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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 13 March

by Nomad Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 07:00:03 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1825 - birth of Hans Gude, a Norwegian romanticist painter, who is considered to be one of Norway's foremost landscape painters.

More here and here

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by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 04:31:20 PM EST
Sarkozy intensifies anti-immigration rhetoric | Europe | DW.DE | 12.03.2012

French presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy has hardened his stance against immigration, claiming that France would exit Europe's open-border zone if the EU fails to clamp down on illegal immigration.

France will be the first country to suspend participation in the Schengen Area if no progress is made in curtailing illegal immigration in France, said incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy in front of cheering supporters at a Sunday campaign rally.

The gathering marked a key event in Sarkozy's presidential campaign, which with six weeks to go before polling day on April 22, has seen the incumbent's rhetoric focus more and more on immigration policy - much like his campaign five years ago, when he launched an anti-immigration drive in the run up to elections.

But Sunday's rally in Paris was the first time Sarkozy threatened action at the European level. Until now, his proposed action had been confined to France, with promises this time around to cut immigration by half during his five-year term.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:10:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gaddafi 'contributed €50m to Sarkozy's 2007 presidential election fund' | World news | The Guardian

Damaging new claims have emerged about the funding of Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign and his links with former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi emerged.

The French investigative website Mediapart claims to have seen a confidential note suggesting Gaddafi contributed up to €50m (£42m) to Sarkozy's election fund five years ago.

Similar allegations emerged a year ago when Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam claimed Libya helped finance the 2007 campaign and demanded the French president, who led the war on the Libyan leader, return the money.

In an interview with the Euronews TV channel, Saif al-Islam, who is currently being held in Libya after his father's defeat and death, threatened to make details of the bank transfers public after the French leader threw his weight behind opposition forces.

The latest allegations come at a crucial time for Sarkozy who is seeking a second term in office in a two-round election in under six weeks.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:10:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hahahaha...just great.
Here and there now we have it in the open who are people/politicians that are leading us (world wide). Scum!!!
No wonder that we are where we are...Oh if we can (God forbid) really see who they are and what they were and are doing (ruining our lives in the process) what exactly we could do anyway?
I am simply not voting as a matter of protest. Cause I do not want to choose between "two evils" and that's what we are pushed to do for a long time. Vote for less evil. Not any more for me.
They say "politic is a whore" and we have to accept all wrong doing because it's a politic. There are no honest people in politic. Ok but I am out of voting...do it without me.
People are either really too stupid or to busy with their own situations to even bother too much. They make their opinion about voting through TV and little talk with friends. But really there is not much choice there so people vote only on the bases of their "class". Some of them simply do not have real picture where they are standing (what "class" they actually belong to ,because of this credit madness). They sometimes find the truth about it when crises like tis kick...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 09:23:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, whilst it is always tempting to say that they're all as bad as each other or even that voting ultimately makes no difference, they're not and it does. Otherwise people all over the world would not be fighting and dying for the chance to do that which you so casually discard

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 06:01:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I doubt people all over the world are actually fighting and dying for the chance to vote for one of two nearly identical elite factions.

Still not voting is probably the most useless form of protest.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter

by generic on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:22:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What people are actually voting for is the chance to get rid of the bums without bloodshed by voting them out.

Violent revolution usually is either put down or results in replacing the old elite faction with a nearly identical elite faction anyway.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:29:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the exceptions which move us all forward.
by redstar on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 08:05:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or maybe it's the interlude which moves us forward.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 08:06:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What people are actually votingfighting for

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 09:26:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What people are actually voting for is the chance to get rid of the bums without bloodshed by voting them out.

Yes and to replace them with other bums...it's so sickening.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 10:56:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it's the best you can hope for. It's called incomplete information and not believing in the great men theory of history.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 14th, 2012 at 04:52:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On this, the voters deserve a large part of the blame: for not looking closely (in particular at alternatives other than the biggest opposition party at the moment) and often making decisions on the basis of ridiculous whims (like "I would have a beer with him" or "he would be a nice son-in-law") and then not learning from the mistake the next time.

(The above was partly informed by my recent reading of an op-ed by a satirist I otherwise admire. He admitted outright of voting for Orbán's Fidesz in 2010 to get rid of the bums in power, then proceeded to trash Orbán's actions in government and claimed that he talked of none of this in the election campaign – yet all of those actions could have been foreseen.)

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

by DoDo on Wed Mar 14th, 2012 at 06:40:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, no, it's the elites' fault for not giving the poor, innocent voters, devoid of any agency or responsibility for their own actions, "proper" choices. Oh, and the media. It's the media's fault.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 14th, 2012 at 06:45:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A person with a vote has agency, a person with a vote, a fortune, an ownership in media and easy access to politicians and other persons with fortunes and ownership of media has more agency. But searching for whose fault it is misses that it is a system.

I am leaning towards DiGondi's position that representative deomcracy is a oxymoron.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Mar 14th, 2012 at 09:00:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe that's why Sarkozy wants to close the borders, because he's afraid that people in the know will come over from Libya and tell on him...
by asdf on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 10:36:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and this morning there is one poll where he edges in front of Hollande in the first round, and this is making big headlines as to the inversion of the curves, and the campaign magic of Sarkozy at play again.

The media are desperate for a horserace and since it doesn't seem to be Sarkozy vs Le Pen for second, they're nurturing the fight for first place now. It's depressing.

But then I can't understand people, ven on the right, going for Sarkozy. There are perfectly decent alternative on the right available without needing to vote for the left if you can't do so.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:01:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And Le Monde plays along with a lame interview of Sarkozy's hard-right-winger advisor/election guru Patrick Buisson, who claims that Sarkozy will "protect the weak" thanks to new borders.

Yuck.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:06:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't understand people, ven on the right, going for Sarkozy. There are perfectly decent alternative on the right

But Sarko is the not-yet-dethroned alpha male of the right.

You need to get your primatology on. :)

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:12:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... and guess what: another poll today gives a radically different result: Hollande 30% (stable), Sarkozy 27% (-2%).

Sarkozy-Hollande: télescopage de sondages - Libération Sarkozy Holland: Polls collide - Liberation
Sauf que 18 heures plus tard, cet inversement de tendances est infirmé par une autre enquête d'opinion - également réalisée après Villepinte. Selon TNS-Sofres pour I-télé, non seulement Sarkozy est devancé au premier tour par le socialiste, à 26 contre 30%. Surtout, il perd deux points depuis le 27 février, alors que Hollande reste stable. De quoi embarasser certains sondeurs: «On est sur une science sociale, pas sur une vérité absolue, mais avoir deux orientations si différentes est embêtant», admet l'un d'eux, qui n'a travaillé sur aucune des enquêtes qui se télescopent aujourd'hui.Except that 18 hours later, this reversal of trend is dismissed by another opinion poll - also performed after the Villepinte meeting. According to TNS-Sofres for I-télé [TV channel], Sarkozy is not only behind the socialist in the first round, 26% vs. 30% [to Hollande]. On top of that, he loses two points since Feb. 27, while Holland is stable. Enough to embarrass some pollsters: "It is a social science, not an absolute truth, even though having two different orientations is rather annoying," admits one of them, who has not worked on any of the two polls that collided today.

Rather "embêtant" indeed for the polling outfits...

by Bernard on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 03:26:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IFOP has been polling the two much closer than the other polls for some time. It's all in the "cooking recipes" the pollsters use on the raw data.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 03:48:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nicolas Le Pen - WSJ.com

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has ramped up the anti-immigrant rhetoric in recent days, telling a TV audience last week that France has "too many foreigners" and offering to cut the number of immigrants admitted to France by half should he be re-elected to a second term. Then on Sunday, before a monster rally in a stadium near Paris, he threatened to suspend France's participation in Schengen, Europe's internal borderless-travel zone, unless it is reformed to better keep out the great unwashed.

Even in France, it rarely gets more cynical than this. The attacks on immigration are an attempt to woo supporters of Marine Le Pen's xenophobic National Front ahead of the first-round poll on April 22. Mr. Sarkozy trails his Socialist rival, Francois Hollande, 29% to 27%, according to a recent poll for Paris Match magazine. Ms. Le Pen comes in third at 17%. Little wonder that's where the Sarkozy camp is now mining for votes.

by Bernard on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 01:39:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Economic Affairs / Hungary feels the heat under strengthened EU budget rules
Finance ministers are on Tuesday expected to approve the freezing of €495 million in funds for Hungary if Budapest fails to bring down its deficit in the coming six months. - the first such move under the EU's strengthened budget rules.

A large majority of member states is said to favour the two formal proposals: One giving Hungary a six-month deadline for "sufficient corrective measures" slashing budget spending by 0.5 percent of the country's gross domestic product, the other setting a funding freeze from 1 January 2013 if the deadline is not met.

According to a commission draft proposal tabled to finance ministers on 6 March and seen by this website, the Hungarian authorities "should put an end to the present excessive deficit situation by 2012." The paper sets 13 September as a deadline "to take effective action and to specify the measures that will be necessary to progress towards ensuring a durable correction of the excessive deficit."

If Budapest's actions are not deemed "sustainable" enough or if the deadline is not met, Hungary will be the first EU country to be sanctioned for excessive deficits under the strengthened budgetary discipline rules capping deficits at three percent of GDP.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:11:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair Trial At Risk: Report Slams Hungary's New Constitution - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The right to a fair trial is a cornerstone of democratic values, but it's one that is threatened by Hungary's new constitution, according to a report seen by SPIEGEL. The previously confidential document, written by the Council of Europe's legal advisory body, the Venice Commission, suggests that key points of the constitution flout not only European standards, but also put the right to fair trial in question.

OAS_RICH('Middle2'); "The reform as a whole threatens the independence of the judiciary," the 30-page document states.

The authors also sharply criticize the newly created Hungarian National Judicial Office (NJO). The new president of the NJO, elected by the parliament in December 2011, has the right to name judges, transfer them and to decide which cases they will be allowed to rule on.

"In no other member state of the Council of Europe are such important powers, including the power to select judges and senior office holders, vested in a single person," said representatives of the Council of Europe, an international organization and watchdog for human rights in a total of 47 member states in the European region.

The National Judicial Office president has "wide discretionary powers mainly not subject to judicial control," they added.

EU Taking Action

As soon as the parliament in Budapest has installed a leader, they have no ability to supervise that person. "The report is alarming," said Andreas Schwab, a member of the European Parliament with Germany's conservative Christian Democrats. "We are in discussions with our Hungarian colleagues about these shortcomings."

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:12:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For now the European Commission is still focused on the main EPP pre-occupation these days, the deficit, which might actually strengthen the Orbán government. The suspension of cohesion fund payments is opposed even by the Hungarian Socialists (a MEP spoke up against it, saying it punishes local governments, regions, enterprises and the population for the mistakes of the national government).

The Venice Commission is much better. It remains to be seen however whether its extensive criticisms (and the one seen by Spiegel is their fourth report on the legal changes if I counted right) will be a basis for a broader Commission action. It is also important whether more EPP MEPs will speak up and voice criticism. At least in Hungary: in recent days, Orbán and his minions again upped the rhetoric about the international leftist conspiracy that is supposed to be behind Hungary's troubles in the EU.

I don't expect Commission action on changes in labour law, of course. On this front, however, the local green party (LMP) launched five referendum initiatives, four of which went through the obligatory vetting and are in a phase of signature collection (I signed at a 10,000-strong protest of the unions on Saturday). The four referendum questions aim to:

  1. restore the right of employees to determine the timing of two thirds of their paid vacations;
  2. restore obligatory education until an age of 18 (the government wants to reduce it to 16);
  3. restore a limit of 100 days for probational employment (the government wants to double the time period for this form of employment with reduced labour rights);
  4. restore unemployment benefit payable for 260 days (the government cut it to just 90 days),

Of course, the LMP referendum initiative isn't opposed by Fidesz media only, but the neoliberals in opposition media, too... at least the party with the most neoliberal programme (that of formerly Socialist former PM Gyurcsány) had enough tactical clout to give its support.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 04:49:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Radical Salafists on the rise in Germany | Germany | DW.DE | 11.03.2012

While right-wing terrorism is currently the focus of attention in Germany, the threat posed by religiously motivated extremism remains. Radical Salafists are considered especially dangerous.

"We have to understand that Islam is a religion of action, a religion of deeds. Each of us should know that paradise is the goal. So don't waste any time on your way to getting there." That is the message of Mohamed Mahmoud, a radical and previously convicted Islam convert active in Germany.

His message is aimed at the Salafist community in Germany, a movement emphasizing the earliest Muslims as model examples of Islamic practice - rejecting any modern changes to Muslim teachings. Salafists are the fastest growing group of Muslims in Germany, ranging from pious believers to radical followers.

Political Salafism is considered a breeding ground for radicalizing young Muslims and recent developments show that religiously motivated extremism remains a source of danger and concern.

"We are worried that known Salafists are traveling across Germany," says Mathilde Koller, head of the domestic intelligence agency in Germany's state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Teenagers and young people, she says, are the main targets as they are easily susceptible to radical teachings suggesting simple solutions for life.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:18:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh good grief, are we still here ? Or is this a group of people desperately fearing unemployment as rationality finally surfaces after a decade of madness

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 06:04:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Trade unions organise mass rallies against labour law reforms - SPAIN - FRANCE 24

Hundreds of thousands of people in 60 cities across Spain took part Sunday in demonstrations called by the country's main trade unions to protest the government's tough new labor reforms and cutbacks.

The rallies are the unions' first trial of strength before a general strike called for March 29 to oppose the recently approved reforms and austerity measures.

Most gatherings were preceded by remembrance ceremonies that marked the eighth anniversary of the March 11, 2004 bombings that killed 191 people on Madrid's commuter rail system in Europe's worst Islamic terror attack.

The reforms, passed by decree last month and confirmed in Parliament Thursday, slash the cost of firing workers and ease conditions under which they can be dismissed.

"This is a reform that is not going to create jobs, so it is not justified," said demonstrator Marta Lois, 39, adding, "they are cutting our rights like never before."

The leaders of Workers Commissions and the General Workers Union, who jointly called the stoppage and Sunday's rallies, met before a large march in Madrid to call on the government to negotiate with them over the introduction of what they called "drastic" reforms.

Ignacio Fernandez Toxo of Workers Commission said the austerity package was so heavily tilted in favor of businesses that it made working conditions in Spain resemble those that existed under the dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco, who ruled from 1939-1975.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:18:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Swiss vote 'no' to extra holidays - Europe - World - The Independent

Who turns down a long vacation? Known for their work ethic, Swiss citizens appear to be leading the way on European austerity, rejecting a minimum six weeks paid holiday a year.

Swiss polls closed yesterday on several national referendums, including one pushed by a union to raise the minimum holiday from four weeks to the standard used in Germany, Italy, Russia and other European nations.

The Swiss heeded warnings from government and business that more vacation would raise labor costs and put the economy at risk. Swiss public broadcaster SSR said two-thirds of voters and each of the nation's 26 cantons had rejected the measure, which required majority approval of all federal and cantonal voters.

"In rejecting the initiative, citizens have kept a sense of reality," said Hans-Ulrich Bigler, director of the Swiss Union of Arts and Crafts, which represents around 300,000 businesses. The referendum, he said in a statement, could have added 6 billion francs (£4bn) a year in labor costs to the Swiss economy, but the vote "clearly shows that the population continues to focus on individual freedom and responsibility of citizens."

But one initiative aimed at limiting the number of second homes in resort towns squeaked through with just more than 50 percent of the nationwide vote, according to SSR. The referendum, championed by environmental groups intent on keeping a lid on the use of natural resources and rising property prices, will be of particular interest to wealthy foreigners seeking a retreat in the Alpine nation.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:18:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another convenient myth.

Money laundering is not as hard as most people think.

by Euroliberal on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 06:00:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also here.
by Bernard on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:25:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Known for their work ethic, Swiss citizens appear to be leading the way on European austerity, rejecting a minimum six weeks paid holiday a year.

Virtue! Virtue!

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 06:13:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DutchNews.nl - European MPs work on motions condemning PVV anti-Pole website

Members of the European parliament are working on motions condemning a website set up by the anti-immigration PVV where people can complain about central and eastern Europeans, Dutch world service radio reports on Monday.

A draft version of one motion states the 'PVV hotline openly incites to discriminate against European Union workers from Central and Eastern European countries and is creating divisions between communities in the Dutch society'.

The motion calls on the 'European Council and the government of the Netherlands to formally condemn the PVV hotline since it undermines those rights as it is an affront to European values and principles'.

Refusal

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has repeatedly refused to condemn the website, saying it is a matter for the PVV alone. Rutte's minority government has a formal alliance with the PVV on economic policy and immigration.

The European parliament is due to debate the website on Tuesday, but it is unclear what, if any, status the motion has, the Volkskrant states.

The chairman of the European parliament Martin Schulz has already said the website is unacceptable.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:18:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Members of the European parliament are working on motions condemning a website set up by the anti-immigration PVV where people can complain about central and eastern Europeans

BTW, where in Europe does PVV itself locate us? That is, does "Central" come up on that website, or only "Eastern", or not even that?

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

by DoDo on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:38:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Germany central europe is germany and everything to the east of Germany is eastern europe. (And in our hearts we think eastern germans are eastern europeans too).

Now do the dutch they still use the old definition were everything to the east of Germany is eastern Europe or does their eastern europe start at the dutch-german border?

Perhaps this website is an opportunity to complain at long least about all these moffen.

by IM on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:47:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps this website is an opportunity to complain at long least about all these moffen.

Or we can rehash the debates from 2006. This topic never gets old.

Apparently Prague is West of Vienna, and for people in the former Austria-Hungary they are Central Europe and the former Soviet Union is Eastern Europe.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:51:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a good, if probably not exhausting wikipedia article on this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Europe

And I doubt the PVV want complaints about germans, austrians etc.

by IM on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 08:00:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I like this vision, too: European Watershed
It's perhaps not surprising but still fascinating to recognize national borders along the borders of river basins. Also, geopolitical units in the basins around seas.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 08:03:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought Europe extended over to the Ural mountains, which is not even on the map. "Their eastern side is usually considered the natural boundary between Europe and Asia" per Wikipedia.

According to that argument, the center of Europe is in Belarus somewhere...

by asdf on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 10:44:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Read Geographical midpoint of Europe. Over the years, several calculations were made, the most recent put the center in Lithuania. Here are some of the historical centre points:

Note though that the westernmost on the above map is the geographical centre of the EU-25 (and Dresden is a mystery, while another early calculation result is missing, east of Prague).

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

by DoDo on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 03:38:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As a naive American, I don't pretend to understand the nuances of this whole argument, but isn't it true that in the 19th century, Russia was fairly well integrated into the reset of Europe? My impression was that there was a fair amount of travel and communication between the centers of Europe--including Russia.
by asdf on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 04:11:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I don't get what you seem to be arguing against :-) All of the geographic center of Europe calculations took Russia's west-of-Urals part into account; I just pointed out that none of them arrived at a point in Belarus (your guess) but multiple ones, including the last best in lithuania, are fairly close.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 04:14:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, that's fine. As long as it's not Paris, or Belgium, or London!  :-)
by asdf on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 04:34:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A major European power for many centuries. Surely that would drag the centre down into Belarus, or even the Ukraine.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 05:13:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was a major Asian (and earlier African) power at the same time, too...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 06:15:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
for people in the former Austria-Hungary they are Central Europe and the former Soviet Union is Eastern Europe.

Central European self-identification has its roots in three past empires: Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. A notion of Central Europe excluding Germany apparently arose towards the end of the Cold War in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, when intellectuals sought a separation from the Soviet Union by definition.

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

by DoDo on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 08:15:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
complain about the fact there are far too many dutch here in Paris.

They are poorly dressed, their language is painful to listen to, they send trainloads of pot-smuggling american tourists to undercut the local trade, they export outdated ideas like neo-liberalism, their beer is horrible stuff unfit for consumption and only exportable due to aformentioned outdated ideas on free trade, every time I fly through schipol a bag on average is stolen (feeding the local and historically improtant contraband trade) and did I mention that horrible language they speak?

by redstar on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 08:35:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In GermanyWest Germany central europe is germany and everything to the east of Germany is eastern europe. (And in our hearts we think eastern germans are eastern europeans too).

Corrected for you.

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

by DoDo on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:51:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
GermanyWest Germany

That's not a correction, that's pedantry :P

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:53:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but there is a east german attitude: "Prior to 1989 we Poland Hungary etc were in eastern europe. 1990 we joined western europe. They are still of course eastern europe.

But of course this is the old west german attitude.

by IM on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:57:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think the east German attitude speaks of eastern Europe and western Europe, just East and West. (The Cold War division wasn't just a division of Europe; though the modern Western European notion of "Eastern Europe" has its origin in the Cold War.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 08:05:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When Hayek was writing "Road to Serfdom" it was quite clear he considered everything east and south of France to be Eastern Europe, and he wasn't writing in a way that suggested he thought this was a controversial point of view.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 08:12:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be quite surprising if true. In a search in a Google Books version, I find no mention of Eastern Europe, but I do find one mention of Central Europe in a section previously talking about " Danube Basin and South-Eastern Europe" and mentioning Czech and Hungarian miners in the previous half-sentence.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 08:29:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He's referring to not-the-West, I think. I don't know that he uses the phrase directly.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 08:32:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Central is not-the-West, too. Hayek himself is an Austrian, so he was certainly not unaware of the concept of Central Europe. In his infamous The Socialist Roots of Naziism treatise, I find him mentioning a WWI-time book advocating German imperialism, Mitteleuropa (= Central Europe) by Friedrich Naumann (whom Hayek falsely claims to have been a former Marxist and omits to mention that he was a guardian saint of German liberals).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 08:54:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did a search for "Central European", too, getting two more hits, though without countries named:
  • One where Hayek talks about using the instruments of economic policy to ruthlessly discriminate against national minorities,
  • Another where he accuses socialist parties of the region of establishing semi-military organisation that leads to totalitarianism.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 09:03:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And what about Germany? Switzerland? Are they still "central"?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:47:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course Merkel's bellybutton is the centre of the Universe...

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:51:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At the website, the discussion is framed by classing people coming from "central and east Europe" (MOE in Dutch) - eight countries are meant with that, but these countires are not specifically listed. They hint at the countries which joined the EU since 2004. Poland, Romania and Bulgaria are specifically named - no wonder, the Netherlands has received most migrants from those countries.

In Dutch "MOElanders" (people from central and east European countries) is now practically a normal word.

Wilders seems in the need of a new scapegoat. The flow of Turkish and Moroccan immigrants has dried up, the Polish flux has risen steeply. True enough, in cities and villages there are local issues with the concentration of foreign workers packed together and plenty of fraudulent business schemes to extort workers for maximum profit. We've even seen a few cases of modern slavery, with people forced to pay for their own crappy accommodation.

by Nomad on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 09:00:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Q: What's the value of a contour integral around Western Europe?

A: Zero, because all the Poles are removable.

The old version was about WWII (or the partition of Poland):
Q: What't the value of a contour integral around Western Europe?

A: Zero, because there are no Poles.

Q: What's the value of a contour integral around Eastern Europe?

A: Zero, because there are Poles, but they are all removable.



There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:46:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yanis Varoufakis: What was it all for? The latest Greek Bailout-PSI in the Morning After's cold light
Europe's spectacular, but highly motivated, failure

...

Alas, instead of such a rational approach what we ended up with was a fallacy in search of a rationale; a complete separation of the process of providing liquidity and capital to the banks from that of writing down debt; a negotiation leading to an utterly unsustainable wholesale haircut for one country alone. The official sector is thus now exposed to half a trillion euros of loans to the european periphery, it has to keep printing mountains of new money that it channels, without rhyme or reason, to the banks (thus pushing them further into zombie territory) and, to boot, none of that has managed to make any appreciable dent into the vicious cycle that is deepening Europe's fault lines.

A spectacular failure indeed. Yet not an unmotivated one. Europe's banks have managed to unload their Greek bonds over a period of two years while, at the same time, receiving mountains of cash from the ECB to mop up any remaining losses. Greece's bankers are to receive €25 billion (and counting) of EFSF-sourced capital without having to forfeit an iota of voting power to the official sector (for at least three years). Even hedge funds have not suffered, indeed some will end up with significant gains: the new bonds issued by the Greek state, despite being stressed, will compensate them for the low, low prices they bought the old bonds at and, in addition, will be able to claim CDS proceeds plus several cases of full payment of the old bonds (as a result of skilful strategic holdouts).

In the cold light of the Morning After, Europe looks sad, rueful, dejected. The citizens of the surplus countries feel shortchanged, their deficit country brethren crushed under the weight of hopeless austerity, the winds of recession blowing a cold chill across the continent. Meanwhile the financial sector can enjoy its new delivery of fools' gold. Why fools'? Because every smart parasite ought to know that, if it overdoes it, its own demise will follow the death of an overcompliant host.



There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 07:31:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The facts of the flows of funds to the very financial sector that created the problem at the expense of the people and without solving the problem clearly demonstrates who is in control in Europe - the financial sector, just as much as in the USA, albeit in a different form. I can only hope that elections make more of a difference on this pivotal issue in Europe than they have in 2008 and look likely to have in 2012 in the USA.

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 Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 08:35:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where do you find that hope?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 09:42:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hope springs eternal in the human breast.
Man n'er is but is always to be blest.   A. Pope

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 Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 01:28:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Eurozone sets itself up for the next crisis, with the decision to force Spain to accept even more austerity
The eurogroup set a new deficit target for Spain, of 5.3% of GDP, forcing the Spanish government to make additional adjustments of 0.5%; Luis de Guindos has accepted the new programme, which also includes bringing forward new mechanism to control budgetary overshoots in the autonomous regions; the FT says the new programme would force Spain to make a similarly radical adjustment as Greece, Portugal and Ireland; El Pais said the eurozone prioritised its own credibility over the concerns of an economic in recession with 5m unemployed; says Spain was too big to fail, too big to be rescued, and too large to ignore; the eurogroup takes the political decision to accept the Greek programme; Evangelos Venizelos says the Greek budgetary adjustment programme will continue irrespective of what happens in the elections; Ifo institute says Bangladesh is on course to overtake Greece in terms of purchasing-power adjusted GDP; a German law firm is preparing a class action suit against Greek banks, and the Greek government; Vitor Gaspar said expectations that Portugal was next to require another bailout were groundless; Thomas Mayer says that Portugal's double-digit bond yields suggest that another programme is likely in the summer; Jens Weidmann asks the ECB to adopt a strategy to withdraw from the non-standard measures; a first opinion poll has Nicolas Sarkozy ahead of Francois Hollande in the first round of the French presidential elections, with the gap in the second round down to 54.5% against 45.5%; a news report suggests that Hermann van Rompuy is sounding out Mario Monti as chairman of the eurogroup; Paul de Grauwe, meanwhile, says the LTRO won't work.


There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 04:19:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUObserver: Spain gets concession on budget deficit
"We are highly concerned by the high unemployment and increasing poverty, but we agreed Spain will stick to the 3 percent target in 2013, which is more important than the avenues chosen in 2012," Juncker explained.
To be fair, he's just the spokesperson for a group of 17 no less ass-holy people.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 04:39:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But we knew that already.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 04:48:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 05:25:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When you're being strangled, you can't utter your safeword.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 05:27:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"And, has thou slain the Deficit Monster?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.


There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 05:40:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]


There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 05:45:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That.Is.Creepy!
by Euroliberal on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 06:02:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That.is.Christian.Democracy

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 06:12:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Paul de Grauwe: ECB intervention is the only way to end the crisis (March 12, 2012)
True enough, when the ECB intervenes directly in the bond markets, moral hazard risk is created because governments may have fewer incentives to reduce budget deficits. However, this risk has been reduced significantly in the new institutional environment, which gives considerable power to the European Commission to impose austerity programmes. It is a power the Commission has happily embraced to impose excessive austerity in the eurozone and to drive it into a recession.

...

As a result, the sovereign debt crisis will explode again, forcing the ECB to make hard choices. Either it will stick to its indirect LTRO approach, giving cheap money to trembling banks with all the problems this entails. Or the ECB will become pragmatic and intervene directly with a steady hand in the government bond markets.

...

It would help if these German opponents liberated themselves from the damaging dogma that it is a sin to create liquidity to buy government bonds when these bonds appear on the ECB's balance sheet - while believing that the same operation is virtuous when these bonds appear on the balance sheets of banks.



There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 04:51:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 04:51:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC: EU close to Greece bail-out deal, officials say (13 March 2010)
Its deficit is more than four times higher than eurozone rules allow. Austerity measures aimed at reducing it have provoked public anger. The crisis has also undermined the euro.

...

Alongside the relief package, the commission is working on tougher rules to monitor fiscal discipline among eurozone countries, said Olli Rehn, the commissioner for economic and monetary affairs.

"The Greek case is a potential turning point for the eurozone," he told the Guardian newspaper, adding that failure would "do serious and maybe permanent damage to the credibility of the European Union".

...

Greece's austerity measures have sparked protests and nationwide strikes.

...

Greece has pledged to reduce its deficit from 12.7% to 8.7% during 2010. Its long-term plan aims to cut the budget shortfall drastically, to less than 3% by 2012.



There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 05:30:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rebekah Brooks among six arrested in phone-hacking investigation | Media | guardian.co.uk

Rebekah Brooks is among six people arrested by Scotland Yard detectives on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, as part of the investigation into phone hacking.

The former News International chief executive was arrested at her home in Oxfordshire by detectives from Operation Weeting. Sources also said that her husband, racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks, was arrested.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 08:42:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rebekah Brooks has apparently contracted a woman to be a surrogate mother with a delivery date in early autumn. Some are suggesting that this baby is a prison prevention ploy

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 10:05:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to the Telegraph it has already been born.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 10:09:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That was quick.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 10:53:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What was? The arrest? The baby? The Telegraph reporting it? The horse?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 10:59:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The baby. Scheduled for autumn, and then the deadline was moved (beacuse of the arrest I reccon) so they delivered it just-in-time.

Just trying to keep up with the Pythonesque developments.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 11:41:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
they contracted three surrogate mothers for three months (an old IT technique that).

Alternatively, was the surrogate mother a policewoman on loan from the Met?

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

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 12:21:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Horse trading at the Met :

Leveson inquiry: Dick Fedorcio, Sara Cheesley - live | Media | guardian.co.uk

Fedorcio is asked about a work placement his son had at the Sun in 2003 and 2004.

He spent time on the Bizarre showbusiness desk, the newsdesk and Sun Online.

In 2007, after his son left university, another work experience stint was arranged.

Fedorcio says his son aranged this second stint himself.

Jay points out that the timing was close to the loan of the horse. "Was it, to put bluntly, a question of favours being called here?" he asks.

Fedorcio denies this was the case and says it is not fair to characterise it as "incestuous". He says the timing of the loan and his son's work experience is coincidental.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 10:27:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just as "truth has a liberal bias," it seems that "coincidence favors the powerful."

'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 Wed Mar 14th, 2012 at 12:58:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Netherlands:


The Socialist Party of Emile Roemer is once again the country's biggest party, overtaking the pro-business VVD party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, according to a weekly opinion poll.

In the weekly survey conducted by Maurice de Hond, the SP now would have 32 seats in parliament, whereas the VVD would to drop to 30. In January the SP also emerged as the biggest party in the survey. Socialist Party leader Emile Roemer was rated 6.8, a record figure his predecessor Jan Marijnissen had obtained ten years ago.

Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders is the only politician to see his popularity drop since December, the last time the survey gauged politicians' popularity ratings. Mr Wilders' rating now stands at 4.4, down from 4.7.

Unlike in France, the Socialist Party in the Netherlands is a real left party.

by redstar on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 10:15:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now if only these poll results would be maintained until the next election rather than be stolen by some right-wing populist, unlike last time.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 03:41:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 04:31:23 PM EST
BBC News - Greece and Spain top agenda at Eurogroup meeting

Finance ministers from eurozone nations are to meet on Monday to discuss giving Greece's second bailout final approval.

The Eurogroup, which includes eurozone finance ministers, the president of the European Central Bank and European Commission chiefs, meets in Brussels.

Spain's financial status is also on the agenda.

Earlier this month, Spain said it would miss a deficit target of 4.4% of GDP for 2012 agreed with Brussels. It now expects the deficit to be 5.8%.

The head of the group of eurozone finance ministers, Jean-Claude Juncker, said they would discuss the situation but would not take any final decisions at Monday's meeting.

He called on Spain on to respect its 2013 public deficit target: "We start from the principle that Spain will and wants to achieve its 2013 budget target" of 3% of gross domestic product (GDP).

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:41:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Economic Affairs / Euro ministers to approve 2nd Greek bail-out

Eurozone finance ministers are meeting in Brussels on Monday (12 March) to give their final approval to the second Greek bail-out. But Spain's deficit problem is likely to weigh heavily on the talks.

In a conference last Friday, the so-called Eurogroup ministers approved the release of around half of the €130 billion bail-out, which is to help fund a massive bond-swap between Greece and private debt-holders.

The private sector involvement was deemed successful as over 85 percent of private and state-owned banks, investment funds and pension funds agreed to change their old Greek bonds for new ones at a net loss of over 70 percent.

By triggering "collective action clauses" on reluctant bondholders, Athens forced an even higher participation rate of over 95 percent. The move was deemed a "credit event" by finance associations, meaning that default insurances to the tune of €2.4 billion have now to be paid out and ratings agencies have placed Greece in "restricted default" territory - just one notch higher than outright bankruptcy.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:41:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Eurozone group backs second Greek bailout

he eurozone group has backed Greece's second bailout of 130bn euros ($171bn; £109bn) pending a contribution from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Finance ministers from the 17-strong currency bloc had been meeting in Brussels to approve the package.

The meeting followed Greece swapping most of its privately-held bonds with new ones worth less than half their original value.

Greece's debt-to gross domestic product ratio is also expected to fall to 117%.

The chairman of the eurozone group of finance ministers, Jean-Claude Juncker, who is also the prime minister of Luxembourg, made the prediction after the meeting, saying it would reach that level in 2020.

Mr Juncker said: "We welcome the [IMF's] proposal to recommend a 28bn euros [contribution] to the Greek facility. We look forward to the discussion and the decision by the IMF board on March 15."

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 07:27:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - OECD: Eurozone shows 'tentative' signs of recovery

The eurozone is showing "tentative" signs of recovery, according to the latest report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The OECD researches economics for the 30 nations that make up its membership.

For the eurozone, its leading indicator of economic activity rose in January and also turned positive for Britain.

The United States and Japan also continued to show signs of a pick-up.

"The United States and Japan continue to drive the overall position but stronger, albeit tentative, signals are beginning to emerge within all other major OECD economies and the euro area as a whole," the OECD said.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:46:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thatcher has won battle for Europe | Presseurop (English)

What melody might the European trade union confederations hum these days in honour of Herman van Rompuy, the current EU president? Perhaps a tune from his compatriot Jacques Brel - for example, On n'oublie rien ("We forget nothing"). There are currently 17 million without work in the EU.

Last week trade unions all across Europe demonstrated against the EU budget pact, which calls for drastic cuts in social outlays accompanied by restrictions in civil rights and liberties. In doing so, Europe is burying the social ideology of the welfare state, which had been fostered equally by both the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats, the two major parties in European states.

Through the Stability Pact, the EU is imposing a Thatcherite economic blueprint on all its member countries. It must be remembered, however, that the authoritarian capitalism of the former British Prime Minister had received the endorsement of the population by a democratic vote, while the EU makes decisions without even going looking for popular or democratic legitimacy. The high echelons of the EU want first and foremost to save the euro - the currency that symbolises the economic folly and political hubris that is tearing Europe into two parts - the rich and the others, condemned to poverty.

Teacher and leading scholar in European humanities, Fritz Wilhelm Scharpf, wonders whether the reforms of the European monetary and economic union do not mask some hidden agenda. Scharpf depicts a European ideology that promotes privatising the economy, weakening organised labor, and commodifying health and education.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:46:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sadly appropriate

[Europe.Is.Doomed™ Alert]

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 06:24:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Teacher and leading scholar in European humanities" is a strange way to describe Scharpf, suggesting he doesn't know much about economics. Wikipedia says
His areas of interest include; the organisational problems and decision processes in governments at all levels; the political economy of inflation and unemployment; comparative political economy of the welfare state.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 06:33:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Money markets, largely unchanged since 2008 crisis, remain big risk | McClatchy

Plain-vanilla money market funds, part of the skeletal structure of American finance, may be a $2.7 trillion disaster hiding in plain sight.

When Congress in 2010 passed the most sweeping revamp of financial regulation since the Great Depression, it tried to address most of the problems that led to or were exposed by the near-collapse of the financial system. Money market funds slipped through the cracks.

Money market funds, a $2.7 trillion industry, remain largely unregulated. They remain vulnerable to runs from investors, who retain the false perception that there's no risk in them. The funds have been pitched as "can't fail" investments, yet as recently as last summer the largest money market funds had 45 percent of their assets tied up in European bank debt.

"Nothing in financial services is as dangerous as a guarantee without capital backing it," Sallie Krawcheck, the former president of wealth management for Bank of America, warned in a recent essay in The Wall Street Journal.

In an interview with McClatchy, Krawcheck said the Securities and Exchange Commission is right to be concerned and seek ways to bolster this crucial segment of the financial sector. Although these funds offer many pages of disclosure, she said, many investors still wrongly assume that the funds guarantee at least a break-even return. They're unaware that many fund managers aren't even banks with capital reserves, but simply asset managers

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:46:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China Hints at Easing Monetary Policy - NYTimes.com
As China seeks a soft landing for its bubble-prone economy, senior economic officials said Monday that they might encourage bank lending, while also hinting that the country's currency might not appreciate as fast as it has in recent years -- a hot-button issue in the U.S. presidential election this year.

Speaking at a news conference, Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the Chinese central bank, said bank reserve requirements -- the percentage of deposits that banks must hold back -- could be loosened further, after having been eased already last month.

"We have a lot of room to adjust the reserve ratio," Mr. Zhou said. "On the other hand, it is necessary to see whether there is a necessity to adjust."

The reserve ratio was tightened throughout 2010 and 2011 after a huge government stimulus program of bank lending set off a bubble in real estate prices.

In the first two months of this year, these measures began to bite, and bank lending fell -- possibly faster than officials had expected. Normally, as many as a quarter of all bank loans in a year are made in this two-month period. This year, however, only 18 percent of the expected bank loans for 2012 were made, implying either sharply slowing demand for loans or bank liquidity problems.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:47:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An Open Letter to Jamie Dimon   James Koutoulas, President, Commodity Customer Coalition and CEO, Typhon Capital Management  naked capitalism

Through my role as the co-founder of the Commodity Customer Coalition and pro bono counsel for some 8,000+ customers whose property it looks like your institution may be holding without their consent, I have loudly advocated for JPMorgan Chase to return this property. In response to this, rather than doing the right thing, you closed all of my personal and corporate bank accounts and my personal credit card. I have been told by multiple members of the media that JPMorgan Chase has called them and stated that if their media outlet has me on television again, that JPMorgan Chase will pull their advertising from the offending network.

These bully tactics have only strengthened my resolve to protect my clients whom you have knowingly wronged and continue to wrong by improperly holding their property. It has made me delve deeper into what I have found is a pattern of such malicious conduct across JPMorgan Chase's business groups. JPMorgan Chase bribed officials in Jefferson County, Alabama, one of the poorest counties in the United States, to enter into a disastrous derivative transaction that bankrupted the county and caused an increase of 400% in sewage prices, forcing these poor people to have to choose between food and clean water. JPMorgan Chase designed an overdraft processing system that intentionally prioritized higher dollar transactions so that as many transactions as possible would overdraft, again generating usurious-like fees on the bank of those who can ill afford it. Let's not forget about robo-signing, forging foreclosure documents, or, getting back to the futures world, failing to properly segregate customer funds.

Mr. Dimon, why do you impugn your character and reputation by allowing your firm to engage in these immoral activities? Sure, the regulators have failed to assess you any meaningful punishments that would deter you from this conduct on a strict, short-term dollars and cents analysis. Every penny of earnings counts, I get it. But, sir, you do not strike me as someone who is trying to pump your company's stock price for a quarter or two. You are the face of JPMorgan Chase and, I would assume, you plan on being there for a while. Why intentionally destroy any and all goodwill your firm has to make additional revenue that is mostly insignificant in the short-term and, quite possibly, deleterious in the long-term? The only reason I can think of is: because you can. And, that, sir is where hubris starts.

....

While you have led your firm to a dominant position in the banking industry and record profits of late, you haven't done it alone. You've had the benefit of taxpayer funds, whether you needed them or not (as you claim). You've had extremely favorable regulation and public policy that for years has prioritized re-capitalizing banks over the rights of Main Street Americans to be able to bear the fruit of their labor. Yet, you have begun to act like a megalomaniac, drunk on his own power ala Caligula, and attribute 100% of your success to your personal superlatives. People are starting to notice. While Occupy Wall Street has failed to articulate any clear message or goals, they have tapped into a rage in this country that is real and palpable. You have alienated many of your peers on Wall Street and in the hedge fund industry (yes, you have peers). And, now, you have alienated many members of the media that have the voices to spread the word of the ill conduct which your firm has repeatedly engaged in.


The fruits of 'regulatory forbearance' seem to be that the rule of law only applies to individuals and smaller corporations, not to the TBTFs. This is a cancer that, further left unchecked, will kill the patient, though when is an open question.

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 Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 09:14:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As we see elsewhere, the banksters are increasingly open in their corruption of the governing process. I used to read sci-fi novels about dystopian futures where corporates rule for their won benefit and ordinary citizens re tolerated only insofar as they is useful to the bottom line. I never realised I myself would live in such times

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 06:40:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At the time, '6os & '70s, I had the vague disquiet that we might be closer to dystopia than we thought, but I really had no idea just how bad it would get. Then I thought that the reaction to Watergate would immunize the system. It helped - for maybe twenty years - but was certainly no immunization. The effects of private wealth spreading noxious doctrines through public media without much serious push-back were unimaginably corrosive.

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 Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 09:06:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
MF Global is so mind-boggling, and the fact it's left up to a 30 year old who is 3 years out of school and would otherwise prefer to be elsewhere--that's crazy.
by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 09:53:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Falling Behind: Germany Fails To Meet Its Own Austerity Goals - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
SPIEGEL reports this week that the German government didn't reach even half of its planned savings in the federal budget. Only 42 percent of the spending cuts named by Merkel's coalition government, comprised of the conservative Christian Democrats and the business-friendly Free Democratic Party, were actually not implemented.

Calculations made by the influential Cologne Institute for Economic Research indicate that only €4.7 billion ($6.16 billion) of the €11.2 billion in austerity measures stipulated by the savings package actually took shape in 2011.

The government is also falling behind on its targets for this year. Of the originally planned €19.1 billion in savings, less than half has been implemented. For the coming year, the concrete measures that have been agreed on so far cover just one-third of the announced amount of savings.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 09:04:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But, of course, this is for different reasons than in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, etc.

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 Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 09:08:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We need a Downfall spoof video, stat!

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 09:23:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't blame the Germans. Who has time for "homework?"
by Upstate NY on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 09:54:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Austerity works much better if it is in name only.
by IM on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 10:18:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Back in June 2010 I reported:

In the context of the budget cuts, it should be noted that Seehofer's predecessor achieved and required a balanced budget for Bavaria four years ago -- but last month, with many ministers unwilling to cut, the CSU faction leader in the Bavarian parliament proposed that the balanced budget be voided temporarily...

On Hungary's debt brake, back in December 2011, I reported:

the Orbán government put a debt brake into Hungary's new constitution, too, but now wants to delay it taking effect until 2016...

...which is why I was sceptical of balanced budget requirements imposed during right-wing governments being worth more than the paper they were printed on...

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

by DoDo on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 04:11:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 04:31:27 PM EST
'Massacre' in Homs as Syria attacks intensify - Middle East - Al Jazeera English
Dozens of civilians in Syria's city of Homs were killed in cold blood, the government and opposition said, disputing responsibility for what both sides called a massacre.   State media in Damascus, which often ignores activists' claims, confirmed killings in Homs on Monday but blamed "armed terrorists" as it frequently calls those behind the uprising.   The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 16 people were killed Sunday night in Homs, while the Local Co-ordination Committees said 45 were killed. Both groups said children were among the dead.
by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:53:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French Surgeon, Jacques Bérès, Recalls Slipping Into Syria Last Month - NYTimes.com
At the age of 71, Dr. Jacques Bérès, a veteran of war zones, left his comfortable Paris life last month to smuggle himself into Homs, the center of the Syrian revolt, to tend to the wounded and the sick.

Working in secret, in a dark, abandoned house, with only one operating table, three beds, four local aides and intermittent electricity, Dr. Bérès operated on 89 people, he said; all but nine survived.

Dr. Bérès, a surgeon with a thin white beard who was part of the group that founded Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders, appears to be the only Western doctor who has been able to enter Homs, where security forces have been carrying out a brutal assault. His account offers a rare glimpse at the medical emergency that has developed as the Syrian conflict rages on.

His journey into Syria began in early February when he crossed the Lebanese border with the help of smugglers, carrying luggage filled with medical equipment. He then traveled by car and motorbike to Al Qusayr, another besieged city that is part of Homs Province, where he worked for a few days with a Syrian doctor. When he finally made it to Homs, he spent about two weeks there.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:54:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S., Russia Clash as U.N. Security Council Debates Syria - WSJ.com

The U.S. and Russia faced off Monday over Syria, giving center stage to a core diplomatic disagreement over who is to blame for a year of deepening crisis in the country and how to respond.

Both sides have called for an end to Syria's conflict, which the U.N. has said has left more than 7,500 people dead. But open divisions over how to do so has left the international community deadlocked.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov condemned what he called support for terrorists by foreign governments, which he didn't name, in an attempt to overthrow the legal authorities in Damascus. He also railed against the arming of the Syrian population. "Interference from outside, using raw military force, increases the illicit spread of arms," Mr. Lavrov said, "thus jeopardizing stability in the region."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested Russia was guilty of standing silent while the regime of President Bashar al-Assad killed its own people. She portrayed the crisis as a legitimate revolt of the Syrian people against a dictatorial regime. "We reject any equivalence between premeditated murders by a government's military machine, and the actions of civilians under siege driven to self-defense," she said.

The clash came during an open meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Monday organized by the U.K., which is overseeing this month's council proceedings. Billing the session as a discussion of the Arab Spring, it invited foreign ministers of countries that have ousted their leaders--Egypt, Tunisia and Libya--to speak. But these ministers didn't attend, and the focus of the meeting rested almost entirely on Syria.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:56:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clinton:
"We reject any equivalence between premeditated murders by a government's military machine, and the actions of civilians under siege driven to self-defense,"

But only in Syria, not in Afghanistan.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 09:32:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - No rush for Afghan exit after killings, says Obama

US President Barack Obama has promised that international forces will not "rush for the exits" in Afghanistan, after an American soldier is accused of murdering 16 civilians.

Mr Obama told US television stations that the troops must be withdrawn in a responsible way.

The killings in Kandahar province have strained relations between Afghans and foreign forces.

Afghan MPs passed a motion earlier saying Afghans had run out of patience.

The Taliban has promised revenge attacks. A tribal elder told the BBC that he would not be calling for protests.

Anti-US sentiment is already high after soldiers burned some copies of the Koran at a Nato base in Kabul last month, sparking deadly riots across the country.

Mr Obama told local CBS station KDKA that the shooting was "absolutely heartbreaking and tragic".

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:54:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After U.S. soldier kills 16 in Kandahar, Afghans voice furor; Taliban vows revenge - The Washington Post

Afghan officials expressed dismay and rage Monday as villagers quietly buried 16 civilians, including nine children, allegedly shot by a rogue U.S. soldier in southern Afghanistan the day before.

As ghastly details and images from the scene began spreading online, several members of parliament, including staunch supporters of the United States, demanded that the soldier be put on trial in Afghanistan. The Taliban, meanwhile, vowed to avenge the killings, which fit masterfully into its narrative depicting foreign troops as callous killers waging a war on Islam.

The slayings were the latest in a cascade of missteps and blunders that have shaken Afghans' confidence in the United States. In interviews, Afghan and Western officials said they believed Sunday's killings in the Panjwai district of Kandahar could come to mark an irreversible turning point.

"I am concerned like never before," said Waheed Omer, the Afghan president's former spokesman, who spent years arguing that the relationship between Kabul and its Western patrons was thorny but solid and essential. "It seems we only have bad choices to make. The lines between friends and enemies are blurred like never before."

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:55:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Afghanistan civilian casualties: year by year, month by month. Visualised data | News | guardian.co.uk

Civilian casualties in Afghanistan are the highest they've been since the invasion, according to the latest statistics from the United Nations creating the highest total since 2006 for civilian deaths - the continued annual rises has seen over 12,793 killed in the past six years.

In the light of the horrific attacks on a village by an American soldier over the weekend, the data brings fresh focus on the Nato operation there.


by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:06:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As Romney might say "I've an election to fight for pete's sake".

I wonder if Obama recognises the futility of what is being done or if he has been bamboozled by Pentago powerpoints that regurgitate all the vietnam bs about kill ratios and force projection.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 06:57:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brian Whitaker's blog, March 2012

A new wave of killings is reported in Baghdad, targeting youngsters of unconventional appearance. Reuters says at least 14 have been stoned to death in the past three weeks, though there are claims that the total may be much higher. Lists have also been circulated naming those who will be next.

Scott Long, formerly of Human Rights Watch, has reported the story in detail on his blog (here, here, here, and here). 

The youngsters are loosely described as "emos", though Long views the attacks as part of a more generalised moral panic over what is considered to be youth deviance - "gelled spiky hair, long hair, tight jeans, black clothes, skull pendants, a swish of the hip, effeminacy, homosexuality, or listening to rock music".

Reuters quotes a couple of leaflets circulated in Baghdad:

"We strongly warn you, to all the obscene males and females, if you will not leave this filthy work within four days the punishment of God will descend upon you at the hand of the Mujahideen."

and another listing 20 names ...

"We are the Brigades of Anger. We warn you, if you do not get back to sanity and the right path, you will be killed."

Blame for the killings has been directed at local militias and the Iraqi government seems unwilling to take action to stop them. Last week, an interior ministry spokesman talked of "fabricated news reports" and asserted that "no murder case has been recorded with the interior ministry on so-called 'emo' grounds".

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:59:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stop the presses: Juju apologises (sort of) - News - Mail & Guardian Online
Suspended ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema apologised to leaders of the ANC on the SABC Asikhulume talk show on Sunday night, in an hour-long interview during which he also called for the "democracy-destroying" media to be regulated.

"I want to also apologise to the leadership of the African National Congress for anything that they think I have done wrong," he told presenter Vuyo Mvoko.

Malema was expelled from the ANC in February for bringing the party into disrepute and sowing division in its ranks.

"I did not do it deliberately. I was making a contribution. I thought it was strengthening the movement as required by the constitution of the ANC Youth League to support the movement," he said during the discussion.

Malema also called for the regulation of the media, "because this media will destroy the democracy," he told Mvoko.
by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:03:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I did not think that creating my own militia was wrong and the media need regulating because they criticised me for doing so."

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:00:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ethopian law 'is crippling human rights work' - News - Mail & Guardian Online
A "restrictive" law in Ethiopia is severely crippling rights groups, according to an Amnesty International report released on Monday.

The rights watchdog said the law, which it called "vaguely worded," severely restricts funding to local organisations and allows for overreaching government interference.

"The government has implemented a law which has crippled human rights work in Ethiopia," said Amnesty's deputy Africa director, Michelle Kagari, in a statement.

"The result is that people in the country have less access to independent human rights assistance," she said.

The 2009 Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSP) limits the amount of funding local groups can accept from foreign sources to 10%, which Amnesty said is forcing rights organisations to cut programs and close offices. The group said that $1-million worth of assets from two leading rights groups has already been frozen under the legislation.
by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:07:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How 'peace provocateurs' are defusing religious tensions in Indonesia - Asia - World - The Independent

A Christian girl has her arm hacked off in a Muslim neighbourhood, and everyone in this tropical island city expects more trouble to follow.

Text messages multiply the news and calls for revenge exponentially in  segregated Ambon, Indonesia, steamy with suspicion between the two communities ever since inter-communal violence in 1999-2002 left thousands dead and many more displaced, torched out of their homes.

But within an hour, a second round of texts spreads, along with Tweets  and Facebook posts, bursting the expanding bubble of anger. It didn't happen. The girl is fine and at home with family. Look, here's a fresh  photo of her. And here's a video with her made a few minutes ago.

The klarifikasi message is signed, "Provakator Perdamaian", or "Peace  Provocateurs".

An interfaith group with no formal structure, the Peace Provocateurs  are as ambitious in their goal as they are simple in their method.  After watching some in Ambon use SMS and social media to whip up  fights, exaggerating or simply inventing incidents to spark trouble,  they decided they could respond in kind with reverse intent.

"If provocateurs could use the new technology to incite violence, we  could use it to undermine their incitement", says Jacky Manuputty, a  Protestant minister and one of the leaders of the group.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:13:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Bolivia's Evo Morales urges end to ban on coca chewing

Bolivian President Evo Morales has urged the UN to correct a "historic wrong" and lift a long-standing ban on the chewing of coca leaves.

Mr Morales, addressing a UN anti-drugs meeting in Vienna, said coca was part of his country's heritage.

Coca leaves, the raw ingredient for cocaine, were declared an illegal substance under a 1961 UN convention.

Mr Morales has long called for coca to be seen as a plant of great medicinal, cultural and religious value.

Addressing the Commission on Narcotic Drugs at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna, Mr Morales said there was no data to show that the coca leaf had an adverse effect on human beings.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:13:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sadly, this doesn't appear to be satirical :

Mississippi and Alabama primary day - US elections live | World news | guardian.co.uk

a new poll from Public Policy Polling adds a whole new dimension to the question of how Americans view the president. According to PPP, 45% of respondents in Alabama think President Obama is a Muslim, while in Mississippi that number is 52%. In Alabama, 60% of respondents don't believe in evolution, and in Mississippi 66% don't. It turns out Rick Santorum is the most popular candidate among evolution-deniers, while Newt Gingrich has the majority of the support from those who believe interracial marriage should be illegal.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 11:23:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 04:31:30 PM EST
Aviation firms urge EU to reconsider ETS | EurActiv

Seven leading European aviation companies have written to European political leaders warning about the implications of a recently introduced EU carbon tax, the Financial Times reported today (12 March).

The signatories, which include Airbus, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, argue that the pollution levy threatens jobs 2,000 jobs and trade.

They are concerned about trade-related retaliation by countries not complying with the Emissions Trading System (ETS), the newspaper reported.

The industry executives also said they expect "suspensions, cancellations and punitive actions" by other countries to grow "as other important markets continue to oppose" extension of the ETS, according to the article, citing the letter.

According to Airbus and its airline partners in Europe, three unnamed state-owned Chinese airlines are refusing to finalise orders for 45 Airbus A330 long-haul jets worth up to €9.6 billion.

The ETS issue "started out as a discussion over environmental legislation but is turning into a trade conflict," an Airbus spokesman, cited by the newspaper, is quoted as saying.

The opposition campaign is being led by Airbus and has the support of the chief executives of British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, Air France, Air Berlin and Iberia.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:16:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Airline Industry Raises Heat Over EU Scheme - WSJ.com

Airbus and a group of European airlines issued another warning that the European Commission faces sparking a trade war after extending its emission trading scheme to the global industry.

The plane maker had said that China has frozen some jet deals because of the scheme, and spearheaded a new warning to political leaders that more retaliation is imminent unless the European Union backs down and pursues a compromise.

International disquiet with the EU's unilateral imposition of charges for aircraft carbon dioxide has drawn widespread threats of retaliation, though to date the only hard-line response has been Airbus's recent claim that China suspended final approval of a $12 billion aircraft order placed last year.

"These threats are now real and being translated into concrete action," Airbus warned in a letter last week to EU leaders and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, co-signed by Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Air Berlin PLC and engine maker MTU.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:16:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A hard, dry future for the planet - Nature - Environment - The Independent

The world is wasting water on a truly colossal scale, according to the United Nations. More than 80 per cent of the used water on Earth is neither collected nor treated - the equivalent to the planet leaving the taps full on and the plugs out.

This and other equally worrying realities will be presented this week to around 35,000 people from 180 countries at the World Water Forum, a gathering held every three years, which will hear the most disturbing reports yet on the state of the world's rivers, lakes and aquifers.

Demand for water is expected to increase by 55 per cent over the next four decades, according to a new study to be presented at the forum in France. Framing the Water Reform Challenge, from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), points out that rapid urbanisation, climate change and the altering global economy are putting growing pressures on water supplies. In around 40 years' time, more than 40 per cent of the world's population - 3.9 billion people - are likely to be living in river areas in the grip of severe "water-stress". The UN warns this could also be felt in parts of Europe, affecting up to 44 million people by 2070.

Anthony Cox, head of a water programme run by the OECD, said the world is experiencing a water "crisis." He added: "More people in cities now don't have access to water than back in 1980. In developing countries, especially, there is a tremendous economic and human cost to this." Since 1900, more than 11 million people have died because of drought, according to the UN, and more than 2 billion have been affected by it - more than any other physical hazard.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:18:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Water fund would be win-win for rich and poor' | Environment | DW.DE | 12.03.2012

Nearly two billion people around the world have no access to clean drinking water and sanitation systems. DW spoke with Benedito Braga, vice-president of the World Water Council, about solutions to the problem.

The sixth United Nations World Water Forum is taking place in Marseille from March 12 to March 17. Delegations from 180 countries are participating in the world's largest event focusing on water - which is organized by the World Water Council and has been taking place every three years since 1997. The Council is comprised of scientists, organizations and international water companies. DW spoke with Brazilian Benedito Braga, vice-president of the World Water Council and president of the International Committee of the Sixth World Water Forum, about a global fund for water supply.

DW: What is the World Water Forum's main focus this time around?

Benedito Braga: This year's Forum will focus on finding solutions to water problems. The slogan "Time for Solutions" reflects that. Based on priority, there are twelve topics - with particular emphasis on access to clean drinking water and sanitation systems as a basic human right. We also look at catastrophes involving water, or lack thereof, such as flooding and droughts. Any potential climate change could cause more frequent and more severe floods and longer drought periods. And I'd also like to highlight here the subject of water security - especially when it comes to rivers that are shared by two or more countries. The discussion about financing methods for achieving these goals will also be very important.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:18:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Will sun still shine on Germany solar power industry?

Is the sun setting on solar? If there's a country on the planet that's embraced the generation of electricity from the sun, it is Germany.

It has between a third and a half of the world's photo-voltaic cells - but in this heartland of solar energy, the industry sees dark clouds looming.

Subsidies are falling. Makers of solar panels have gone bankrupt.

Thousands of employees, fearing for their jobs, have just held a demonstration in Berlin.

Mainstream, influential magazines run headlines like Solar Subsidy Sinkhole: Re-evaluating Germany's Blind Faith in the Sun.

And if solar is being eclipsed in the world's green heartland, can its future be brighter elsewhere?

The source of the immediate woe is a cut in subsidies by 30% in the next year.

The government says that's because of the great success of the scheme: so great has been the demand for solar panels because of the lower price that the budget for it has been far exceeded.

But now the subsidy is being cut, the industry is finding it tougher.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:19:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany 'Must Not Go It Alone': EU Commissioner Attacks Berlin's Energy Plans - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
In a SPIEGEL interview, EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger discusses his views on Germany's plan to switch from nuclear to renewable energies, Europe's conflicting attitudes towards atomic power and why European energy policy needs to be better coordinated in order to ensure that countries like Greece can benefit from renewables.

SPIEGEL: Commissioner Oettinger, has Germany isolated itself within the European Union with its abrupt U-turn on energy policy, which will see the country abandoning nuclear energy entirely?

Oettinger: Each member state can decide for itself on its own energy mix, but many partners are concerned when a country as large as Germany changes course without consulting others. And it's also true that Germany won't be able to carry out the energy turnaround without its neighbors.

SPIEGEL: Why?

Oettinger: The energy revolution is only possible because Germany is networked with its neighboring states. They take excess energy away from us whenever we generate too much or supply us with energy whenever things get tight. So, wind energy from northern Germany doesn't flow directly to southern Germany but, instead, finds its way through Poland and the Czech Republic without their having been asked.

SPIEGEL: The problem might get even worse by late 2022, when the rest of Germany's nuclear power plants are supposed to have been shut down.

Oettinger: So far, eight older-model and lower-output nuclear power plants have been shut down. The real challenge will be mothballing the nine larger power plants still in operation. In the process, I expect that the German government will closely coordinate its actions with the European Union and its neighboring countries. It must not go it alone.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:20:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is he trying to preserve the German nuclear power industry, presumably at the behest of lobbyists from industrial corporates ? Or merely stating the bleeding obvious that germany will probably have to negotiate contracts with neighbours to ensure continuity of supply should a shortfall arise ?

I think he's saying the latter, but means the former

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:08:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Solar power firms in Mojave desert feel glare of tribes and environmentalists | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Of the many projects commissioned by the Obama administration to showcase its commitment to renewable energy, few are as grandly futuristic as the multibillion-dollar solar power projects under construction across broad swaths of desert on the California-Arizona border.

But at least two developments, including the $1bn, 250-megawatt Genesis Solar near Blythe in the lower Colorado river valley and the Solar Millennium project, are beset with lengthy construction delays, while others are facing legal challenges lodged by environmental groups and Native American groups who fear damage to the desert ecology as well as to ancient rock art and other sacred heritage sites.

Out on the stony desert floor, Native Americans say, are sites of special spiritual significance, specifically involving the flat-tailed horned toad and the desert tortoise.

"This is where the horny toad lives," explains Alfredo Figueroa, a small, energetic man and a solo figure of opposition who could have sprung from the pages of a Carlos Castaneda novel, pointing to several small burrows. Figueroa is standing several hundred metres into the site of Solar Millennium, a project backed by the Cologne-based Solar Millennium AG. The firm, which has solar projects stretching from Israel to the US, was last month placed in the hands of German administrators and its assets listed for disposal.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:20:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, FFS.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:09:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and all the subsidies for the fossil fuel industries ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:09:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
US rush to gas depresses coal prices - FT.com

The share of electricity generated by burning coal in the US has fallen to near a 35-year low as utilities shift to cheaper gas on the back of the shale revolution.

The shift is reverberating beyond the US as domestic coal miners are forced to export a growing share of their production. It is creating a global glut that is depressing prices in the almost $100bn-a-year thermal coal seaborne market.

The drop in coal use is particularly important because the US is the world's largest electricity market, closely followed by China, and coal-fired power plants are one of the biggest sources of carbon dioxide, a gas that contributes to global warming.

Although coal remains the largest source of electricity production in the US, its share fell in December below the 40 per cent mark for the first time since March 1978, according to fresh estimates by the US Department of Energy.

The use of coal in US electricity generation peaked in 1985 at almost 60 per cent.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:21:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Goce gravity data traces Moho boundary

Scientists have mapped the boundary globally between the Earth's crust and its mantle - the so-called Moho boundary - in unprecedented detail.

They used gravity measurements from the European Space Agency's Goce satellite to model its location.

The famous "discontinuity" lies some 10-70km below the surface and marks a sharp change in rock properties.

It was first identified by the Croatian geophysicist Andrija Mohorovicic in 1909.

He determined the boundary's existence from the distinct behaviour of seismic waves produced by shallow earthquakes.

Goce can be used to sense the Moho's depth because it is able to detect subtle variations in the Earth's gravitational field.

These differences result from the uneven distribution of mass inside the planet - a signal that also reflects the major shift in rock density that occurs at the boundary.

"At the Moho, there is a discontinuity between the compositions of rock - there are rocks of different density," explained Dr Daniele Sampietro from the Politecnico di Milano, Italy.

"The crust has a smaller density while the mantle has a bigger density. And since the change in density means there will be a change in mass, I can use Goce to observe the Moho."

The new global map shows clearly that the boundary's depth is greatest under the big mountains, and at its shallowest under the oceans.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:21:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why Poland says no to EU's climate policy | Presseurop (English)

Poland's veto against the post-2020 greenhouse gas emissions curbing directive proposed at the EU summit in Brussels last Friday was right. But the way we explain our position in Europe has been lamentable.

There is not a shred of trust between Polish officials and climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard. But that's not the real problem - commissioners come and go and in Brussels the unofficial talk is that there will be no climate commissioner in the next Commission at all. The worst thing is the mutual suspicion-poisoned atmosphere has started to filter through to Poland's relations with some of its key EU partners - Germany, Sweden and Denmark.

What EU partners and ecological organisations are refusing to acknowledge is that Poland has made a huge effort to curb carbon dioxide emissions, cutting them from 453 million tons in 1990 to 377 million in 2009. We would easily meet the EU goal of curbing emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. And that without the European emissions trading system, which resembles the institution of medieval indulgences, and without costly subsidies for wind energy.

We would do that by improving energy efficiency and replacing our communist-era power plants with more modern ones, though also fuelled with coal. However, no serious Polish politician will ever say that the instruments of the EU climate policy are inefficient and poorly constructed - because that's taboo.

On the other side things are no better. It is quite clear that the EU strategy is to eliminate coal as the heaviest carbon dioxide emitter. Coal energy is to be costlier than gas and even wind energy - that's the meaning of the climate policy. 17th-century mercantilism and hypocrisy

But no Western politician will ever openly admit as much, so instead we are fed platitudes about "pure coal" technologies, such as storing CO2 underground. Well, they will never be implemented, because it does not make economic sense - it costs much less to build gas or nuclear power plants. On this score, the hypocrisy of the EU officials and politicians is truly irritating.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:25:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Dong to Spend $1.8 Billion Annually for Offshore Wind Projects

Dong Energy A/S plans to invest about 10 billion kroner ($1.8 billion) a year on offshore wind projects to offset a "challenging" environment for gas plants as it ceases to build new coal power facilities, its chief said.
That's about what the world's largest developer of offshore wind parks spent last year on turbines installed at sea. "We think that is around that level we will be working at in the coming years," Anders Eldrup, chief executive officer of the Fredericia, Denmark-based company, said by phone.

(...)

Dong will not invest in new coal-fired power plants as it seeks to cut by half its carbon-dioxide emissions from electricity and heat generation compared with 2006 levels by 2020. The company plans to convert "about half" of its remaining coal stations to use biomass, Eldrup said.

The company, with about 1.3 gigawatts of operating offshore wind farms and 1.1 gigawatts under construction, plans to build 3 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2020, Eldrup said. Dong may make investments of 10 billion kroner a year for the next two to three years in offshore wind, he said.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 05:15:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:42:53 PM EST
EUobserver.com / Opinion / The Internet renaissance of the EU court

The ongoing Acta furore has ensured that even average Europeans are now familiar with this "notorious" intellectual property treaty. The uproar has focused on Acta's presumed legislative impact on the rights of average European Internet users. The quest for clarity has now culminated in two legal actions brought in front of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Yet, laying Acta aside altogether, there just might be a more fundamental reason why those curious to discover where and how European Internet rules are manufactured should turn their eyes towards the ECJ.

Granted, the existence of this Luxembourg-based institution is hardly news to most EU professionals. Yet many ordianry Europeans might struggle to explain how, for instance, it differs from the European Court of Human Rights, lurking in Strasbourg under the entirely separate auspices of the Council of Europe.

The ECJ's contribution to the EU's decades-old evolution process derives from something oh-so-dull-sounding called "the preliminary reference procedure," a peculiar system entirely absent from most European national legal establishments, as well as that of the US.

Its modus operandi is simple, based on the rough idea that similar situations should be treated uniformly throughout the union: if, upon deciding an actual case, a national court concludes that the correct interpretation of an EU statute is unclear, it should direct a preliminary question to the ECJ. The latter, in turn, provides a binding precedent - a new de facto EU-wide rule.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:43:49 PM EST
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The guide to every French publicly-owned building and real estate | Data Publica

If we'd just have a look on these 13 files published on the french public opendata directory data.gouv.fr and also published on Data Publica, french publicly owned real estate is rich of 25 000 various properties such as : ambassy, fields, garage, office buildings etc... It's a national treasure worth 60.5 € billions in 2009 (107 € billions if we add 584 state owned public companies such as The Louvre, public universities, we call them in France French operators)
Data publica wanted to share an interactive trip in french public real estate. We have to precise that these data do not contains properties owned by the ministry of Defense and all the military areas.

Just type in the name of a town or village to access the data on a map and the list in a table below.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:44:25 PM EST
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New Study Examines Stair-Related Injuries Among Children in the United States :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

A new study by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital found that from 1999 through 2008, more than 93,000 children younger than 5 years of age were treated in U.S. emergency departments for stair-related injuries. On average, this equates to a child younger than 5 years of age being rushed to an emergency department for a stair-related injury every six minutes in the U.S.

The study, which is being released online March 12, 2012 and appearing in the April 2012 print issue of Pediatrics, noted a decline in the annual number of these injuries during the course of the study. "While we are pleased to see a declining trend in the number of stair-related injuries, stairs continue to be a common source of injury among young children," said the study's senior author, Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital and a professor of pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. "Through a combination of educating parents, use of stair gates, and modifying building codes to make stairs safer, we can prevent these types of injuries."  

While the majority of children fell down the stairs without mention of the involvement of another object or activity, children younger than 1 year of age were more likely than older children to be injured while they were being carried down the stairs, or while they were in a baby walker or stroller. In fact, one-fourth of injuries to children younger than age 1 occurred while the child was being carried on the stairs, and these children were more than three times more likely to be hospitalized than children injured by other mechanisms. Among all children, soft tissue injures (35 percent) were the most common type of injury followed by lacerations and puncture wounds (26 percent). The most common body regions injured were the head and neck (76 percent) followed by the upper extremities (11 percent). 

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:44:55 PM EST
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Leonardo's lost masterpiece would be a new (and secular) Last Supper | Art and design | The Guardian

Leonardo da Vinci's painting The Battle of Anghiari was his greatest work: a fearsome, disturbing vision of war. It was the only time he got commissioned to do a painting whose dark, dissonant theme allowed him to translate the strange images of grotesque faces and machines of war that proliferate in his notebooks into the grandeur of a mural. Even though it vanished from sight centuries ago, it still has the power to haunt and fascinate.

After decades of searching, the art investigator Maurizio Seracini and his team have apparently found a cavity behind one of six huge history paintings by Giorgio Vasari that today dominate the great hall of the Palazzo Vecchio in the heart of Florence, where Leonardo left his battle unfinished in 1506. On a deeper layer of the wall protected by the cavity they say there are traces of paint, including a black used by Leonardo in the Mona Lisa.

This is incredibly exciting, for the simple reason that if any wall painting survives behind Vasari's works it is, almost certainly, The Battle of Anghiari. It is hard to imagine what other picture it could be. So if these fragments of colour turn out to prove the existence of a painting, that painting is probably Leonardo's lost work.

Sceptics have been wrong-footed. Art historian Tomaso Montanari, who led a campaign against this intrusive research, has been quoted as saying "anything from that era could be painted on that wall". What does he mean? Who else apart from Leonardo decorated this room? No other wall painting is recorded here before Vasari did his repaint job.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:45:17 PM EST
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Yes, but it's unfinished. So it might be just a set of backgrounds to be painted over.

nevertheless, the next trick is to remove the painting which hides it.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 13th, 2012 at 07:15:56 AM EST
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New Worries About Sleeping Pills - NYTimes.com

Talk about sleepless nights.

Patients taking prescription sleep aids on a regular basis were nearly five times as likely as non-users to die over a period of two and a half years, according to a recent study. Even those prescribed fewer than 20 pills a year were at risk, the researchers found; heavy users also were more likely to develop cancer.

Unsurprisingly, the findings, published online in the journal BMJ, have caused a quite a stir. Americans filled some 60 million prescriptions for sleeping pills last year, up from 47 million in 2006, according to IMS Health, a health care services company. Panicked patients have been calling doctors' offices seeking reassurance; some others simply quit the pills cold turkey.

Some experts were quick to point out the study's shortcomings. The analysis did not prove that sleeping pills cause death, critics noted, only that there may be a correlation between the two. And while the authors suggested the sleeping pills were a factor in the deaths, those who use sleep aids tend as a group to be sicker than those who don't use them. The deaths may simply be a reflection of poorer health.

Still, the findings underscore concern about the exploding use of sleeping pills. Experts say that many patients, especially the elderly, should exercise more caution when using sleep medications, including the non-benzodiazepine hypnotics so popular today, like zolpidem (brand name Ambien), eszopiclone (Lunesta) and zaleplon (Sonata).

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:45:40 PM EST
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Slightly dated but noteworthy...

BBC News - Religious TV host Pat Robertson wants pot legalised

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson has expressed support for the legalisation of marijuana in the US, citing failure in the nation's war on drugs.

In an interview with the New York Times, Mr Robertson said the US should "treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol".

He says he has never smoked marijuana, but objects to the cost of imprisoning people for possession of the drug.

Measures to repeal marijuana laws are on the ballot in two states this year.

The host of the 700 Club, the flagship TV programme of the Christian Broadcasting Network, told the Times he supported the ballot measures in Colorado and Washington state, but would not campaign for either.

Mr Robertson has been criticised in the past for comments made on his show, including saying the Haiti earthquake was caused by Haitians' "pact with the devil".

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:57:13 PM EST
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by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:43:05 PM EST
Jean Giraud obituary | Books | The Guardian
The artist Jean Giraud was principally known for his work on comic books under two pen names. As Gir, the co-creator of Blueberry, one of France's most popular strips, his brushwork was detailed and realistic; as Moebius, he used intricate, visually arresting penwork to explore the subconscious in his creations Arzach, Le Garage Hermétique (The Airtight Garage) and L'Incal (The Incal). But Giraud, who has died of cancer aged 73, had an impact on the visual arts that went beyond comics. He was seen as a figurehead linking bandes dessinées with modernism and nouveau réalisme. As the co-creator of Métal Hurlant magazine, he took comics to an older, more literate audience. In cinema, his fans ranged from Federico Fellini to Hayao Miyazaki and his style influenced dozens of others, including Ridley Scott, George Lucas, James Cameron and Luc Besson.



by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:58:09 PM EST
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Lawrence Anthony, Baghdad Zoo Savior, Dies at 61 - NYTimes.com

Lawrence Anthony, who abandoned a career in insurance and real estate to play Noah to the world's endangered species, most spectacularly in rushing to the smoldering Baghdad Zoo after the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, died on March 2 in Johannesburg. He was 61.

The Earth Organization, a conservation group that Mr. Anthony founded in 2003, announced the death. News reports said the cause was a heart attack.

Mr. Anthony persuaded African rebels who were wanted as war criminals to protect the few remaining northern white rhinoceroses prowling their battlegrounds. He adopted a herd of rogue elephants that would otherwise have been shot. He fought to save crocodiles and other species.

To preserve wildlife and their habitats, he showed antagonistic African tribes how they could benefit by cooperating in setting up game reserves to attract tourists. He worked with diplomats and lawyers to introduce a proposal to the United Nations to prohibit using conservation areas or zoos as targets of war.

Craggy, bearded and exuberant, Mr. Anthony was known to play music from the rock bands Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple at full volume in his Land Rover as it bounced across the African countryside. He worked with eminent environmental scientists while readily volunteering that he had barely made it through high school.

Mr. Anthony's most widely publicized work was after the United States and its allies invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003. Hearing that Baghdad had the biggest zoo in the Middle East, he was in Kuwait within days and packing a car with veterinary supplies before crossing the Iraq border in the wake of the United States soldiers.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 12th, 2012 at 06:59:42 PM EST
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