spreads across the country. And then we'll all be affected.

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 Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 08:05:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is now in English on PressEurop: A therapist's worst nightmare (19 December 2012, FAZ)
Trauma is Georg Pieper's business. Whenever a disaster hits Germany, the traumatologist is on the spot. Following the attacks in Oslo and Utøya, Pieper travelled to Norway and supervised his colleagues there. He knows what it means to look closely study and measure the scale of a disaster.

In October Pieper, spent a few days in Athens, where he gave continuing education courses for psychologists, psychiatrists and doctors on trauma therapy. Although he had prepared himself for some shocks, the reality was even worse than he had gloomily expected.


A trauma is an event that shakes the world of the individual to its foundations. The experience is so overwhelming that it pulls the victim into a whirlwind of absolute helplessness. Only a cynic speaking about Greece talks about its "social decline". What we are living through now is a collective trauma.

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 20th, 2012 at 01:46:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... when it come to paying women miserable pensions, compared to men. Article and graphic:

Left part is pensions, right part is wage differences (where Germany is much worse than Greece)

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 03:40:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 01:19:49 PM EST
Deutsche Bank CEOs are running out of chances | Considered View | Breakingviews

Deutsche Bank's co-chief executives are running out of lives. For Anshu Jain and Juergen Fitschen, December is going to be a month to forget - and the punches just keep on coming. In the last week, Deutsche has warned on its fourth-quarter results, seen offices raided by the police, and been forced to pay damages to representatives of deceased media magnate Leo Kirch. Ahead lies a potentially costly settlement with authorities investigating how banks set Libor. The problems remove any margin for error as Deutsche's bosses seek to reposition the bank for the post-crisis world.

This quarter's loss wouldn't have gone down so badly had Deutsche been clear about the costs of implementing its new strategy when it was unveiled in September. A profit warning in July also made investors oversensitive to bad news. In reality, Deutsche's underlying performance doesn't seem too bad right now. Benign market conditions have put it on track to reach a Basel III Tier 1 core capital ratio target of 8 percent by the end of March.

Meanwhile, Deutsche has sounded confident and vigorous in its denial of allegations of accounting wrongdoing in relation to mark-to-market positions during the crisis.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 03:23:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Truth About The Deficit: It's Not Very Big, And There's Only One Way To Close It - Business Insider

"Trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see."

"Hundreds of trillions in unfunded liabilities."

"Washington is broke."

"Only cranking up taxes, and slashing benefits can save us from leaving a crushing burden on future generations."

Those are the kinds of lines you hear from politicians (and even some smart people) all the time as Washington DC debates the Fiscal Cliff and so on.

But there's a couple of things you should know about the deficit.

One is that talking about this "Trillion dollar deficit hole" is basically nonsense.

As Paul Krugman points out in a recent post, the current deficit is mostly about the slump in the economy combined with the standard counter-cyclical spending, that naturally tapers off as the economy improves.

He notes two key numbers: One is that, if the economy were operating at about full potential (as measured by the CBO) the government would be collecting about $450 billion more in taxes. The other is that since the crisis, spending on "income security" (Food stamps, unemployment benefits, etc.) has jumped by about $250 billion. As such, it's probably safe to surmise, that just a return to economic normality, would entail a deficit closure of around $600 billion.

That still leaves $400 billion in deficit, but guess what, that's okay. That's less  than 4% of GDP, which is the pace of nominal GDP growth. As long as your deficit isn't bigger than nominal GDP growth, your national debt isn't growing.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 03:27:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wealth and Redistribution Revisited: Does Enriching the Rich Actually Make Us All Richer? | Angry Bear - Financial and Economic Commentary

In a recent post I built a model with one rich person and ten poorer people to ask: does redistribution from rich to poor make us all more wealthy? The conclusion was Yes. Jump back there to see a quick rundown of the model's assumptions.

Michael Sankowski at Monetary Realism put the model through its paces, and provide feedback by email. He pointed out one very interesting thing: total wealth accumulation in the model increases (faster) with redistribution in both directions -- from rich to poor and poor to rich.

(Note that redistribution could take infinite forms -- traditional welfare, education and health-care spending, tax preferences for rich people's investment income, corporate subsidies, etc. This is systemic redistribution we're talking about here. Like this model, the system just does it.)

Here's what that looks like, with starting wealth of $2 million, divided 50/50 between the rich person and the ten poorer people.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 03:36:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Finally, note this: If we redistribute enough (rich to poor) to actually reduce rich people's dollar wealth, the pie gets much bigger, much faster.

And if you add the notion of declining marginal utility of spending and consumption, the aggregate utility pie gets even bigger, even faster.

Unfortunately, the current game is competitive relative wealth, whether the players realize the range of possibilities or not. So it the richest guy can keep everyone else's heads below water he wins. But who will watch him gloat?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 02:21:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Countries With Largest Gold Reserves December 2012 - Business Insider
In an uncertain global economic environment, central banks have been purchasing gold.

Some have argued that euro zone members should use gold as collateral for sovereign debt issuance to keep bond yields low.

The World Gold Council estimates that central banks will have purchased 500 tons of gold in 2012, up from 465 tons last year. And gold prices have also been supported by central bank gold purchases.

Global gold reserves total 31,491 tons as of December 2012. We highlighted the ten countries with the biggest official gold holdings as reported by the World Gold Council.  We also included the percent of foreign reserves they possess in gold.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 03:38:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Carrefour and the "Double Standard" Label | China Hearsay

Xinhua : Although Carrefour said the incident is only "an individual case caused by negligence," a string of similar hoaxes it has been implicated in negates such a claim.

Since last year, several stores of the world's second largest retailer in at least five other Chinese cities have been fined for their costing tricks, ranging from mislabeled price tags to faking discounts.

Carrefour has never faced up to its recurring mistakes, which it always attributed to as "work negligence." The company should know that its repeated defiance of both the Chinese law and consumers' rights has endangered the image and credibility of itself.

Chinese consumers, despite their brand consciousness, will realize what the untrustworthy Carrefour gives them through discounts, what the company takes back through cheating.

An internationally acclaimed company should always be consistent in its management and service standards, no matter which country it is operating in.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 03:40:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China to maintain prudent monetary policy in 2013 - Xinhua | English.news.cn

BEIJING, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- China will maintain a proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy in 2013, according to a statement issued Sunday after the closure of a two-day central economic work conference.

The country will "properly expand the amount of social financing to maintain a moderate increase in loan issuances" and keep the yuan's exchange rate "basically stable" next year, according to the statement.

The conference, which sets the tone for economic policymaking in the year ahead, also resulted in an agreement to guard against potential risks in the country's fiscal and financial sectors, it said.

China has kept a proactive fiscal policy since late 2008, when the country unveiled a 4-trillion-yuan (634.92 billion U.S. dollars) stimulus package to counter the adverse impact of the global financial crisis. Its monetary policy has been prudent since late 2010.

The country's annual economic growth slipped to 7.4 percent in the third quarter this year, slowing for seven quarters in a row.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 03:44:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 07:18:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 01:20:12 PM EST
Japan's LDP surges back to power, eyes two-thirds majority with ally | Reuters

Reuters) - Japan's conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) surged back to power in an election on Sunday just three years after a devastating defeat, giving ex-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a chance to push his hawkish security agenda and radical economic recipe.

An LDP win will usher in a government committed to a tough stance in a territorial row with China, a pro-nuclear energy policy despite last year's Fukushima disaster and a potentially risky prescription for hyper-easy monetary policy and big fiscal spending to beat deflation and tame a strong yen.

A TV Asahi projection based on counted votes gave the LDP at least 291 seats in parliament's 480-member lower house, and together with its small ally, the New Komeito party, a two-thirds majority needed to override, on most matters, the upper house, where no party has majority.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 01:54:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All this running around to just end up where you started. Which makes western media running the same wrong headed story for well over a decade all the more embarrassing.

Apparently fiscal stimulus is a risky strategy and can lead to bad things. As opposed to glorious austerity which only leads to depression,the rise of fascism and national dissolution.

by generic on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 02:38:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama expected to nominate Kerry to head State Department | Reuters

(Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to nominate Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, sources familiar with the process said on Saturday.

Kerry, the Democratic nominee for president in 2004 and a stalwart Obama supporter, had been widely tipped as the likely candidate for top U.S. diplomat following the withdrawal last week of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.

The announcement of Kerry's nomination could come as early as mid-week, according to one source knowledgeable of the situation, although it could also be delayed to avoid the impression of an overly-hasty return to politics following the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 01:56:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Egypt 'narrowly backs' charter in first round - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Voting has ended in the first round of the constitutional referendum in Egypt, with initial results indicating that supporters of the draft document have a narrow lead heading into the second round.

The early result of the poll is based on unofficial tallies that emerged on Sunday. Complete results are not due to be released until the second round on December 22.

The vote was largely peaceful, with long queues forming in Cairo and other cities and towns where this round of voting was held. The vote was staggered because many judges needed to oversee polling staged a boycott to voice their opposition.

Voting was extended for several hours, in order to allow those in queue to cast their ballots.

The Muslim Brotherhood said the group's tallies showed that 56.5 per cent of voters had supported the constitution, while 43 per cent had voted 'no'.

The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) had representatives posted at almost every polling place in the 10 areas where the referendum was held on Saturday.

The opposition National Salvation Front coalition said in a statement that it would not recognise unofficial results, and would wait for a final tally after next week's second round.

It reiterated its allegation that balloting had been "marred by irregularities and violations".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 02:42:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's that old saying ... who/what they vote for doesn't matter, who's doing the vote counting does.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 09:57:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well, that certainly worked for bush

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 03:30:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Muslim Brotherhood said the group's tallies showed that 56.5 per cent of voters had supported the constitution, while 43 per cent had voted 'no'.

I'm astonished and heartened, if even the Bros can't count themselves a clear victory.

... Oh. It seems that the first wave of voting (calling it the "first round" is unnecessarily confusing, you can't have two rounds in a referendum) concerns the big cities, and next week it's the rural districts, which will vote conservatively for the constitution. So this means that despite the low turnout (32 percent?), this profoundly illegitimate constitution will be validated. That's disastrous.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 03:42:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, the Muslim Brotherhood don't need to fix the vote.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 04:32:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Zuma seeks ANC leadership at party summit - Africa - Al Jazeera English

Jacob Zuma, the South African president, has acknowledged that corruption and violence have marred the image of the African National Congress (ANC) under his watch, but called on members to again support him to be the party's leader.

The ANC, once a liberation movement that started a century ago to fight apartheid, has been governing South Africa for 18 years and faces increasing criticism in this nation of 50 million people that's the continent's top economy.

Some 4,000 delegates gathered on Sunday for the start of the party's Mangaung conference, being held in the city also known as Bloemfontein, and listened to Zuma offer occasionally candid comments about the party's issues.

Still, Zuma made promises and said his government remained on track to change South Africa, attempting to appeal to delegates who will decide whether Zuma or his quiet deputy Kgalema Motlanthe should take charge of the party.

In his opening address to an ANC conference to choose its leadership for the next five years, Zuma said two downgrades by international ratings agencies this year did not mean South Africa was in trouble.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 02:43:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chavez illness overshadows Venezuela polls - Americas - Al Jazeera English

Two months after re-electing President Hugo Chavez, Venezuelans return to the polls on Sunday in crucial state elections, which have been overshadowed by news of the ailing leader's cancer surgery in Cuba. 

The vote for 23 state governorships, 16 of which are controlled by the ruling party, could test political waters ahead of a possible new presidential vote if Chavez is incapacitated by cancer. 

Among those who are running for governor is Henrique Capriles, who unsuccessfully challenged Chavez during the October 8 presidential election. He is the governor of the state of Miranda.

Two other opposition governors, Pablo Perez and Henri Falcon, are also seeking re-election, as well as Chavez's brother Adan, who is the governor of the state of Barinas.

Of all the candidates, Capriles is the most closely-watched, according to Al Jazeera's Andy Gallacher, reporting from Caracas.

"If he wins this weekend in the regional elections, and wins by a significant margin, that will put him in a very strong position to take on the socialist movement," Gallacher said.

Despite losing the presidency, the 40-year-old governor emerged as a strong challenger to Chavez, winning the opposition's largest share of 6.5m votes, or 45 per cent of the popular vote.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 02:45:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Analysis: Sudan peace talks in a 'Catch-22' - Features - Al Jazeera English

Ongoing negotiations over the implementation of the stalled peace deal signed between Sudan and South Sudan in September have resumed once more in Addis Ababa with the two countries' ministers of defence meeting to discuss the question of security on the border.

Establishing a demilitarised zone could help establish the underpinning principle of this peace deal, namely that it is in their mutual interest - both politically and economically - to put down their weapons and start cooperating. But no one is holding their breath.

Last week they met in Khartoum, Sudan's capital, for barely 24 hours in what was supposed to be a two-day meeting with no progress made.

Before that, in November, in Juba, South Sudan's capital, two days of talking ended in not much more than the agenda being discussed. Some of the Southern Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) generals simply refused to be associated with the Addis agreement. They said they never signed it and want nothing to do with it, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the meeting. Attempts to get the South's civilian leadership to pull rank failed. Efforts to get President Salva Kiir to intervene came to nothing, sources said.

Why? Well, things are not so easy in Juba right now. A few weeks ago President Kiir publicly ticked off potential coup plotters in the military, warning them no one in the international community would recognise them if they took over. He is not generally known for forcing showdowns with political rivals.

"The problem is he doesn't have the type of personality that will take people on, and deal head on with these kind of problems," confided one western diplomat who rated Kiir's current chances of remaining in power as fifty/fifty.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 02:46:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Having managed to upset Poland to the point that they now refuse to meet the Israeli Ambassador, they've now turned their attention to Ireland. The Ambassador to Dublin had a now-deleted post on his Facebook page reading
A thought for Christmas...If Jesus and mother Mary were alive today, they would, as Jews without security, probably end up being lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians.
Just a thought.......
(before the Israelis got a chance to crucify him?). Next come the Swedes
Party chairman, Ayreh Eldad, who lives in the settlement Kfar Adumim (close to the E-1 area), made his policy on asylum seekers clear last summer when he said, "Anyone that penetrates Israel's border should be shot, a Swedish tourist, Sudanese from Eritrea, Eritreans from Sudan, Asians from Sinai. Whoever touches Israel's border - shot."
(at least he isn't the Tourism Minister)

Let's see who is next.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 02:50:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 01:20:55 PM EST
Watchdog chief blasts nuclear industry for lax safety precautions - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun

The chief of the Nuclear Regulation Authority said the industry watchdog will not approve restarts of nuclear power plants under the current circumstances due to electric power companies' negligent handling of safety measures.

"I find the current situation exceedingly unsatisfactory," Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the NRA, said of the utilities' safety precautions at an international meeting on Dec. 14. "Reactors should not go online unless we are convinced of their safety."

His remarks came at the meeting in Tokyo with top officials at nuclear regulators in the United States, Britain and France.

Tanaka said the Japanese nuclear industry's lax approach was behind last year's meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

"The industry's stance was 'simply meeting with regulations is enough,'" he said. "Safety culture has become a mere shell."

Tanaka also said it will take enormous efforts to raise the awareness of safety in the nuclear industry.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 01:54:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mercury in seafood: Where does it come from? | Grist

"People don't ever seem to know where the mercury comes from," says Celia Chen, one of an impressive array of 70 mercury and marine scientists from universities across the country, including Dartmouth, Harvard, and Syracuse, who spent two years assembling the report.

"Most of the fish that people in the U.S. eat are from the open ocean. And most of the mercury that goes into the open ocean is from atmospheric emissions, which comes from fossil fuel burning," says Chen, a food chain biologist from Dartmouth. Coal-fired power plants are the biggest source, globally. Of course, coastal areas are a different story; much of the seafood eaten in places like the Gulf of Maine, the Gulf of Mexico, and the San Francisco Bay come from other industrial sources (think old mining operations).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 02:55:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pesticides: Now More Than Ever - NYTimes.com

I was impressed by a statement by the American Association of Pediatrics -- not exactly a radical organization -- warning parents of the dangers of pesticide and recommending that they try to reduce contact with them. The accompanying report calls the evidence "robust" for associations between pesticide exposure and cancer (specifically brain tumors and leukemia) and "adverse" neurodevelopment, including lowered I.Q., autism, and attention disorders and hyperactivity. (Alzheimer's, obviously not a pediatric concern, has also been linked to pesticide exposure.)

This reminded me of recently disclosed evidence showing that pesticide exposure in pregnant women may be obesogenic -- that is, it may cause their children to tend to become obese. The mechanism for this is beginning to be understood, and it's not entirely shocking, because many pesticides have been shown to be endocrine disruptors, changing gene expression patterns and causing unforeseen harm to health.

And that in turn prompted me to recall that genetically engineered crops, ostensibly designed in part to reduce the need for pesticides, have -- thanks to pesticide-resistant "superweeds" -- actually increased our pesticide use steadily over the last decade or so. (In general, fields growing crops using genetically engineered seeds use 24 percent more chemicals than those grown with conventional seeds.)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 03:00:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pesticide used by UK farmers is linked to long-term brain damage - The Ecologist

A long-running campaign to highlight the health impacts of a dangerous chemical used by farmers in the UK has been vindicated by the conclusions of a major new study.

Several hundred farmers in the UK are believed to have suffered debilitating health problems from exposure to organophosphate pesticides (OPs). A large number of them were sheep farmers, following government orders in the 1980s and 90s to treat their animals with the chemical to protect against the spread of a disease called sheep scab.

Other groups also known to have been affected include veterans from the Gulf War, who were exposed to pesticides to protect them from pests and mosquitoes, and airline pilots and cabin crew, who can be exposed to organophosphates in engine oil.

Derived from World War II nerve gas agents, organophosphate pesticides are the most widely used insecticides in the world. While high-level exposure to the chemicals has long been known to be dangerous, low-levels of exposure of the kind experienced by farmers spraying the chemical or dipping sheep, was not initially thought to be a hazardous, as the government promoted a new chemical-dependent era of farming.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 03:03:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fertile soil doesn't fall from the sky

Remains of dead bacteria have far greater meaning for soils than previously assumed. Around 40 per cent of the microbial biomass is converted to organic soil components, write researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), the Technische Universitat Dresden (Technical University of Dresden) , the University of Stockholm, the Max-Planck-Institut fur Entwicklungsbiologie (Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology) and the Leibniz-Universitat Hannover (Leibniz University Hannover) in the professional journal Biogeochemistry.

Until now It was assumed that the organic components of the soil were comprised mostly of decomposed plant material which is directly converted to humic substances. In a laboratory experiment and in field testing the researchers have now refuted this thesis. Evidently the easily biologically degradable plant material is initially converted to microbial biomass which then provides the source material to soil organic matter.

Soil organic matter represent the largest fraction of terrestrially bound carbon in the biosphere. The compounds therefore play an important role not only for soil fertility and agricultural yields. They are also one of the key factors controlling the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Climatic change can therefore be slowed down or accelerated, according to the management of the soil resource.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 03:06:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 01:21:19 PM EST
IPS - Remittances Soothe the Scourge of Militancy | Inter Press Service

PESHWAR, Pakistan, Dec 16 2012 (IPS) - Fifty-nine-year-old Sherdil Shah, a resident of South Waziristan - a hotbed of militancy in northern Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) - used to run a modest grain shop that fetched enough money to keep his family of 10 well-fed and looked after.

That is, until a 2006 army operation against the Taliban destroyed his business and devastated the arable land on which he cultivated his grain.

After that, "We couldn't use our agricultural land," Shah told IPS. He was forced to sell his property for a paltry sum of money and, in a final act of desperation, sent his sons abroad to work - a decision that ended up completely changing his life.

His sons, both working in Dubai, a city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), now send home about 1,500 dollars every month, enough for the entire family to live on comfortably.

Five years since the boys left for the Gulf, "I have bought a house in the adjacent Dera Ismail Khan district and started my business again here," Shah told IPS over the phone.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 02:49:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IPS - No Women, No Elections | Inter Press Service

NAIROBI , Dec 14 2012 (IPS) - Kenya's rights activists are furious that the country's highest court "violated" women's constitutional rights by ruling against the implementation of a gender quota in parliament ahead of the 2013 general elections.

Activists here are threatening to boycott the Mar. 4, 2013 elections and bring the government to a standstill unless the gender parity law, which states that no more than two-thirds of one gender should hold elected office, is enforced in the senate and national assembly in the upcoming elections.

Rukia Subow, chair of Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation, the largest women's rights NGO in Kenya, told IPS that this East African nation was headed for a constitutional crisis if it failed to heed the provisions of the 2010 constitution.

The Kenya Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday, Dec. 11 that the constitutional provision calling for a mandatory one-third gender representation would not apply to next year's general election and instead should be implemented progressively by August 2015.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 02:50:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 01:21:47 PM EST
BBC News - Salvation Army band set for Eurovision Song Contest

A Salvation Army band is to represent Switzerland at next year's Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden.

Heilsarmee was chosen by the Swiss public to compete in the annual competition with their rock anthem, You and Me.

The group is also poised to beat the contestant age record as double-bass player Emil Ramsauer is 94 years old.

Switzerland has not won Eurovision since Canadian singer Celine Dion represented the country in 1988.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 01:41:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let us not forget the Sally ann are a homophobic institution

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 03:34:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't now if any of this is true or not...

Want the Truth Behind "I Am Adam Lanza's Mother"? Read her blog (December 16, 2012)

Her blog tells a different story. Long has written a series of vindictive and cruel posts about her children in which she fantasizes about beating them, locking them up and giving them away. In most posts, her allegedly insane and violent son is portrayed as a normal boy who incites her wrath by being messy, buying too many Apple products and supporting Obama.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 06:48:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hard to say. If the woman really has the children she's talking about, it's abusive. Even if she hasn't, it's not funny.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 01:54:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Le Figaro - France : Parcours du combattant pour obtenir la nationalité belge Le Figaro - France: Obstacle Course to obtain Belgian nationality
* L'acteur peut-il vraiment renoncer à la nationalité française?
Gérard Depardieu peut abandonner sa nationalité, s'il en acquiert une autre? Selon le Code civil, il pourra même, par la suite, faire machine arrière et redevenir français.
May Gérard Depardieu abandon his nationality if he acquires another? Under the Civil Code, he may even, eventually, go back and become French again.
L'acteur peut entreprendre des démarches en vue de renoncer à sa nationalité à condition d'en acquérir une autre. Il s'agirait donc de la nationalité belge pour laquelle il a déjà lancé la procédure, comme l'a fait savoir dimanche le maire de Néchin en Belgique où la vedette française a acheté une maison. «Personne ne peut être apatride, c'est-à-dire ne plus avoir de nationalité», souligne Me Christine Ravaz, spécialiste du droit des personnes. S'il ne l'a pas encore fait, Gérard Depardieu n'aura donc qu'à pousser la porte d'un tribunal d'instance pour y faire «une demande d'autorisation de la perte de la nationalité française». Une mesure qui prendra effet à la date de l'acquisition de la nationalité étrangère.The player can take steps to renounce his nationality provided he acquires another. He would therefore be of Belgian nationality to which he has already started the process, as said Sunday the mayor of Néchin in Belgium where the French star has bought a house. "Nobody can be stateless, that is to say, not having nationality," said Ms. Christine Ravaz, law expert people. If it has not already done so, Gérard Depardieu will therefore drop in to a district court in order to make a "request for authorization to the loss of French nationality." A measure which shall take effect on the date of the acquisition of foreign nationality.

But it's long and complicated to become Belgian. Bernard Arnault, rich industrialist and longtime tax exile, is still waiting for his naturalisation.

It's much easier to become French again. Perhaps Obelix will do so the next time there's a right-wing government.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 06:01:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Flippin' 'eck! I read a news story on BBC mobile 30 minutes ago that put French female longevity down to Roquefort cheese, but now I can't find it. Did I doze off and dream it? Was it taken down by Cheddar Anonymous - or the EU?

If you see reference to such a benefit anywhere in the media, would you be so kind as to inform me? I desperately need a justification for buying more of my favourite cheese. But before you Francophiles, or indeed you Francos, applaud my good taste, I will point out that I eat it with full-corn digestive biscuits. Pearls before swine...

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 11:21:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not wishing to be unpatriotic, but in a pinch I would choose it over Roquefort. You can't get it in my cheese shop though (not much call for it round here, sir).

As for longevity. I would probably keep eating cheese, even if I was certain it was shortening my life. Everyone needs to have something they are prepared to die for.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 11:28:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not much call for it: same here, except the cheese stalls in the Helsinki covered food markets usually bring in good Stilton at Yuletide. But you have to order and I haven't been able to get to one of them.

Stilton is a bit more temperamental imo: when it's good it's the best, but keeping it in good condition is tricky. We can get Roquefort almost anywhere, and of course all the Scandinavian blues are in every food shop. There are some very good Baltic blue cheeses. I especially like some of the old Swedish veiny cheeses. Finland doesn't go to any mouldy extremes: Finnish blues are quite well behaved, average but mostly not bad.

But in the death, I must say that a doorstep  of just-out-of-the-oven crusty white bread, with salted butter impastoed on, and a big lump of Red Leicester to gnaw on, is well worth the price of admission to Life. Add a pickled onion and you're talking religious experience.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 11:43:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They'll ban it soon enough :

BBC News - 'Unnecessary' high salt levels in cheese, health group warns

Large amounts of unnecessary salt are being added to cheese, the health pressure group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash), has warned.

The group analysed 722 cheese portions of 30g each and found many contained more salt than a bag of crisps.

The saltiest type was roquefort at 1.06g per 30g. But within varieties salt content varied - suggesting it is possible to reduce levels.

What a bunch of pisse-vinaigres.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 11:47:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What about Danish cheeses? Do they have "unnecessary" levels of  ammonium chloride?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 11:50:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with food is that it's not the discrete products, but the diet that needs to be considered, alongside physical effort.

There's nothing wrong with a Big Mac Meal if you only eat it once a month. Or after sports. It's when it's eaten every day in every bored way that it gets bad for you.

Not only the farmers of the Yorkshire Dales pre-war had a slice of white lard for breakfast - Gascony farmers added an Armagnac to the solid lump of reduced animal fat. It was fuel - high-octane.

As machines we are far more fuel efficient today. Our stand-by power consumption is less than a plasma TV. But is it enough that our brains only travel neurological distances?

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 02:35:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a little diary to consider over cheese and biscuits

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 11:58:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just wow.

Is your research purely empirical, or is there scientific literature out there (and I do mean, "out there")?

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

by eurogreen on Mon Dec 17th, 2012 at 12:13:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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