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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 22 March

by afew Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:56:05 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europe on this date in history:

1829 - The three protecting powers (United Kingdom, France and Russia) establish the borders of Greece.

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 02:40:35 PM EST
BBC News - Toulouse shootings: France gunman 'wanted to kill more'

The Frenchman suspected of a spate of shootings in the Toulouse area planned more killings, prosecutors have said.

Anti-terror chief Francois Molins said the suspect, named as Mohammed Merah, 23, of Algerian descent, intended to kill a soldier and two police officers.

Merah, who says he was trained by al-Qaeda, is suspected of murdering three soldiers and four Jewish people.

Police have surrounded his flat and are trying to persuade him to surrender. He is said to be heavily armed.

Earlier reports said he had been captured, but officials later rebuffed the claims.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 04:58:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French shooting suspect was under surveillance - FRANCE - FRANCE 24

For Mohamed Merah, the Frenchman suspected of killing four Jews and three Muslim soldiers in southwestern France, the road to radicalisation ran from Toulouse to Kandahar in Afghanistan.

Merah, 24, who was holed up in a suburban Toulouse apartment on Wednesday, besieged by police commandos from the elite RAID unit, claimed affiliation with al Qaeda and said he wanted to avenge Palestinian children, French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said.

The suspect, a French citizen of Algerian origin, had been under surveillance by France's domestic intelligence service for several years after being identified in Afghanistan. But he led a normal life of soccer and night clubbing, according to friends and neighbours who had no idea that he had been in Afghanistan.

Merah had a police record for several minor offences, some involving violence, Gueant told reporters, "but there was no evidence that he was planning such criminal actions."

As police psychologists tried to talk him into surrendering peacefully, Merah gave the same impression of calm determination and self-control as the gunman on a scooter recorded by security cameras at the Ozer Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse on Monday.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 04:59:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mohammed Merah: polite neighbour who was turned down by French army | World news | The Guardian

As the Toulouse siege unfolded on Wednesday, a fuller picture was emerging of the young man behind one of France's worst killing sprees.

Some of the details remain contradictory, but it appears that Merah, who shot a rabbi and three Jewish children dead at point-blank range, has a history of petty crime. An alleged former jihadi fighter, he was rejected by the French military two years ago.

On Wednesday morning he had been planning to kill again, he told negotiators, targeting a soldier he had already identified.

Most extraordinary was an almost certainly false claim that emerged during the armed siege of Merah's apartment block: that in 2008 he escaped in a mass jailbreak in Kandahar, where he had been arrested for bombmaking the previous year. The claim was denied by Afghan security sources. Merah does appear to have spent time in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but later than 2007.

Growing up in a poor neighbourhood in north Toulouse, on the surface Merah seemed typical of many whose families had immigrated a generation or two before from north Africa to France. He was keen on football and enthusiastic about scooters.

Cedric Lambert, 46, an upstairs neighbour in his apartment block, described Merah as friendly and "extremely normal", and said he had helped about 10 months ago to carry a heavy sofa upstairs.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 04:59:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarkozy stands to gain most from arrest - FT.com

Marine Le Pen, leader of France's extreme right National Front, wasted no time on Wednesday in seeking political advantage from news that the suspected killer of three Jewish children, a Jewish teacher and three Muslim soldiers was a French citizen apparently linked to al-Qaeda.

"It is time to wage war on these fundamentalist political religious groups who are killing our children," she said. "The threat of Islamic fundamentalism has been underestimated."

"[I] have been talking about this for months and months, and the political class has rejected [me]. Some are going to have difficulty explaining themselves but I have a clear conscience," she declared as police laid siege to the gunman in an apartment in Toulouse.

The brutal killings were shocking in any context but they have been given added significance by erupting within weeks of the presidential election, with the first round of voting due on April 22.

On the face of it, Ms Le Pen, who regularly attacks immigration and the influence of Islam in French society, stands to gain from what was apparently the first Islamist-motivated terrorist attack in France since 1997 - especially as it was evidently carried out by a so-called homegrown terrorist.

But in political terms, president Nicolas Sarkozy may well benefit the most.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:22:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
of these commentaries which state Sarko will gain the most.

After all, the idiots saying that have been wrong about everything else to date.

by redstar on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 05:21:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
UN official calls EU's asylum system 'extremely dysfunctional' | EurActiv

António Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, told a Brussels audience yesterday (20 April) that the European Union's asylum system was "extremely dysfunctional" and that he didn't believe that reforms could meet a December 2012 target.

Guterres, a former Portuguese prime minister, chose an event marking the first anniversary of the Arab Spring to voice his strong disappointment with the EU's lack of coherent policy towards the southern neighbourhood.

"The Arab awakening has created in me one of the most frustrating moments of my life as a European citizen and as a Portuguese citizen," he said at the event, organised by the European Policy Centre (EPC).

He took as example the Portuguese 'Carnation' revolution of 1974 to illustrate the fact that international solidarity and enthusiasm had been the key for democracy to prevail in his country. In a similar situation, he said that the dominant message from Europe on the occasion of the 2011 events in North Africa has not been of solidarity and enthusiasm, but of concern about a possible invasion of people.  

He said that in the case of the Arab Spring, Europe was transforming an opportunity into a problem. He gave as an example the 1.5 million people - many of them African workers - who had left Libya during the country's regime collapse, but who didn't go to Europe, as most of them returned to their countries of origin.

"Europe needs to have a rational attitude about these questions, and Europe needs to look into the Arab awakening as a fantastic opportunity for the region and for the world, as something that can have an historical impact," he said.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:00:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Vatican takes steps to prevent sex abuse of children - Europe - World - The Independent

A report published by the Vatican yesterday told of its "dismay and betrayal" at the "sinful and criminal acts" committed by some Catholic clergy during decades of child-abuse scandals in Ireland, and recommended that Irish trainee priests should take child-protection classes to try to avoid such abuses in future.

The Vatican released a summary of findings of its year-long investigation ordered by Pope Benedict XVI after the uproar over widespread child abuse by priests and allegations of cover-ups. It is the first time the Holy See has endorsed the Church's efforts to fight sex abuse by clergy.

The Vatican said its investigators saw "how much the shortcomings of the past" caused an inadequate reaction "not least on the part of various bishops and religious superiors". It expressed a "great sense of pain and shame" that young people were abused by priests and nuns "while those who should have exercised vigilance often failed to do so effectively".

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:08:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet more steps. How many steps does it take before they accept that they should not persist in hiding these people ?

Full disclosure. Open the record. Chop in all the buggering bishops and account for how they wer hidden from justice.

Till then it's just talk

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 05:53:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's funny, because people think this is a recent phenomenon in the church, going on for a couple of decades. But read Zorba the Greek (published in 1946), the part in chapter 17 about Demetrios and Gavrili. It's been going on forever...
by asdf on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 11:32:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece's austerity doesn't extend to its arms budget | Paul Haydon | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

In the wake of the private sector debt swap agreed last week, European leaders have continued to call for major structural reforms to Greece's economy and society. The current EU-IMF bailout remains conditional on further austerity measures, including reducing pensions, the minimum-wage and civil service jobs. However, one area of the Greek budget doesn't seem to have received much scrutiny: its huge military spending.

The fact that Greece, a relatively small and democratic country with not much in the way of global ambitions, should spend as much on its military as it does is perplexing. In 2006, as the financial crisis was looming, Greece was the third biggest arms importer after China and India. And over the past 10 years its military budget has stood at an average of 4% of GDP, more than £900 per person. If Greece is in need of structural reform, then its oversized military would seem the most logical place to start. In fact, if it had only spent the EU average of 1.7% over the last 20 years, it would have saved a total of 52% of its GDP - meaning instead of being completely bankrupt it would be among the more typical countries struggling with the recession.

The supposed threat from Turkey is often cited as the major reason for such a high military budget. However, this argument just doesn't hold up for several reasons. First, both countries are part of Nato and share a number of mutual allies, not least the US, and so all-out war between the two is highly unlikely to occur. Second, Turkey has on several occasions proposed a mutual reduction in arms spending, something Greece has repeatedly refused to agree to. Finally, relations between the two countries have markedly improved in recent years, making such a massive military build-up seem even more unnecessary. All Greece's military spending seems to achieve is to polarise the situation and goad Turkey into an arms race. 

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:15:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Typical. Bloody madness

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 05:54:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not at all. Funnel money to the wealthy.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 05:04:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Headline News / EU to restrict foreign firms' access to public tenders

Chinese, Russian or Brazilian companies bidding for public contracts in Europe may face restrictions if their governments do not open up their own state-run projects to European firms, the EU commission said Wednesday (21 March).

Under the new bill, local and state authorities in the EU overseeing tenders for public transport, railways, medical equipment or IT services amounting to more than €5 million can ask the EU commission to impose restrictions for a certain company coming from a country where EU firms have no access to public tenders.

"The EU opened up more than 80 percent of its public procurement sector through multilateral and bilateral agreements. But our partners apply a lot of protectionist measures - the US, Japan and emerging countries where we have no secure access to tenders for highways, urban buses, construction projects - all is closed," internal market commissioner Michel Barnier said during a press conference.

He noted that some 32 percent of US public tenders are open to EU-based companies, 28 percent in Japan and 16 percent in Canada.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:16:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Political Affairs / First citizens' petition set to be on water

The first formal attempt by European citizens to have a say in EU policy-making is likely to centre around securing a promise from Brussels to never privatise water.

"We are planning to launch on the 1st April at midnight. This is a citizen initiative which demands that water and sanitation be taken into European legislation as a human right," said Pablo Sanchez Centellas from the European Federation of Public Unions.

There is just over a week to go until the EU makes its long-awaited foray into the world of participatory democracy. On 1 April, a treaty article obliging the EU commission to consider legislating on the back of a petition backed by 1 million citizens from at least seven countries will go live.

The ideas for initiatives are already stockpiling.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:17:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Ireland to ask ECB to delay cash payment
Patrick Honohan is expected to ask the ECB's governing council for approval of a scheme that would effectively reschedule Ireland's bank bailout; the Irish government is considering replacing its cash payments under a promissory note to the former Anglo-Irish Bank with a longer dated government bond; one report suggests that the new bond will mature in 2025 - thus giving the Irish government 13 more years to stretch the payments; Spain's economy minister Luis de Guindos changed tack on the ECB nomination, now insisting that Spain would want one of the top four economic jobs that are currently open; there is rising opposition within Italy's centre-left against the proposed relaxation of dismissal laws; Portugal's deficit for the first two months of the year nearly tripled, due to an extraordinary financial transfer; the Greek deficit for the first two months shrank by 53% yoy, due to much lower investment spending; IMF urges Belgium to undertake a medium-term fiscal consolidation strategy; a new report says the focus in savings will be on pensions, health care, and public sector jobs; Luc Frieden wants a power shift in day-to-day economic governance back from the European Council to the eurogroup; Wolfgang Schäuble's budget is criticised within Germany as lacking ambition in its drive to eliminate the structural deficit; Germany's Bild presents Mario Draghi with a Prussian spiked helmet; Draghi announces that the worst of the crisis was over, though risks remain; Michel Barnier, meanwhile, warns against attempts to renegotiate the fiscal treaty on the grounds that this would undermine confidence.


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 Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 04:14:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can anyone comment on what's behind Varoufakis' post this morning?

"Something not wholly uninteresting happened the other day at the EFSF"

Wouldn't this trigger a Constitutional challenge in Germany? (and please note the comments on the blog.)

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

by Crazy Horse on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 06:14:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good find.

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 Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 06:17:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would read this paragraph
This is a significant statement. Depending on how it is interpreted, it amounts, almost, to a declaration that the EFSF's eurobonds may be turning less toxic and more akin to genuine union bonds. Alas, none of the financial journalists present bothered to ask Mr Frankel what he meant precisely. If he meant that Greece, Ireland and Portugal are going to be repaying at the same interest rate, this is only a small step in the right direction. If, on the other hand, he intimated that the donor countries, who are guaranteeing the debt, will be paying the same interest rates in order to provide the EFSF with its funding basis, then the EFSF's eurobonds are edging toward the status of jointly and severally guaranteed eurobonds. I do not think that the latter was what Mr Frankel meant. But even if he did mean it, much water would have to flow under the bridge before the eurozone could be said to have acquired its sine qua non; i.e. proper, homogenous, non-toxic eurobonds.
alongside this explanation of "jointly and severally guaranteed eurobonds": A simple and boring common bond
Alas, at that point, Munchau (like many other well meaning commentators) loses the plot. For his answer to the question "which bond?" becomes anything but `boring and simple'. It becomes far too `interesting' and `complicated'. He suggests a bond jointly and severally guaranteed by all eurozone member states. But this requires a change in the Treaty of Lisbon and smacks of the very fiscal transfers which are bound to send the entire political class of Germany, Holland, Austria and Finland into an unimaginable frenzy.

The same applies with the related ideas like that of a European Redemption Pact (by P. Bofinger, L. Feld, W. Franz, C. Schmidt and B. Weder di Mauro)  or Thomas Palley's clever scheme  by which some European Debt Agency is created for the purposes of issuing common bonds for the purposes of refinancing a large portion of existing member-state. All these interesting ideas crash against the rocks of the Treaty changes which are impossible to implement before the euro becomes irretrievable history. Additionally, I very much doubt (A) whether a bond backed by surplus and deficit countries will bear interest rates that are low enough for the deficit countries and not too high for the surplus ones, and (B) whether they would have any appreciable impact on the eurozone's growth prospects.

So, back to the pressing question: What kind of euro denominated bond can do the trick of arresting the debt crisis and orchestrating a growth spurt throughout the eurozone (a New Deal for  Europe, as we call it)? The simple answer is: Bonds issued by the ECB (and guaranteed solely by the ECB) as part of a two-pronged plan (i) to effect a conversion loan that reduces the total mountain of interest payments due  by eurozone member states in the next twenty years, and (ii) to co-finance an investment-led New Deal via the European Investment Bank. Details of how (i) and (ii) can be made to work on the basis of a `simple' and `boring' ECB-issued bond (that requires no fiscal union/transfer, no guarantees by the taxpayers of the surplus countries and no loss of sovereignty by the deficit countries) are offered in our Modest Proposal. Simple, boring and utterly implementable.

I find the most interesting comments are this one by Dean Plassaras:
"The EFSF is moving to a new system for recouping its funding costs that will charge all countries the same rate. Funds raised will be pooled and no longer attributed to a particular country, and all countries will pay the same rates."

To me this statement means that Merkel will no longer be in charge of the EU crisis management.

Merkel has been fired and a new structure is now replacing her abominable lack of knowledge and skill in the vital area of EU finances.

and this one by Chris Coles:
"The EFSF is moving to a new system for recouping its funding costs that will charge all countries the same rate. Funds raised will be pooled and no longer attributed to a particular country, and all countries will pay the same rates."

My reading, perhaps, lends a further interpretation; that the EFSF has disconnected its funding from the central bureaucracy and passed that responsibility directly onto the member nations, with each being responsible for an equal share of the costs in proportion to their input. So the question becomes; does that they will take the money directly from each treasury; without regard to any public debate in the European Parliament chamber or by its elected members?

Ergo; a complete suppression of any ongoing debate about the motives, quantities and origins of the funding.

I am reminded of this video:



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 Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 06:32:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 02:40:58 PM EST
Berlin presents new financial four-year-plan | Business | DW.DE | 21.03.2012

The German economy is strong and unemployment has shrunk - much to the delight of Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. The extra cash should be noticeable in the 2013 budget - and beyond.

Spring has sprung, the sun is shining - change is in the air. That's what the association of taxpayers thinks anyway, which is why it presented its "Operation: Spring-Cleaning" this week, with 30 savings suggestions for Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble to consider in Germany's next budget draft on Wednesday.

The taxpayer's hit-list ranges from a 230,000-euro ($304,000) subsidy for the cultivation of white, yellow, red and violet organic carrots, through a similar subsidy for red apple juice, all the way to civil servants' pension plans and the driver service for former presidents of the German parliament.

Altogether, it comes to 156 million euros of savings, reckons the association's president Karl Heinz Däke. "Our 30 examples are meant to inspire ideas about how and where the budget can be cut - even within large spending blocks," he said. "The government should take the good spring-cleaning tradition and apply it to the budget - and start saving!"

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:01:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Germans, workaholics no more | Presseurop (English)

First, the cheery news: the Brits may finally be getting over the war. A YouGov survey published last week hints that the British view of Germany is less and less defined by sinister men in jackboots. Britain may still be overwhelmingly sceptical about the EU and Germany's role in it, but Brits have developed a serious soft spot for the way Germans run their country - their politicians, banks, schools and hospitals all rated more highly than their British equivalents. In fact, Germany is the second most admired country in Britain, ahead of the US and behind only Sweden.

The stand-out adjective the British associate with Germany now is "hard-working": ironic, given that a furious work rate used to be the reason people couldn't stand the place. In 1906 the sociologist Max Scheler explained international antipathy towards his countrymen, with their "pure joy in work itself - without an aim, without reason, without an end". Around the same time, his colleague Max Weber coined the phrase "Protestant work ethic" to highlight the quasi-religious aura surrounding labour in his motherland. Germany now promises to embody that ideal more than ever: as of Sunday its two highest posts are held by people from Protestant households: Angela Merkel is the daughter of a Lutheran pastor; new president Joachim Gauck is a former pastor himself.

So here's the bad news: having ditched a view of Germany that is about 50 years past its sell-by date, Britain appears to have embraced an even older stereotype. Truth is, Germans don't work harder than Brits. If anything, they are increasingly working less.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:04:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germans....are increasingly working less.

And most of them are taking less home per hour worked. Would that be what those admiring the German model really be admiring?

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 Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 11:39:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One wonders how much racial stereotypes work into all of this. There was the fiasco last year when the host's of BBC's show "Top Fuel" called Mexicans lazy and averse to work.

It's quite irrelevant that they were perpetuating the stereotype as a joking barb since the real wonder is why they would have such a notion in the first place.

by Upstate NY on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 09:55:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the real wonder is why they would have such a notion in the first place

Hey, they're poor so they must be lazy, not exploited.

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 Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 10:00:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bernanke Says Europe Must Aid Banks Even as Strains Ease - Bloomberg

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke told Congress that higher energy prices may weaken the U.S. economy by sapping consumer spending.

"Higher energy prices would probably slow growth, at least in the short run," Bernanke said today in response to questions from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Rising fuel prices "create at least short-term inflation pressures, and moreover, they act as a tax on household purchasing power and reduce consumption spending, and that also is a drag on the economy."

Where's that No Shit Sherlock macro?

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:38:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bernanke Says Fed Failed to Meet Goals During Great Depression - Bloomberg

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the U.S. central bank failed during the Great Depression to keep prices stable and to fulfill its role as lender of last resort.

"The Federal Reserve failed in both parts of its mission," Bernanke said today in the first of four lectures on the history of the Fed that he plans to deliver at George Washington University, according to slides of his presentation.

"It did not use monetary policy to prevent deflation and the collapse in output and employment," Bernanke said in slides focused on historical topics and not current monetary policy or the economic outlook.

The Fed also "did not adequately perform its function as lender of last resort, allowing many bank failures and a resulting contraction in credit," he said. "We will want to keep these lessons in mind as we consider the Fed's response to the crisis of 2008-2009."

Bernanke, a former economics professor at Princeton University, returns to the classroom twice this week and next to explain the central bank's actions during the financial crisis and the longest recession since the Great Depression. His lecture today is titled "Origins and Missions of the Federal Reserve."

The chairman plans to speak on March 22 about the central bank after World War II, and on March 27 and March 29 about the Fed's response to the financial crisis and the ensuing recession.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:54:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
((Sherlock*))

But without the asterix and you get [No Shit, Sherlock!]

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 Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 05:27:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek state budget deficit shrank in January-February period, beating target - The Washington Post

Greece is already beating some of its debt-reduction targets, as figures released Wednesday show its central budget deficit for the first two months of 2012 had shrunk by more than half compared with the same period last year.

The state budget deficit -- the amount the government spends against what it receives in taxes -- was €495 million ($655 million) in January and February this year, the Finance Ministry said. That was significantly lower than the €879 million target set out in the budget, and less than half the €1.1 billion in the same period last year.

The figures were published hours after Philippos Sachinidis was sworn in as the new finance minister, replacing Evangelos Venizelos who quite the post Monday after being elected to head the majority Socialist party.

Sachinidis, 49, was promoted from deputy finance minister after serving for two years as the head of a Greece's drive to cut public spending.

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos' government is expected to call general elections for late April or early May after successfully negotiating a massive debt deal for additional rescue loans from eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund and a debt restructuring with banks and other private bond holders.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:46:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Budget 2012: Charities could lose big donors

Charities say big donors could be discouraged by a new cap on tax relief, announced in the 2012 Budget.

The measure sets a cap of £50,000 on tax relief, or 25% of income.

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has called for urgent talks with the Treasury to ensure the move does not "strangle" major donations, which would not qualify for tax relief anymore.

The government says it wants to "ensure that those on higher incomes cannot use income tax relief excessively".



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 06:08:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - UK public borrowing jumps in February

The UK government borrowed almost twice as much as expected in February, official figures have shown.

Public sector net borrowing, excluding interventions such as bank bail-outs, rose to £15.2bn, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

This compared with £8.9bn in February 2011 and was much more than analysts' forecasts of £8bn.

The figures may come as a blow to the Chancellor, George Osborne, who has delivered his third Budget.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 06:09:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So all the talk of the need to balance the budget, yet Osborne has doubled borrowing.

And is now cutting taxes for the wealthy.

Thank Jeebus Poshboy was able to defeat Brown, or things might be really...bad?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 07:30:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually in some ways he's testing the neoliberal idea to destruction. Brown insisted on social policies that meant that, even for the poorest, things didn't become unbearable.

Osborne has really kicked that away, the NHS is wrecked, pensions are being undermined, roads are being sold off (even if they're probably not, the idea will stick in people's minds), the idea that this is only for the benefit of the best off will sour people in a way it simply didn't before.

So, in the short term it will be a disaster but it may change the debate to a direction not previously permitted. All we need now is an opposition willing to promote that new debate ...oh wait {sigh}

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 06:03:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's actually more baffling than the situation here, because they've had the opportunity to see how disastrous their policies will be due to the fact that we already implemented them.

It's like they're looking at all the stuff that's fucked up over here -- stuff we've been, you know, trying to stop doing (albeit in a half-assed way at times) -- and thinking, "Huh, not bad!"

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 06:39:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I've always said that a policy has to have failed in the US before it's adopted here

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 08:49:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 02:41:16 PM EST
Russia and China join UN security council effort to end Syrian bloodshed | World news | The Guardian

The UN security council, including Russia and China, on Wednesday threw its weight behind efforts by Kofi Annan to end the bloody conflict in Syria, providing a rare moment of global unity in the face of the year-long crisis.

In a statement approved by all 15 members, the council threatened Syria with unspecified "further steps" if it failed to comply with Annan's peace plan, which calls for a ceasefire and demands swift access for aid agencies.

Although the original statement was diluted at Russia's demand, editing out any specific ultimatums, the fact that all major powers signed up to the proposal represented a major blow to President Bashar al-Assad as he battles a popular uprising.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said in Washington: "To President Assad and his regime we say, along with the rest of the international community: take this path, commit to it, or face increasing pressure and isolation."

At least 8,000 people have died in the revolt, according to the UN. Violence has intensified in recent weeks as pro-government forces bombard rebel towns and villages, looking to sweep their lightly-armed opponents out of their strongholds.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:09:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
.:Middle East Online::Russia: Assad made 'mistakes' in quashing demos:.

The death toll in Syrian protests rose Tuesday as long-time Damascus ally Russia said President Bashar al-Assad had made "a lot of mistakes" in clamping down on the year-old demonstrations.

Fresh clashes broke out in the capital and security forces killed at least 30 people, all but two of them civilians, in violence elsewhere across the country, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The capital's security clampdown follows what activists said was a hit-and-run attack in the heavily guarded Mazzeh neighbourhood on Monday that killed at least three rebels and a member of the security forces.

It also came on the heels of deadly twin suicide car bombings targeting security buildings in Damascus on Saturday.

The violence, however, is not all one-sided: Syria's armed opposition is kidnapping, torturing and executing security force members and government supporters, according to the New York-based Human Rights Watch.

"The Syrian government's brutal tactics cannot justify abuses by armed opposition groups," said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW's Middle East director.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:13:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Assad made 'mistakes' in quashing demos

Yes, he let the world find out about it.

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

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 05:09:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Although the original statement was diluted at Russia's demand, editing out any specific ultimatums, the fact that all major powers signed up to the proposal represented a major blow to President Bashar al-Assad as he battles a popular uprising.

So the West finally accepted Russia's and China's demands to edit out their weasel formulations?

The Guardian must have meant to use the headline: US and friends join UN security council effort to end Syrian bloodshed

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 Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 05:31:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
allAfrica.com: Mali: Troops Mutiny

Troops in Mali's capital, Bamako, mutinied on Wednesday, and gunfire could be heard throughout the city. The country's state-run radio and television broadcasts have gone off the air, news reports said.

Armored vehicles have sealed off the presidential palace, the BBC reported. The unrest comes less than a month before Mali is to hold presidential elections.

The government of President Amadou Toumani Toure has been struggling with an advancing Tuareg rebellion in the north, and there has been growing discontent in the Malian military. Soldiers have complained of a lack of weapons.

Aljazeera reports that Mali's latest upsurge in fighting was triggered by some 2,000-3,000 Tuareg combatants returning from Libya where they had served in former leader Muammar Gaddafi's battalions.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:24:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mali soldiers storm state broadcaster - Africa - Al Jazeera English

Mali has blocked off its presidential palace with armoured vehicles and sent troops to state media facilities after a group of reportedly disaffected soldiers stoned the defence minister's car and marched into central Bamako, firing their weapons and storming a state broadcasting building.

Heavy gunfire rang out across the capital and in the nearby Kati barracks, witnesses said on Wednesday, though the AFP news agency reported that the protesting troops had only fired their weapons in the air.

A Reuters correspondent heard 10 minutes of automatic gunfire coming from close to the Malian Radio-Television Office, whose programmes went off the air.

Soldiers blocked the path toward its premises and have set up positions in the street, including a light machine gun, freelance journalist Martin Vogl reported

The incidents coincided with growing anger in the army at the government's handling of a Tuareg-led rebellion in the north that has killed dozens of people and forced nearly 200,000 civilians to flee their homes.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:25:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Romney extends lead in Republican race - Americas - Al Jazeera English
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush has announced he was endorsing Mitt Romney for president, giving the
ex-Massachusetts governor a boost after a big win in the Illinois Republican  primary.

"Primary elections have been held in 34 states and now is the time for Republicans to unite behind governor Romney and take our message of fiscal conservatism and job creation to all voters this fall," Bush said in statement on Wednesday.

"I am endorsing Mitt Romney for our party's nomination."

Bush issued his endorsement a day after Romney extended his lead over former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum by winning the Illinois primary, gaining ground in the race for the nomination to challenge  President Barack Obama in November.

"We face huge challenges, and we need a leader who understands the economy, recognizes more government regulation is not the answer, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism and works to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed," Bush said.
by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:48:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's never risky to back the guy that's winning.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 06:05:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then shouldn't he back Obama?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 06:06:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't worry. He will.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 06:34:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"After all, it is necessary to get behind someone before one can stab him in the back."

- Humphrey

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 09:00:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hindu Victory Could Ease Indian Anger With Russia - NYTimes.com

Russia extricated itself from an embarrassing spat with India on Wednesday when a provincial appeals court definitively rejected an attempt to ban a version of the Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism's most holy texts.

An almost year-long legal dispute had been raised at the highest level between the two nations, traditional friends and partners. The case caused an uproar in the Indian parliament and was raised when Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, visited Moscow in December.

A group of Russian scholars, in a written appeal to the Kremlin, said the case "discredits Russia's cultural and democratic credentials in the eyes of the civilized world and is driving a wedge in Russian-Indian relations."

The controversy stemmed from attempts by prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk to ban a version of the holy book that Tomsk University experts claimed "incites religious hatred, humiliates the dignity of people on the basis of sex, race, nationality, language, origin and attitude toward religion."

Members of the Hare Krishna movement, whose founder Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada wrote the contentious version, rushed to its defense, claiming Russia's 50,000 Hindus were being singled out for persecution by the state and the powerful Christian Orthodox church.

For some, the case fit into a pattern of Russian treatment of religious minorities. Jehovah's Witnesses have frequently been summoned before Russian courts and their publications banned as extremist, raising concerns in Europe.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:50:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China Reins In Bo Xilai Chatter Online - WSJ.com
China's social-media services, which had allowed wide discussion of controversial politician Bo Xilai since his ouster last week, are now cracking down on searches for his name, as his downfall seems to have put much of the country on edge and given rise to fevered rumors of political infighting.

On Monday night, Internet users were startled by reports--entirely unsubstantiated--on China's wildly popular Twitter-like microblogging sites of gunfire in downtown Beijing. Nerves were further jangled by accounts of a heavier-than-usual police presence along Chang'an Avenue, one of the capital's main thoroughfares.

Among the legion of social-media fanatics, there has been fevered chatter of a political struggle inside the towering walls of the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in downtown Beijing.

One theory, widely explored: A battle is brewing between Zhou Yongkang--the country's domestic security chief who is believed to be a strong supporter of Mr. Bo--and President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other leaders who analysts say likely supported Mr. Bo's ouster.

Mr. Zhou is a member of the party's all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, and one of the country's nine most powerful political leaders.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:56:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, in reversal, may nominate presidential candidate - The Washington Post

Faced with a crowded presidential race and with no consensus candidate emerging for its members, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said Wednesday it is considering reversing a year-old pledge not to put forward a candidate from its ranks.

The Brotherhood, whose political wing already dominates the newly elected parliament, had announced the policy in part to quell fears on the part of liberal groups that the historic Islamist organization is trying to take control of the country after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak's autocratic but secular government.

But on Wednesday, Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan said that the organization's governing body has so far found none of the hundreds of declared candidates worthy of its support and is weighing the possibility of nominating a Brotherhood member to run in the election, set to begin May 23. Privately, officials close to the Brotherhood say discussions are centering on Khairat al-Shater, the group's top financier.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:58:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not Bibi, but his son....
Yair Netanyahu, the son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been sentenced to 21 days of detention after lying to his commander about his whereabouts.

Yair Netanyahu was supposed to be on duty over the weekend with another soldier, when he decided to leave the base for a few hours and go home for the family's Friday night dinner, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Wednesday morning.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 05:09:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How different from George H Bush and his son, George.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 06:09:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 02:41:49 PM EST
Bagging It: EU Wants to Reduce Plastic Shopping Bag Use - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

They clog the ocean. They contaminate waterways. They clump together in landfills for decades, and they get tangled in treetops, requiring government workers to spend valuable time collecting them.

OAS_RICH('Middle2'); All of this for a plastic bag that the average consumer uses only once. No wonder some experts wanted the European Commission to ban them.

In Brussels, the European Union is studying the best way to reduce the usage of thin, single-use plastic bags, which are convenient for consumers but terrible for the environment. The most effective way to reduce usage, an internal Commission study obtained by SPIEGEL said, is to ban shops from distributing them altogether. But the study found that such a ban would conflict with international and EU trade laws -- and cost many valuable jobs in Europe.

Eager to adopt an EU-wide standard for plastic bags, the European Commission began soliciting public feedback on ways to reduce bag usage last May. The commission asked about charging consumers for individual bags, levying general taxes on the bags or a complete ban on them across the Europe.

Ban No Longer Being Considered

At least one of those options -- the complete ban -- has already been taken off the table. According to the Commission study, a ban would have positive environmental impacts, but it would also "raise difficult legal questions." The report calls a complete ban: "a blunt instrument that gives little flexibility to producers, retailers, or consumers." The report also says that a ban would conflict with international trade law and EU internal market rules.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:19:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Budget 2012: oil and gas industry gets £3bn tax break to encourage drilling | UK news | The Guardian

A £3bn tax break from the chancellor to help BP and others drill new deep wells in pristine waters off the north of Scotland was condemned as "absolutely shocking" by green campaigners.

They argued it was wrong to encourage operations in such a fragile environment after the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago - but oil chiefs hailed this and other fiscal changes as a "turning point" that would trigger £40bn of investment.

George Osborne said he was determined to help the oil industry dismantle old platforms, with new drilling to extract the greatest amount of local oil and gas reserves.

The chancellor said in his budget statement: "We will end the uncertainty over decommissioning tax relief that has hung over the industry for years by entering into a contractual approach ... We are also introducing new allowances including a £3bn new field allowance for large and deep fields to open up west of Shetland, the last area of the basin left to be developed."

Malcolm Webb, chief executive of the industry lobby group Oil & Gas UK, said the chancellor's concessions would easily be offset by much higher government tax revenues on new supplies.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:22:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU mulls 'green lawsuits' against China | EurActiv

Massive state subsidies are "squeezing out" European wind and solar companies from China's renewables market, the head of EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht's cabinet has said, adding that court action should be considered against barriers to trade.

"We should use all the tools we have at our disposal to tackle barriers that distort the market," Marc Vanheukelen told a European Policy Centre meeting last week (15 March).

"We may take to court countries that we don't think are playing fairly," he added, in a general reference to unfair practices by any of the EU's trading partners.

But analysts will watch to see if EU lawyers start addressing envelopes to Beijing. 

China looked at climate issues from a trade and industrial policy perspective, Vanheukelen said.

"They want their industry to grow. They invite US and EU companies in. They loosely interpret intellectual property rules, then they produce the technology more cheaply themselves and close the market," he complained.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:23:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU mulls 'green lawsuits' against China | EurActiv
"They want their industry to grow. They invite US and EU companies in. They loosely interpret intellectual property rules, then they produce the technology more cheaply themselves and close the market," he complained.

How horrible! When everybody knows that the proper protocol is to want your industry to grow, invade countries that has industry, copy it and claim it as intellectual property, then destroy it in the invaded country so that you can produce the technology yourselves and close the market. Or if the country appears to strong to invade, sell them opium and protect it with gunboats until it is weakened.

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 Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 05:51:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Norway leads calls for EU ban on fish discards | Environment | The Guardian

Giving up the wasteful practice of discarding edible fish at sea is not only possible, but can result in greater profits for fishermen, according to the fisheries minister in Norway, which has banned the practice.

Up to two-thirds of the fish caught in some European waters are thrown back dead because of the way the EU's common fisheries policy works. Proposals to end the waste have faced opposition from fishing groups and some EU member states, several of which attempted to scupper the ban at a meeting in Brussels on Monday. In the end, the attempt to block a ban on discards did not materialise, in part because of strong opposition from the public and high-profile campaigns such as FishFight initiative spearheaded by the TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. But the issue will be discussed by European legislators several times this year before going to a final vote.

It is 25 years since Norway introduced a ban on discards amid the steady decline of the Arctic cod. As a result, stocks of the species have recovered.

The experiences of Norway, which is outside the EU, should be taken as an example to member states, says the country's fisheries minister. Lisbeth Berg-Hansen. She told the Guardian: "I hope the rest of Europe will see this ban can be possible. Fishermen saw it as difficult at first but they have seen the quick results of this ban - the quota got bigger year by year."

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:34:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Illegal logging makes billions for gangs, report says

Illegal logging generates $10-15bn (£7.5-11bn) around the world, according to new analysis from the World Bank.

Its report, Justice for Forests, says that most illegal logging operations are run by organised crime, and much of the profit goes to corrupt officials.

Countries affected include Indonesia, Madagascar and several in West Africa.

The bank says that pursuing loggers through the criminal justice system has made a major impact in some nations, and urges others to do the same.

It also recommends that aid donors should fund programmes that strengthen the capacity of law enforcement and legal authorities to tackle the illegal timber trade.

"We need to fight organised crime in illegal logging the way we go after gangsters selling drugs or racketeering," said Jean Pesme, manager of the World Bank Financial Market Integrity team.

The analysts calculate that an area of forest the size of a soccer pitch is illegally logged every second.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:35:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trees may play role in electrifying the atmosphere, study suggests
Plants have long been known as the lungs of the Earth, but a new finding has found they may also play a role in electrifying the atmosphere.

Scientists have long-suspected an association between trees and electricity but researchers from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) think they may have finally discovered the link.

Dr Rohan Jayaratne and Dr Xuan Ling from QUT's International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health (ILAQH), led by Professor Lidia Morawska, ran experiments in six locations around Brisbane, including the Brisbane Forest Park, Daisy Hill and Mt Coot-tha.

They found the positive and negative ion concentrations in the air were twice as high in heavily wooded areas than in open grassy areas, such as parks.

Dr Jayaratne, who is also a member of QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), said that natural ions in the air were mainly created by ionisation due to two processes -- radiation from the trace gas radon in air and cosmic radiation from space.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:36:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Africa's Belt of Misery: Religion and Climate Change Fuel Chaos in Sahel - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The imam climbs across the wreckage that was once his home. Then he bends over. "These are criminals," he mumbles as he pushes aside a few bricks with his calloused hands.

OAS_RICH('Middle2'); It was the same thing that had already happened so many times since last summer. Shortly before dawn, the residents of Kauda could hear the dull roar of an ancient Antonov airplane belonging to the Sudanese Air Force as it approached the town. Then the bombs fell. One landed right in front of Ismail Alokori's house. The 60-year-old cleric was lucky because the bomb only destroyed his house. A neighbor was hit by shattered wood and lost her leg.

Kauda is in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan, the border region between Sudan and South Sudan, which gained its independence last summer. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has been waging a bombing war against his own people in South Kordofan for almost a year. The bombing is punishment for resisting government oppression, for challenging a manipulated gubernatorial election and for refusing to give up their weapons -- and because they have always been tolerant Muslims, as opposed to Bashir, who is a fundamentalist. The government of South Sudan has now sent in troops to help protect the Nuba people from Bashir's soldiers.

Last week, American movie star George Clooney testified before the US Senate about his experiences in the combat zone. He had gone to Sudan to draw attention to the conflict.

But the feud in the Nuba Mountains is only one of an entire series of bloody conflicts stretching roughly along the 10th parallel north across the entire African continent, from Somalia on the Indian Ocean to Senegal on the Atlantic.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:59:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rare Russian whale tracked to Mexican waters.

"Scientists have tracked a critically endangered western gray whale from its native habitat in the chilly Pacific Ocean off Russia for thousands of miles to balmy lagoons off the coast of Mexico -- a first for the rare whales."

'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 Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 02:14:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 02:42:12 PM EST
Sweden approves divisive EU data directive - The Local
Sweden's parliament voted in favour of the controversial EU data retention directive following a spirited debate on Wednesday, as some internet providers touted new measures to protect their customers' privacy.

There were 233 votes in favour of the directive, which is set to come into effect on May 1st, 2012 and has been a topic of Riksdag discussion for years.

41 members voted against the proposal and 19 members were absent.

"The data retention directive doesn't in any way live up to the standards we require of legislation," Green Party MP Maria Ferm said as she started the debate in the Riksdag.

"It's an infringement on personal privacy way out of proportion relative to its utility."

Ferm's party, along with the Left Party, have been staunchly opposed to the legislation, which is meant to bring Sweden in compliance with an EU directive from 2006 which requires internet service providers to store citizens' telecommunications data.

The Sweden Democrats, meanwhile, wanted to require that data on Swedes only be stored in Sweden.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:02:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Originally scheduled for 2010, after the 2009 EP-election it was postponed until after the general election of 2010.

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 Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 05:53:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Baldness Protein Found in Study That May Lead to Treatments - Bloomberg

Male-pattern baldness may be caused by a protein in the scalp, according to research that raises the possibility drugs being tested by Merck & Co. (MRK) and Actelion Ltd. (ATLN) for other uses might prevent hair loss.

Bald spots had an excessive amount of a protein called prostaglandin D2 or PGD2, according to a study in Science Translational Medicine. Merck's experimental treatment for facial flushing and Actelion's allergy compound, both in late- stage studies, block the protein.

About eight out of 10 white men experience some balding before the age of 70, according to the researchers. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)'s Rogaine and Merck's Propecia slow the loss, and some users see minor hair growth. Men may be able to regrow all their hair if the inhibiting protein is removed, said George Cotsarelis, chairman of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

"We really do think if you remove the inhibition, you get longer hair," Cotsarelis, a study author, said in a telephone interview. "We don't know" if the follicles will return to their former lengths, he said.

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:32:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Israel's Border Police entering East Jerusalem schools in search of stone-throwers - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

Last Monday a Border Police unit swept into a high school in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amud and arrested the vice principal, Salah Muhazian, in front of a classroom filled with students. He was walked by the officers through the school corridors to a waiting jeep outside and brought to Jerusalem police headquarters for questioning.

During his interrogation officers told Muhazian that a student of his who had been arrested a few days earlier for throwing stones told them Muhazian had hidden him and other stone-throwers in his office. Muhazian was released after the interview.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:48:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Game Group to file for administration

Struggling video games retailer Game Group has said it intends to file for administration.

Earlier, shares in Game were suspended "pending clarification of the company's financial position".

The firm said talks with stakeholders and other parties had not made enough progress to offer "a realistic prospect for a solvent solution".

Game has seen its business eroded by competition from online-only retailers, such as Steam and Amazon.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 06:06:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Twitter / @ChristineBohan: New Phoenix says Irish Sun ...
New Phoenix says Irish Sun on Sunday sold 110,000 copies in first week, 85,000 in the second and 75,000 in third.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 08:23:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 02:42:33 PM EST
'Kony 2012' director suffered 'reactive psychosis,' family says - CNN.com

ason Russell, who directed a documentary about a notorious Ugandan warlord that went viral, will remain hospitalized "a number of weeks" to recover from "reactive psychosis," his family said Wednesday.

Russell, 33, was picked up by police last Thursday after several people reported a man running along a San Diego, California, street in his underwear, screaming, sources said.

"Jason's incident was in no way the result of drugs or alcohol in his body," the family statement said. "The preliminary diagnosis he received is called brief reactive psychosis, an acute state brought on by extreme exhaustion, stress and dehydration."

Russell's family said his doctors told them it was "a common experience given the great mental, emotional and physical shock his body has gone through in these last two weeks."

by Nomad on Wed Mar 21st, 2012 at 05:49:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yea right.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Mar 22nd, 2012 at 06:12:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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