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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 11 February

by DoDo Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 04:12:30 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1902 - birth of Arne Jacobsen, Danish functionalist architect and furniture designer (d. 1971)

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 Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:05:37 PM EST
Greece's far-right party rejects bailout agreement - GREECE - FRANCE 24

AFP - Greece's ruling coalition reeled on Friday amid protest violence, with the far-right party that supports the government rejecting tough conditions demanded by the eurozone for a debt rescue.

As the prospect of a chaotic default reappeared over the country, far-right leader George Karatzaferis said his deputies would not approve a new round of wage and pension cuts heading to a parliament vote on Sunday.

...Prime Minister Lucas Papademos summoned a cabinet meeting later on Friday as clashes erupted on the sidelines of union demonstrations against the new cuts, which had caused a junior labour minister to resign on Thursday.

...The far-right has 16 deputies in the 300-seat chamber, and although several lawmakers from other parties have also declared their opposition to the new cuts, the other two coalition parties have enough support to secure passage on Sunday.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:05:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Economic Affairs / Germany promises Portugal 'programme adjustment' after Greece

BRUSSELS - German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble on Thursday was caught on tape promising Portugal an adjustment to its programme after a deal with Greece is sealed, the first time an EU minister has publicly spoken of such plans.

The footage was caught by Portugal's TVi24 cameraman during the 'roundtable' shots at the beginning of a eurozone ministers' meeting on Thursday (9 February).

Schauble, unaware of the rolling camera, is seen telling his Portuguese counterpart Vitor Gaspar that after the Greek deal is done, Berlin will approve a loosening of the conditions attached to Portugal's €78 billion bail-out programme.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:05:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Headline News / Kroes threatens nuclear option against Hungary

In a testy exchange of views between EU digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes and Hungary's deputy prime minister Tibor Navracsics at a European Parliament committee hearing in Brussels on Thursday (9 February), Kroes said she would ask the commission to take "appropriate action" if needed.

Her spokesperson later confirmed to this website that she means Article 7.

...The Kroes-Navracsics dispute concerns a set of new media laws in Hungary which appear to threaten media diversity.

Navracsics managed to visibly anger Kroes with his standard double-talk, at one point she said:

"That is different from what you were answering in my office," Kroes said.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:06:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dutch website causes stir in Central Europe | EurActiv

Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders has launched a website, inviting people to denounce Polish, Romanian and Bulgarian nationals causing 'nuisance' to the country's society. Sofia, Bucharest and Warsaw reacted with outrage. The EurActiv network in Central Europe reports.

Wilders' Freedom party (PVV) has already gathered thousands of denunciations since it launched a website this week, asking Dutch citizens to report nuisance, pollution, problems related to housing or simply competition on the job market, caused by Europeans citizens coming from Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.

PVV is the third largest party in the Netherlands. In the formation of the current cabinet of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, PVV's active participation resulted in the adoption of a "support agreement" between itself and the three coalition parties.

...Uka's defense lawyer Jens Jörg Hoffmann, who asked for his age, confession and difficult upbringing to be taken into account during the trial, said after the verdict that he would appeal against the severity of the sentence.

"We have to appeal," Hoffmann told Reuters. "We think it was not a jihaidst attack, it was rage. He ran amok."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:06:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frankfurt airport shooter sentenced to life | Germany | DW.DE | 10.02.2012

A court in Frankfurt on Friday has sentenced a 22-year-old man to life in prison for killing two US soldiers at Frankfurt Airport a year ago, a crime labeled the first successful militant Islamist attack on German soil.

Arid Uka, a 22-year-old man born in Kosovo who grew up in Frankfurt, opened fire on a bus full of unarmed American soldiers at Frankfurt Airport on March 2, 2011. Two of the soldiers were killed and another two were seriously injured.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:06:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...Uka's defense lawyer Jens Jörg Hoffmann, who asked for his age, confession and difficult upbringing to be taken into account during the trial, said after the verdict that he would appeal against the severity of the sentence.

"We have to appeal," Hoffmann told Reuters. "We think it was not a jihaidst attack, it was rage. He ran amok."

by Andhakari on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:51:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, he just ran amok, that's all right then

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 05:01:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And he just happened to have an automatic rifle with him, entirely by coincidence. No doubt he had just found it under a bush and was on his way to turn it in at a police station.
by Andhakari on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 06:18:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did he say it's all right? And is punishment for terrorist motivations ("Islamist attack") and running amok the same?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 10:12:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. With an ordinary life sentence he could be released after 15 years, but this sentence is for murder AND "especial severity of his guilt". He'll be released much later.
by Katrin on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:21:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a silly question - if the soldiers were in uniform, is it still considered a terrorist attack or something else according to the so-called rules of war?
by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 08:26:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We are at war with terrorists. Terrorists ate not at war with us. They're just terrorists. Rules of war don't apply to us, an only apply to them when we feel like it.

You know the rule: if you climb on a bus and blow yourself and the other occupants up you're a cowardly murderer. If you blow up the same thing from a bunker in Nevada or a plane 10km up you're a brave warrior.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 08:48:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But if you do it from a bunker in Iran, you're a terrorist.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 08:59:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's because, by definition, all Muslims are terrorists.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 11:18:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which would have served as a simpler answer to the question that started this thread in the first place....
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 11:59:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Since this attack wasn't in a theatre of war and the uniformed soldiers were unarmed, I consider it borderline. There is another question, however: whether terrorist or guerilla attack, was it a genuine Islamist attack?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 10:10:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The defense attorney may have a valid defense. It seems that running amok, while originally a Malay phenomenon and word, has been globalized:

The syndrome of "Amok" is found in the DSM-IV TR

See how globalization has enriched our shared world culture!

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 10:44:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Socialists say 'Stop ACTA' | EurActiv

The leader of the Party of European Socialists, Sergei Stanishev, told EurActiv he was "proud" that his European political family was the first to come up with a clear position on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which he says is against the interests of European citizens.

The Socialists yesterday (9 February) issued a strongly worded declaration, calling the ACTA agreement - recently signed by the Commission and 22 EU states (see background) - "wrong in both content and process".

Stanishev told journalists that the Party of European Socialists has found a new war horse to mark its identity before the European electorate.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:06:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
de Villepin's campaign headquarters were burgled last night.

this reminds me of all the burglaries against Ségolène Royal in the last presidential election.

by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 08:28:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:07:04 PM EST
Spain approves tough labour market reforms - SPAIN - FRANCE 24

Severance pay falls to a maximum of 33 days' salary for each year of employment from the previous level of 45 days, Employment Minister Fatima Banez told a news conference after ministers agreed a draft decree.

"The government's goal is to fight joblessness and stem unemployment," she said.

The previous Socialist government, ousted in November 20 elections by the Popular Party, had introduced a new contract with a 33-day-a-year maximum severance and just 20 days for financially-motivated layoffs.

But the new contract, introduced in July 2010, was rarely used and the traditional contract offering 45 days a year in compensation for lay offs remained the norm.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:07:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Air France resumes normal operations as strike ends - France - FRANCE 24

AFP - French flag-carrier Air France said it expected its services to return to normal Friday after a four-day strike that saw hundreds of fights cancelled at airports across the country.

...Unions called the strike to protest against a draft law that would require aviation workers to individually give 48 hours notice prior to striking, saying this limits labour rights.

The bill was approved by France's lower house last month and is due to be debated in the Senate.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:07:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Being lonely is 'worse than smoking' - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

Being lonely in old age will propel you to the grave more quickly than smoking, a senior Downing Street adviser said as part of an effort to encourage people to retire later.

David Halpern, the director of Number 10's Behavioural Insight Team, said not having someone with whom to share problems was one of the most significant lifestyle factors affecting mortality.

Dubbed the "nudge unit", Mr Halpern's team was set up to develop ways to push people gently into changing behaviour rather than more draconian government interventions.

This is... Orwellian.

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

by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:07:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What a truly dishonest agenda. We're not making you work till you drop because we're greedy tight assed bastards squeezing the last drop of blood from all you proles, no we want you to work till you drop cos it's good for you

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:26:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the thing is, it is good for you.  but, the market is not set up to deal with older workers, and the pension system certainly is not.  

when young people are having problems finding jobs, do you really think a company will try to hang on to their older workers because "it is good for them to be working"?

by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 08:24:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And since when did 'the market' give a damn about what is good for workers?

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 10:53:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, and they don't want me to be lonely. Newsflash: work was KILLING me and I've never been happier than since I retired.  There's almost nothing that's true or the same for everyone (yeah, yeah, we all need oxygen; not what I'm talking about); a one-size-fits-all solution or suggestion makes me roll my eyes every time.

Being retired doesn't mean watching tv all day and "working" doesn't mean being fulfilled all day. They mean very different things to very many people. To ME, the ultimate satisfaction is getting to choose the projects with which I wish to occupy myself, and having more power than anyone else over the use of my time.  I'm just sorry I didn't get to this position sooner.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 01:25:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because it is obviously not possible that ill health can lead to social isolation in a society where the only accepted forms of social intercourse are familial and professional.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:55:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank what ever gods may be for ET!

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 10:54:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Crackdown on derivatives trading agreed | EurActiv

European Union diplomats and the European Parliament agreed yesterday (9 February) to overhaul regulation of the multi-trillion euro derivatives market, a move that will make it easier to control one of the most opaque areas of finance.

A new regime could be largely in place by the end of 2012, reforming a market that boomed in the decade before the economic crash and was blamed for amplifying the crisis by hiding risks from regulators.

Under new EU laws, banks, hedge funds and other buyers and sellers of derivatives will be encouraged to move away from the unregulated 'over-the-counter' market, which accounts for almost 95% of all trades.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:07:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They will require very heavy 'encouragement', I suspect.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 10:56:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rio police strike casts a cloud over carnival - BRAZIL - FRANCE 24

AP - Not content with legislative approval of a big pay raise, Rio state police officers went on strike Friday, raising fears for the security of the glittering Carnival extravaganza that sets this seaside city throbbing.

The work stoppage will force authorities to deploy thousands of soldiers into the streets to provide security in this city of 6 million people that is also in the midst of preparations to host the 2014 World Cup finals and the 2016 Olympics.

Officers approved the strike at a raucous outdoor rally Thursday night, just hours after the Rio state legislature gave police, prison guards and firefighters a 39 percent raise to be staggered over this year and the next, along with a promise of more in 2014.

The increase was just half of what officers sought, though. They said their salaries have fallen far behind rising prices over the decades, and called their vote to strike a protest against an insufficient raise.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:07:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The first time I moved to New Orleans, the police went on strike for the 1979 Mardi Gras season, which pretty much canceled it.  I can't imagine how much revenue the city must have lost.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:00:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have heard how expensive apartments have become in Rio, so perhaps their demands are not so extravagant as they are made out to be.
by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 08:22:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a bitch when you have to pay your servants what their services are worth. But is the wage increase en leiu of or in addition to  traditional corruption and shake downs.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 11:00:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:08:10 PM EST
Fears of major assault as Syrian tanks encircle Homs - SYRIA - FRANCE 24

REUTERS - Tanks amassed outside opposition neighbourhoods in Homs on Friday as Alawite-led forces bombarded the Syrian city for the fifth day and residents expected a major push to subdue the centre of revolt against President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

Assad, bolstered by Russian support, ignored appeals from world leaders to halt the carnage.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the "appalling brutality" of the operation to stamp out the revolt against Assad, and Turkey's ambassador to the European Union warned of a slide into civil war that could inflame the region.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:08:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Free Syrian Army denies implication in Aleppo blasts - SYRIA - FRANCE 24

AP - Two explosions targeted security compounds in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Friday, state media reported, saying 25 people were killed and 175 wounded in a major city that has so far largely stood by President Bashar Assad in the nearly 11-month-old uprising against his rule.

The blasts were the first significant violence in the northern city, Syria's largest. Along with the capital Damascus, Aleppo is Syria's economic center, home to the business community and prosperous merchant classes whose continued backing for Assad has been crucial in propping up his regime. The city has seen only occasional protests.

State TV blamed "terrorists" in the blasts, touting the regime line that armed groups looking to destabilize Syria are behind the uprising. Anti-Assad activists accused the regime of setting off the blasts to discredit the opposition and to overt protests that had been planned in the city on Friday.

Two earlier bombings in Damascus in December and January that killed dozens prompted similar exchanges of accusations. There has been no claim of responsibility for those attacks or Friday's.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:08:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This situation is increasingly looking like a fight to the death for the Alawi. If the resistance is successful in overthrowing the regeime it will be interesting to see what emerges.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 11:03:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a fight to the death is interesting to you?    perhaps you could choose your words more carefully.
by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 11:18:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
hey steve, read it again.

ARG says it would be interesting to see what emerges, not the fight to the death part.

it's two different sentences, i think you conflated them.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 12:41:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think seeing what emerges from a fight to the death is "interesting" in any way.

There's a lot of flippant remarks here recently that I would attribute to American right wing blogs.

I know you all have more decency and respect for human life and progressive values than have been expressed in some recent comments, so let's express those.

Thank you.

 

by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 12:57:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well feel free to call me on it if you find my comments offensive.

ARG has been here a long time and has always been refreshingly free from the habit of posting comments that are ghoulish in any way. or even mildly negative. his posts are constructive, reasoned, informed and intelligent, and what you are inferring was not present in that or any other comment he's made that i've seen.

as for interesting stuff emerging from fights to the death, it pretty much sums up all of history, including us!

imo, there's a bit of ghoulish energy here sometimes that would be better off gone, but i think you really chose an strange target for your complaint.

especially as he didn't say what you infer... riots and death are a lot less interesting than what can replace them, but to say they are not worthy of interest doesn't seem right. if we aren't interested in the causes of strife, how can we better avoid it?

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 01:12:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
his government is supplying the weapons that are killing those people and he finds that the outcome will be "interesting".  kind of over the top, is all.
by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 01:43:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe ARG is not Russian.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:28:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or, if you mean the anti-Assad side, are you saying they are armed by the US?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:38:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
then you have not been reading the news.

the USA is sending weapons to the insurgents who are killing the Alawites.

they send anti-riot gear to Egypt, and fan the flames of sectarian violence in Syria which is also spilling into Lebanon.

by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:38:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reference, rather than your usual vague "I saw somewhere"?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:39:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, no references?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:56:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
News Flash: amurka continues it's policy since 1946.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:43:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
so I guess that makes it alright.
by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:53:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
stevesim:
killing the Alawites

They are the victims? Assad is what, not an Alawite?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:59:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
so what?  it's okay to kill them?

why should the USA interfere?  it's none of their business

Israel kills a hell of a lot more Palestinians and the US does nothing.

besides, according to this:

Jim Muir: unconventional wisdom on Syria
"The situation is far more complex than during the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
In contrast to their ousted leaders, it does appear that the Assad regime still enjoys the support of significant sectors of the country's patchwork society, increasingly polarised as the crisis deepens.   By and large, his own Alawite minority apparently continues to stand with him, some no doubt fearful of the consequences of change.  The same seems generally to be true of other minorities, especially the Christians, with more questionable allegiance from the Kurds and Druze.   Secular-minded and business circles within the middle classes of the majority Sunni community, especially in the two biggest cities, have also shown little enthusiasm for the revolt, which some fear might bring Islamists to the fore, especially now that armed action is increasingly in the picture.  The regime has also apparently been able to continue using the army and security forces in a repressive role without them going to pieces. There have been individual or group defections on the ground, but not by whole units.  What nobody knows - probably not even the regime itself - is how long it can go on using forces in which the rank and file are necessarily largely Sunni, to quell a largely Sunni-based revolt."

by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:02:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No one is contesting that it is a horrible civil war, and that the Assad regime has supporters.

But why are you making the Alawites out to be the victims when they, through the Syrian army, are in fact carrying out almost all the slaughter?

And again, what evidence are you offering that the US is in fact interfering?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:12:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
maybe because they are victims.

I deplore all deaths in this and in all cases.

Just because they are Alawites doesn't mean they deserve to die.

by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:15:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who said they "deserved to die"?

What about the far greater number of non-Allawites killed by the Syrian army?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:39:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
if you did not want to imply that they deserved to die, why did you ask if they were the victims of the situation?  why are there victims and non-victims

yes, of course, all of  the non-Allawites are victims as well, and their deaths are tragedies.  the whole situation is a bloody tragedy. and the people are once again just little pawns in a greater game.  

by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:45:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Alawites, through the Assads, are in power in Syria, and currently command the army. That doesn't mean "they deserve to die", but it means they are in a different situation in the balance of power.

This is all so obvious that only your obtuse wish to seize on strawmen can obfuscate it.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:55:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hey, I thought you said to drop the personal insults, or did you just mean I should let you guys insult me?

I don't care who is in charge of the army, people don't deserve to die.  often the ones who are being killed in these situations are the ones who can't defend themselves, and that often means people without power, on all sides.

by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:01:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Saying you are seizing on strawmen is not an insult.

Saying you are now shifting to victimisation is not one either.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:06:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and obtuse which you conveniently forgot to mention is what?  a compliment?
by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:08:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. I have no wish to compliment you on your sorry display in this thread.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:13:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
then don't insult me either.

your sorry understanding of the situation has been exposed, however.

by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:15:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
stevesim:
you have not been reading the news.

the USA is sending weapons to the insurgents who are killing the Alawites.

they ... fan the flames of sectarian violence in Syria which is also spilling into Lebanon.

Still waiting for "the news".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:19:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://af.reuters.com/article/libyaNews/idAFL5E8DA8OR20120210

Russia said on Friday that the West was stoking the conflict in Syria by sending weapons to the opponents of President Bashar al-Assad.

In an attempt to deflect criticism of Russia for blocking a U.N. Security Council resolution urging Assad to give up power, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Western states were stirring up trouble in Syria, where Assad has pursued a violent crackdown since March on protests against his 11-year rule.

"Western states inciting Syrian opposition to uncompromising actions, as well as those sending arms to them, giving them advice and direction, are participating in the process of fomenting the crisis," Itar-Tass news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying.

by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:23:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia said...

This is "evidence"?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:25:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia accuses West of arming Syrian rebels | News by Country | Reuters
He did not specify which nations were arming Syrian rebels.

You left that line out.

According to you, ARGeezer's government was arming the rebels, and that appeared to at least partly justify your assertion about "rightwing American" comments here. An assertion that you have not justified at all, by the way.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:31:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the Western media, the Syrian narrative is all about how helpless protesters are being massacred by government forces, but the reality is quite different, as this report by the Arab League monitoring mission makes clear. Of course we didn't hear much about this report when it was released: anything that goes against the Official Narrative is summarily dropped into the Memory Hole and never seen again. Pepe Escobar notes:

"The report is adamant. There was no organized, lethal repression by the Syrian government against peaceful protesters. Instead, the report points to shady armed gangs as responsible for hundreds of deaths among Syrian civilians, and over one thousand among the Syrian army, using lethal tactics such as bombing of civilian buses, bombing of trains carrying diesel oil, bombing of police buses and bombing of bridges and pipelines."

The report itself states:

"The Mission determined that there is an armed entity that is not mentioned in the protocol. This development on the ground can undoubtedly be attributed to the excessive use of force by Syrian Government forces in response to protests that occurred before the deployment of the Mission demanding the fall of the regime. In some zones, this armed entity reacted by attacking Syrian security forces and citizens, causing the Government to respond with further violence. In the end, innocent citizens pay the price for those actions with life and limb."

Who or what is this "armed entity not mentioned in the protocol" - or in many of the news reports on events in Syria? Where do they get their arms? Stratfor says mostly from Lebanon, but there is also the border with Turkey:

"Supply routes emanating from Lebanon are the most critical to the FSA, as they run closest to critical opposition strongholds in and around the capital and in the Sunni-majority cities of Homs and Hama. The porous Syrian-Turkish border is the safest for the FSA to cross. Ankara has already established several refugee camps for Syrians on the Turkish border and has been hosting the FSA and Syrian National Council leaderships. Foreign covert assistance to the FSA is also likely taking place on the Turkish side of the Syrian border, where stockpiles can be protected and Turkish armed forces can provide some cover for FSA rebels moving to and from Syria."

by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 05:03:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Antiwar.com columnist and former intelligence officer Phil Giraldi is more explicit:

"Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to Iskenderun on the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi's arsenals as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council who are experienced in pitting local volunteers against trained soldiers, a skill they acquired confronting Gaddafi's army. Iskenderun is also the seat of the Free Syrian Army, the armed wing of the Syrian National Council. French and British special forces trainers are on the ground, assisting the Syrian rebels while the CIA and U.S. Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence to assist the rebel cause, enabling the fighters to avoid concentrations of Syrian soldiers."

The Libyan "National Transitional Council" announced its support to the Syrian rebels, and sent 600 fighters to the Turkish border. Financed and supported by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, the "Free Syrian Army" is intent on sparking a sectarian war, pitting Sunnis against Alawites and Christians. Their "Abu Bakr Brigade, which originated in Libya, and is said to be recruited from Al Qaeda, is posting anti-Alawite videos as part of their propaganda operation. This group has claimed responsibility for various attacks on Iranian targets, notably blowing up an Iranian military aircraft carrying 302 soldiers in 2003. The rebels are especially angry over what they characterize as growing Iranian influence in Syria, another factor that frames their cause in sectarian terms.

As Egypt falls into the Muslim Brotherhood's embrace, and the US backs purportedly "moderate Islamists" in Syria and elsewhere, the fate of Christians and secularists in the region is increasingly problematic. The Egyptians see what is going on in Syria, and are trying to prevent the US-sponsored chaos from spreading

Proponents of "soft power" often point to it as a peaceful alternative to the application of "hard power," but the reality is that the former is just the prelude to the latter. "Democracy promotion" sets the stage for military intervention by first providing the rationale for regime-change and secondly providing the personnel. The Syrian rebel radio station, headquartered in London, has received millions of our tax dollars, while our spooks have been training and arming them. The line between "soft" and "hard" power is increasingly difficult to ascertain.

by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 05:04:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the Russian ambassador is a hell of a lot better informed than you are and even understands the meaning of the word "obtuse"

this is the link for the text above

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2012/02/05/the-syrian-crucible/

by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 05:06:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What are these quotes, what report do they refer to, what link?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 02:33:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
btw, "obtuse" is an insult?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:20:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
of course it is.

I am amazed you don't know that.

by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:24:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Simple description of your manner of resolutely ignoring points made in others comments ane going off on whatever tangent suits you.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:34:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and what shall I say about others' blatant disregard for the welfare of Arab people?

or am I allowed to pronounce myself?

by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:45:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another injurious strawman.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 02:36:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you didn't know what obtuse meant.  amazing.

this says a lot about the level of discourse.

by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:46:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
stevesim:
this says a lot about the level of discourse.

do you realise you're coming off hostile? pity...

seems like unnecessary stress, no-one actually disagrees with your point that this is a bloody tragic mess, so why be prickly? is this about something totally different?

insulting the discourse doesn't improve it, it was doing fine anyway!

this is out of character... someone hack your id?

;)

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 06:52:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course afew knows what obtuse means. He was probably expressing disbelief at your level of civility.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 07:18:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And they are using the weapons supplied by the Soviets and later the Russians, especially artillery, to pound civilian neighborhoods containing people suspected or known to oppose the Assad regime. The 'resistance', to the extent it is armed, is mostly former military, possibly, probably not Alawi, who are fighting with small arms.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 09:44:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
stevesim:
maybe because they are victims.

They were long a persecuted minority, per information from the first five or six references that come up on a search for 'Syrian Alawite government' on Google. Under the Ottomans they were mostly peasants of a minority faith and Hafiz al Assad becoming president was a violation of the then Syrian constitution, since amended. Assad's ascension to the presidency was, in the perception of most Syrians, "an unprecedented development shocking to the majority population" and was likened by some scholars to an untouchable becoming maharajah in India. The Ba'th party was "reformed" to eleminate founding influences from Christain and Suni sources and an Alawi 'socrates' was brought forward.

Given the history it would seem that the Alawi reformed Ba'th Party decided that it was 'their turn' to be in control and all others could now suffer as they had for centuries. as Wiki says: "Under the authoritarian but secular Assad government, religious minorities were tolerated, political dissent was not." That tolerance seems the high point for the regime.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 10:18:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No evidence?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:57:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
?
by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:01:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a thing marked Parent under a comment so you know what comment it is replying to.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:06:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stop being so self-righteous.

Thank you.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 01:16:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
stop sounding like such American right wingers and I will!
by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 01:21:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whodat?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:25:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Self-appointed moderator?

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 01:28:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
freedom of speech?
by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 01:31:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are being censorious towards other users, not the other way round.

As melo pointed out, you are reading ARG's comment quite wrongly.

As melo didn't point out, I think you are doing it just to pick a fight. About nothing.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:27:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
not at all.  I don't have any intention of picking a fight, because I have been toning down my comments quite a bit.

I am just tired of the West seeing Arab suffering as "interesting", especially since it's so beneficial to them and their client states in the region.  The Arab friends I spoke to about it find it demeaning.

If the same thing were happening in Hoboken New fucking Jersey, it would be the worse thing that has happened in the history of the world, and to the people involved, it really would be.  So let's apply the same standards to Damascus that we would to Hoboken New fucking Jersey.

by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:43:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would still be interesting. It would also be appalling, horrible, disgraceful, terrible, sickening and so on and so forth. As I understand it, most of the commenters here take those adjectives as read for this sort of thing most of the time.

If you just assume we find the whole fucking horror show terrible you'll be a lot happier. Really.

And I find your assumptions that we're all mean and nasty and heartless demeaning.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:57:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
never said that.  
by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:05:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
stevesim:
I am just tired of the West seeing Arab suffering as "interesting"

WTF?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:00:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, what the fuck!
by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:04:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly. What the fuck are you on about?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:40:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what the fuck are you on about?  
by stevesim on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:45:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, even now you are free to continue to misinterpret sentences, which melo pointed out in the very first comment.

i think it will be interesting to see if you can fathom your own error.

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

by Crazy Horse on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:39:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Community-moderated blog.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 07:19:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Applies to WoB's comment too, then.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 03:02:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Steve, I am definitely not in favor of a fight to the death, but I fear that that is what is occurring. The Alawi are the largest minority in Syria, have a religion that is a "syncretistic mixture of extreme Shi'a (Ghulat), ancient pagan, gnostic and Christian elements", was long despised as heretc by majority Sunis and threatened with extermination. They formed the power base out of which Hafiz al Assad took over the government in Syria and the population base from which that government drew its leaders. It appears that they formed a new syncretism with Stalinist Communism, (Socialism with an Arab face?) and have ruled in a Stalinist manner.

It is not that I advocate an Alawi genocide. Far from it. But, if the regime is overthrown the reaction is likely to be great and bloody. Think of Sadam's Iraq or the Hutu and Tutsi. What is interesting and concerning is how the long suffering non-Alawi people of Syria might gain a more beneficial government. I fear that the Ba'thist party now led by Bashir al Assad, linked with and supported by Iran as well as Russia, might be rolled into any military 'solution' to the Iran problem. Again, I do not advocate such an outcome, though few tears would be shed by non-Alawis for the downfall of that regime.

Sorry if it was my phrasing that upset you.  

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:05:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Think of Sadam's Iraq or the Hutu and Tutsi. What is interesting and concerning is how the long suffering non-Alawi people of Syria might gain a more beneficial government.

Well, if I think of the long suffering Hutu majority, I don't think they gained a more beneficial government when the forces that overthrew the Tutsi regime in 1994 went on a genocidal campaign against all Tutsi.

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

by DoDo on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:27:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is why I hope things go another way in Syria. Iraq and Rwanda are counter examples.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 07:14:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not that optimistic. The peaceful protesters tried to counter-act sectarian trends, but it is emerging again with the Free Syrian Army.

Syria's crisis: The long road to Damascus | The Economist

...As in Iraq, the Sunnis' predicament has pushed many into outright radicalism. Comments posted below a YouTube video of an Alawite tank commander captured by the Free Syrian Army, for instance, proposed that he should be sodomised before being ritually slaughtered as an "infidel animal". Many of the rebel army's local brigades carry names associated with Sunni triumphalism. Mosque sermons in rebel areas habitually describe government forces as satanic hordes.

The fault lines aren't even simply Alawi/non-Alawi:

...Fear of empowered Sunni radicals has pushed many Christians, who are keenly aware of the decimation of neighbouring Iraq's equally large and ancient Christian community, grudgingly to accept the government's characterisation of the rebels as terrorists. "We were all with the revolution so long as the demonstrations were peaceful," says a Christian housewife in Damascus. "But how can we support an armed criminal mob?"

For reasons of class, many Sunnis, particularly among the privileged business elite that has profited under the Assads, also fear the revolutionaries. Middle-class Syrians, too, are often warier of growing economic hardship than of oppressive rule. Even the country's long-repressed 15% Kurdish minority, which is mostly Sunni Muslim, has only tepidly embraced the uprising. "They are hedging bets," says a Syrian analyst. "What they want is guarantees of Kurdish national rights, and so long as the opposition cannot give these, they can hope Bashar will reward them for staying quiet."

IMHO the main risk factor here is the lack of a central authority over the armed opposition groups. Based on this Time article, there is even less control than in Libya.

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

by DoDo on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 05:57:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The general area is a hodge-podge of ancient, tiny sects, including the followers of Shaitan. After the Iranian Revolution it was the large population of religious minorities, who had been protected and given access to high positions and good educations, including the Jews and the Bahá'í, who fled in large numbers. I still get work from an American educated engineer of the Bahá'í tradition whose parents followed him to the USA after the revolution. He told me that, in post revolutionary Shia triumphalist Iran, the Bahá'í were not even allowed to be educated. I also worked with an Iraqi Christian engineer.

Emperors and dictators often seem to have figured out that they can get good and loyal service from minorities simply by restraining the natural tendencies of the majority religious population. Majoritarianism has long been the black eye on the face of democracy, and Christan majoritarianism is, after corporatism, the biggest problem in US politics.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 12:10:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It appears that they formed a new syncretism with Stalinist Communism, (Socialism with an Arab face?) and have ruled in a Stalinist manner.

Who is the "they" in this sentence? The Alawi religion, Alawis collectively, Assad's circle?

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

by DoDo on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:32:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Syrian Ba'th Party under Hafiz Assad.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 07:12:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With most of the important posts filled by Alawi.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 09:37:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Britain is militarising Falklands, Argentina tells UN | UK news | The Guardian

Argentina has lodged a formal protest at the United Nations over Britain's "militarisation" of the Falkland Islands, further fuelling the row between London and Buenos Aires.

The Argentinian foreign minister, Héctor Timerman, presented a complaint on Friday to the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, who expressed concern about the increasingly strong exchanges in a summary of the meeting given by his office to reporters.

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced the move earlier this week as part of her strategy to internationalise Argentina's campaign over the disputed south Atlantic islands.

She said Britain's dispatch of a modern destroyer, HMS Dauntless, to replace an older vessel, as well as Prince William, in his role as a search and rescue helicopter pilot, were provocations and presented a "grave risk for international security". Britain said the deployments were routine.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:10:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Britain said the deployments were routine."

That couldn't be more truthful.

The policy is stated as such (and not even confidential): whenever a right-wing government (of course, in the UK, this has become synonymous with "government" so let's call it righter-wing) is facing economic catastrophe of his own making, we send an army to Argentina with a royalty for photo-op.
It is entirely routine.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:22:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or you could say, Britain had a fairly low level military complement before 1982. Before that time there had been many discussions between the UK and Argentina about sovereignty, up to and including transfer to Argentina, but with no particular urgency on either side.

However, once the Argentinian government, attempting to deflect attention form its own failing economic and militarised social terror policies, decided to take issues into its own hands by military invasion, the dynamic was somewhat changed.

Since then, the UK has maintained a larger presence on the islands which cannot be reduced because Argentina keep rattling sabres and making trouble. If it's not about fishing rights, it's about oil, it's about access rights.

Fact is, Argentina is shooting itself in the foot; the Falklands would love to have an economic relationship with Argentina, it would be mutually extremely beneficial and would inevitably lead over time to closer and closer ties. these ties would obviously reduce the massive distrust the islanders have of the Argentinian govt and which may allow negotiations about sovereignty to re-start in a more open fashion.

But this constant sniping and putting pressure on the Falklanders is doing the exact opposite of building trust. It's no wonder, given what's happened over the last 30 years, that the islanders take fright every time Argentina starts making noises. It's all about Argentina demanding this, taking that, denying this, removing that.

Argentina is the one belligerent party in all this, the UK is defending the islanders right to self-determination; and rightly so.

If Argentina wants the islands, they'll have to convince the islanders it's in their interests. Until then, Britain will defend them.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:46:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maldives former president given boost by thousands taking to streets in Malé | World news | The Guardian

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in the capital of the Maldives in support of former president Mohamed Nasheed, ousted in what appeared to be a military-backed coup earlier this week.

On Thursday Nasheed was confined to his family home in Malé, facing detention after a court issued an arrest warrant against him. However, the political fortunes of the democracy activist and environmental campaigner appeared to be improving when thousands ignored a heavy presence of security forces to cheer him as he attended Friday prayers at the main mosque.

Though the police played a key role in forcing the 44-year-old out and in subsequent violence directed at his supporters, they did not intervene on Friday.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:11:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Colombia Reports: Colombia is at risk of entering a new era of guerrilla and drug-related violence if the government does not curb the increase in attacks by neo-paramilitary groups like the "Urabeños" and rebel groups like the FARC and ELN, a report released Wednesday said.

Colombia Reports: Colombia's Constitutional Court has broadened the definition of a victim under the 2011 Victims Law, reported local media.The Victims and Land Restitution Law, officially know as Law 1448, allows victims of violence committed by left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries, and state officials after 1985 to claim financial compensation. It also allows for displaced people to reclaim land that was stolen or obtained through intimidation and force by illegal armed groups.

MercoPress: Hundreds of striking police officers ended their 10-day occupation of a state assembly house in Brazil's third-biggest city, easing tensions in a walkout that unleashed a bloody crime wave and threatened upcoming carnival celebrations.

LAHT: SANTO DOMINGO - Another four bodies have been recovered following last weekend's sinking of a small boat carrying people trying to migrate illegally from the Dominican Republic to the Puerto Rico, lifting the death toll to 51, officials said.

Caracas Gringo: Over the past several years there have been persistent reports of nefarious Iranian schemes in Venezuela supposedly aided and abetted by President Chavez.
(...)
Why is some of the information about the Chavez regime that is coming from private sources in Washington, DC demonstrably or arguably false? Who or what is behind what appears to be a sophisticated disinformation campaign? What is the campaign's purpose, and who is the target audience?

How you know you hit a nerve: Honduras edition: Answer: when the Honduran Ambassador to the US, Jorge Hernandez Alcerro, writes to the New York Times to object. I am talking, of course, about Dana Frank's powerful New York Times op ed, laying out bluntly the argument that, since the coup in 2009, Honduras has been in a state of disarray.

Pan-American Post: A UN-backed investigation unit, set up to combat impunity rates in Guatemala, is set to stay in the country until 2015, after President Otto Perez asked for its mandate to be extended until the end of his term.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 09:13:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:11:20 PM EST
EU's 10-year power grid plan 'driven by renewables' | EurActiv
In March, the European Network of Transmission Systems Operators (ENTSO-E) will submit a comprehensive 10-year plan for public consultation which shows that most of the continent's investments in electricity infrastructure will be "driven directly or indirectly by renewable integration concerns," ENTSO-E told EurActiv.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:11:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
World's biggest offshore windfarm to open off Cumbria | Environment | The Guardian

The new energy secretary, Lib Dem MP Ed Davey, will face down the growing army of renewable power critics inside the coalition by making his first major outing a visit to a wind project.

He will open the world's biggest offshore windfarm on Thursday - the £1.2bn Walney scheme, off Cumbria, with more than 100 turbines generating enough power for 320,000 homes.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:11:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Curse: Cancer Mysteriously Ravages German Village - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
Cancer has struck nearly every household in Wewelsfleth, a village of 1,500 inhabitants in northwest Germany near the mouth of the Elbe River. Residents feel not only cursed, but also abandoned by authorities in their search for an elusive answer.

...People living in Wewelsfleth are 50 percent more likely to have cancer than people in other communities in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Between 1998 and 2008, some 142 new cases were reported in Wewelsfleth, as compared with the 95 cases that would have been expected based on state averages. This is what statisticians call "significant."

...Three nuclear power plants stand in Wewelsfleth's immediate vicinity. One is in the neighboring community of Brokdorf, four kilometers (2.5 miles) to the west, the direction from which the wind usually blows...

A study conducted by researchers at the nearby University of Lübeck searched for anomalies related to a number of factors, including age and gender distribution. ... The experts examined possible causes, such as the proximity of the nuclear power plant in Brokdorf, the shipyard in Wewelsfleth, where toxic spray paints were once used, asbestos and the use of pesticides in farming. It also looked into whether Wewelsfleth residents were particularly heavy smokers. The study returned no clear findings, no probable cause, nothing.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:11:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was told last night that there has been a sharp rise of cancer in Bulgaria, which is starting to worry people.

It certainly true that there was a lot of pollution, the plain north of Sofia, which should be prime agricultural land is simply wasteland because of heavy metals in the soil

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:57:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sharp decline in smoking rate among German teens | Germany | DW.DE | 10.02.2012

The percentage of German minors who smoke has dropped by more than half in the last decade, while binge drinking among young adults is on the rise, the Federal Center for Health Education reported Friday.

The agency said 11.7 percent of Germans aged 12 to 17 admitted to smoking cigarettes in 2011, down from 27.5 percent in 2001. The data was based on surveys of around 5,000 youths and young adults conducted last year on their drug habits.

The decline in smoking was slightly less among 18- to 25-year-olds, who smoked at a rate of 36.8 percent last year, down from 44.5 percent in 2001.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:11:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sahel threatened by a food crisis predicted since October

Le Sahel menacé par une crise alimentaire prévue depuis octobre - LeMonde.fr

While the threat of famine in the Sahel is approaching, the European Commission decided Wednesday, February 8, to increase its aid to 12 million people threatened by bringing it to EUR 123.5 million.

The alarm was fired in December by organizations such as UNICEF, Action against Hunger (ACF) and the World Food Programme. Risks of food crisis are well known since October, including at ACF, through a system based on satellite image processing revealing anomalies of biomass production, that is to say areas where vegetation is less important. This satellite tracking, established in 2002, permits the determination at the end of the rainy season (September-October) of the areas most affected by drought and, conversely, those where there is an unusual concentration of plants, and herds. This statement is then used to calculate the biomass stock whose populations will have until May-June.

This system revealed that, in 2012, stocks will not be sufficient to hold until the next harvest, and the "lean season", the period between harvests, will arrive earlier than usual. This particularly difficult time for farming populations of the Sahel will begin in March, while it was in May-June in previous years. Information that enabled the NGO to anticipate the situation.

...

"Normally, it is estimated that there is a famine every five years in this region of Africa, which generally allows people to regain strength. But because of climate change, there is a shortening of the cycle two or three years ", says Frederic Ham. After the great drought of 2005 and that of summer 2010, the inhabitants of the Sahel have not had time to replenish their stocks, despite the relatively good harvest of summer 2011.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 04:53:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
HAVANA, Feb 10, 2012 (IPS) - Caribbean islands are doubly exposed by the convergence of weak economies heavily dependent on foreign imports and greater vulnerability to climate change, according to ECLAC Executive Director Alicia Bárcena. (...) Bárcena, a Mexican biologist, arrived in Cuba on Feb. 6 on a three- day visit to meet with local authorities and exchange views on several issues, including the progress of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Nations (CELAC), a new 33-nation continental bloc created in December 2011, which she sees as "an enormous opportunity" for regional integration.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 09:18:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:12:07 PM EST
Atheist victory on council prayers - UK Politics - UK - The Independent
Christians and politicians reacted with dismay as the High Court
today outlawed the centuries-old tradition of formal prayers being said
at the start of local council meetings up and down the country.

The National Secular Society and an atheist ex-councillor won a test case ruling that Bideford town council, Devon, was acting unlawfully by putting prayer on meeting agendas.

It is understood the ritual dates back in Bideford to the days of Queen Elizabeth I, and the council has recently voted twice to retain it.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:12:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gay ban guesthouse owners lose court appeal - Home News - UK - The Independent

The challenge by Peter and Hazelmary Bull, who run Chymorvah House in Marazion, Cornwall, was rejected by three judges in the Court of Appeal in London.

They had appealed against a conclusion by a judge at Bristol County Court that they acted unlawfully when they turned away Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Preddy in September 2008.

Judge Andrew Rutherford ruled in January last year that the Bulls had breached equality legislation and ordered them to pay the couple a total of £3,600 damages.

...During the hearing of the appeal in November, James Dingemans QC, for the Bulls, argued that the couple were entitled to hold "outdated" religious beliefs.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:12:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IN the USA, where "there shall be no established church" is written into the Constitution, that makes sense.

But doesn't the UK still have an established Church?  If so, I really wonder how the legal reasoning went.

by Zwackus on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 10:25:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arab Spring picture wins World Press Photo Award - PHOTOGRAPHY - FRANCE 24
Spanish freelance photographer Samuel Aranda won the World Press Photo Award for his portrait of a woman in Yemen cradling a wounded relative (pictured). The photo, which ran in the New York Times, came to symbolise the Arab Spring.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:12:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Firemen control blaze at iconic Marseille building - France - FRANCE 24

A fire that broke out Thursday afternoon at Marseille's iconic `Cité Radieuse' housing complex was under control Friday morning, firemen said.

1500 people were forced to evacuate their homes overnight as fire consumed parts of the historic Le Corbusier building in Marseille. Several apartments and rooms were destroyed.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:12:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:13:09 PM EST
Sir Paul McCartney unveils Hollywood star - News - People - The Independent
Sir Paul McCartney paid tribute to the other "three boys" in the Beatles as he unveiled his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The rocker was introduced to a crowd of fans in Los Angeles by Neil Young at a ceremony in front of the Capitol Records building.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 10th, 2012 at 02:13:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The chairs up there are a blast from the past, especially the one on the right. That model furnishes the common rooms and library of St Catherine's College, Oxford where I studied once upon a time. Jacobsen designed the entire new college, through the furnishing down to the cutlery. I retain the impression of living with successful design, comfortable, aesthetic, functional. But Modernism is dead, right?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:56:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
t's the Swan chair, still in production. As the Jacobsen Wikipedia entry shows, it was used in the public area of the Welsh parliament, the Senedd. But visiting last year with In Wales, I don't remember seeing anything like the array seen in this photo. They must have been removed, I think in favour of exhibition and audiovisual stuff. Wonder who's sitting in them now?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:25:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The SAS Royal (at least that's what it used to be called) which is not far from the Copenhagen train station was completely designed by Jacobsen and is also another wonderful place to check out his stuff first hand.
by sgr2 on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 09:52:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the photo in the background of the chairs in the diary body shows the SAS Royal, and the chairs themselves (on exhibition at the Design Museum Denmark) are from the hotel.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 10:17:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You could be quite right. While I was looking at the picture afew posted above I was thinking that it looked like somewhere I had been before. And then I remembered the SAS Royal. One design feature that really stood out was the expanse of windows in the rooms. Even the bathroom was designed in such a way that while in the shower you had a lovely view of the city. Cool design that has stood the test of time.
by sgr2 on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 11:02:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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