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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 22-23 December

by DoDo Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 03:31:01 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on these dates in history:

1892 - birth of Herman Potočnik (Hermann Noordung), rocket engineer and pioneer of astronautics (d. 1929)

More here

1482 - King Louis XI of France and Archduke Maximilian I of Habsburg sign the Treaty of Arras closing the Burgundian succession crisis and effectively ending the history of Burgundy as an independent kingdom

More 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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 EUROPE 



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

by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:33:47 PM EST
Monti to resign as Italy passes 2013 budget - ITALY - FRANCE 24

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti was set to resign on Friday after a year of battling the debt crisis with austerity and reforms as lawmakers gave final approval to a budget bill that will pave the way for early elections.

Monti said earlier he will step down once the vote is approved, kicking off a campaign that will likely see Italy go to the polls on February 24, with former premier Silvio Berlusconi and centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani already in the running.

After Christmas mass in the prime minister's residence, Monti joked about the end-of-world Mayan prophecy saying: "A year ago this government was only just beginning. Now we will have to wrap up and it's not the fault of the Mayas."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:33:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Amnesty International Blasts Greece on Treatment of Asylum Seekers - SPIEGEL ONLINE
Greece's treatment of migrants and asylum seekers is so appalling that it has become a humanitarian crisis, Amnesty International charges in a new report. It cites squalid conditions at refugee facilities and authorities who are doing little to combat the problem.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:34:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Fortress Europe / Fortress Europe: a Greek wall close up

Nea Vyssa, Greece - A 12.5-km-long fence rolled with barbwire runs across plots of garlic and asparagus on the Greek-Turkish border.

For the small farming community at Nea Vyssa, the presence of Greek military and police is a welcome relief from the mass of irregular migrants crossing from Turkey on a daily basis before the summer.

...The barrier - bankrolled by the Greek state - was roundly condemned by EU officials when it was first announced over the summer.

Greece has been arguing its border is an EU issue which merits EU help. But it also sees the mass arrivals of migrants as a threat to its Hellenic identity and national security.

The 450,000 Greeks who voted for the neo-fascist Golden Dawn party on the back of a virulent anti-immigration campaign illustrate the strength of feeling.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:34:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Georgian foreign minister lashes out at EU centre-right party | EurActiv
Georgia's foreign minister has accused several conservative Western politicians, including the leader of the European People's Party, of being biased against the two-month-old government of Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze told EurActiv on Thursday (20 December) that the cohabitation between Prime Minister Ivanishvili and President Mikheil Saakashvili was a difficult one.

...She said the president had "a big network of lobbyists" who worked around the clock to spread his narrative that democracy in Georgia is in danger since the prime ministers Georgian Dream party took office. Saakashvili, the president since 2004, must step down next year.

A number of conservative Western politicians have been receptive to Saakashvili's messages and were amplifying them for the international audience, Georgia's top diplomat said. She accused Wilfried Martens, president of the European People's Party, of repeatedly badmouthing Georgian Dream.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:34:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've still no idea if the night trains from Germany to Italy will be running next year. The Germans and the Italians are still arguing about new safety rules that come in to effect 1.1.13 and which DB isn't ready for (despite the fact that Italy seems to have announced the rules in 2007). But this is the best part:
Bei der DB hält man im schlimmsten Fall für denkbar, dass die Züge leer in München losrollen könnten - so würde man seine Verträge einhalten und die Österreicher könnten selbst entscheiden, ob sie Fahrgäste zusteigen lassen. Sollten die Gespräche komplett scheitern, würden aber wohl gar keine Züge fahren. ,,Einen ganz leeren Zug, in den gar niemand einsteigen darf, werden wir wohl nicht fahren lassen", sagt der DB-Sprecher. ,,Pro Bahn" hingegen hält sogar das für denkbar. Leere Züge fahren zu lassen, könne sich für die Bahn unter bestimmten Umständen lohnen, sagt Oomen. ,,Eventuell kann man später Schadensersatzforderungen stellen."
Does anybody have more details?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 05:05:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aktuelle Meldungen
Informationen zum Italienverkehr 2013

Liebe City Night Line-Kunden,
die betrieblichen Abstimmungen mit der Trenitalia haben derzeit leider nur eine vorübergehende Lösung hervorgebracht. Ab Montag, den 24.12.2012 ab 9 Uhr morgens sind unsere Linien nach/von Italien für Reisen bis zum 30.01.2013 buchbar.
Informationen zur Buchbarkeit von Reiseterminen ab Februar 2013 folgen zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt.

Wir halten Sie an dieser Stelle auf dem Laufenden und informieren Sie entsprechend.

Ihr City Night Line-Team

That is, they got a temporary agreement until the end of January.

I sum up the essence of your article in English:

The new safety rule is that door locks on passenger vehicles have to be side-selective, so that only doors on the platform side open. This rule was adopted in 2007, but DB invested nothing in either new sleeper cars (only their sleeper cars are as ancient as to lack this technology) or a retrofit of doors, hoping for Italian authorities granting an exception. Now they would finally be willing to retrofit, but that will take time, so they are in intense negotiations, and one solution would be for train crew to lock doors manually...

Of course, the bigger story is that the management of most mayor railways would like to get rid of night trains, seeing them as operating on too narrow a profit margin and (this is silly) competing with their more profitable day trains. Most night train connections in and out of Italy were already killed off or shifted to subsidiaries or handed over to new train operators. Switzerland to Barcelona was killed with the timetable change this month.

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

by DoDo on Sat Dec 22nd, 2012 at 06:14:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Turns out the temporary agreement includes the lack of seating cars (the only ones, except for possibly single-bed compartments, that you can take to Trento).
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Dec 25th, 2012 at 01:44:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:34:38 PM EST
EUobserver.com / Economic Affairs / Unemployment greatest concern among Europeans, says survey
BRUSSELS - The economic crisis and its social impact is a major concern for most EU citizens, according to a survey published Thursday (20 December) by survey-group Eurobarometer.

...More than six Europeans out of 10 believe that "the worst is still to come" when it comes to the impact of the economic crisis on the job market.

It is a view held by the vast majority in Belgium (78%), Greece (78%), and Portugal (79%). In Cyprus, where the national coffer is running dry, the figure almost hits 90 percent.

Citizens in eighteen member states rank unemployment as their number one greatest worry.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:34:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For Spanish auto workers, jobs come at a price - SPAIN - FRANCE 24

On Wednesday, Japan's Nissan became the latest carmaker to raise the prospect of new jobs in the sector, announcing that its Barcelona plant may be selected to build one of its new models in 2014.

The 130-million-euro investment would see 1,000 new jobs created - a much-needed boon in a country where one in four are unemployed. But the good news is dependent on one key condition: that trade unions make "an effort to be more flexible and solve the problem of salary costs", said Frank Torres, CEO of Nissan Motor Ibérica.

...Others have already agreed to concessions that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Unions at Renault have even accepted a deal for new workers to be paid 800 euros a month, 30 percent less than the existing wage. In return, the French manufacturer has promised to invest in its factories in the cities of Valladolid, Palencia and Seville, creating 1,300 jobs.

"During the negotiations, they used all the arguments possible to put pressure on us, notably workers' fear of ending up unemployed ", says Jesus Janez-Hermoso, member of the CCOO union in Valladolid.

Ford, Seat and PSA have also invested in their Spanish factories during the past months. At the Seat plant in Martorell (Catalonia), union member Javier Carnero compares negotiations to full-out war on a European scale.

"Every union in every factory is defending its own guys," he said. "And there's a total absence of solidarity. At the end of the day, either we have to suffer the consequences or others have to. And of course I defend the interests of workers here who have elected me and whom I represent."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:34:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:

...Others have already agreed to concessions that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Unions at Renault have even accepted a deal for new workers to be paid 800 euros a month, 30 percent less than the existing wage. In return, the French manufacturer has promised to invest in its factories in the cities of Valladolid, Palencia and Seville, creating 1,300 jobs.

"During the negotiations, they used all the arguments possible to put pressure on us, notably workers' fear of ending up unemployed ", says Jesus Janez-Hermoso,



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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2012 at 12:54:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That quote is apocryphal, BTW.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Dec 22nd, 2012 at 06:40:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, what a surprise.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 02:05:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 02:27:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Putin slams Barroso: `You know you are wrong, you're guilty' | EurActiv

The Russian President reacted to a long statement by Barroso, in which the head of the EU executive made the case that the Third energy package was not discriminatory against Russia.

Russia said it wanted the summit to agree rules for exempting its pipelines from the EU's energy liberalisation rules, which grant energy companies access to infrastructure held by others.

..."My friend from many years, Mr Barroso, has for so long and so emotionally spoken, because he knew that he is not right, he is guilty," Putin said, amidst laughter from the sizeable Russian delegation. Turning to the press, he added: "Open article 34 of our basic treaty with the EU and read for yourselves."

Article 34 of the EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, in force since December 1997, reads: "The Parties shall use their best endeavours to avoid taking any measures or actions which render the conditions for the establishment and operation of each other's companies more restrictive than the situation existing on the day preceding the date of signature of the Agreement."

Putin continued: "And one more observation: linking the price of gas to oil was invented not by Russia, but by the Netherlands in the beginning of last century."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:35:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russians scoff at Putin's anti-corruption programme - Europe - World - The Independent

From his tiny shop on a highway 20 miles southeast of Moscow, Valery Tsaturov listens to daily reports of a national fight against corruption with a mixture of anger and skepticism.

The headline-grabbing charges of high-level official misconduct began a few weeks ago, and President Vladimir Putin recently said that the battle would certainly extend to the everyday bribes that average people pay to keep their lives running smoothly. The news, Tsaturov said, has not reached the traffic police officers and health inspectors who prey on him in this society permeated with corruption.

...Russians consistently cite corruption as one of their nation's worst problems, so they might have been heartened at the investigations of Defense Ministry executives accused of siphoning off $215 million in property scams, agriculture officials blamed for defrauding the government of $1.3 billion, reports that $200 million has gone missing from the space industry, and more.

But like Tsaturov, many have been watching with some detachment, unsure what set off all the commotion but sadly confident that a settling of scores is taking place high above their heads, that a few mid-level people will take the fall, that none of the well-connected will end up behind bars, and that life will go on pretty much as usual.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:35:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm still nonplussed after all these years that the EU expects to be able to dictate to Russia the terms under which it could be willing to sell its gas.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2012 at 09:30:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deutsche Bank Raided in Connection with Collusion Suspicions - SPIEGEL ONLINE

The police are becoming frequent guests at Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt. For the second time in a week, authorities raided the bank in connection with an ongoing investigation, this time looking for evidence of witness collusion relating to court testimony in a high-profile case pitting Deutsche Bank against the family of the deceased German media magnate Leo Kirch.

The raid took place on Wednesday, but only became public early on Thursday afternoon, partially because it was not nearly as disruptive as a raid conducted a week ago Wednesday, when authorities showed up with 500 armed police and secured the bank's lobby. Nevertheless, the new search and seizure operation underlines yet again the dark cloud of suspicion that hangs over Deutsche Bank despite its stated desire to turn over a new leaf.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:35:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hitler parody leaves French bank BNP red-faced - FINANCE - FRANCE 24
The moment in the 2004 German film "Downfall" when Hitler, played by Bruno Ganz, berates his generals upon realising the war is lost has been reworked to satirize just about every crucial moment in modern sport and politics.

...But the version created by two executives at BNP is unlikely to go viral.

In the video, which was shown to around 100 managers from around the world at a seminar in Amsterdam last year, Hitler is turned into a fuming boss of Germany's Deutsche Bank reacting furiously to news that BNP has gained an edge in the foreign exchange market.

But far from being motivated, many of the managers who saw the video were outraged.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:35:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:36:03 PM EST
Clashes erupt in Alexandria on eve of referendum - EGYPT - FRANCE 24

Clashes between rival demonstrators erupted on Friday in Egypt's second city Alexandria, the eve of the final round of a referendum on a divisive new constitution drafted by an Islamist-dominated panel.

Riot police, with orders to act "decisively," formed a barrier between several thousand Islamists and hundreds more opposition protesters and used tear gas to put down the street battles.

The clashes, in which the health ministry said 32 people were hurt, subsided after around 90 minutes.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:36:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rival camps say Egypt constitution 'approved' - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Early indications show that Egyptians have approved a new draft constitution after a final round of voting in a referendum, despite opposition criticism of the measure as divisive and allegations of fraud.

The Muslim Brotherhood, from which President Mohamed Morsi hails, and the official al-Ahram newspaper reported that about 64 percent of voters supported the constitution, after preliminary results were tallied from the second round on Saturday.

The early results are based on reports from returning officials from the vast majority of stations over the two rounds, which were held a week apart. The election committee will announce the final results by Monday, pending appeals.

Exit polls from the opposition National Salvation Front (NSF) also showed the constitution passing, an official said. The NSF did, however, allege that there had been incidents of fraud during the vote, and was due to outline these at a press conference on Sunday.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 23rd, 2012 at 02:23:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fleeing Syria, Palestinian refugees cram Beirut camp - SYRIA - LEBANON - FRANCE 24

Thousands of Palestinian migrants have fled Syria for Lebanon in recent days, cramming into refugee camps that have been housing Palestinians since the creation of Israel in 1948.

Palestinian refugee camps in Syria have been devastated by the civil war, particularly the sprawling Yarmouk camp near Damascus, which has hosted violent clashes between pro-regime fighters and rebel militants, who are said to be hiding weapons in the camp.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:36:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Republican revolt scuppers `fiscal cliff' escape plan - USA - FRANCE 24

Republican lawmakers delivered a stinging rebuke to their leader, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, on Thursday when they failed to back an effort designed to extract concessions from President Barack Obama in year-end "fiscal cliff" talks.

The dramatic twist threw into disarray attempts to head off $600 billion worth of indiscriminate tax hikes and spending cuts that could push the U.S. economy into recession next year.

It also cast doubt over Boehner's future as speaker after failing to control unruly conservatives in his caucus.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:36:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama to nominate John Kerry as secretary of state - USA - FRANCE 24
US President Barack Obama is set to nominate Senator John Kerry as his next secretary of state, an administration official said Friday. Kerry, a Democrat and former presidential candidate, would replace outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:36:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Put armed police in every US school': NRA goes on the offensive as America mourns school shooting - Americas - World - The Independent
The powerful US gun rights lobby went on the offensive today arguing that schools should have armed guards, on a day that Americans remembered the victims of the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre with a moment of silence.

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," said Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association, noting that banks and airports are patrolled by armed guards, while schools typically are not.

What about good guys turned bad? And good guys losing their weapons to bad guys? Maybe denying the bad guy his weapon is the real solution...

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

by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:36:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Newtown massacre: US races to stock up on weapons ahead of potential new federal ban - Americas - World - The Independent

As Newtown continued to mourn its dead yesterday and a Presidential task force convened to consider how to tackle America's firearms addiction, much of the rest of the country was busy stripping gun-shop shelves bare of any items that might be prohibited by a new federal ban.

Independent gun-shop owners such as Austin Cook of Hoover Tactical Firearms in Alabama reported a stampede of customers anxious to buy assault rifles like the one used by Adam Lanza to kill 26 people, including 20 young children, at a Newtown primary school. Lanza also killed his mother and himself. "I can't keep them in the store," Mr Cook said of the weapons.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:37:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As predicted by afew.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Dec 22nd, 2012 at 05:22:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
bear in mind also how much of remaining US industry is making weaponry.

many of the childrens' parents probably get their paychecks from the same people who back the lobbying services of the NRA.

i wonder if obama cries thinking about the children killed by drones, or are american kids more special?

i think these kids who go postal are a terrifying reflection of a society that can arm its kids to the teeth as a bonding ritual without having a lving enough communication with them.

americans will only willingly give up arms when they respect their government, and right now they feel they have good reason not to.

until government unshackles itself from corporatism and really becomes the peoples' tool for self- and social betterment, instead of willing abettor in its downfall.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2012 at 01:16:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does the NRA also want armed police in every military base to prevent repeats of Fort Hood?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 04:57:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arm the kids! Have shooting classes. Get the kids ready for the real world after they graduate and find no jobs.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2012 at 07:07:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There was an armed guard at Columbine on the day of the massacre, but he was on the other side of the school when the shooting started and didn't reach the scene till it was all over.

Not that any logic will penetrate the discussion of this. The NRA and gun manufacturers will simply dig deeper into their wallet, water down anything at Federal level, then fight it through to the USSC where it will get stomped. And the states will be even worse.

US govt is broke, the best democracy corporate money can buy.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2012 at 08:02:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
in the Polytechnique massacre in Montréal, the cops were afraid to go into the building and this caused many more deaths had they had the balls to do their job
by stevesim on Sat Dec 22nd, 2012 at 09:53:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]

THREE HEADS, WE LOSE: GUN CONTROL WITHOUT EQUALITY MEANS MORE MASSACRES, NOT FEWER

LAS VEGAS, NV: Although the massacre in Newtown is not the type of rebellion-like rampage massacre that I usually write about -- where employee attacks his workplace and his co-workers, or middle-class school kids attack their school and fellow students -- a few things about the culture around this crime stand out.

First, Connecticut has the second worst rate of income inequality in the US, thanks to all the Wall Street fundies and insurance executives who live secluded from some of the starkest poverty outside of the Deep South.

(...)

This is a point that has gone largely unconsidered during the post-Newtown furore: gun control without broader social justice is pointless. And the two apparently separate proposals that Obama and the Democrats are floating this month-- gun control laws simultaneous with austerity measures including an inexplicable assault on Social Security benefit -- are worse than pointless: It's rancid neoliberal politics at its sleaziest and nihilistic worst. And if history is anything to go by, it's only going to increase the chance of future massacres.

Obama's proposals are the very opposite of the sort of transformative gun politics I wrote about in my last piece on the history of gun-fanatic politics: rancid shock doctrine politics that exploits the tragedy of the Newtown mass-murder as cover for slashing Social Security benefits to those who need it most, transferring that plundered wealth into the pockets of Wall Street bond-holders. Targeting gun-owners while taking away their benefits can only lead to one outcome: even more keenly focused hate, rising paranoia and a public even easier to manipulate than they already are. Hard as that is to imagine.

(...)

And now we have President Obama, fresh off an election victory campaigning on social justice, making his first order of business to carry the wishes of the same sorts of Wall Street vultures who demand austerity and the dismantling of the last social justice programs. Only with fewer guns -- because Obama's sad. Not so sad that he won't slash benefits to the elderly and veterans and disabled from a fully-funded program with zero fiscal problems... but sad anyway, sad enough to replicate Clinton's totally ineffective gun restrictions.

And if you don't like Obama's politics, there's always the other choice: libertarian austerity, meaning even severer cuts and even greater acceleration of inequality... but with guns. Lots of guns. And laws protecting gun-stocked vigilantes to act out their political powerlessness on someone else who looks funny.

So the choice comes down to getting fucked without a gun, or getting fucked with a gun -- and when you look at it that way, you realize that the guy who chooses to hold onto his gun while getting fucked is not the problem here.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2012 at 09:28:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard on Sat Dec 22nd, 2012 at 11:27:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:37:20 PM EST
EIB signs €440-million loan guarantee for controversial coal plant | EurActiv

The European Investment Bank has signed a €440-million loan guarantee with the Slovenian government for a crisis-plagued 600 megawatt lignite TEŠ 6 coal plant, but the deal could yet be sunk by concerns about the climate and corruption.

The EIB has already paid an initial €110 million for the coal-fired power plant in the northern town of Šoštanj, but a deal unlocking the second sum was only agreed on 6 December.

EurActiv understands that disbursement will now take place after a bank management committee review, which will follow approval of the deal by the Slovenian parliament, a move that buys the EIB time and potential wiggle room.

This could be crucial as the TEŠ 6 plant, which has also been loaned €200 million by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, faces complaints of corruption, doubts about its profitability and questions as to why EU institutions are financing such a planet-warming power plant.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:37:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Poland Stands in the Way of European Global Warming Efforts - SPIEGEL ONLINE
Poland is addicted to coal. That is the message the country has been sending both domestically and internationally as Warsaw prepares to host the global climate summit next year. In Europe, the Poles are isolated in their fight for looser emissions reduction goals and against fixes to the EU's cap-and-trade system.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:37:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:

why EU institutions are financing such a planet-warming power plant.

why indeed? corrupt or stupid, neither wins.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2012 at 01:19:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meet the weeds that Monsanto can't beat | Environment | guardian.co.uk

When Monsanto revolutionised agriculture with a line of genetically engineered seeds, the promise was that the technology would lower herbicide use - because farmers would have to spray less. In fact, as Washington State University researcher Chuch Benbrook has shown, just the opposite happened.

Sixteen years on, Roundup (Monsanto's tradename for its glyphosate herbicide) has certainly killed lots of weeds. But the ones it has left standing are about as resistant to herbicide as the company's Roundup Ready crops, which are designed to survive repeated applications of the agribusiness giant's own Roundup herbicide.

For just one example, turn to Mississippi, where cotton, corn, and soy farmers have been using Roundup Ready seeds for years - and are now struggling to contain a new generation of super weeds, including a scourge of Italian ryegrass.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:37:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:38:01 PM EST
Turkish minister makes historic visit to Armenian school - HURRIYET DAILY NEWS - FRANCE 24
Turkey's Education Minister Ömer Dinçer made a landmark visit to an Armenian school in the city of Istanbul, becoming the first minister from his department to do so in the history of the Turkish Republic.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:38:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Women likely to face higher insurance costs | EurActiv

A European Union ban on insurers using gender to set prices, which comes into force today (21 December), will likely lead to higher insurance costs for consumers.

The EU's highest court outlawed insurers' practice of charging men and women different prices as sex discrimination in March 2011 after Belgium's consumer association brought a test case against it.

The move has drawn criticism from insurers who say gender exerts a strong influence over how likely a person is to claim, and should be reflected in the premiums they pay.

Higher prices would be welcomed by a European insurance industry squeezed by rock-bottom interest rates and recession in several key markets.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:38:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet insurance is becoming unaffordable in the UK for under 25s. Largely because the insurance industry isn't dealing with fraud, preferring to just let prices rise.

Now they complain the market is stagnant, requiring higher prices.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2012 at 08:05:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pope: gay marriage threatens foundations of family life and destroys the 'very essence of the human creature' - Europe - World - The Independent

Pope Benedict has used the beginning of the Christmas period to ramp up his assault on gay marriage, stating that the very foundations of the family were threatened by same sex partnerships.

In his annual Christmas address to Vatican officials - one of the most important speeches of the year - he decried moves to allow same sex couples to marry and indicated that the Vatican would be willing to forge an alliance with those faiths who are also opposed to equal marriage rights.

His comments come amid mounting concern in Rome that the Catholic Church's teachings on homosexuality are falling on deaf ears, with pro-gay marriage movements gaining ground most recently in Britain, the United States and France.

During the speech the Pontiff referred to a recent study by the Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, who said the campaign for granting gays the right to marry and adopt children was an "attack" on the traditional family.

And what if I say tat organized religion threatens foundations of free society and destroys the very essence of the human creature? Will I be branded a hateful atheist?

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

by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:38:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the Pope is suggesting that gay people are not fully human. I guess he thinks paedophiles are okay tho'

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2012 at 08:06:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cancer boy Neon Roberts should have radiotherapy for brain tumour against mother's wishes, rules judge - Home News - UK - The Independent
The mother of seven-year-old cancer patient Neon Roberts has lost her High Court battle to stop her son receiving radiotherapy. Doctors had said that Neon, who had an emergency operation on a residual brain tumour on Wednesday, could die in months without the treatment. His father Ben, Ms Roberts' estranged husband, also supported the treatment.

Giving his verdict, Mr Justice Bodey said that, while he had "sympathy" for Ms Roberts, he was "worried her judgement has gone awry on the question of the seriousness of the threat [Neon] faces."

Ms Roberts, 37, had asked for more time to seek "alternative" treatments, which had been described by the counsel for the NHS Trust treating Neon as "experimental" and "unproven".

Mr Justice Bodey said that no evidence had been presented to support Ms Roberts' assertion that there were "thousands of children surviving cancer without radiotherapy."

...While accepting that Neon might experience adverse side effects he said that "one cannot enjoy quality of life if one is not alive."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:39:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this case has received a lot of attention, largely because the mother is middle class, blond and pretty and so her picture has been pretty much constantly in the tabloids and on TV. I wonder if a working class black single mother on benefits would have been able to suspend her child's medical treatment so dangerously, yet receive such sympathetic treatment in the press

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2012 at 08:08:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
'Gangnam Style' becomes first YouTube video to reach 1 billion views - News - Music - The Independent

Korean pop star Psy's "Gangnam Style" video has become the first YouTube video to surpass a billion views.

The achievement came just 27 days after it broke Justin Bieber's record of 803 million views for hit single "Baby".

That means "Gangnam Style" had an average of 6.5 million views per day for nearly four weeks.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:39:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:39:27 PM EST
Putin says Russian passport for Depardieu 'a done deal' - FRANCE - FRANCE 24

French actor Gérard Depardieu, under fierce criticism for going into self-imposed tax exile in Belgium, would be more than welcome in Russia, the country's President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

"If Gérard really wants a residency permit or a Russian passport, it's a done deal," Putin said at a press conference. "We have very friendly relations [with Depardieu], but I know that deep down he feels French."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:39:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A match made in heaven. Go on, Gerard, bugger off to siberia

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2012 at 08:09:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
German Family Minister Slammed for Suggesting God Has No Gender - SPIEGEL ONLINE
Conservative politicians in Germany are outraged after one of their own, Family Minister Kristina Schröder, suggested that God might not have a gender. Critics argue she has gone one step too far in her political correctness.

LOL at both parties.

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

by DoDo on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 02:39:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FFS

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2012 at 08:10:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think she should argue it from theology instead.

If she were to read one of Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking books, called "Pippi in Taka Tuka Land" in German, she would refrain from using the word "negro" from the text when reading aloud, "to protect my child from taking on such expressions," she said.

Honestly, I think refraining from that book altogether is better. The stereotypes are not only in that word.

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 Sat Dec 22nd, 2012 at 08:53:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A longer quote to explain why I LOLed at both parties. First the family minister. You have to understand that she was talking semantic bullshit: she extrapolated divine gender neutrality to grammatical gender in the German language.

The German language has three definite articles for nouns to indicate their gender -- der (masculine), die (feminine) and das (neuter). The noun der Gott, or God, is masculine. But Schröder told Die Zeit that the article for God shouldn't matter. It could just as easily be the gender-neutral das Gott, she said, saying the article "doesn't mean anything."

...but the outraged colleagues didn't attack the semantics (only), but sought to protect... er... the patriarchal nature of child-like illusions:

"This overly cerebral nonsense leaves me speechless," Bavarian Social Minister and CSU member Christine Haderthauer told the mass-circulation daily Bild on Friday. "I find it sad when our children, due to blatant insecurity and political correctness, have the strong images that are so important to their imaginations taken away."


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Dec 22nd, 2012 at 06:52:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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