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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 31 December

by afew Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 04:00:43 PM EST

A Daily Review Of International Online Media


 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europe on this date in history:

406Vandals, Alans and Suebians cross the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gaul.

More here, 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 30th, 2012 at 12:43:19 PM EST
IMF, EU urges France to pull back on deficit cuts - France - RFI

The head of the IMF in France Edward Gardner has urged France to consider its 2013 budget targets in a broader European context.

"The credibility of the medium term orientation policy" is more important than a specific deficit target, Gardner said.

Gardner advised that loosening the criteria would "be more effective, more credible in a coordinated fashion" across the 17 nation eurozone.

The IMF and the EU Commission expect the French public deficit to amount to 3.5 per cent of GDP in 2013.

President François Hollande's Socialist Party has set a goal of three per cent, the eurozone limit, down from 4.5 per cent in 2012.

The target is based on a 2013 growth estimate of 0.8 per cent that economists consider very optimistic.

Friday's third-quarter figures put growth over that period down from 0.2 to 0.1 per cent.

"The IMF is beginning to understand that the French situation has become dangerous," economist Marc Touati at the ACDefi consulting group said, pointing out that unemployment is climbing and the economy is still struggling.

European Economic Affairs Commissioner Ollie Rehn believes France needed more reforms rather than increased austerity.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 01:11:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IMF, EU urges France to pull back on deficit cuts - France - RFI
The International Monetary Fund and the European Commission have called on France and other eurozone countries not to fixate on deficit reduction targets which risk worsening the region's debt crisis.

Who Could Have Predicted?

by Bernard on Mon Dec 31st, 2012 at 04:29:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is just fantastic:
The head of the IMF in France Edward Gardner has urged France to consider its 2013 budget targets in a broader European context.

"The credibility of the medium term orientation policy" is more important than a specific deficit target, Gardner said.

...

European Economic Affairs Commissioner Ollie Rehn believes France needed more reforms rather than increased austerity.

"Once you have a credible medium-term budget strategy, backed up by reforms, you can have a slower adjustment," he told French daily Le Monde.

But, as we reported here the other day...
"In the past 30 years, France has not been able to pass a balanced budget. State debt rose to an unacceptable 1.7 trillion euros (ê2.2 trillion) in 2011. It is our duty to reverse this," French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici wrote in the German business daily Handelsblatt.


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 31st, 2012 at 04:40:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mosko got the first memo.

Now he needs to get the second.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 31st, 2012 at 05:21:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel's rival Steinbrueck says euro zone austerity too severe | Reuters

(Reuters) - Former German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck, who is running against Chancellor Angela Merkel in next year's election, said austerity measures being imposed on struggling euro zone countries were too severe.

In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS), Steinbrueck said austerity measures were pushing some countries to do too much too soon. He said there would be massive protests in Germany if such a heavy dose of austerity were to be imposed so quickly.

"The savings measures are too severe, they're leading to depression," said Steinbrueck, 65, a Social Democrat (SPD) who was finance minister from 2005 to 2009 in Merkel's right-centre grand coalition government.

"Some societies are being forced to their knees. Budget consolidation is in some ways like medicine. The right amount can save lives while too much can be lethal."

Steinbrueck noted that some countries were being forced to make spending cuts that amounted to five percent of their gross domestic product (GDP).

"In Germany that would amount to 150 billion euros (of spending to be cut)," Steinbrueck said. "You can imagine what the protests would be like on German streets with that."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:16:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by paving on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 07:55:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Steinbrueck turning into a crass Keynesian in his old age?

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 30th, 2012 at 08:27:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Peer Steinbrück Stumbles in Effort to Unseat Angela Merkel in Germany - NYTimes.com

In another memorably odd line in the interview, Mr. Steinbrück said he did not find money "erotic."

Mr. Steinbrück is hardly the first politician to earn speaking fees, but the sum raised eyebrows, particularly in a left-leaning party whose members still call each other "comrade" at official events. And it made his calls for higher pay for the chancellor all the more surprising.

With reports showing a shrinking German middle class, a raise for the chancellor, who currently receives about $390,000 a year in total compensation, would not seem like a particularly winning campaign issue. In the interview he pointed out that many bank managers earned more than the head of Germany's government.

maybe that would be normal in italy but in germany... surreal.

sometimes poltics seems like a room full of little boys you know shoudn't be playing with matches.

monti and merkel may be terrible leaders, but they do come across as adults, if delusional ones.

i'm starting to see why mig's predictions about merkel's political longevity make sense. :(

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2013 at 08:27:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ireland takes over Council presidency | European Voice
Government wants to focus on economic recovery during its seventh turn in the EU's rotating presidency.

Ireland takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union's Council of Ministers from Cyprus tomorrow (1 January 2013), its seventh turn since it joined the EU 40 years ago.

Enda Kenny, Ireland's prime minister, has said that the presidency will focus on the EU's economic recovery and that he is determined to deliver "solutions" - on banking union, trade deals, pro-growth policies and a deal on the Union's long-term budget.

Ireland's government, led by Kenny's centre-right Fine Gael party and with centre-left Labour as junior partner, has also made it clear that it will run an austerity presidency that goes easy on pomp (and will serve tap rather than bottled water).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:31:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Ireland had a government with half the self-interest of the ECB they would threaten to take the presidency hostage unless they get debt reduction (and bottled water).

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 Tue Jan 1st, 2013 at 03:12:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The press in Europe (5/5): Embedded in the Brussels bubble | Presseurop (English)

The Belgian capital is the heart of the EU power machine, where dozens of journalists try to cover the activities of all the institutions. But as an Australian newcomer founds out, they have too much information and too little time to make sense of what's going on. Excerpts.

Every day for the past couple of months I have been parking my computer in the press area of the European Commission - literally a few steps away from the large press conference room. I'm surrounded by a multinational (and multilingual) army of casual reporters, taking advantage of the free wifi and what appears to be subsidised coffee (€0.90 a cup - how is that possible?).

While the capital-C correspondents working for the big mastheads are around the corner at the International Press Centre or the Residential Palace, us freelancers are squeezing into the nooks and crannies of a crowded media landscape.

Being the only Australian around and having no obvious affinity with the other anglophones, I have been adopted by a group of Italians, who promptly informed me that my human rights were being violated every time I ate at the Commission's canteen (the European Council across the road is much better).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:33:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 12:43:43 PM EST
In 2013, the great global unraveling | Mark Leonard

The disparate prospects of each continent have little in common. To the extent that they can be linked by a single theme in 2013, however, it is the idea of the unraveling of the global economy and the political integration that supported it. After two decades of globalization, this year will see each of the big political theaters re-erecting barriers and focusing more on domestic repairs than on global expansion. The unraveling has its roots in longer-term trends, but it is set to step up in the next year.

There has been a remarkable stabilization within the euro zone since European Central Bank President Mario Draghi's intervention in the summer of 2012. But even as the euro zone integrates, the politics and economics of the wider European Union are likely to diverge. In practice, the measures toward an integrated banking union, increased parliamentary accountability and more incentives for reform could go hand in hand with the de facto economic and political disintegration of the EU. Economically, as Sebastian Dullien argues in a paper, "Why the euro crisis threatens the EU single market," there is a significant risk of a gradual unraveling of the EU's single-market system. A full euro zone breakup would shatter the euro, while a great leap toward political union could see shrinkage of the single market, as countries such as the United Kingdom withdraw from the heart of Europe.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 01:15:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama says failure to reach fiscal deal would hurt markets | Reuters

(Reuters) - Financial markets would be affected adversely if U.S. lawmakers fail to agree on a "fiscal cliff" deal before Tuesday, President Barack Obama said in an interview broadcast on Sunday, while urging Congress to act quickly to extend tax cuts for middle-class Americans.

Lawmakers are seeking a last-minute deal that would set aside $600 billion in tax increases and across-the-board government spending cuts that are set to start within days. If Congress does not make that happen, the first bill brought up in the new year would be to reduce taxes for middle-income families, Obama told NBC's "Meet the Press."

"Now I think that over the next 48 hours, my hope is that people recognize that, regardless of partisan differences, our top priority has to be to make sure that taxes on middle-class families do not go up. That would hurt our economy badly," Obama said in the interview taped on Saturday.

"We can get that done. Democrats and Republicans both say they don't want taxes to go up on middle-class families. That's something we all agree on. If we can get that done, that takes a big bite out of the 'fiscal cliff.' It avoids the worst outcomes," Obama added.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 01:16:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Democrats Reject Republican Offer to Avert Budget Changes - Bloomberg

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rejected the latest Republican offer to resolve the U.S. fiscal crisis as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reached out to Vice President Joe Biden in an effort to break the impasse.

"The sticking point appears to be a willingness or interest or frankly, the courage to close the deal," McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said on the Senate floor today. "I'm willing to get this done, but I need a dance partner."

Reid said Democrats won't agree to use a new inflation measure sought by Republicans for calculating Social Security cost-of-living increases as part of a short-term deal.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:25:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Now I think that over the next 48 hours, my hope is that people recognize that, regardless of partisan differences, our top priority has to be to make sure that taxes on middle-class families do not go up. That would hurt our economy badly, screw over the poor and middle class, protect the obscenely wealthy, and continue THE EMPIRE (!!!)" Obama said in the interview taped on Saturday.

Reality speak for a change.

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

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 04:25:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can someone, just for once, care a little less about the poor ickle lickle markets and just a bit more about the poor and jobless ?

I know that's a lot to ask an' all

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 31st, 2012 at 11:44:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll ignore your request, and provide some more market news.
Venezuela is best-performing stock market for 2012

Government spending by the anti-capitalist Chávez administration helped the stock market rise almost 300%

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Dec 31st, 2012 at 03:10:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New year, old demons | Reuters

(Reuters) - Out with the old, in with the new has a fine New Year's ring to it. Unfortunately, the saying does not apply to the global economy: the uncertainty over U.S. fiscal policy that dominated the last weeks of 2012 is far from going away.

That uncertainty, which is causing businesses to draw in their horns, is likely to be reflected in two important December indicators this week - the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing survey on Wednesday and the jobs report on Friday.

The ISM index probably rose to 50.2 from 49.5 in November, still well below the second-quarter average of 52.7, while the economy is expected to have added 145,000 non-farm jobs after a gain of 146,000 the month before, according to economists polled by Reuters.

The unemployment rate is likely to have ticked up to 7.8 percent from 7.7 percent. That figure is more important than ever since the Federal Reserve promised to keep monetary policy ultra-loose till it drops to 6.5 percent.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:15:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dexia: second round of state aid gets green light | New Europe

On 28 December, the European Commission authorised additional state aid for the Dexia group, under the form a refinancing guarantee of €85 billion and a recapitalisation of €5.5 billion.

The Dexia group has already benefitted from state aid measures in 2008-2009 in the form of recapitalisation (€5.4 billion), refinancing guarantees (€135 billion) and impaired asset measures (€3.2 billion). The European Commission approved these aid measures, based on Dexia's restructuring plan which must be implemented until the end of 2014. The new  authorised aid granted by France, Luxembourg and Belgium, will be directed in completing the orderly resolution of the Dexia group, the sale of its subsidiary DMA (Dexia Municipal Agency) and the restructuring of Belfius (formerly Dexia Banque Belgique).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:30:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 12:44:00 PM EST
Shimon Peres: 'Self-victimising Palestinians' - The Frost Interview - Al Jazeera English
In an exclusive interview with Sir David Frost, Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, questions the Israeli government's position on settlements, pours scorn on accusations of a plot to kill Yasser Arafat, the late leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and opens his heart about the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, the former Israeli prime minister.

(...) Moving on to current issues Peres talks about his relationship with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, also known as Abu Mazen, and Israelis' widespread disillusionment following the relocation of settlers from Gaza.

"Gaza became a base to shoot at us ... we hoped [it] would be a solution. Instead it became an obstacle," he says.

And he pulls no punches with his views on Palestinians. Challenged by Sir David that the Palestinians appear to be the victims and Israel, the bullies, Peres says: "They are self-victimising. They victimise themselves. They are a victim of their own mistakes unnecessarily."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 01:06:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What a vicious old fraud, trotting out the easy lies aggressors have always used as justification for their tyranny

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 31st, 2012 at 11:53:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Bullies Consider Themselves Victims?

"Immediately he became defensive and his face took on a bold Mussolini expression.  'No, not at all,' he declared.  'Do you feel pity for these people?  The man who shot first the day before yesterday knew that it would cost him his life, of course.  It would have been bad form not to hang him.  Incidentally, he has my respect.  As for the others - shame on them.  Why didn't they put up a fight?  They were all longtime Social Democrats and members of the Eiserne Front [non-Communist leftist semimilitary group].  Why should they be lying in their beds in their nightshirts?  They should have defended themselves and died decently.  But they're a limp lot.  I have no sympathy for them.'

"'I don't know,' I said slowly, 'whether I feel much pity for them, but what I do feel is an indescribable sense of disgust at people who go around heavily armed and slaughter defenseless victims.'

"'They should have defended themselves,' said Brock stubbornly.  'Then they wouldn't have been defenseless.  That is a disgusting Marxist trick, being defenseless, when it gets serious.'



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 Tue Jan 1st, 2013 at 03:20:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Central African Republic crisis: Bozize promises coalition

Central African Republic leader Francois Bozize has said he is ready to form a national unity government with rebels, as they continue their advance towards the capital Bangui.

Mr Bozize's remarks came after a meeting with African Union chairman Thomas Boni Yayi.

He said he would hold peace talks with rebels in Gabon, and would step down when his term ended in 2016.

The rebels told the BBC they would consider the president's offer.

They had pledged to depose Mr Bozize unless he negotiated with them, but have also said that it is not their aim to enter government themselves.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 01:07:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brahimi says Syria 'must be' solved in 2013 - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

The international peace envoy for Syria says the situation in the country was deteriorating sharply but a solution was still possible under the terms of a peace plan agreed in Geneva in June.

Lakhdar Brahimi said on Sunday the state would collapse without a solution, reiterating warnings that the country could turn into "hell" or a new Somalia. 

"I say that the solution must be this year: 2013, and, God willing, before the second anniversary of this crisis," Lakhdar Brahimi said at a news conference at the Arab League in Cairo, referring to the start of the uprising in March 2011.

"A solution is still possible but is getting more complicated every day," he added. "We have a proposal and I believe this proposal is adopted by the international community."

Brahimi is the joint UN-Arab League envoy charged with trying to mediate an end to a conflict that has killed at least
44,000 people.

"The situation in Syria is bad, very, very bad, and it is getting worse and the pace of deterioration is increasing," he said.

"People are talking about Syria being split into a number of small states ... this is not what will happen, what will happen
is Somalisation, war lords," he said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:04:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I say that the solution must be this year: 2013, and, God willing, before the second anniversary of this crisis," ...

Suppose God has decided to take this year off and not give a damn about the doings of the puny human infestation? What then? Will you grow up and solve your own problems? Rumor has it that God is busy watching the (US) football playoffs, followed by some last minute shopping, then comes baseball season. She's busy, and tired of your constant whining about problems of your own creation.


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

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 04:35:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pakistan militants kill 41 in mass execution, attack on Shi'ites | Reuters

(Reuters) - Pakistani militants, who have escalated attacks in recent weeks, killed at least 41 people in two separate incidents, officials said on Sunday, challenging assertions that military offensives have broken the back of hardline Islamist groups.

The United States has long pressured nuclear-armed ally Pakistan to crack down harder on both homegrown militants groups such as the Taliban and others which are based on its soil and attack Western forces in Afghanistan.

In the north, 21 men working for a government-backed paramilitary force were executed overnight after they were kidnapped last week, a provincial official said.

Twenty Shi'ite pilgrims died and 24 were wounded, meanwhile, when a car bomb targeted their bus convoy as it headed toward the Iranian border in the southwest, a doctor said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:14:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
some people think god wants peace, but it's surprising how much death and destruction is done in his name, god willing of course

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 31st, 2012 at 11:55:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Naomi Wolf has much to say about the new release of documents relating to the FBI clampdown of Occupy in amurka.

Guardian


It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall - so mystifying at the time - was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves -was coordinated with the big banks themselves.
....
Verheyden-Hilliard points out the close partnering of banks, the New York Stock Exchange and at least one local Federal Reserve with the FBI and DHS, and calls it "police-statism":

"This production [of documents], which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI's surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement ... These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America."
....
Jason Leopold, at Truthout.org, who has sought similar documents for more than a year, reported that the FBI falsely asserted in response to his own FOIA requests that no documents related to its infiltration of Occupy Wall Street existed at all. But the release may be strategic: if you are an Occupy activist and see how your information is being sent to terrorism task forces and fusion centers, not to mention the "longterm plans" of some redacted group to shoot you, this document is quite the deterrent.

Consider the implications.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 05:58:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document - reproduced here in an easily searchable format - shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.


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 30th, 2012 at 06:47:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Secretary of State Clinton hospitalized with blood clot: spokesman | Reuters

"In the course of a follow-up exam today, Secretary Clinton's doctors discovered a blood clot had formed, stemming from the concussion she sustained several weeks ago," spokesman Philippe Reines said in a statement.

"She is being treated with anti-coagulants and is at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital so that they can monitor the medication over the next 48 hours," Reines said, adding that doctors would continue to assess her condition.



Now where are we going and what's with the handbasket?
by budr on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 08:38:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 12:44:25 PM EST
IPS - Reviving Family Farming in Angola, Carrot by Carrot | Inter Press Service

CAPANDA, Angola, Dec 28 2012 (IPS) - "We never used to eat carrots, but now we like them," said Rebeca Soba, admiring her vegetable garden, an island of diversity in the midst of a vast sugarcane plantation.

Vegetable gardening has been introduced at the Capanda Agroindustrial Pole (PAC) as a source of income for local small farmers.

The vegetable gardens are part of a social programme, Kulonga pala Kukula ("education for development" in Kimbundu, the local African language), which also includes actions to promote health, water availability and education.

Women and a few men plant a variety of seeds brought from Brazil in 10 villages close to the Capanda hydroelectric plant, 360 kilometres from Luanda.

Some species were unknown to the local population, like parsley and arugula, which they cook rather than eat in salads. "It's very bitter," said Soba, a 45-year-old mother of five, who is one of the leaders of the agriculture programme for small farmers.

She and her group grow cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, kale and other vegetables on low-lying land that is too wet to be suitable for sugarcane.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:07:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oil and natural gas exploration in East Africa - The Ecologist
The disconnect between what oil and petrol companies say is happening in East Africa and what global bodies, international NGOs, academics, activists and ecologists say is going on should worry us all, writes Thembi Mutch

We've already done a great deal of damage, and appear to have learnt little. A recent (October 2010) UNEP report, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), put the damage done to the natural world by human activity in 2008 at between US$2 trillion (£1.3 trillion) and US$4.5 trillion (£3 trillion).

It's really important we don't screw up in East Africa, and it's vital we draw attention to the people and organisations who are pushing the agenda in the right direction. We cannot go on wilfully ignoring the voices - whether of the UN, the IUCN, activists against Canadian tar sands and in the Niger Delta, Ghana and Angola who have to some extent seen it all before, or of informed academics - who are seriously sounding the alarm.

This is not an oblique problem: how oil and natural gas are extracted in Africa has direct impacts on our lives.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:37:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US Navy sailors sue Japan's TEPCO over radiation

Eight US Navy sailors are suing Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) for hundreds of millions of dollars over allegations the Japanese firm lied to them about radiation dangers after a tsunami-triggered meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The sailors accuse TEPCO of deceiving their commanders about radiation levels as the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan took part in relief operations following the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, according to a complaint filed in US federal court in southern California.

The devastating tsunami swamped cooling systems at the Fukushima plant, sending reactors into meltdown and spewing radiation over a large area.

TEPCO and the Japanese government "kept representing that there was no danger of radiation contamination to the USS Reagan and/or its crew, that 'everything is under control, all is OK, you can trust us,'" the sailors' lawyers wrote.

Japanese officials insisted there was "'no immediate danger' or threat to human life, all the while lying through their teeth about the reactor meltdowns" at Fukushima, it said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:39:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fukushima operator boosts compensation estimate

The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant on Thursday sought yet more money to pay ballooning bills for compensating victims of last year's disaster.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said it had newly estimated the compensation costs at 3.24 trillion yen ($38 billion), up 697 billion yen from its last calculation in March.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:44:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China sets first-half rare earth export quota for 2013

China on Friday announced its export quota for rare earth resources for the first half of next year amid declining prices and weak demand in the global market.

China produces more than 95 percent of the world's rare earths, 17 elements critical to manufacturing everything from iPads to low-emission cars.

The country has set production caps and export quotas on rare earths, saying it aims to protect resources and the environment in an effort to promote sustainable development.

But China's control over the sought-after resources has sparked a dispute with major trading partners.

The government will initially allow exports of 15,501 tonnes of the resources in the first six months of 2013, the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:43:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
2MW vertical axis prototype under construction | Windpower Monthly
FRANCE: The world's largest vertical axis turbine is set to enter its first trial stage next month as part of the 2MW Vertiwind floating offshore turbine project.

The 2MW Vertiwind project is being led by Lille-based designer Nenuphar, Technip and EDF EN, and has been underway since January last year when a 35kW prototype was launched.

Nenuphar founder Charles Smadja said the company was planning to test the turbine in three stages. The first one, in January, would be on the generator and electrical systems which will be housed in the tower.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:48:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Increased calls for German Energy Ministry - The Local
More and more politicians are calling on the German government to establish an Energy Ministry after the next election, in the face of slow progress in the country's transition to renewable power sources.

"The significance of energy policy for our country would justify this step in my opinion," said Gerda Hasselfeldt, regional head of the Bavarian Christian Social Union.

The European Union's energy commissioner Günther Oettinger chimed in with the call, pointing out that other EU members already had their own energy ministry.

Oettinger added that Germany had suffered in the past from not being able to assert itself quickly and strongly enough in Brussels when it came to important energy issues.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:50:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Wind power deadline sees US firms rush to build turbines

US energy companies are racing to install wind turbines before a federal tax credit expires at the end of this year.

Experts say that wind power has exceeded the construction of natural gas plants in recent months.

However the financial incentive for wind could be lost as congress struggles to avoid financial deadlock.

Even if the credit is extended it is expected that new installations will decline in 2013.

According to industry analysts, the federal government's production tax credit has played an important role in the expansion of wind energy across the US since it was first introduced in 1992.

At that point there was less than 1.5 gigawatts of power generating capacity provided by wind across the country. That figure has grown dramatically. This year has seen around 12 gigawatts of wind power capacity installed, outpacing even natural gas projects which have boomed on the back of cheap shale.

The government subsidy works out at 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour of power produced over ten years. This amounts to around $1m (£620,000) for every large turbine. However the deadline is absolute - to get the money the blades on new installations must be turning and generating power before the 31st of December.

"There's a lot of rushing right now to get projects completed by the end of the year," says Rob Gramlich, senior vice president at the American Wind Energy Association.

"It is not a great way to run a business with this policy-induced uncertainty."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jan 1st, 2013 at 01:06:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 12:44:47 PM EST
Crimes against women increase in India - Features - Al Jazeera English

The death following a brutal gang rape and assault of a 23-year-old paramedical student in India's capital Delhi on December 16 has put a spotlight on crimes against women in the country.

Widespread protests and emotional outbursts spontaneously erupted across the country on Saturday, with women and men demanding safety and protection of women, a change in attitudes towards women and a change of archaic gender laws and speedy justice to bring rapists to book. Some protesters demand the death penalty for rapists.

...

The problem of gender-based violence is getting worse. National Crime Record Bureau statistics show crimes against women increased by 7.1 percent nationwide since 2010. There has been a rise in the number of incidents of rape recorded too. In 2011, 24,206 incidents were recorded, a rise of 9 percent from the previous year. More than half of the victims are between 18 and 30 years of age. 

Figures indicate that 10.6 percent of total victims of rape were girls under 14 years of age, while 19 percent were teens between the ages of 14 and 18.  Alarmingly in almost 94.2 percent of cases offenders were known to the victims and those involved included family members, relatives, and neighbours.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 01:03:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IPS - The Mindlessness of War in Afghanistan | Inter Press Service

KABUL, Dec 30 2012 (IPS) - One night in 1979, bombs dropped from the sky, killing 16 members of Ismail's family. "The war took some people to Europe and America, but it destroyed my family," Ismail, who is universally addressed as "uncle", says.

Hailing from the Haska Mena district in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, he says his parents insisted he go to the only school in the district, in Shpole Baba. The times were tumultuous. The Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan, and Babrak Karmal was installed the leader of the government in December 1979.

The new government's opponents set fire to Ismail's school. He remembers going up to the roof of his house to watch. "The fire destroyed my hopes of studying, and being a great man in the future," he sighs.

Ismail started to help his father on the land. "People in our village were surprised that I switched so quickly from being a school boy to a farm worker," he remembers, a soft smile on his face.

But the war was to change things again for Ismail. He remembers his father and he were ploughing the fields when six Soviet helicopters appeared in the sky. They circled the area three times, and then, suddenly, started firing. "They shot people in cold blood. Everyone was running helter-skelter. Our bulls broke free of the yoke in panic.

"My family (took shelter) in the village mosque. My grandmother who refused to leave was the only one in the house when I got there."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:10:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IPS - Renovating an Embattled City | Inter Press Service

HEBRON, Occupied West Bank, Dec 29 2012 (IPS) - Every day, Anas Maraka sees his family's home, but can't go inside. "It's hardest for my grandfather," said Maraka, referring to the house overlooking Shuhada Street, once the central marketplace in Hebron's old city.

While he never lived there himself, Maraka explained that being so close - and yet, so far - from his family's ancestral home motivates him to maintain Palestinians' presence in the largest, and one of the most tense and volatile, cities in the West Bank.

"I like the old city. It's our culture. Our goal is to rehabilitate houses in the old city and bring people back to abandoned houses. We want to improve the quality of life," explained Maraka, a member of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee (HRC).

Maraka told IPS that in 15 years of work, HRC has refurbished approximately 900 houses in the old city of Hebron. This rehabilitation, he said, has allowed some 10,000 Palestinians to return to the area.

"After the Second Intifada, most people left their houses. They were afraid to go back because of the Israeli settlers and the Israeli military. They can't live easily in the old city, but we're trying to bring them back. We can't leave this area because the settlers would come to take the houses," Maraka said.

According to a 2006 survey conducted by the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, over 1,000 Palestinian homes were abandoned and over 1,800 shops were closed in the centre of Hebron as a result of Israeli restrictions in the area. This represents about 42 percent of homes, and 77 percent of businesses, that were originally used by the city's occupants.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:11:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The press in Europe (3/5): Newspapers will not die in Silicon Valley | Presseurop (English)

What have we gained from this Internet dawn, so full of promise? Everyone has in his pocket on or on his desk, all manner of devices which give him him more means of communication than the American president would have had 20 years ago. For a couple of euros, a person could transform himself into a television studio producer or a publisher. Anything was possible, they all said - but it was all snored away.

Let's face it: it's been a disaster. Either that, or it has been a dream that, now that we're all awake, we should stop and have a good think about.

We are not talking about the newspaper crisis here. If after the bankruptcy of Frankfurter Rundschau and the demise of the Financial Times Deutschland the great Pavlovian apparatus of public communications and media is talking so much of missed opportunities - all this not always wrongly, but always self-righteously - then it's time to take another look at who's in the same boat.

To sum up, with a kindly eye towards those who have slept through it: 10 years of commercial Internet, 10 years of the information economy, five years of smartphones and at least 20 years of the ideology of the Internet intellectual that comes with all that - the tale of self-empowerment of each and every individual as a voice of public opinion and individual participation.

What has become of the euphoria that was there at the start? What went wrong with all the theories about a technology that would transform all our social and economic relations - and that has turned out to be nothing more than the greatest advertising coup in world history, for Silicon Valley?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:35:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Dec 31st, 2012 at 10:31:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 12:45:14 PM EST
Builders demolish 18th century French château `by mistake' - France - RFI

The Russian owner of the Château Bellevue in Yvrac in southwestern France says the 18th century treasure was destroyed "in error" by a team of Polish builders after a misunderstanding.

Dmitry Stroskin, a software specialist, told the French newspaper Sud Ouest that he bought the property in 2010 from a rich Bordeaux family.

A year later, he submitted an application for building permission to the local authorities. Local official Lise Mattiazzo described his plan as "a very pretty renovation project".

Stroskin says he hoped to use the house as a holiday home and had intended to repair the façade of the chateau, modernise the pool and build a pool house.

But on 26 and 27 November, the firm of builders he had hired simply razed the whole chateau to the ground, to the amazement of everyone, said Lise Mattiazzo.

Stroskin says he is in shock, and that "even if the building was in very bad condition", he wanted to "create an identical reconstruction of Bellevue".

Mme Mattiazzo says Stroskin told her that the Polish company "had completely misunderstood" and that he had asked them simply to destroy the small guest house adjacent to the chateau.

However, some of the local people wonder whether the destruction of the chateau really was a genuine error.

They report that Stroskin had expressed concern that the foundations of the chateau might not be sufficiently deep, and especially, they note that he is still using the same construction company for his projects.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 01:12:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Similar tricks have been done in the UK for decades to get around planning regs

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 31st, 2012 at 12:17:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
`The Intouchables' actor becomes France's favourite - France - RFI

French actor and comedian, Omar Sy who starred in The Intouchables has been named France's most popular personality taking over from former tennis player, Yannick Noah who has held the title since 2007.

Sy was announced the winner of Le Journal du Dimanche's bi-annual poll published on Sunday ahead of actor Gad Elmaleh who placed second and Noah who came in third.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 01:14:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Italian Nobel laureate Rita Levi-Montalcini dies

The Italian Nobel prize-winning neurologist Rita Levi-Montalcini has died at the age of 103.

Miss Levi-Montalcini lived through anti-semitic discrimination under fascism to become one of Italy's top scientists and most respected figures.

She won acclaim for her work on cells, which furthered understanding of a range of conditions, including cancer.

In 1986 she shared the Nobel prize for medicine with biochemist Stanley Cohen for research carried out in the US.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:27:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A New Year's dinner for one watched by millions - The Local
Nobody cares to eat alone, but in Germany few people can imagine ringing in the New Year without watching a little-known British comedy skit "Dinner for One." The Local explains a Teutonic tradition.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:51:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've never understood this phenomenon in 'Schland, but i admit to cracking up the first time i watched it Silvester 2001/2002. Partly because it's truly dumb slapstick done brilliantly, partly because the premise is so absurd... and partly because i couldn't believe my in-laws were simply guffawing.

(My father-in-law had been in a Russian prison camp for many years after the war, as a doctor even caring for the guards. My mother-in-law spent her teenage years in a British confinement camp in Tanzania. They likely appreciated the absurdity.)

Haven't seen it every year since, but when i do, i can't tell if i'm laughing at myself or the show.

Part 1 (a year later)

Original version complete

and especially crafted to wish ET a Happy New Year, the Sarkozy Merkel Version



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 05:14:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps i laugh because millions of Germans across generations keep watching it together. or maybe no one watches it anymore, what do i know... except it's still being shown this year.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 05:16:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 31st, 2012 at 05:29:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Same procedure as every year, Mr. afew.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Dec 31st, 2012 at 06:18:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dogs and cats 'still eaten in Switzerland' - The Local
Some Swiss people still regularly eat dog and cat meat, a newspaper investigation has shown - and the practice remains legal in the country.

 Eating Fido - or Tiddles - might be more commonly associated with China and Vietnam, but rustling up a slice of cured dog meat to enjoy as a snack is not unusual in rural areas of central and eastern Switzerland, Tages Anzeiger claims.

There are no statistics on the number of dogs and cats killed every year in Switzerland and social disapproval of dog-eating means the practice is shrouded in secrecy. No commercial abattoirs slaughter dogs or cats, but farmers in the Appenzell and St Gallen cantons in German-speaking Switzerland often slaughter the animals themselves.

The most popular breed of dog for eating is a close relative of the Rottweiler.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 30th, 2012 at 03:55:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No one from CH has popped up to deny this, so I think we can take it for gospel truth.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 31st, 2012 at 12:57:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Into 2013, ET



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Dec 31st, 2012 at 08:10:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guten Rutsch indeed.

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 31st, 2012 at 08:42:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, until now I had not noticed that 2013 was Eros backwards. I hope that does not make it Thanatos.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Dec 31st, 2012 at 09:41:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Marvellous !!!

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Dec 31st, 2012 at 12:22:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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