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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 12 February

by afew Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 04:04:16 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1502 - Vasco de Gama sets sail from Lisbon, Portugal, on his second voyage to India.

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 12:50:57 PM EST
112 emergency number | EU Reporter

The European road transport industry, as represented by the IRU, throws its weight behind the European Commission initiative to promote the Single European Emergency Number 112 Europe-wide to enhance road safety and provide a rapid and effective response in case of a road accident.

On the occasion of the "European 112 Day", the International Road Transport Union (IRU) and the European Commission (EC) have joined forces to promote the Single European Emergency Number 112 among bus, coach, taxi and truck operators and their customers across Europe.

In a joint statement, European Commission Vice Presidents Neelie Kroes and Siim Kallas, stressed: "This is the start of a year-long campaign to make people travelling around the EU aware of the number which could save their lives: 112, Europe's single emergency number. We are delighted that the International Road Transport Union has joined the European Commission in this initiative."

112 is a single European emergency number, which can be dialled from fixed and mobile phones free of charge, throughout the EU. 112 calls are answered by an operator who handles the request either directly or by transferring it to the appropriate emergency service (police, ambulance or fire brigade).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 01:01:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<anecdote>

A Dutch friend in France who speaks hardly any French (but understands some) and is seriously allergic to bee venom was stung by a bee last summer. He was swelling, his skin reddening, his breath short, and he knew he had little time to get to a hospital but couldn't drive himself. He called 112.

The person who answered only spoke French and did not understand what he was trying to tell her. She told him she could do nothing for him and rang off.

He called French medical emergency number 15 and got... the same person. With the same result.

Fortunately he got a GP's number from the phone book and the GP was bright enough to decide he should go to see him, rushed him to hospital (by which time he was in a coma), and saved his life.

Moral: it's great having a continent-wide emergency number, but if you staff it like shit you get shit results.

</anecdote>

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 03:27:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did he speak English or Dutch? I think we need to accept that having Dutch speakers is going to be a little tricky, though it would be nice to have every language represented. English should be abolutely mandatory.

Too bad Esperanto did not catch on.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 04:41:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He used whatever French words he had. Even had the receptionist spoken English, he wouldn't have had many more.

The people who work these lines need proper training. If someone calls and manifestly cannot say more than a few words, and repeats "abeille" or "bee", don't you think the receptionist should have the reflex to ask "Are you allergic?".

There also should be procedures for difficult cases. She should have passed him on to a service that might have understood. Instead, she just cut him off. Twice. She was later, apparently, sanctioned for this. But I suspect her training insisted more on how to economise emergency response than how to understand if someone was in danger.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 05:27:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One could look critically and ask why someone living in France hardly speaks French - Dutch politicians remind us every day that people living in the Netherlands are supposed to magically speak Dutch fluently... But plenty of Dutch frequently bitch that the French are soooo chauvinistic, insisting on their French.

On the other hand, what if it happened to a Dutch tourist on a two weeks stay - there are plenty of those as well...

by Nomad on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 07:45:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, Paulus lives here. He is just linguistically challenged. Genuinely.

I expect though, that after that experience, he has a spiel written down that he should read out over the phone in case of an emergency.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 07:51:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Paulus and me have something in common.
by sgr2 on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 08:03:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Except that you speak English ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 08:05:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When it comes to emergency numbers, it seems like it would be a really good idea to have just one number worldwide ... be it 911 or 112. When an emergency strikes one isn't always thinking clearly and can get stuck. If you grew up in the US and you're vacationing in Europe, you may not know the emergency number is 112 (I somehow got it in my head it was 211); likewise, if a European is in the US they may not be familiar with calling 911. Having one worldwide emergency number would solve the problem entirely.
by sgr2 on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 08:00:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
112 is set in the GSM standard.
by oliver on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 11:08:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Except that GSM is an 'outdated French standard', whereas 911 is the Freedom number!
by Bernard on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 12:11:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well then, let the worldwide number be 112.
by sgr2 on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 12:44:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The article says that it would be possible to have the system interpret, as in, a European in the US dials 112 and automatically gets put through to 911, and vice versa.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 12:13:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The article doesn't in fact say that. Dang. I don't remember where I read it.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 12:17:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AFAIK this has been the practise for some years in Europe, where 911 will usually get you redirected to 112. You may blame Hollywood.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 12:20:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh really? I didn't know that if you dialed 911 in Europe you'd be redirected to 211. Well if that's the case no problem. As long as they can upgrade from "usually" to "always" that is.
by sgr2 on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 12:48:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't have personal experience or a handy primary reference, so handle with all due care. That said, it would be if not precisely trivial then at least a routine matter to set up 911 as a phone number to a switch that will redirect to 112 and browbeat the phone companies into not charging for it. It's not like 911 is going to be in private use, after all.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 01:34:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Greece bailout: Cabinet approves draft bill on cuts

Greece's cabinet has approved fresh austerity measures demanded by the eurozone and IMF in return for a 130bn-euro ($170bn; £110bn) bailout.

The draft bill must now be passed by the Greek parliament and approved by European finance ministers.

Five ministers have resigned from the government over the issue, with one junior party in the coalition saying the demands were "humiliating".

Unions began a 48-hour strike on Friday with protesters clashing with police.

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos has warned the country faces "uncontrolled economic chaos" if it fails to agree spending cuts and defaults on its debts.

"We cannot allow Greece to go bankrupt," he told his cabinet, saying it was an "hour of historic responsibility".

"A disorderly default would plunge our country in a disastrous adventure," he said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 01:06:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No longer a Greek tragedy? | European Voice

There was a time, around October last year, when the European Union's leading politicians thought that there could be nothing worse than Greece exiting the eurozone.

They hastily arranged a second international bail-out, worth €130 billion, and when George Papandreou was dumped as prime minister and replaced by Lucas Papademos, a technocrat and former vice-president of the European Central Bank, they crossed their fingers and hoped that they had done enough to set Greece on the right path and away from disorderly default.

Attitudes have changed. That was evident in the way that eurozone finance ministers dealt with Greece at their meeting in Brussels late last night (9 February).

And here is why: eurozone officials and leaders no longer believe that a Greek default would be a complete disaster. Where once there was talk about keeping the beleaguered country in the eurozone at almost any cost, now the stance has softened.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 01:15:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Over 100,000 rally in Lisbon against austerity | Reuters

(Reuters) - More than 100,000 people packed Lisbon's vast Palace Square on Saturday in the largest rally against austerity and economic hardships since the country resorted to an EU/IMF bailout last May, and organisers vowed to step up protests and labour action.

The mass rally occurred just four days before Portugal's international lenders were due to start the quarterly evaluation of the bailout implementation on Wednesday in the finance ministry building which overlooks the square by the river Tagus. They come amid concerns Portugal may need more bailout funds, if not a debt restructuring like Greece.

"We take this opportunity here to make our own evaluation on behalf of those who suffer daily," Armenio Carlos, head of the country's largest union, CGTP, told supporters as the crowd chanted: "IMF doesn't call the shots here!"

"We have to step up the struggle," he said. Carlos promised the next wave of rallies across Portugal as soon as on February 29.

"The country needs to remove the rope from around its neck," he said, saying that Portugal should try to renegotiate its debt rather than impose more austerity, an argument he has made consistently.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:52:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hungary orders Danube closed amid big freeze

Hungary closed the Danube to river traffic Friday due to thick ice, bringing shipping to a near standstill on Europe's busiest waterway, as the continent's cold snap death toll passed 540.

"Shipping was ordered stopped overnight Thursday to Friday because of conditions created by icing along the Hungarian part of the river," Istvan Lang, who heads the national technical supervisory body OMIT said.

"All ships still underway must immediately head for the closest harbour," Lang, quoted by MTI news agency, said.

Hungary's navy had to send its biggest icebreaker, the Szechenyi, to try to ram through the frozen river at Budapest.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:26:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hungary has a navy? :)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 06:02:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Preparing for another occupation of Dalmatia?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 02:07:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since the days of admiral horthy.
by IM on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 02:09:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah, you're someone who knows about the kingdom without a king led by an admiral without a navy?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 09:47:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Danube is a big river, and the armed forces of countries along it have river fleets since Roman times. In Hungary, I checked, the river fleet is currently under a unit with the torturous but funny name "EOD and Warship Regiment", and the bomb disposal-navy combination is apparently justified with the fleet's primary military function of protecting bridges against mines. However, the article is still wrong: the icebreaker in question belongs to an environmental and water management directorate (under the rural development ministry).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 09:46:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only noticed this now. Indeed there is a lot of ice, and though the river isn't frozen over, where I live there is a 30-50-metre ice shield along the coast. It formed out of a jumble of swimming ice jamming on the shore, but the still water in-between froze 10-15 cm thick so that it is one rigid mass.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 09:30:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 12:51:35 PM EST
BBC News - Standard and Poor's downgrades Italy banks

The credit ratings agency Standard and Poor's has downgraded its assessment of almost all of Italy's major banks.

The review involves 34 of the 37 banks covered by the agency.

Italy's biggest financial institutions, including UniCredit, Intesa Sanpaolo, Banco Popolare, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro and Mediobanca, are among them.

A credit rating affects the price of borrowing and the move follows S&P's two-notch downgrade of the Italian government's creditworthiness.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 01:08:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exclusive - Future of bank benchmark rate under review | Reuters

(Reuters) - A global probe into whether banks colluded to set the interest rates at which they borrow money from each other has thrown into question the future of the benchmark they use to price financial products worth an estimated $360 trillion (228.62 trillion pounds).

This intense scrutiny has prompted the British Bankers' Association (BBA), which establishes the parameters for the benchmarks, to hire consultants to ensure the rates are fit for purpose, a source familiar with the process said.

But despite widespread concerns about the way Libor (the London Interbank Offered Rate) is set, it remains at the heart of the financial system and is used to price anything from corporate loans to residential mortgages.

The BBA told Reuters the design and operation of Libor was under continual review and scrutiny by the independent board and committees that govern it.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:52:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 12:51:52 PM EST
Syria 'relaunches' assault on Homs | World news | guardian.co.uk

Syrian forces have unleashed new tank and rocket attacks on the besieged city of Homs killing at least seven people, activists said.

The renewed bombardment comes amid reports that gunmen have assassinated an army general in Damascus, the first killing of a high-ranking military officer in the Syrian capital since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's regime began in March.

Syria's state news agency Sana reported that three gunmen shot dead Brigadier General Issa al-Khouli as he left his home in the Damascus district of Rukn-Eddine on Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, activists in Homs said that a 55-year-old woman was among those killed by shellfire on the Baba Amr district on Homs. Some reports suggest as many as 15 people have been killed in the past 24 hours.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 01:03:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Violence intensifies in central Syria cities - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Syrian security forces have  renewed their assaults on the central cities of Homs and Hama, while anti-government forces are said to have killed soldiers in Idlib and a senior military official in Damascus, activists, rights groups and the state news agency report.

Opposition neighbourhoods in Homs were hit by tank and rocket bombardments on Saturday in the government's continuing crackdown on protesters there, with the city's Bab Amr area coming under concerted fire.

Rights groups say at least four people were killed during Saturday's violence in Homs, and that three bodies of people who had been killed earlier were also recovered.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:40:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Renewed Push in U.S. to Arm Syrian Rebels - IPS ipsnews.net
WASHINGTON, Feb 9, 2012 (IPS) - What with rumours from Israel of war on Iran, a major showdown with the Egyptian military over the indictments of government- funded U.S. activists in Cairo, and continuing political paralysis in Iraq, you would think President Barack Obama has enough Middle East crises to deal with.

But in the aftermath of last weekend's Russian and Chinese vetoes at the U.N. Security Council of an Arab League-sponsored resolution calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down as part of a transition leading to elections, calls for Washington to take stronger action, including arming rebel forces, have grown much louder here.

So far, the administration has resisted the pressure, focusing instead on convening a "Friends of Syria" contact group of anti-Assad Western and Arab states to ensure that whatever support may be provided to the chronically fractious opposition is coordinated to the greatest possible extent.

Washington is particularly eager to coordinate policy with Turkey whose foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, arrived here Thursday.

Citing the precedent of last year's U.S. intervention in Libya, three of the Senate's most hawkish members said Wednesday sanctions and the creation of the contact group were not enough.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:06:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Crowds swarm Suu Kyi as campaign begins - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been greeted by cheering crowds as she begins campaigning in the constituency where she is standing for parliament for the first time.

Suu Kyi kicked off her campaign on Friday with thousands of excited supporters lining the roads to greet her convoy of dozens of vehicles.

They waved flags of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party and her photos along with those of her father, Myanmar independence hero Aung San.

"The road ahead will be tough," Suu Kyi told a crowd of around 7,000 people gathered in a dusty field in the southern village of Wah Thin Kha, where she will cast a ballot in the April 1 by-election.

"But our goal is to achieve peace, stability and development."

"I acknowledge there are difficulties," the 66-year-old Nobel Peace laureate said. "But let others know we need the people's support. Let us overcome the hurdles together."

The April vote is being held to fill 48 parliamentary seats vacated by legislators who were appointed to the cabinet or other posts last year.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:44:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ahmadinejad to make major nuclear annoucement - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Iran's president has said that the Islamic Republic will soon announce "very important" achievements in the nuclear field, during an address to crowds celebrating the anniversary of the country's 1979 revolution.

Ahmadinejad addressed tens of thousands of supporters in Tehran's Azadi [Freedom] Square on Saturday as Iranians across the country joined state-organised rallies to mark the occasion.

"In the coming days the world will witness Iran's announcement of its very important and very major nuclear achievements," Ahmadinejad told the crowd in a speech relayed live on state television. He gave no further details. 

The president spoke from a stage in front of which a full-scale model of a captured US spy drone was erected, which Iranian officials said they brought down by hacking its flight controls as it overflew their territory in December on a surveillance mission.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:45:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama budget signals election-year tax battle | Reuters

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama will seek billions of dollars for jobs and infrastructure in his 2013 budget, an appeal to voters that draws election-year battle lines over taxes and spending as Republicans slammed him for "debt, doubt and decline."

Obama's budget proposal, which he will submit to Congress on Monday, will project a much smaller deficit in 2013 compared with this year, White House officials said on Friday.

"The budget targets scarce federal resources to the areas critical to growing the economy and restoring middle class security," the White House said in a statement, echoing Obama's recent messages on the campaign trial.

The budget gives Obama one of his biggest platforms before the election to tell voters how he would govern in a second White House term, helping him cast Republicans as the party of the rich, while they paint him as a tax and spend liberal.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:46:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MALI: Fifty Thousand Flee as Political Parties Call for Dialogue - IPS ipsnews.net
BAMAKO, Feb 10, 2012 (IPS) - Mali's political parties have jointly called on the government to hold a forum for peace and reconciliation as a way to end a Tuareg rebellion launched several weeks ago. The uprising has forced around 55,000 people out of their homes, the majority fleeing the fighting in the north of the country, but others are seeking shelter from ethnic tension and violent demonstrations in cities in the south.

The uprising by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) has claimed dozens of casualties since mid-January, including members of the army and the rebels, though precise numbers have not been established by independent sources.

In a Feb. 7 statement, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees said it has sent emergency teams to countries bordering Mali to help meet the needs of around 20,000 refugees in neighbouring countries.

"In the past three weeks, at least 10,000 people are reported to have crossed to Niger, 9,000 have found refuge in Mauritania and 3,000 in Burkina Faso," UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said in Geneva on Tuesday.

"Many of the new arrivals are sleeping in the open and have little access to shelter, clean water, health services and food," Edwards said.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:55:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Touch of Arab Spring Comes Late to Morocco - IPS ipsnews.net
CASABLANCA, Feb 10, 2012 (IPS) - Deadly clashes between police and youth in the Northeastern town of Taza last week suggest that, far from bringing change and stability, Morocco's new government is simply repeating mistakes of the past, stoking tensions and fuelling a spate of protests against the regime.

In an effort to keep its population in check during the Arab Spring, the regime launched a process of reforms last February and brandished what it called `the Moroccan exception', boasting of relative calm during a period of intense regional turmoil.

A new constitution took effect on Jul. 1, 2011, granting wider powers to the executive of the new government while supposedly cutting back the authority of the monarch.

This was followed by general elections last September, which were snapped up by the Islamists of the Justice and Development Party (PJD), whose general secretary, Abdelilah Benkirane, was subsequently named the head of the new government.

But Benkirane, who presented his programme to parliament last month, has thus far failed to deliver on his election pledges.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:04:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Inter-ethnic fighting displaces 40,000 in Kenya

More than 40,000 people have fled clashes between two northern Kenyan tribes over access to water and pasture, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said Friday.

"We have never seen before what we are seeing this time, entire villages, entire schools destroyed, water points sabotaged," Alexander Matheou, IFRC head for East Africa, told AFP.

The UN had earlier said "tens of thousands" displaced by the fighting had fled into neighbouring Ethiopia, where the majority are living with host families.

Clashes between rival cattle herding pastoralists in the region are common, with herders often carrying guns to protect their animals, but the recent fighting has been unusually heavy.

The conflict pits two traditional rivals, the Borana and the Gabra, around the town of Moyale on the Ethiopian border.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:27:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]

The Afghanistan Report the Pentagon Doesn't Want You to Read

Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings (featured in a recent interview with AlterNet), has gotten his hands on a must-read report exposing the gulf between what military officials tell the public about Afghanistan and the reality on the ground....


Here is the report's damning opening lines: "Senior ranking U.S. military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the U.S. Congress and American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable. This deception has damaged America's credibility among both our allies and enemies, severely limiting our ability to reach a political solution to the war in Afghanistan." Davis goes on to explain that everything in the report is "open source" - i.e., unclassified - information. According to Davis, the classified report, which he legally submitted to Congress, is even more devastating. "If the public had access to these classified reports they would see the dramatic gulf between what is often said in public by our senior leaders and what is actually true behind the scenes," Davis writes.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 06:03:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 12:52:15 PM EST
EUobserver.com / Wind Energy / Clouds hang over EU wind industry, but sunshine ahead

BRUSSELS - Clouds hang over the European wind industry. Growth has slowed down and revenues have been disappointing, as the global economy shows little sign of recovering. At the same time, competition has grown fierce, notably from China. But while short-term forecasts are likely to remain gloomy, sunshine is forecast for the longer-term.

The latest omen came on 13 January, when Danish turbine manufacturer Vestas - the largest in the world - said it is planning to cut more than 2,000 jobs worldwide over the course of the year (one 10th of its total workforce).

The announcement came shortly after a warning that the company's 2011 profits were "expected to amount to approx 0 per cent". It was the third time in three years that the company issued a profit warning and slashed jobs.

"I can certainly understand if employees as well as people outside Vestas consider us to be in a state of crisis," chief executive Ditlev Engel told reporters in Copenhagen.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 01:11:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]

But growth has slowed. For the last two consecutive years, less turbines were installed in the EU than the year before. Official figures for the year 2011 are not yet available, but preliminary findings point in the same direction, says Julian Scola, communications director at the European Wind Energy Association, the industry's lobby group in Brussels.

Two factors are to blame, according to Scola. First, banks these days less easily agree to lend money. Second, the market has become globalised to such an extent that turbine manufacturers from all over the world are able to compete with each other.

The first is not really true. Banks lend less in countries where the regulatory framework is fucked over by politicians (the US being the biggest example, and Spain following behind these days); and since more of the market is in China, which is essentially closed to foreigners, the others players suffer. But it's easy to blame banks these days. There's enough to blame them for not to extend that to activities where they are actually doing their job.

The second is silly and misleading. Just like in solar, heavy competition has meant prices going down, which is a good thing for the wind power generation industry, if not so much for the wind turbine manufacturing industry. But like the article says further, Vestas is still selling more to China than China is exporting to the world. Chinese turbines are still crap.

But since the industry is evaluated by the stock market value of the companies active in it, and the most visible one is Vestas, which is suffering in the stock markets, then the industry must be doing badly...

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 06:09:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Agree with your comment on the banking side, and where there are projects to fund, finance is available as in the past.

But the drivers of the industry, the OEMs, are really suffering, partly as recent CAPEX is underutilized at best, and margins have been chopped too far. It is not just Vestas, the heads of Siemens and GE have also said their wind divisions have been a significant profit drag. And Nordex and REpower are hurting.

Besides the across the board effect of margin destruction, Nordex, REpower and Suzlon have curtailed activity in China.

I made some detailed posts on this within the past 10 days or so. Bottom line, global industrial giants may well weather this storm, but the pure plays are being pushed to the wall.

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

by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 07:49:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One discussion was   HERE

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 08:07:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Time for some consolidation? Siemens or GE buying Vestas maybe?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 06:18:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Without question consolidation, it's already begun in China where it was actually part of the plan. (First build manufacturing capacity, then let the best companies take over.)

But it's harder to imagine an existent player taking over Vestas; rather a large outsider from energy/industrials. But careful, look at the fiasco of Suzlon overtaking REpower.

What will happen with Enercon? Is there enough value in Bard? Are the 2nd and 3rd tier companies attractive enough?

I can't see the squeeze on the industry continuing much longer. But there's also the risk of a technical hiccup on very large rotors.

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

by Crazy Horse on Mon Feb 13th, 2012 at 02:33:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you explain why the US decided to back this huge "fracking" project that's so detrimental to the environment in the first place, rather than backing wind power instead? Both have initial upfront costs, both provide lots of jobs, and both would provide return on investment somewhere down the line. So why fracking over wind/solar?

As an individual investor, all I can say is I would happily put funds into investments backing renewable energy sources, but never in a million years could I live with an investment decision where I earned profits off something that degrades the environment like fracking. Just me, of course.

by sgr2 on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 08:19:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To my limited understanding, the vast expansion of the fracturing method is basically that it feeds the already existing system and its beneficiaries, while there was originally zero acknowledgement that the process was environmentally dangerous.

the oil and gas industry in the US is one of the strongest power centers. it is likely there were indications that the process is destructive, but bankers i've discussed this with had assured me they've done due diligence on environmental effects, and found the limited at worst.

so besides that bullshit, the wind industry isn't big enough to fight, oil and gas is already invested there, so they can control the pace to some degree. little discussed, but likely a key point, is that wind changes the way energy is commodified, because the fuel source is free, and not under market control.

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

by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 08:51:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the explanation CH. So just another example to demonstrate that facts will be massaged until they are useable, and 'the big guy always wins.' Sad, really. Especially when it could be done differently.
by sgr2 on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 09:34:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reform of EU fishing quotas urged

Letting overfished fish stocks recover would, over time, help the European fishing industry earn more money and create more jobs, a study says.

While the fishing industry is currently enjoying huge profits, a study released Friday by the New Economics Foundation said poor management of fish stocks is costing the industry billions in potential income.

If the 43 species studied were allowed to recover and then harvested at "maximum sustainable yields" -- the largest catches that can be sustained indefinitely -- fishing companies could bring in an additional 3.89 tons of fish annually, the report said.

The result would be a $4.2 billion increase in revenue and 100,000 new jobs on fishing boats and in processing plants, it said.

"You can always increase your catches by fishing harder, more and building more boats. But these benefits are very quickly outweighed by long-term costs," Rupert Crilly, one of the report's authors and a researcher at NEF, told Deutsche Welle. "The end solution is very simple. We just need to reduce fishing pressure. We need to be catching less."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:33:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They can't really mean "3.89 tons of fish" -- must be the word "million" or such is missing somewhere.

'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 Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 02:54:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Better off going to the source:

Lost at sea: £2.7 billion and 100,000 jobs | the new economics foundation

Restoring these 43 stocks to their maximum sustainable yield (MSY) would generate 3.53 million tonnes of additional landings; enough to meet the annual demand of fish for almost 160 million EU citizens.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 03:11:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"You can always increase your catches by fishing harder, more and building more boats."

Actually, not even that. Ask the Canadian cod fishers. When there is complete population collapse, you're stuck, possibly forever (even if the species is not actually extinct, it might not be able to get back to a significant population). Which of course means it's even more vital to catch less very, very soon.

And there's the rub. I can't remember the exact details but there was a study showing the indifferent rate of return (ie how much money next year, without risk, would be needed for you to have no preference over a dollar today) of managers, and my recollection is that it was around 35%. People are short termist by nature, politicians by interest (and therefore make people even more so with their slogans), business actors are super short termist... down to extinction of their source of income.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 04:52:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But these benefits are very quickly outweighed by long-term costs

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 Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 05:24:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I read that. But the way it's written would seem to indicate that it just gets more and more expensive -you can always catch more, but the costs becomes prohibitive.

Actually, you can't always catch more.

I'm sure that's what the writer meant to say, I just reckon that it came out slightly differently.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 07:01:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Farmers advance in their suit against Monsanto | Grist

Monsanto is getting a taste of its own medicine; the company is being taken to court.

In this corner, we have a corporate biotech giant with a tighter grasp on the agricultural Monopoly board than your over-enthusiastic little sister on game night. (Their patented genes are in more than 80 percent of the soybeans, corn, cotton, sugar beets, and canola seeds grown in the U.S.) And in this corner, 83 scrappy plaintiffs representing non-GMO seed producers, farmers, and agricultural organizations who say they want the biotech company to stop suing and threatening them. While most are organic, not all of them are.

The latter group -- led by the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association and referred to in the lawsuit as OSGATA et al. -- has turned to a strategy Monsanto has been using for a while now: the courts. Although they certainly aren't the first sustainability-minded folks to take their struggle to the courts, their suit, filed last March, has a sweet sense of irony.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:35:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I read somewhere, maybe it was here actually, that Monsanto has a sign in their cafeteria assuring their employees that all food prepared is totally free of GMO products. Unfuckingbelievable.
by sgr2 on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 12:55:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, we still don't know if biochar can save our asses | Grist

Many claims have been made over the years about biochar. It certainly sounds like something that can help save our asses from the climate crisis. Take some waste from thinning trees to prevent fires, or straw from growing wheat or rice, or any other high-carbon waste. Partially burn it without air to power cooking stoves or provide some other kind of energy. Bury the resulting charcoal in fields to store the carbon, and improve soil structure. Voila, biopower that on net takes carbon out of the atmosphere and turns some of it into fossil carbon that is permanently removed from the carbon cycle. In essence, it is supposed to be a form of carbon sequestration that is permanent today, and makes agriculture more sustainable besides. Suck it, global warming!

Unfortunately, this is completely unproven. The heart of any claim about biochar is that it permanently and on net stores carbon in the form of charcoal. No net permanent storage, no net sequestration.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:36:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 12:52:35 PM EST
Senior Sun journalists arrested in police payments probe | Media | guardian.co.uk

The Sun has been plunged into its worst ever crisis following the arrest of five of its most senior journalists over corruption allegations, moving Rupert Murdoch to pledge his support for the paper amid rumours that it faces closure.

Murdoch's "total commitment" to continue to own and publish the Sun was sent to News International staff by chief executive Tom Mockridge after the journalists, who include the deputy editor, were arrested in connection with an investigation into inappropriate payments to police and public officials.

Mockridge confirmed that the five Sun journalists involved are deputy editor Geoff Webster, picture editor John Edwards, chief reporter John Kay, chief foreign correspondent Nick Parker and deputy news editor John Sturgis.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 01:02:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Why Borgen's all the buzz at Westminster

During the Blair years it was the West Wing that obsessed the Westminster village.

The fast-talking, fast-walking, frenetic White House drama somehow seemed to reflect and tap in to the more optimistic mood of those times.

Oh, and the good guys always seemed to win.

Now rather more bizarrely, it is Borgen that's all the buzz.

A moody, Danish political drama, complete with subtitles, prolonged pauses and superficially consensual continental politics would not seem the sort of programme to become the hot topic in the coffee bars and corridors of the Commons.

Even more improbably the central character in Borgen is such an unlikely figure when viewed from the staid, male dominated world of Westminster.

Birgitte Nyborg is an attractive, well-intentioned, left-leaning, green-tinged female prime minister who's worried about her weight and leads a party called "The Moderates".

So far, so terribly naff.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 01:05:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Acta: Germany delays signing anti-piracy agreement

Germany has halted signing a controversial anti-piracy accord, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta), after the justice ministry voiced concerns.

A foreign ministry spokesperson told AFP that the delay was to "give us time to carry out further discussions".

Latvia put off ratification on Friday. Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have already delayed the process.

International protests against the agreement are expected on Saturday.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 01:07:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anti-Drug Vaccines Hold Promise - But Little Profit - IPS ipsnews.net
MEXICO CITY, Feb 10, 2012 (IPS) - Vaccines against drug addiction appear to be a better strategy than the repressive worldwide "war on drugs", but first they must overcome resistance from pharmaceutical laboratories and secure financial backing, scientists say.

Experimental trials against cocaine and heroin addiction are under way in Mexico and the United States, but two or three more years of work are needed to prove that the treatment is viable. Ethical aspects must also be resolved, such as compulsory medication for addicts and permission for use in children.

"Different delivery methods need to be designed. The pleasurable effect of drugs needs to be eliminated, which is feasible. But it will have to start being done in under-age children, and that raises a number of legal and ethical issues," Dr. Rogelio Rodríguez told IPS.

At his private clinic, Rodríguez offers serum treatments for cocaine and alcohol dependency, combined with psychotherapy. For seven days, at a cost of 64 dollars a day, patients receive doses that lead to rejection of the addictive substance and its abandonment.

The Mexican health ministry patented a vaccine against heroin that has been successfully used in mice, and is about to enter the phase of clinical trials in humans, for which the government is seeking international funding.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 02:55:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 

The pleasurable effect of drugs needs to be eliminated, which is feasible. But it will have to start being done in under-age children

Excuse the F%#K outta me!?

'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 Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 03:01:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The War On Drugs is Total War.

Didn't you know?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 03:05:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Oh, the things I don't know."  heh.

'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 Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 03:57:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A silver bullet to beat cancer?

The internet is awash with stories of how silver can be used to treat cancer. Now, lab tests have shown that it is as effective as the leading chemotherapy drug - and may have fewer side-effects.

Results from the study at the University of Leeds, published in Dalton Transactions, show that particular silver compounds are as toxic to cancer cells as the platinum-based drug Cisplatin, which is widely used to treat a range of cancers.

But the crucial difference is that silver is thought to be much less toxic to healthy human cells, and in some cases, can be beneficial. Silver is currently used for its antiseptic and antibiotic properties, in bandages, wound dressings and water purification filters in the third world.

Nausea and vomiting, kidney damage and an increased risk of infection are common side effects of Cisplatin which is used to treat cancer of the lungs, breast, bladder, testicles, head and neck, ovaries and lymph nodes.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:26:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brain capacity limits exponential online data growth

Scientists have found that the capacity of the human brain to process and record information - and not economic constraints - may constitute the dominant limiting factor for the overall growth of globally stored information. These findings have just been published in an article in EPJ B by Claudius Gros and colleagues from the Institute for Theoretical Physics at Goethe University Frankfurt in Germany.

The authors first looked at the distribution of 633 public internet files by plotting the number of videos, audio and image files against the size of the files. They gathered files which were produced by humans or intended for human use with the spider file search engine Findfiles.net.

They chose to focus on files which are hosted on domains pointing from the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia and the open web directory dmoz. Assuming that economic costs for data production are proportional to the amount of data produced, these costs should be driving the generation of information exponentially.

However, the authors found that, in fact, economic costs were not the limiting factors for data production. The absence of exponential tails for the graph representing the number of files indicates this conclusion.

They found that underlying neurophysiological processes influence the brain's ability to handle information. For example, when a person produces an image and attributes a subjective value to it, for example, a given resolution, he or she is influenced by his or her perception of the quality of that image.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 03:29:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm aghast at the Spanish labour law reform announced by the PP government yesterday and unveiled today.

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 07:06:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Web of Trust is the first "crowd-sourced safe-web-browsing tool that grades websites on their safety and lack of harmful spyware and virus. With almost 30,000,000 users, this platform is creating a web within the web of safe sites."

It's Finnish.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 03:43:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 12:52:59 PM EST


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 05:29:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That represents my sentiments more often than I like to admit.

'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 Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 02:34:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - US singer Whitney Houston dies aged 48

American singer and actress Whitney Houston has died at the age of 48.

The cause and the location of her death were unclear, her publicist Kristen Foster told the AP news agency. A family spokesman confirmed the news.

Regarded as one of the most celebrated female acts of all time, Houston also enjoyed success acting in films such as The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 08:38:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC World is unwatchable at the moment cos it's wall to wall Whitney.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 03:43:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm watching an animal show on Arte with my cat. She LOVES animal shows.

Anxious to hear more about your Eastern European adventures.

'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 Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 04:01:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the room is still slowly revolving from last night's "exertions" with a wine glass. I should stick to beer but when tuborg is as good as it gets, then drinking a decent local red is very attractive (wince).

A slight dusting of snow this morning but I imagine that I'll see a lot more of it when I return to Sofia tomorrow. I just hope the road is open.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 04:46:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While waiting for the gadget shopper to get done doing his thing, I picked up the latest issue of the only English language magazine (Time) at the local kiosk. On the back page, 10 questions were posed to Italian-born banker Loretta Napoleoni. I checked and the text is behind a firewall, so I can't provide a link, but I found the responses interesting, so I will try to summarize.

As she resides both in the U.S. and Europe, she was asked how she sees each country dealing with the crisis. She pointed out that even though the people in the U.S. are dealing with a recession, there is an underlying optimism. Europeans are by nature pessimistic and they complain, but there is very little action.

She made the point that Americans will take any job, and Europeans will not take any job. American can and do move from one state to another to get a job. Even if someone in Europe could do that, there is the language barrier.

When asked "what if the Chinese ran Europe?" she said she thought they would consider a voluntary default of the peripheral area of the euro, and that they would do it through consensus. Two euros would be created and they would reform the European Union. She said none of this will take place, however.

When asked if it was "the idea of Europe" that was all that was holding it together, she had this to say:

"The idea of Europe does not exist. The Europeans don't like each other. You talk to the Finns about the Greeks and the Italians, and they'll tell you that the Greeks don't work and the Italians are all mafiosi. You go to the Italians and you talk about Finland, and they'll say the Finns can't cook a decent meal."

by sgr2 on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 01:06:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And even if the woman actually believes all those things, and even if she's referring to generalities and stereotypes which don't really exist, it's still all just Quatsch from Time.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 01:12:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did mention it was minus 30 out and I was cold and desperate didn't I?
by sgr2 on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 04:14:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's why Schnappes was invented. ;-))

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 04:53:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Loretta Napoleoni a kind of pizza?

(Now, let's see what the inhabitants of Montana think of Louisiana, or New Englanders of Texas).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 02:19:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hint: don't feel so English-language-media-deprived that you pick up a copy of TIME Magazine.

Bad things may happen.

;)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 02:20:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
sgr2, when i get the ainglish jones, i turn to a website called ET. more news faster better, and with photos and graphs just like the grownups.

and all manner of analyzation type discussions and firestorms.

oh wait.

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

by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 02:36:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
gadget shopper?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 02:37:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Like this: Gadget Geek
by sgr2 on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 04:32:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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